Climbing Mt. Shasta
You will participate in a three-day west-face climb of Mt. Shasta, guided by the outstanding professionals at Shasta Mountain Guides (visit their website for much more information about climbing this beautiful mountain!).
On the first day, in small teams of six or seven, you will hike from Bunny Flat trailhead at 6,950 feet to Hidden Valley base camp at approximately 9,600 feet. You will be required to carry your full pack (approximately 40 lbs.) from the trailhead to base camp.
On the second climb day, you will wake up early (around 1 a.m., an “alpine start”) for the summit attempt. You will gear up and be guided in roped teams up the west face of the mountain. The attempt will take 12 to 16 hours round-trip. You'll spend a second night at base camp, then return to the trailhead the following day.
See the itinerary for more detail.
While each team member will arrive with very personal reasons for climbing, teamwork is critical to your success on the mountain. This is not a solo climb!
As part of Climb Against the Odds you will train with your regional team (numbers vary), make your summit attempt in a rope team of five or six climbers plus guides, and share your entire Climb Against the Odds journey with the entire team of up to 35 climbers.
On the mountain your professional guides must make critical safety decisions based on weather and snow conditions, time windows and other factors. It is essential that every Climb Against the Odds participant follow the instruction of her or his guide to ensure the safety of every member of the team.
In the event that a team member needs to turn around, one guide will accompany that climber down so the rest of the team can climb on. It is rare that we have to turn an entire team around.
Not everyone on the Climb Against the Odds team will summit Mt. Shasta. Many factors will influence this, including climber fitness, sensitivity to altitude, physical limitations, weather and other conditions on the mountain. In 2010, for example, the summit attempt was aborted for the entire team because the guides determined the weather conditions were too dangerous. However, everyone on the climb team will reach a personal summit. We think of the journey as a team effort to help each other up the mountain, and the process of putting one foot in front of the other to reach our ultimate goal: preventing breast cancer.
Daily and even hourly weather conditions on Mt. Shasta are highly variable. While June is an optimal time to climb, you may experience temperatures below freezing, high winds, rain or thunderstorms. Sunny, calm days in the 60s or 70s are also possible.
Snow coverage on the mountain varies from year to year as well, though typically you will make most of your summit attempt on snow.
Shasta Mountain Guides tracks weather conditions closely to make appropriate safety decisions on the mountain.
Conditions on the mountain are variable at any time of the year. Participants need a comprehensive collection of clothing, sleeping gear, footwear, climbing gear and other items. See our gear checklist for all the details.
Don't let this long list of gear be a barrier to joining the team! Through our generous sponsors and network of supporters, each year the Breast Cancer Fund puts together a fabulous gear package for each climber, which typically includes much of the specialized clothing and equipment needed for your climb. For example, in 2014 sponsors provided the team with a down parka, backpack, headlamp, baselayers, climbing poles, gaiters, hats, hydration bottles and medical kits.
Many items may be rented in Mt. Shasta from The Fifth Season.