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Epic Climb of Mount Shasta, California

Winston Mueller, Adrian Groth, SWS Mountain Guides
Trip options

Booking for a group?
Reserve spots for 5 or more people, and get $32 off for each


Hire a porter

Porters are available by reservation on all Mt. Shasta climbs and cost $250 each way. Porter’s loads are limited to a maximum of 45 lbs. Porters can be shared between clients in the group, but the weight stays limited to 45 pounds.

1 Person
3 day
Winston Mueller, Adrian Groth, SWS Mountain Guides
Reserve deposit (50%) $0
Second Payment Amount: $0
  • By taking on the Hotlum-Bolam Ridge route, you’ll experience the northern side of Mt. Shasta and escape the crowds on the south side! Though it requires more technical skill than the routes on the south side, it’s still achievable and does not require previous glacial experience. Starting with the lush pine forests on the approach, you’ll reach wild and scenic glacier views high up on the ridge—and even set up camp at approximately 10,000 ft! A mix of fantastic scenery, fewer people, and varied terrain is what makes this route a favorite for many of your guides.

    • Meet your guides at 8 am at their Mt. Shasta office. After completing a pack check and dividing up group gear, head towards the North side of Mt. Shasta (carpooling recommended due to the small parking area!). Once at the trailhead (Northgate at 7,000 ft), begin your approach through Shasta pine forests and volcanic rock gardens. Your high camp is at approximately 10,000 ft and it will take you a few hours to get there. Enjoy a relaxed pace and mini clinics along the way to camp.

      Depending on the timing and snow conditions, you will maybe need to complete an ice axe and crampon use review to get to the high camp location. As time follows, additional techniques will be reviewed after setting up camp and gettin ready for the next day’s climb.

      Climbers and backpacks on Dhadta
    • Rise and shine very early (2 or 3 am) for an alpine start! Climb via the ridge along the side of the Hotlum Glacier. At upper elevations you will traverse onto the glacier and ascend a small strip of it following the rocky ridge. Finally, along the upper section of the route you will mix in some 3-4 classes before reaching the summit. After signing the ledger at the summit, make your way back down and return to your base camp late in the afternoon.

      Hotlum-Bolam Ridge
    • This day will be spent packing up camp and heading back down to the trailhead. Generally, you’ll arrive in the early afternoon. Make your way back to the town of Mt. Shasta before saying your goodbyes.

      Climbing Hotlum Glacier
    • The itinerary above is a best-case scenario. It’s subject to change at the guide’s description and depends on mountain conditions/weather, group fitness/experience/expectations, and other factors. Days 2 and 3 may switch in the itinerary depending on conditions on the mountain and skill level of the group.

    • What you get on this adventure:

        • One or two experienced guides with extensive knowledge of the area
        • 3-day Mount Shasta climbing adventure along the…
          • Hotlum-Bolam Ridge
          • Hotlum Glacier
          • Casaval Ridge
        • Accommodation on the mountain (2 nights in tents)
        • Breakfasts and freeze-dried dinners
        • Hot beverages while on the mountain
        • Personal climbing equipment (ice axe, helmet, harness)
        • Group equipment (ropes and safety equipment)
        • Group camping equipment (tents and stoves)
        • Permits and license fees including Mt. Shasta summit fees

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to and from the starting point (Mt. Shasta town)
        • Transportation from the town of Mt. Shasta to the trailhead
        • Accommodation prior to and after the climb
        • Lunch and snacks
        • Mountaineering boots and crampons — possible to rent with your guides
        • Other personal equipment (backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, down jackets, Gore-Tex jackets) — possible to rent with your guides, but let us know in time
        • Travel insurance
        • Guide gratuities — optional
    • Experience level requirements

      This is an intermediate to advanced climb depending on the route conditions (intermediate — early summer, advanced — late summer) that requires previous experience in mountaineering skills including ice axe and crampon use along with basic rope team knowledge. Basic knowledge of knots and belays are also recommended for those wanting to attempt the climb. Due to weather conditions encountered during the climb, previous winter camping skills are strongly recommended.

      Physical conditioning requirements

      Participants must be in excellent physical condition. Backpacks will weigh between 45 to 65 pounds (20-30 kg).

        • Elevation gain on all three climbs is between 7,000-7,300 ft (2,134-2,225 m) starting from the trailhead.
        • The distance covered on the ascent is approximately 7 miles (11 km).
        • You must be comfortable climbing 500-600 ft (152-183 m) per hour for 6-8 hours at a time.
        • Summit day alone will have over 4,000 vertical feet (1,220 m) and cover about 3 miles (5 km).
        • Camp location is generally between 9,500-10,500 ft (2,896-3,200 m). If you’re concerned about altitude sickness, please contact us. There are several techniques that can help you avoid, or at the very least, minimize adverse reactions to altitude.

      Important note

      In preparation for the trip, make sure to drink at least 3-4 quarts of water a day for at least 2-3 days before the climb, preferably for the whole preceding week—it will make adjustments to altitude and exertion infinitely easier.

    • Although breakfasts and dinners are provided by your guides, we still ask you to bring your own favorite, high-calorie, high-carbohydrate lunches and snacks (bagels, cheese, dried fruit, trail mix, Clif bars, chocolate…). You will need approximately 200-300 calories per hour (7-9 hours on summit day alone.

      Keep in mind that there will be a variety of options available for breakfast and dinner, but your guides cannot guarantee specific choices of flavors or meals. If you have a favorite breakfast that only requires hot water, we encourage you to bring it. The town of Mt. Shasta has a few grocery stores and markets, but having things you’re familiar with and in hand when you meet your guide is essential.

    • It’s extremely important for the success and safety of your climb that you bring all the items listed below. Due to the strenuous nature of these trips, it’s important that you pack well and light. The weather on Mt. Shasta can be either very warm or very windy and cold—it’s usually both!

      It’s required that you wear 4 layers on top and 2-3 layers on the bottom, plus hats, gloves, sunglasses, and other items on the list. If you have any questions regarding your equipment, feel free to contact us.


        • Hybrid or plastic mountaineering boots: (e.g.: La Sportiva Evo or Nepal, Scarpa Inverno)
        • Crampons 12 point hinged or semi-rigid crampons (e.g.: Black Diamond Sabretooth or Contact Crampons)
        • Sleeping bag — rated to 10-20 degrees, synthetic or down
        • Full-length sleeping pad
        • Internal frame (55 to 80 liter volume)
        • Personal tent — recommended for individual climbers. SWS will provide tents.

      You do not need a separate day pack for summit day—carry the above pack snubbed down, packed with only lunch and extra clothing. The rest stays at the camp. The above items are available to rent with your guides.

      Outer shell layer

      Since this layer is your first line of defense against the elements (wind, rain, snow, and cold), it’s imperative that they are of the proper design, fit, and construction.

        • Parka – Gore-Tex or equivalent (with attached hood that is large enough to fit over all insulating layer(s) and helmet)
        • Nylon wind pants or bibs — Gore-Tex or equivalent (side zippers are a highly recommended feature, for ventilation and for taking them on or off over heavy boots and crampons)
        • Gore-Tex gloves or mitts with windproof shells or equivalent (Black Diamond Guide Gloves)
        • Calf-height or full-length gaiters (Black Diamond FrontPoint gaiters)


        • Synthetic base layer or wool long john top — light or mid-weight
        • Synthetic base layer or wool long john bottoms — light to mid-weight

      Insulating layers:

        • Fleece or down jacket (Millet Alpine Down) — available to rent with your guides
        • Extra synthetic top (expedition weight recommended) or fleece sweater, or wool shirt or equivalent
        • Medium-weight synthetic running tights or light fleece pants or synthetic pants
        • 2-3 pairs wool or thermal heavyweight socks (no cotton!)
        • 2-3 pairs wool or light liner socks (no cotton!)
        • Wool or synthetic gloves light liner type (Black Diamond liner gloves)
        • Wool or fleece hat — a lightweight balaclava is very good for sleeping comfort

      Other important items:

        • Nylon stuff sacks for gear organization (enough for all equipment)
        • Three one-liter, wide-mouth water containers (no runners or bike bottles!) — a hydration system such as Camelback may substitute for all but one wide mouth bottle
        • Swiss Army Knife or small pocket knife
        • Good quality (dark) sunglasses with side shields / wraparound sunglasses
        • Sun block & chapstick (SPF 30+)
        • Long-sleeved, light-colored synthetic t-shirt and bandana (for the hot approach)
        • Shorts (for the warm approach)
        • Sunhat
        • Buff, bandana, or neck gaiter
        • Small bottle of hand sanitizer
        • Water filter or water purification tablets
        • Headlamp (Black Diamond Spot)
        • Insulated cup
        • Small bowl and spoon
        • Small first aid kit with personal medicine
        • Toilet paper
        • “Sports drink” water additives such as Gatorade, Liquid IV, Cytomax, etc.


        • Ski poles / trekking poles — highly recommended
        • Ski goggles
        • Balaclava
        • Down of fleece vest
        • Fleece or synthetic pants or bibs recommended for early season (May through early June)

      Climbing equipment (provided by guides, but bring your own if you wish)

        • Sit harness (Black Diamond Alpine Bod)
        • Personal ice axe
        • Helmet
    • Indeed you can! Hardshell jackets, down jackets, snowshoes, crampons, and trekking poles are available for rental through your guides. Let us know in time if you need anything.

    • Porters are available by reservation on all Mt. Shasta climbs and cost $250 each way. Porter’s loads are limited to a maximum of 45 lbs. Porters can be shared between clients in the group, but the weight stays limited to 45 pounds. Let us know if you’re interested.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • Regardless of the route you choose, climbing Mount Shasta is done with a 1:3 guide-to-client ratio. Maximum group size is set at 6 participants.
        • The minimum number of participants is set at 2. However, if you’re the only one that signs up, it’s still possible for the tour to run. Check out our “Deposit and cancelation policy” down below.
        • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

      Climbing 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 join the hike 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.

    • To get to the town of Mt. Shasta, most people fly into Sacramento Airport (SMF) and Medford International Airport (MFR). Depending on where you land, you can rent a car, or take a bus or a train to reach the town of Mt. Shasta. Keep in mind that you’ll need a car to reach the parking area at the remote trailhead (carpooling recommended).

      Make sure to arrive to Mt. Shasta at least a day prior to Day 1 of the tour as you’re meeting your guide early in the morning of Day 1.

    • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

      It is strongly recommended that all participants purchase travel insurance to protect themselves from unforeseen circumstances. In addition, travel insurance can protect your investment in a
      trip if you must cancel at the last minute.

      We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to.

      If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

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