Spring Mt Shasta summit attempt via Avalanche Gulch.
I started from Bunny Flat Trailhead and made my way to Horse Camp. This is known as ‘the easy part’.
Then it was mostly trekking through a snow field that got steeper and steeper as you tried to reach Helen Lake, the usual base camp for people trying to reach Mt Shasta’s summit via Avalanche Gulch.
The trail descriptions say this is easier when there is snow on the ground. I believe that, but it didn’t make the steep approach to Helen Lake any easier. The last half mile of the trek was also the steepest part of the trail and also had several false ridges to make you think you were almost there.
Crawling over the top, I saw a field of tents in front of me. GOAL! At least the first goal. I quickly setup my tent in a strong wind and had dinner and settled in for the night, hoping to get a early start up to towards the summit the next morning.
Mother nature and my body had other ideas.
The next morning, there was a strong frigid wind blowing down from the ridge that towered over Helen Lake. It was so strong and so bitterly cold, I couldn’t imaging anyone making it to the summit. My body was not convinced to make the attempt and my mind didn’t fight the urge to go back to sleep.
As the morning went on, the word from the earliest hikers to go up and turn back was that no one had been able to get past the ridge line due the very strong winds threatening to blast climbers off the mountain.
I had planned to stay an additional night at Helen Lake to have two attempts at the summit, but could not retain the motivation to do that. Unfortunately, I decided to abort my summit attempts and head back down the mountain. Not for the first time, I regretted my decision the next day.
Maybe next year I can try again, maybe with a little more planning time and direct motivation. This year was mostly since I didn’t have any other hike planned for Memorial Day weekend.