Mt Shasta rises reverently from northern California’s black forests, towering dramatically toward the cobalt sky. Soaring a majestic 14,162 feet, more than 5,000 feet above its highest neighbor, this snow-shrouded stratovolcano features sweeping, panoramic views of the surrounding Cascade Range. Shasta’s enormous cone-like stature gains more than 10,000 feet of vertical from base to pinnacle. Climbers fortunate enough to summit this mountain accomplish a life-changing feat—tackling the second highest peak, behind Mt. Rainier, in the entire range.
This year, Big City Mountaineer’s Summit for Someone program features three opportunities to join guided trips up Mt. Shasta. Hikers push personal boundaries, meet new friends, and reconnect with nature, all while supporting BCM’s mission: providing under-resourced urban youth access to the life-changing benefits of the wilderness.
Recently we asked climber and Government Programs Manager at Outdoor Research, TJ Laynor about his Summit for Someone trip to Mt. Shasta last summer.
Q: How would you describe your experiences on Mt. Shasta?
A: The trip was fun and educational. I’ve been climbing for years, but have never actually used a guide. I spent the entire trip asking questions about techniques, why they chose to teach various things one way over another. It was interesting to hear stories from the guides’ previous trips; each of them leads an interesting life.
Q: Would you recommend Mt. Shasta to others interested in joining a Summit for Someone trip?
A: I would definitely recommend Mt. Shasta as a climb especially for those who are not very experienced and want to try something challenging. The hike in is extremely beautiful and the actual push to the summit is not overly difficult. You have to be physically fit for sure, but compared to other climbs that I’ve done, the mental obstacles aren’t nearly as taxing.
Q: Why is climbing for Big City Mountaineers important to you?
A: With BCM you not only get the self-gratification of doing something most people only dream about, but you also get to do something that is going to benefit the greater good.
Mt. Shasta has stirred poetic musings from writers and explorers in the American west for centuries, each climber marveling at the immense beauty and singular grace of this peak.
E.D. Pierce, credited with the first ascent of Mt. Shasta on August 14th, 1854 describes the mountain this way:
“Not the pen of a ready writer ever can give you the most distant idea of the grandeur and sublimity of the face of nature, as far as the eye could reach. Imagine for yourself mountains rising back of mountains, large and small, in the most beautiful disorder and confusion, interspersed with beautiful luxuriant valleys, all well watered with fine mountain streams, with here and there a crystal lake or pond, and all this seemingly encircled by the Coast Range, like onto a mammoth corral.”
Author and Naturalist John Muir said of Mt. Shasta upon viewing it for the first time:
“When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”
Finally, poet Joaquin Miller observed:
“You would hardly call Mount Shasta a part of the Sierras; you would say rather that it is the great white tower of some ancient and eternal wall, with here and there the white walls overthrown.” —Life Amongst The Modocs, 1874
Summit for Someone and Big City Mountaineers offers three chances to climb Mt. Shasta this June and July. Find more information at: http://www.summitforsomeone.org/main.php?page=3&mtn=2
You may join an existing group, assemble your own, or simply create a custom climb. Either way you’ll be supporting the lives of countless young people. Climb on friends!
Watch video of Mt. Shasta here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enbLlhjXQaQ