We hear from our guides that the winds are low and at about 40 degrees the conditions are good for glissading. Follow weather on the mountain at http://forecast.weather.gov/
What is glissading?
Glissading is the act of descending a steep snow-covered slope via a controlled slide on one's feet or buttocks. Many climbers glissade (or slide) back down the mountain, using an ice axe and their feet to maintain control.
Everyone is doing well on Mt. Shasta this morning in spite of some issues we're having with phone reception. The conditions are very good for climbing with no wind, totally clear and about 45 degrees and most of the climbers are at 12,000 feet.
According to our amazing Shasta Mountain Guides, there are 17 possible routes to the summit of Mt. Shasta. Our team is taking the West Face route. Here's what Shasta Mountain Guides' website says about the route:
The West Face Mt. Shasta’s southwest side holds a high mountain cirque and one of Shasta’s most beautiful base camps: Hidden Valley. This is a great alternative to the regular Avalanche Gulch route with the same technical challenge yet far fewer climbers. This climb provides a more Wilderness experience and our base-camp in Hidden Valley (9,200′) is a fantastic location to make our summit bid. The route’s difficulties are moderate and it serves up an aesthetic and stunning experience for all levels of climbers. Conditions for a summit attempt are best May-July or later in a good snow.
Today is Cristin Bailey's birthday and she'll celebrate on the mountain.
“This climb is something I have wanted to do since I first learned about it in college when I attended a presentation by a climber in Maine. To say she inspired me is an understatement. It's taken me 15 years to finally sign up and her inspiration is still with me! June of 2014 is particularly special to me because I will turn 40. I decided there was no better way to celebrate. We are currently scheduled to summit on my birthday, but this journey is not about me. This climb is about education, research and most importantly inspiring others to get involved. Every step of this process will be a celebration for me.”
The team woke up early, ate breakfast and departed in rope teams of about five climbers plus guides for the summit attempt via Mt. Shasta's west face. Our guides have reported that everyone is doing well, and the weather is a bit windy and chilly.
They will climb from Hidden Valley base camp (9,400 feet) and up the West Face. (see Mt. Shasta map below).
Not everyone on the Climb Against the Odds team will summit Mt. Shasta. The journey is a team effort to help each other up the mountain, and part of the process of putting one foot in front of the other to reach the ultimate goal: preventing breast cancer.
The Climb Against the Odds 2014 team set out from the Bunny Flat trailhead (6,950 feet) at about 10:00 this morning with our love and cheers to start them on the first leg of their journey. The group departed in rope teams of five or six climbers plus two guides.We saw the teams off in high spirits for their trip to Hidden Valley base camp (9,400 feet) where they are spending the night tonight. We heard from our guides that everyone was relaxing, doing well and relaxing on the mountain.
For more photos check out our Flickr page and stay tuned for ongoing updates.
Today was a busy day for our climbers who met their rope teams, met their mountain guides, checked their gear and packed for the journey. Some people were nervous, and others felt ready to get this show on the road!
One former climber who's a volunteer porter this year, Jen Bray, explained the feeling:
"The anticipation always kills you. As you're doing gear check you stare up at the mountain and try to figure it out. Then once you leave Bunny Flats it's just one step at a time. Next thing you know you're looking at the summit and you're getting closer and closer, and you just go for it."
The climbers depart tomorrow at 10 a.m. In the meantime check out some photos below & more on Flickr.
Climb Against the Odds has officially started and in just two days our inspiring 2014 team will set off to climb this beauty.
In the meantime, our climbers have been keeping busy undergoing last minute training, bonding with their teammates and exploring the Shasta wilderness.
Some team members arrived at Mt. Shasta on Saturday for snow school, which is one of the prerequisites for climbing the mountain. Our wonderful guides Chris and Jen Carr at Shasta Mountain Guides teach people an introduction to climbing on snow. Climbers learn to use ice axes, crampons, and they learn self arrest skills.
Clif Bar's Katie Bernell at snow school
Katie Bernell, who works in sales at Clif Bar & Co., is climbing in honor of two breast cancer survivors in her family: her grandmother and her aunt.
"Women may not be able to fully control their odds against this disease, from a genetic sense, however we do have the power to speak louder and create higher standards on what we put in our bodies, the chemicals we use in our beauty regimens, and the toxins that surround us in our homes and the world we live in."
The next day a group of climbers, supporters and Breast Cancer Fund staff explored the Shasta wilderness.
Sunday night marked the welcome ceremony. Speakers included Mt. Shasta Mayor Tom Moore, Forest Ranger Jonathan Dove, Breast Cancer Fund President & CEO Jeanne Rizzo, the amazing breast surgeon and Breast Cancer Fund board member, Dr. Susan Kutner, and board chair Ellen Kahn, who told a story about our organization's founder, Andrea Martin, who, weeks before her death, gave a symbolic talisman to Ellen as she prepared to climb Mt. Shasta as part of the 2003 Climb Against the Odds team.
Each year two climbers are chosen to carry the talismans - crafted of jade and glass, symbols of our strength and fragility - up the mountain, often passing them along to teammates when the original bearer has been unable to continue up the mountain. This year Jill Zastko and Dr. Elizabeth-Marie Ramas will carry these heirlooms.
Jill Zastko, a breast cancer survivor, is climbing to honor her friend Stacy Reynolds, who lost her own battle with this disease in July of 2013, at the age of thirty.
Dr. Ramas is climbing for her mother, Colette Bistoury, who died last yearfrom an aggressive form of lymphoma and her loving aunt, Brigitte Bonny, who is currently in remission from breast cancer.
“People are raising money, pressing for a cure, but a cure is not being developed quickly enough,” Zastko said. “We need to go beyond the cure and talk about preventing the disease from developing in the first place.”
When the Clif Bar & Co. application for Climb Against the Odds 2014 went up, James Kelsey jumped all over it.
For James, breast cancer hits close to home. His mom died from the disease in 2009 when James was in his late twenties and less than five years later his step mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.
“It was devastating having to deal with it again,” James said. “It was really tough.”
His step mom still has a few more rounds of chemo, but is remaining strong.
These experiences with breast cancer have made James more cognizant about the choices we make in our everyday lives including what we consume, buy and use.
“I don’t preach it to other people, but it’s great to work with other organizations that have that same agenda.”
James finds solace in the outdoors and does everything from kiteboarding to mountain biking to snowboarding.
“When you’re out in nature it connects you to the land. If there are pesticides, you’re breathing them in. Things that affect your playground become an issue and affect you.”
Though he’s rockclimbed and bouldered before, Mt. Shasta will be his first mountaineering experience. “I’m super excited to get on some crampons and join my team on the mountain.”
Lucas Parsons, who will represent Klean Kanteen at Climb Against the Odds next week, was featured in the Chico News & Review.
"Next week, 34-year-old Parsons will take on Mount Shasta for Climb Against the Odds, along with a team of about 25 men and women from across the country who’ve been directly and indirectly affected by cancer. The event is organized by the San Francisco-based nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund, which—like Parsons—is focused on preventing breast cancer by eliminating the toxic chemicals and radiation that have been linked to the disease. Andrea Martin launched the organization out of her apartment in the early-’90s after she was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. Martin made the group’s inaugural climb in 1995, when she and 16 other breast cancer survivors ascended Mount Aconcagua in Argentina."