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Why Spend 3 Days to Climb or Ski Mt. Shasta?

A climber practices self arrest, spraying the lens with clumps of snow.
Two ski mountaineers hiking up to ski Mount Shasta with Alpenglow Expeditions
A guide's harness loaded with gear for an intro to mountaineering course in Tahoe.

Why Does Alpenglow Spend 3 Days on Mt. Shasta?

When planning an adventure with Alpenglow Expeditions on Mt. Shasta, many participants wonder why our itineraries allocate three days for the expedition. The answer is simple yet fundamental to our philosophy: we aim to provide a comprehensive educational experience, not just a climb. Here’s a deeper look into our approach and what these three days entail.

Day 1: Ascend to Hidden Valley Camp + Skills Development

The Mt. Shasta 3-Day West Face climb/ski begins with the foundational day where climbers meet their guide(s) and fellow participants. After making the initial ascent to camp, we spend a critical period in the afternoon/evening dedicated to teaching essential mountaineering skills. Climbers and skiers engage in practical lessons on the use of climbing equipment, understanding mountain weather patterns, terrain assessment, emergency preparedness, and route-finding techniques. This training is crucial for risk management and ensures that everyone is not only prepared for the climb but ready to be an active and participating member of the team.

Day 2: Practical Application + Summit Attempt

On the second day, the focus shifts to applying the skills learned in a real-world setting. With an alpine start (1:00 – 3:00 a.m, conditions dependent). Under the supervision of our certified guides, participants put their skills to the test and attempt to cover the roughly 5,000 vertical feet from Hidden Valley to the summit of Mt. Shasta. Techniques such as proper use of an ice axe, walking in crampons, and rope team travel are covered in depth throughout the ascent. We’ll set a turnaround time somewhere between 11a and 2p, depending on the conditions, and return to Hidden Valley.

Day 3: Descend

The third day is an opportunity to climb/ski Shasta’s secondary summit, Shastina, and/or break camp and descend to the car. The West Face is our first choice for this itinerary. However, depending on conditions, our guides will occasionally select a different route to accomplish the same goals.

More Than Just a Shasta Peak Bag

Our three-day schedule on Mt. Shasta is designed to offer more than just a jaunt to the summit. By integrating a full mountaineering/ski mountaineering course into the climb, Alpenglow ensures that participants not only reach the peak but also gain the skills and confidence to pursue future climbs independently. This educational component is what sets Alpenglow apart and underscores our commitment to responsible and sustainable mountaineering practices.

For those looking to not just experience the mountains but to truly understand and learn from them, spending three days on Mt. Shasta with Alpenglow Expeditions provides the perfect balance of education, practice, and achievement. For our most immersive experience, consider our 5-Day Mountaineering School. 

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