Top 10 Things To Do While Your Girlfriend is Climbing and Skiing Mt. Shasta
So it’s your turn to watch the kids this weekend. #$%&! Or you just never got motivated when your wife said she was going to organize a ski trip to Shasta. Or maybe you’re just not that fit, and your backcountry skills aren’t up to speed. Whatever the case, the girls trip is a go, and you’re grounded.
Hmm… 7000 vertical feet of skiing, killer corn snow, and multiple ski lines off every aspect… the piles of blog posts every season about how epic the skiing can be on 14,162-foot Mt. Shasta should be no surprise. But for brevity, let’s just say it’s considered one of North Americas best ski descents for a reason.
So with all that in mind, here are a few ideas for the hapless boyfriend to ponder while his lady is snapping first-light sunrise photos and charging up the East side. Or possibly ripping turns during an early evening “refreeze” in Hidden Valley.
1- Hit the 5th Season in downtown Mt. Shasta. Touch base with Leif or Jacques for the latest conditions in and around the mountain. The Fifth can handle just about any gear needs you have. Hike, bike, run, climb, ski, and more…. And if they can’t outfit you, they will direct you to someone who can.
2 – Do the lake circuit, starting with Lake Siskiyou. With or without the kids, it’s great for a little stand up paddle boarding, complete with views of Mt. Shasta. (Yes, you can see your girl up at Lake Helen from there… where she’s probably chatting up some guides about conditions in the Trinity Chutes). Look hard enough and you might find a bridge to jump off of or even a rope swing!
3 – Then it’s on to Castle Lake. Castle is a bit cooler and has more of an “alpine” feel. Great trails abound. See if you can find Heart Lake. It’s a great, short hike.
4 – Finish the kids off at Shastice Park. Let them go at it on the play structures, in the shady grass fields, or get their game on in the skate park.
5 – Head to the Weed Brewery. By now you’ve earned a brew. It’s legit. And the Shastafarian Porter could easily lay you out if you’re not careful.
After summiting Shasta yesterday, the girls are probably tagging the summit of Shastina today. At 12,330 feet, it’s the third highest Cascade summit. They might even be skiing down into Diller Canyon. Time to step up your game.
6 – World-class fishing in Dunsmuir (10 min down hwy 5). You’ve heard about it, and you’ve hired a guide to help get your fly-fishing game on. You’ve also called for backup. The in-laws have arrived to take the kids to the local fish hatchery in Mt. Shasta. So you set them up at the Mt. Shasta Resort at little cabins with hot tubs, tennis courts, a golf course, and a short walk to the lake. This should keep ‘em busy for the day.
7 – Time to hit “The Goat” in downtown Mt. Shasta for a burger and a beer. After a stellar day on the river catching fish, you’ve worked up an appetite. (And wouldn’t ya know it, those sunburned dudes at the other table are talking—loudly—about a group of hot chicks they saw shredding the West Face.) You quickly realize this is the après bike, ski, climb, raft spot.
Your in-law plan seems to be working. The kids and grandparents are up and out early with plans to check out the headwaters of the Sacramento River, followed by the McCloud Falls. (An excellent 3.5 mile trail that gets you right up close to all three falls.) And by now, you’re feeling fired up and ready to log in some miles of your own.
8 – You’ve chosen a section of the Pacific Crest Trail from Parks Creek to Gumboot Lake. Probably better to do it as an overnight with a short side hike to the summit of Mt. Eddy (9,025ft), but you’re feeling cocky now that you’re a “local”.
Well… you pulled it off, and the Pacific Crest Trail didn’t disappoint: amazing views of Mt. Shasta, killer little lakes to swim in along the way, and your first real glimpse in to the Trinity Alps. Wow.
9 – A stop at the Vets Club, a Mt. Shasta landmark with a “classic” vibe. The nice guy that picked you up hitching back to your car suggested it, and why not? After a very long day, you’re ready for a few cold drinks, and by the sound of it, there’s no better place to meet some of the locals.
You’re nursing a wicked hangover, and the girls have (finally) sent a text message that the skiing has been “off the hook!”—and oh yeah, they’re doing another lap before skiing back down to the trailhead today.
They’ll meet you at the “Goat” in the afternoon. Meanwhile the grandparents have fallen in love with some of the more spiritual folks in town and are taking the kids on a tour of the crystal shops.
They’ll have no problem making a day of it. From “reading rooms” to “vortex adventures” they’ll stay busy and find lots of country clutter to bring back home.
10 – You’re headed to the Seven Suns for a massive cup of coffee and a monster breakfast burrito.
11 – Overhearing local bros rave about “sick” downhill mtn bike trails piques your interest. It’s off the “Everett,” and frequently done with a car shuttle! Whoa! Before you know it you’ve made some new friends, and you’re renting a full suspension bike. With trail names like: Washout, Bone-crusher, Entertainer, and Cliffhanger you’ve got to check them all out.
After a fun filled day of ripping the single-track you retire to the “Goat” to meet up with the family. The ladies are all smiles after an epic four days of skiing on the mountain, and the kids are all wearing tie-dye T-shirts and crystal necklaces. All parties happy and accounted for… so it’s time to head south on Hwy 5.
On the drive home you start making plans to come back next year. And you remember that while hanging with the locals, you’d heard about the “Box.” A killer kayak run that’s a local favorite. Not to mention some classic climbing in the Castle Crags.
Next time it’s definitely be your turn to climb and ski the big volcano…
*Rich Meyer has over a dozen years of experience guiding clients to mountain peaks around the world. His specialties include Skiing, Climbing and Avalanche Education. You can learn more about Rich at his website: www.RichMeyerAlpineGuide.com