Friday, March 9, 2018

Raining now since about 6 to 8 pm here in Mt. Shasta City for two nights and one day now so far

It likely will rain some tomorrow too. I drove up on the mountain as far as Bunny Flats where the road is closed because of snow. It started snowing at about 5000 feet in elevation and continued on up as far as the paved road is open (Everitte Memorial hiway up the mountain). Bunny Flats is now during the winter the main route up the mountain because you cannot get closer up the mountain now on any paved road I know of. So, the primary route in snow and winter is from Bunny Flats up to Horse Camp up Avalanche Gulch to lake Helen and Red Banks up the two misery hills and finally the peak at I believe 14,161 feet. Mt. Shasta is considered the hardest easy climb or the easiest hard peak to climb in the U.S.

However, when there is snow you still need at a minimum an ice axe and Crampons if you are in the snow going up and the knowledge of how your body operates at altitude and what to do if you get into trouble of any kind.

For example,

Whiteout- dig a snow cave until it passes because you no longer know exactly where you are.
Avalanche- get out of the way if you can!
Rock fall after the higher snows melt often in August or September or earlier-Get out of the way of rocks knocked loose by climbers above you!

At 5000 feet my friend who has been 4 wheeling all over the mountain since 1972 suggested I go into 4 wheel drive because the 2 or more inches of snow looked very slippery to drive through so I did. I also put it in cruise control at 25 miles per hour the minimum to do this for my vehicle because it is more even in constant pressure on the gas pedal than any human being is in snow so there will be less slippage (but I would ONLY do this going uphill) (in an automatic transmission vehicle. Actually an Automatic is much better in snow than a stick shift by the way because it is more even which makes your tires slip less too especially going uphill.

By the time we got to Bunny Flats the snow was about 4 inches to 5 inches deep on the road. I was a little nervous of the 5 cars that came down all as a group. I was worrying about having one inexperienced driver make a mess of us all because they were just grouped way to tight coming down in this slippery slippery snow.

Luckily when I went down the hill I just shifted into 2nd gear or 1st or 3rd gear which I can do on my 2011 Tundra on the shifter when I put it in S. This evened my trip out so I didn't have to apply the brakes even once coming down the hill from Bunny. So, I stayed downshifted all the way to where I took my Tundra out of 4 wheel drive. A gentleman had lost his keys so we stopped to help him find them. His GPS for some reason sent him up the mountain even though he was looking for Mt. Shasta City. Of course he was from Washington state and had no idea about California at all because he had never been here before and was on his way on business to Los Angeles. He mentioned he had never seen desert stretches before and I said to him that at least 1/2 of California is deserts. However, the way to put this would be: There are deserts mostly in Southern California so for example, Mt. Whitney looks down on a desert towards 395 and Nevada and it's the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. But then again there are deserts near the Rockies in Colorado and New Mexico too so it isn't just California that is this way. Also, Arizona in Flagstaff at 7100 feet near the Grand Canyon is near the desert near Sedona but there are also forests all around Flagstaff too. So, this is a feature of many states out west.

But, when you have very tall forested mountains and surrounded by deserts on any side watch out for Flash Floods if there are any rain clouds in the sky within 25 to 50 miles of where you are!

I've seen what Flash floods can do first hand in the deserts near a large forested mountain more than once and I'm lucky to be alive now from those types of experiences when I was younger.

No comments: