14 July 2006. Mount Shasta. 6:00pm
     A week in San Francisco with Amy and Kris, A few days in Lassen Volcanic National Park, out to Redding and up the 5 to Dunsmuir and Mossbrae Falls, then up to Shasta.
     Up Lassen in 1:18, then some steep glissading. A little more than I bargained for, but ultimately okay. Lots of snow above 8000 feet; the upper lakes still completely covered.
     Checked back in with the rest of the world via cell phone when back out in Redding; finally got in touch with Mike to talk about Ranier and Mom and Dad. Stopped in an outdoor shop to pick up some basics and a map of Shasta, got a bit more food. Had a pint of ice cream in the parking lot, in the shade, but still able to feel the heat radiating off the blacktop. North on the 5 past Shasta Lake. Camped on National Forest land just outside Castle Crags after "sunset" photography along the Sacramento River.
     Woke up early and walked in to Mossbrae Falls in order to catch it in full shadow. Good shots from the railroad bridge looking back towards the falls. Good breakfast in Dunsmuir afterwards. Poked around the town of Mount Shasta, bought Elizabeth Gold's "Brief Moments of Horrible Sanity" about a non-teacher teaching a semester of English in a progressive inner-city school (recommended to me by a couple of friends. I'm a few chapters into it, having started it this afternoon -- right now, I'm not favorably inclined.), talked Tour at the Fifth Season store, and lounged in an internet cafe for two hours for the price of an iced chai latte.
     Drove up to the trailhead, packed, made dinner in the parking lot. Started up to Horse Camp late (intentionally) -- arrived at 8:00pm. Woke up late, having slept through my alarm again, and got on trail at 5:45am. Most people start between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning in order to summit and start down by noon to avoid rockfall. Thankfully, I'm acclimated and in good shape; I made the climb in just under 5 hours (6000' gain!). Mostly steep snow. Not a technical challenge, just endurance. Not even the exposure of the high sections of Whitney, although the views down to some of the bergschrunds on the glaciers was impressive. Very wild at the uppermost section, like photographs from the Andes. Amazing rime and cauliflower ice on the very-top outcrop. Strange to be up so high on such highly-erodable rock; I'm much more used to granite or solid metamorphics. Somehow pyroclastics and tuffs, even welded, don't inspire as much confidence. A beautiful 360-degree view from the top. Great, great conditions for the day, too -- hard snow and only light wind.
     Phenomenally fun glissading on the way down. Some steeps, steering like kayaking... Self-arrested a few times. Have to come back and do it with Mike if only for the glissading.
     Sorry -- doing it felt profound, but I'm having a hard time communicating the feeling to non-climbers.
     Spent over an hour at the top, made it down in 1:30. Hung out a Horse Camp for a while and then headed out.
     Could've made it up to Fern's for the evening, but I don't know how much conversation I could've made. Decided to stay here at the trailhead and kick back, savoring the deep. full-body exhaustion. It's not like the sharp knife of interval workouts; comparing the two is like contrasting the ocean versus class 4 river rapids.

14 July 2006. Mount Shasta. 8:30pm
     There's still light on the mountain. We've lost direct sun here and while it's not cold yet (it probably won't be tonight -- at Horse Camp last night eight hundred feet higher, I was toasty in a 30-degree bag) I'm not warm anymore. Coupled with the day's efforts it's enough to send a small shiver through me. More food needed. Constantly hungry -- how many calories does a 6000 foot climb burn? Spent the afternoon shifting the camp chair around, trying to drink in the warmth of the sun. The aftermath is a distinct part of the pleasure of mountaineering, if you let it be. The pure, unbridled loafing is frowned on in normal circles, but here it seems indulgent but perfectly excusable -- legitimate, even.
     Sunburnt, tired, content. Skin taut from exposure to wind, cold, sun, and heat. Catlike stretching, pulling individual muscles slowly. Cheekbones seemingly stronger. Burning away the unnecessary. A distilled existence. How can you not love the single-mindedness of five unalloyed hours? Can I run five hours?
     The thing is, there are those of us for whom this is preferred. It is real. I say this hopefully accepting minority status rather than parading it, even though I may relish it. Does every minority group come up with some reason to prefer their own way to the majority? Or is it only those groups who voluntarily self-select out of the majority? Wearing the same clothes five days in a row, perverse as it may be, can be one less hassle to deal with, not an imposition. No matter what else, you cannot say I have done nothing today.
     I estimate between fifteen and twenty people summited today. No matter what time they started and how long it took them, I feel a companionship to all of them. Wherever they come from, whatever their job or economic background, in this shared endeavor, these people are my tribe.


Mount Lassen at sunset

There was a little bit of snow above 8000'. Here, a "roadcut".
And look! It's a National Geographic-approved red jacket!

Mossbrae Falls from the bridge

Mossbrae Falls

The creek below Mossbrae Falls

Mount Shasta
I went up the red route and came down the yellow. You can't see the upper plateau and the last few hundred feet of vertical, but this face shows the dominant portion of the climb from about 8000' to 13,800'.


Sabbatical notes
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