Mount Lassen erupted twice in 1915 on this northeastern side. Lava and pyroclastic flows, mixed with melted water from avalanches caused by the eruptions, combined to form a highly fluid ‘lahar’, which cause massive devastation for over 10 miles.
On our last day in Mt Shasta, Reed and I awoke to clouds high on the mountain. Although it looked like clearer weather may have been on the way, the snow probably wouldn’t have softened up until quite late in the day. We decided to have a ‘rest day’, and cruised into town for coffee and wi-fi, and then we got on the road towards Mount Lassen to ski another volcano before jetting back to JH and responsibility.
There is access to the south side of Mount Lassen year round, but the steeper skiing and larger vertical, about 4000′, are found on the northern side. Lucky for us, the road to the Devastated Area Trailhead was open and we spent the afternoon people-watching as yuppies and fisherman came and went. The traffic slowed as the sun got lower in the sky, and we found ourselves alone for the night…completely opposite from the Buffy Flat experience.
We awoke with the sun and got prepped to ski Lassen. The approach looked pretty straight forward, and as we were about ready to go, another skier arrived. JT had driven up from Lake Tahoe to ski the peak as well, and he charged with us up the mountain. For some reason I had a fire in my belly, and I set a fast pace. Props for keeping up JT!
After a little bit of bushwhacking, we found our way up the moraines to the base of the mountain itself. JT kept going in one direction, while Reed and I opted for a route away from some rock-fall hazard, and a bit lower angle so we could skin higher. JT beat us to the top by a couple minutes, and to tell you the truth it kinda bugged me. I’m a freak like that sometimes. It’s not a race though…right?
The wind was gusting to about 40mph near the summit, and it would threaten to knock me over was I climbed the final ridge to the top. A strange, phallic-like tower sat on top of the peak and we wondered what was inside. We let JT have first dibs and that was the last we talked to him…as he traversed to the left, down a gully, and out of view. After a few minutes of clicking-in and some sidestepping through some rocks, I saw JT making big turns on the moraines below. He skied into the woods and out of view…see-ya dood!!!
We snapped a few pics as we skied the northeast face of Mount Lassen, and the final turns of our short, but sweet California harvest. We were anxious to get on the road back to Jackson and our home range…the Tetons. Although the snowline is creeping higher, at least the park road is open now, making for easier access to thousands of options.
The southeast side of Mount Shasta on the way to Lassen
I heard you were a little dismayed by the crowds at Bunny flat parking lot.
Fact of the matter is, this is the busiest time for that access point for climbing. If you came up any other season, it’d be all yours. Winter, you may get 50 cars up there and some slednecks/trailers. As the weather lightens up in the spring, a lot more enthusiasts are drawn to the Mtn. As it goes in winter, the winds are usually so bad on the mtn that you can only ski to treeline, so once the sun shines the crowds grow. I guess the price you pay for living in paradise.
Glad you enjoyed the cornocopia!
This wasn’t my first trip to Shasta…so I knew what to expect. Last time I was there in June..so it was even busier, but I didn’t camp in the lot then.
Just not a super restful place at night…if that is what you are after.
Lassen is the best bargain in the Sierras for climb to ski ratio. They just opened hiway 89 thru the park. You park and climb from the south sides parking lot (after dropping a shuttle car on the devasted sides parking lot) and climb 2 miles up for a 4+ mile ski down. Typically grea turns on the northwest ski. They also have outstanding camping facilities for multi day trips. Best of all not too many folks getting it like Mt. Shasta. We’ll be getting Lassen for the 1st. time this year next Sun-Tues.