Sprawling across the southern end of the Cascades lies Mount Shasta, the fifth highest peak and one of the most stunning 14ers in the Golden State. This stratovolcano is home to amazing terrain and is a perfect location for getting introduced to glacier travel and the world of mountaineering. Let your experienced female guide show you the ropes of this thrilling sport and build a solid foundation of mountain skills with your all-female team consisting of like-minded ladies. Learn how to use an ice axe and crampons in an efficient manner and practice various mountaineering movements. Your guide may even introduce you to some crevasse rescue techniques! Mount Shasta also boasts the four largest glaciers in California: the Whitney, Bolam, Wintun, and Hotlum Glaciers. After preparing for a few days, you’ll attempt a summit climb on the Hotlum-Bolam Glacier. Head to Northern California, make your first foray into mountaineering, and you’ll get hooked in no time!

  • The views from Mount Shasta are simply incredible

  • Progress at an ideal pace on great terrain with an all-female team

  • Delve into mountaineering on the second highest peak in the Cascades


Jump into the world of glacier travel and get introduced to the sport of mountaineering on Mt. Shasta. Let your female guide show you the most important mountaineering skills and teach you how to use an ice axe and crampons. Get familiar with a wide array of movements to prepare for a summit climb on the Hotlum-Bolam Glacier. With your team full of adventurous women, you’ll fall in love with mountaineering in the Golden State.

  • This adventure starts off after you arrive in the town of Mt. Shasta and check into your hotel. This is where you’ll meet your all-female team consisting of mountaineers and your female guide. You’ll discuss the adventure ahead of you over a welcome dinner in town.

    Meals: Dinner
    Accommodations: Hotel

    Mount Shasta City, California
  • Kick off the day with a delicious breakfast and your guide will carry out a gear check, where group gear allocations will be distributed. Once you’re done repacking your backpack, you’ll make your way to the trailhead and start your approach hike to basecamp. You’ll cover around a vertical gain of around 2,500 ft (760 m). Depending on the weather and other conditions, this hike may take 4-6 hours. Remember, you’ll be carrying heavy packs on your back!

    Meals: Dinner
    Accommodations: Camp

    Women going towards Mount Shasta
  • Today will be one of the most important days since you’ll work on a whole bunch of mountaineering skills and do some snow climbing practice. After you’re done eating your breakfast at camp, you’ll spend most of the day practicing various movement skills, learn how to use ice axe and crampons and your guide will show you everything you need to know about team rope travel and team arrest. You may also be introduced to basic glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques. You’ll return to camp early, have dinner, and cap off the day with an evening briefing where the guide will discuss the plans for the summit day that’s ahead of you.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodations: Camp

    Women on snowy Mount Shasta
  • The day begins with an alpine start, meaning that you’ll wake up around 2 or 3 am. The summit on Mount Shasta typically involves anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of ascending, and 4 to 5 hours of descending. This is a total of 12-14 hours of continuous movement! Make sure you are ready. The standard turnaround time is at noon for safety purposes. Spend the rest of the afternoon resting and relaxing at the camp.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodations: Camp

    Mountaineers climbing Mount Shasta at night
  • Kick things off with breakfast and pack up your camp. You’ll descend back down to the road and start heading towards the town of Mount Shasta. Wrap up this adventure with a celebratory dinner in the town of Mount Shasta.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodations: Hotel

    Female mountaineer on Mount Shasta
  • It’s been almost a week and the adventure has unfortunately come to an end. Check out from your room and head home. There are no activities planned for today, but keep in mind that climbers in most cases choose to have a final team breakfast on their own.

    Downtown Mount Shasta City, California
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Meet your guides

Sunny Stroeer
Sunny Stroeer
Lead guide and the owner of AWExpeditions
Lead guide and the owner of AWExpeditions
Sunny led a career-oriented life as an international strategy consultant with a Harvard MBA until a formative adventure on Aconcagua made her drop everything and take on the outdoors full-time. Before long, her exploits on high-altitude hiking and climbing routes saw her breaking speed records worldwide. When she’s not traveling and setting FKTs left and right, Sunny organizes guided adventures, celebrates the sporting life and promotes female empowerment through her writing and photography.
Ashly Winchester
Ashly Winchester
Backpacker, climber, mountaineer, and record-breaking ultrarunner
Backpacker, climber, mountaineer, and record-breaking ultrarunner
With over 50 FKTs around the world, Ashly Winchester is one of the most successful female runners out there. When she’s not chasing records, you can find her rock climbing, backpacking, or mountaineering in the wilderness. Her goal is to inspire, educate, and empower women to join the outdoors by taking them on life-changing adventures.
AWExpeditions organizes mountaineering, high altitude and backcountry adventures for women, by women. AWE decreases barriers of entry to the world of big mountain adventures for women from all walks of life by providing a platform for women and organization adventures in all-female or predominantly-female environments. Today, AWE runs all-women's (and a few co-ed) trips across five continents, with more destinations in the works. The Paria Canyon Backpack is a collaboration between AWExpeditions and Kanab, UT-based Dreamland Safari Tours and the Shasta glacier course is produced in partnership with Shasta Mountain Guides.

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5.00 (1 reviews)
Kristin Forgrave about AWExpeditions on Facebook

Sunny is such a wonderful leader! I have gone on two expeditions with AWE and both were fantastic. The small group was a lot of fun. Sunny encouraged and challenged us throughout the trek, and had a high level of awareness and flexibility that made our trip safe and successful even when obstacles came up. I would highly recommend Sunny and AWE.

Things to know

  • What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, certified mountaineering guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • 4 days of glacier school and summit attempt on Mount Shasta
    • Accommodations for 2 nights in a hotel (pre- and post-hike on Mount Shasta)
    • Accommodations in tents on the mountain
    • Team gear
    • Breakfast and dinners on the trail and mountain (including water, coffee/tea, and hot chocolate)
    • Pre- and post-climb team dinners in the town of Shasta
    • Mount Shasta summit passes and wilderness permits
    • All logistics

    What’s not included:

    • Transportation to and from Shasta
    • Transportation to the trailhead
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary, including lunches and personal snacks on the mountain
    • Personal backpacking and mountaineering gear
    • Medical, travel, and rescue insurance (rescue insurance is mandatory)
  • In order to participate in this guided intro to glacier travel for women on Mount Shasta, you need to be in excellent physical condition. Plan to be in your very best physical condition before a summit attempt. You should concentrate on endurance and strength training. You should be able to run a trail half marathon or hike 10-12 miles (16-19 km) while carrying 45 lbs (20 kg), without feeling extremely tired at the end of the day. You will spend four days on your feet encountering some mentally and physically draining technical routes as you climb on Mount Shasta. You’re expected to have previous hiking experience, while backpacking experience is helpful.

  • No mountaineering experience is required, but previous hiking experience is necessary, while previous backpacking experience is helpful. This is a great introduction to glacier travel and alpine climbing as well as a course and climb designed for the aspiring mountaineer who wants to build a solid foundation of mountaineering skills with the opportunity to climb a glacier route on Mount Shasta.

  • The team gear including ropes, mountaineering tents (double occupancy), kitchen equipment, team medical kit, and emergency communication will be provided by your guiding service.
    When it comes to the technical gear, you’ll need:

    • Climbing helmet
    • Ice axe
    • Crampons
    • Leather or synthetic mountaineering boots (crampon compatible and full-shank insulated)
    • Climbing harness
    • 2 locking carabiners

    Here’s a list of the personal equipment you need to bring:

    • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 65-80L bag)
    • Foam pad or inflatable sleeping pad
    • Sleeping bag (rated to 20F or 0F)
    • Compression stuff sack
    • Trekking poles
    • Nalgene water bottles (2-3L capacity)
    • Disposable waste kits
    • Trash compactor bag
    • Short underwear
    • Long base layer bottoms
    • Long sleeve sun shirt
    • Short-sleeve base layer top
    • Warm midlayer top
    • Trekking pants
    • Waterproof hardshell pants
    • Softshell jacket
    • Waterproof hardshell jacket
    • Insulated synthetic puffy jacket
    • Shorts — optional
    • Wool or synthetic hiking socks
    • Gaiters
    • Light trail shoes or camp booties to wear around camp — optional
    • Lightweight liner gloves
    • Softshell gloves
    • Insulated mittens
    • Warm hat
    • Buff and sun hat
    • Travel clothes and clothes for dinner
    • Lunches and food you can eat on-the-go (energy bars, electrolytes, sports drinks)
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, lip balm, bug spray, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, sopap, shampoo, etc.)
    • Small personal first aid kit
    • Personal medicines (if needed)
    • Prescription eyewear (if needed)
    • Glacier glasses (category 4)
    • Headlamp with batteries and charger
    • Face mask
    • Cup, bowl, and spoon
    • Pee bottle — optional
    • GPS Watch and charger — optional
    • Camera — optional

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • You can rent:
    Mountaineering boots, large backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, helmets, gaiters, ice axes, and crampons from The Fifth Season.

    The equipment rental location is in the town of Mount Shasta and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

  • Group sizes:

    • For this group adventure, the max. number of participants is 6.
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

    Introductory glacier travel courses on Mount Shasta can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • A $500 deposit to secure your place is due booking. The balance of program fee is due 90 days prior to the starting date of the program. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the following cancellation policy applies:

      • If the client cancels the trip 90+ days prior to departure: Full refund of any expedition fees paid less $500 deposit. The deposit remains transferable to another AWE departure within 24 months of your original trip departure date.
      • If the client cancels the trip 61-89 days prior to departure: 25% refund on payments made above deposit. The deposit remains transferable to another AWE departure.
      • If the client cancels the trip 0-60 days prior to departure: No refunds. The deposit is not transferable to another AWE departure.

    In some cases payments may be transferable; if you are required to forfeit your spot, you may find an acceptable replacement in which case your deposit and fees would transfer to your replacement without penalty.

    Though unlikely, an expedition may be canceled for any reason prior to departure. In that event, the deposit and expedition fees paid by the participants will be refunded.

    In the event of cancellation of a program and upon refund to participants of all program fee payments, the expedition organizer shall be released from any further liability to participants, including but not limited to liability for additional costs participants may have incurred, pre- departure expenses, non-refundable advance purchase air tickets, visa fees, equipment purchases and medical expenses.

    Participants agree that beginning on the first date of the program itinerary, there will be no refunds of program fees for any reason whatsoever.

    Expedition participants agree the cost of any search and rescue undertaken on their behalf will be their financial responsibility. Including costs incurred by the expedition leader, other expeditions, government, and/or other entities.

  • To get to Mount Shasta, most people fly into Rogue Valley International, only 1.5 hours away from the town of Mount Shasta. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus to get to the town. The closest airport, however, is Redding Municipal Airport, just an hour away. Some bigger airports include Sacramento International Airport and Reno-Tahoe International Airport, about 4 hours away.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will meet your teammates and guide for a welcome dinner in town after you check into the hotel in the town of Mount Shasta. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures on Mount Shasta, CA, please refer to the Official California State Government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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