Shasta & Shastina from TeleK on Vimeo.
The plan has been slowly gnawing away in my head for quite some time now... ever since I did two laps on Shasta back in 2006, I knew it would be possible to do 3 in a day. Then after I did the math, I figured that'd be just shy of 20K ft. So I figured if you did the extra 500 ft vert up to Shastina from the saddle, it'd get you to 20K ft day... looking something like this.
So that was the plan... and after going to the Bike to Work day Happy Hour in Old Oakland... I promptly took off.
Oh, after picking up a grilled panini from Ratto's!
So at 12:30 I arrived at Bunny Flat.
And started hiking at 1 am.... it was quite a bit colder than I expected... and my camel back kept freezing... I stashed a few things a bit above Horse Camp, where the slope starts getting a bit steeper and the skiing becomes fun.
The moon rose above the horizon around 3 am, and I turned my headlamp off. Tried to zone out to "Bossypants" (in audiobook by Tina Fey)... and I was making pretty good time up until a 1000 ft or so above Helen Lake when the wind picked up. Here the wind must've been gusting at about 50 mph or so. I couldn't hear Tina anymore and I would frequently be taking one step back for every step forward when the gust would hit me.
I finally made it above the Red Banks, but I had wasted plenty of time & energy doing so. Unfreezing my camelback, fighting the headwind, and having to stop to layer up... all added up to enough time that I'd started rethinking my strategy.
Finally I had made it above Misery Hill and was standing at the summit. Ready to ski down 2000 ft of rimed, nasty snow.
I knew the snow wouldn't have warmed up yet, so I decided to ski down to Shastina via Cascade Gulch to look for some wintery snow... which I found a few turns of... Here's what Shastina looks like from the notch between Shasta and Shastina.
Looking down at Whitney Glacier... the largest glacier in CA.
After skiing mixed snow from Shastina... then finding some softer corn for the last 2000 ft, I was back at the stashed water + food at Horse Camp. By this time I knew my bid for 3 was over. So I changed up the plan and just decided to maximize my turns and vert. Looking back up what I would end up hiking 3 times today...
On lap 2, I decided to stop at the top of the Red Banks and just ski down to Helen Lake. Then do another lap from there back up to the Red Banks to ski the Trinity Chutes all the way down to the car... here are some fellow skiers I saw skiing down the Trinity Chutes on Lap 3...
Got down to the car around 4... took a quick little snooze at a pull out close to Bunny Flat, where it was still a bit cooler... and after taking a shot of 5 hr energy... I drove straight to Matt & Elena's where Kai bear was visiting Emerson. E had cooked up a great pork stew and was just the meal I needed after sucking down countless Gu's, Cliff Shots, Perpetuem Solids... etc...
All in all 15,000 ft vert... still a personal best for me. And 10K of that was on great corn.