Added by Daniel Sherman
The most amazing, expansive views at high elevation. There is the opportunity to make this an overnighter and the potential for snow activities such as glissading/ skiing/ snowboarding.
The least technical route to the summit of Mt Shasta begins at the Clear Creek Trailhead (elevation 6390 ft). Please note that although this is a less technical route, this is still dangerous and there have been deaths on Mt. Shasta because of falling rock. To start this, you should be a good hiker with knowledge of mountain skills.
To get started, you will have registered at the ranger station in Mt Shasta for your climbing permits prior to arriving at the trailhead. And remember to grab a (couple) human waste bags - everything gets packed out on the mountain.
As you set off on your climb, you'll meander for a short time through a tall red fir forest. But views of your objective start early in the trail through clearings in the forest, and become more expansive and unimpeded as the timberline breaks at approximately 7,800 ft. The sound of the massive Mud Creek Falls echoes through the walls of Mud Creek Canyon to the south as a dull roar.
The trail follows a wide, straight clearing along the Wintun Ridge to the North. Depending on the season of your adventure, you may start to encounter snowfields obscuring the trail. This route is basically a straight line up the mountain and follows natural formations. At 8,500 feet, the source of Clear Creek can be found in Clear Creek Meadow. This is an excellent camping area with fresh waster nearby for those intending to make this a two-day adventure. Several tent clearings can be found within the small alpine brush above and below the spring along the South ridge. Enjoy dinner with a view of the Klamath Mountains to the east and Mt Lassen to the southeast from 9,000 feet on the side of Mt Shasta!
If you choose to camp, an alpine start to your summit day the following morning is recommended to allow for enough daylight and to reduce the risk of avalanche, depending on the forecast. If snow still exists, don crampons and utilize an ice axe to ascend one of two steep snowfields to the top of a ridge above Clear Creek Meadow. From here, a long and potentially grueling climb up either snow or scree keeps you from the summit. The route is straight and true, the objective is always up. Take a moment to enjoy the view of Shastarama and its Mud Creek Glacier to the south.
A purposeful landmark to aim for is a small rock formation known as 'Mushroom Rock,' at 12,800 - because it is obviously shaped like a large mushroom, hard to miss! It's only another 1,300 vertical feet to the summit, but it's a steep incline to the summit crater. Either ascend through a boulder field or traverse up the Wintun Glacier to the northwest. The summit crater is a welcome, large plateau at 13,800 feet that can be a busy place as it is where many climbing routes intersect. Circumnavigate the plateau to the southwest for a short distance to approach the summit from the south. Active sulfur vents can be seen just southwest of the summit. You're on a (somewhat) dormant volcano! At this altitude, some may encounter symptoms brought on by less oxygen - such as lightheadedness, headache, shortness of breath. Be prepared with applicable interventions and if symptoms do not resolve or worse, the best treatment is to descend as quickly as possible.
Make the final push up the steep ridge to the small summit area. This can also be a busy place. Take in the expansive, high-altitude, 360 degree views of Oregon and Northern California from 14,180 feet. But be wary of others and allow them their chance for a summit photo. From here, simply trace your route back to camp. You may find it more enjoyable (and quicker) to glissade or ski/snowboard down several of the steep snowfields you ascended. Remember to only glissade where a clear runout can be seen and without crampons on. Pack up camp if you intend to return to your vehicle, or stay another night to rest and enjoy this view one more evening. Follow your route back down through the forest to your vehicle.
- Large pack
- Tent - possibly with snow stakes
- Low-temp rated sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Extra food
- Extra water
- Ice axe
- Multiple synthetic/waterproof layers
- Wool socks
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography, Skiing, Snowboarding
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Snowmobile at Hope Valley Sno-Park
Lake Tahoe / Hope Valley Sno-Park
Book a snowmobile trip through a local adventure center (we love Lake Tahoe Adventures) or bring your own gear. Don't forget to grab permits ahead of time if you come on your own (more info here.
Snowshoe around Manzanita Lake
Lake Tahoe / Manzanita Lake
Snow shouldn't stop you from accessing your favorite places in the winter time, but it does add some intrigue and a little extra planning.