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Bay Area Backcountry Buddies Message Board › Shasta clothing...

Shasta clothing...

user 5685298
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 12
Janelle has asked me to post some info about clothing for Shasta. The most important things about clothing on Shasta is that you must have a windproof outer layer, top and bottom and NO COTTON. If the wind kicks up it will take the warmth right out of you if you don't have a wind shell and cotton will absorb moisture and chill you as it evaporates.

I imagine everyone is familiar with the concept of layered clothing, so here goes...

Top half. Three or four layers. A wicking layer, a warmth layer and a windproof shell. The warmth layer should be heavy fleece, a micropuff jacket or light down (you will overheat in heavy down). Add a light fleece next to the wicking layer if you get cold. Some people also like vests because they keep your core warm but allow heat to dissipate from your arms. Your body temperature can change rapidly between exertion and resting so the top two layers should zip up the front. Pullovers are bad because it's hard to regulate your temperature if you have take clothes on and off instead of just opening/closing zippers. I recommend that the shell have a hood, but you can probably survive without one.

Lower half. I usually have two layers, a medium weight fleece layer (or doubled up light fleece) and a windproof shell layer, but I normally have warm legs. You might want an extra layer if you get cold but if you do, make sure there are vents you can open in the shell pant. The shell doesn't have to be high tech, it can be simple nylon rain pants or even ski pants, it's really about eliminating the wind chill. If you plan on glissading on the descent I suggest bringing a heavy duty plastic bag to slide on. The snow will tear your pants up pretty quickly and no waterproofing will keep you from getting a wet ass (which is no fun.)

Feet. you should have sturdy, waterproof boots. They don't need to be expedition boots (which can be heavy and tire you out), but no trail runners. Smart wool socks are recommended, no cotton! Crampons are required, make sure they fit your boots before we leave town. Just to mention it again, a mountaineering ice axe is also required. Axe and crampons are rentable from REI and Marmot.

Hands. Windproof gloves of some type. You really don't want your hands to get cold.

Fleece or wool hat and helmet. I'm 50/50 on the helmet for this route but it's probably a good idea. You'll probably ditch the hat and just wear the helmet on the climb up but you'll want the hat when we get to the top, it'll be cold and windy.

Sunglasses. Dark ones. If the sun is out you will get snow blindness without them. VERY unpleasant and dangerous. REI has some good glacier glasses by Julbo that aren't that expensive.

I'll probably post some info about AMS (acute mountain sickness) and hypothermia in a few weeks. Let me know if you have any questions. I'm sure there's something I've forgotten to mention.

A former member
Post #: 6
thanks Miles. I like the idea of not renting heavy duty plastic boots...I prefer my own :) I was also warned at REI about glissading tearing up good rain pants but don't find a need for heavy duty rain pants as I don't snow board or downhill much. Didn't think about a heavy duty plastic bag :) Thanks for the tip.
user 3020297
Oakland, CA
Post #: 2
Thank you Miles, I also found this information very helpful!
user 9194737
Alameda, CA
Post #: 15
I am concerned there is no mention of a 'Hardshell'. This means a 'waterproof shell' at least for the upper body.

Although a wind proof shell is more breathable it is not waterproof but a waterproof shell is windproof. My usual gear for this time of year on Shasta is short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt. down jacket and light hardshell.

For my legs I have a set of long underwear and a Scholler Softshell pant.

It is dangerous to climb and Mountain without some means of staying dry. We are having very odd weather patterns in the Mountains this year and it has been storming on Shasta in the late afternoons daily.

As of yesterday snow level on Shasta was 8000'. So from Horse Camp to Hidden Valley the trail will be snow.

There is a running stream at Hidden Valley but it is glacial and very silty. You may want to filter or bring a paper filter. The alternative is melting snow. Upon making camp you will need to prepare or gather water for the ascent. You will need water for dinner and if you intend to eat in the morning some for breakfast. In addition you will need 2-3 liters for the climb. There is no guarantee the stream will be running in the morning. If the day warms you you can add clean snow to your nalgene bottle as you climb and it will melt.

You will need $20.00 in exact change for your Summit Permit at Bunny Flat. This is self registration. You will also need to have a Wilderness Permit (free) but they are set up as individual permits not a Group Permit.

If anyone has any questions please ask now.

There is no guarantee we will be glisading down. Hopefully so but it is determined by snow conditions. If the snow is too hard you cannot glisade. Many of the injuries that occur on Shasta are due to glisading.

You must make sure you have the proper run out for the glisade. You don't want to glisade into rocks or over a cliff. People do this on a fairly regular basis.

user 3839201
Oakland, CA
Post #: 3
Glacier glasses are a good reminder. I think I'll probably go with the ski goggles I already have - sound fine? Thanks for the additional water update too. Good info. Do you think warm mittens would be okay or stick with gloves?
user 9194737
Alameda, CA
Post #: 17
I usually bring some very light nylon gloves and some hard shell waterproof mittens w/ liners. Sometimes I don't use the hardshells at all but they are great to have around especially if the nylon ones get wet. We will most likely have to do a bit of digging or leveling snow to set up tents so waterproof come in handy. I like mittens myself because they let the blood circulate more where gloves seem to constrict flow to the finger tips.

Hopefully the weather system is improving and warming. As of now we don't know exactly what the weather will be. I gear myself for best and worst case senarios. It could be 20F when we start at 3AM. It could be 70F as we approach the Summit. I want to be confortable in both enviroments. Also on any Mountain you should have enough Summit gear to 'survive' a night in case of any accident be it you or another member of the Group.

As the climb day approaches you can call 530.926.5555 for a climbing and weather report from the Fifth Season the Outfitter in Mt. Shasta.

I like Glacier Glasses myself. I have also done Shasta with regular quality sunglsses without the sideshields. Quality ski goggles are good. Some lesser quality ones steam up when you do a lot of exertion. The main thing is that you have something covering you eyes that you are confortable with so you don't go snow-blind.

One thing not mentioned is gaiters.

Also good sunscreen. Your nose and ears especially will get burnt and put a little sunscreen around your nostril area as the skin is soft there and that is where most people get burnt from snow reflection.

If you are a skier you know all that:) (but others might not).
user 5080840
Roseville, CA
Post #: 38
Besides crampons and ice axe, is helmet necessary? my local REI does not have it for rental. For Saturday night camping, is it going to be on snow? is 3 season tent good enough? Thanks.
user 9194737
Alameda, CA
Post #: 19
Hidden Valley is the calmest place to camp on Shasta. A three season 'freestanding' tent should be fine.

There is a good possibility some or all will be camping on snow. The only problem is securing (staking) the tent. Usually you use snowstakes or 'deadmen' as regular stakes don't work. You can secure with regular stakes and pack them in and pour water over them and they will freeze in at night. You can also find some rocks and place them in the corners of the tent if you have the room. It might be a good idea to bring some line for the tie outs on the tent. Snow stakes are inexpensive at REI. Some people use plasitc shopping bags and fill them with snow and bury them as deadmen. They work BUT a lot of people end up leaving them on the Mountain as they tend to fall apart when you take down the tent as they become frozen in the snow.

There are two reasons why people use helmets on Shasta. Rockfall. Under all the snow Shasta is just Volcanic Scree with big rocks. Once the snow softens the rocks start falling. This route which is basically a gulch is not as prone to rockfall as a ridge route which are winter routes and done for this year. However it is a gulch that is bordered by two ridges. Also by doing an Alpine Ascent the snow is hard. This is why you climb Shasta early in the day before the snow softens.

The other reason for helmets is if you slip and go sliding down a slope uncontrolled and are unable to self arrest. Most factilities on Shasta are of this nature as the person hit their head on a rock during a slide. This is not a steep route. Much less than Avalanche Gulch. There are some steep sections near the top. However an glissade is essentially a (hopefully) controlled self -arrest. If the snow if soft enough the snow build up will act as a brake. If you start gaining too much speed you use your ice axe to control yourself. That being said there have been many times when glissades have turned into uncotroled slides.
user 5080840
Roseville, CA
Post #: 40
Thanks Frank. I've been doing some reading about the equipment list from other sites. One mentioned the bike helmet would work, so I will bring my bike helmet instead. I will also check the snowstakes at REI.

Great information!
user 5685298
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 18
I usually just bring some popsicle sticks or bbq skewers and extra cord for making deadmen. I've held down a tent in gale force winds with this setup. Or you can collect a few sticks at the trailhead so you don't have to worry about digging them out.
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