Mt Shasta Disasta trip summary
My dad left a message on a Sunday that he was climbing Mt. Shasta on Wednesday and was checking to see if I wanted to come along. I thought Oh my gosh he’s gonna die! I didn’t want him to die alone so I got my Wal-Mart sleeping bag and a 5 gallon water jug and a big thick pad to sleep on. I had no intention of making it to the top.
We rented Helmets, boots, crampons, ice axe from a sports shop in Mt. Shasta—they looked at us like there was no way we would make it to the top. The boots were really stiff like downhill ski boots but that gave us great ankle support and toe protection. Since neither one of us were hikers or in shape for this the boots really helped.
The time from bunny flat to horse camp was about 1 hour. From horse camp to 50/50 flat is about 1.5 hours we camped just under 50/50 flat. From 50/50 to lake Helen took us about 4 hours. From Lake Helen to the summit was 3.5 hours for the German guy. Since me and Dave went the hard way it took us about 6 hours just to make the false peak. Coming down from the false peak at 6pm to lake Helen took me right at 2 hours. At lake Helen the campers there told me that my dad had left a back pack for me with a flashlight, some snacks and walkie talkie. At this point exhaustion really started setting in—I was up at 7am and it was now 8pm. I radioed my dad to let him know I was at lake Helen and heading down. It became extremely labor intensive just to talk to him so I told him I was going to turn my radio off (big mistake) Trying to find my way from Lake Helen back to 50/50 flat totally exhausted in the dark took all the mental power I had left. The worst part was I was not on a trail and I could not remember what side of the small valley I had come up. I went a little ways down the wrong way and my memory started working a little and I found the trail again. The other key thing I couldn’t’ remember was that camp was only 20 minutes under 50/50 flat. I did remember there was a huge boulder—the only boulder on the hill that we were camped by. So I zoomed down the trail and I came to a large boulder. I thought I was there. I said “HELLO THE CAMP”. I went off the trail a little but couldn’t see anything and there was no response. Turns out we were farther off the trail than I thought and my dad was sound asleep. In my confusion and exhaustion I continued down the trail and didn’t think to try the walkie talkie. I kept recognizing the trail so I thought I was good but I didn’t keep track of the time. Finally I was sure I had gone too far and thought to try the walkie talkie. Sure enough I was way below camp and had to hike another hour back up. I got to camp at 10pm when I would have been there closer to 8pm……that was a learning experience!