Shasta is a proper mountain challenge packing big peak thrills and torments into a two day extravaganza. You don't need a guide to show you the way up so long as you have reasonable gear, orientation, preparation, fitness and a healthy dose of common sense.
Most will camp mid-way at Lake Helen for the night which lies about half way at elevation 10,000 feet. This means lugging your tent, sleeping bag, food, water and cooking gear half way up the mountain and pitching in the snow. Expect a cold night and not much sleep! Oh and remember to keep your boots inside the tent else you may wake up to find them frozen solid outside! (I'm just mentioning that, not to say we got caught out by it, I mean who do you take us for?!?).
The summit day starts early, 3:30am for us, and consists of tedious uphill walking for about 5-6 hours. Altitude headaches and nauseous sulphur smells constantly make you question 'what possessed me to think this would be fun?'. I almost considered turning back before Misery Hill (which was strange given that I was the one hell-bent on doing it) but Gill slapped me about the face and told me to "man the f@$k up".
Reaching the summit at 14,162ft on a gorgeously sunny day with great views made the effort all worth while and we were completely made up. Years later, long after the pain has been forgotten, Mount Shasta endures as one of our favourite mountain climbing experiences. A must do if you're in the area and this kind of thing appeals!
By Darrell Grundy - visited on 8 June 2002