I arrived with plenty of light, grabbed a few items at The Fifth Season down in town, and headed up. The higher I went, the foggier it got, however, and as I pulled into the parking lot to prep my gear for the climb in, I was in near-zero visibility fog conditions—and it was drizzling. Yuck.
So I found a suitable spot up higher, stomped out a platform for the tent, but then changed my mind and decided to follow my track back down a bit so that my mountain guide could find me more easily tomorrow.
I skied back down a ways, but I struggled to find the track in the fog, and I really couldn't tell much about my heading. So in the gathering rainy gloom, I continued downward, and then decided I must have missed the cutoff to the right, which put me farther below my origin than anticipated.
All bundled up, I was tired from the drive, and soon felt the urge to crash.
A hearty breakfast of eggs, hash browns, peppers, onions, and sausage, complete with coffee, spiced hot cider, some cocoa rounded out my morning, and I then set about the daily task of melting snow to fill up my water bottles again.
Then Dane and I headed uphill to my campsite, where I cooked me some lunch and provided hot water for his afternoon beverages, and then we set out on a ski tour up to about 8k… Horse Camp.
Anyway, while we were transitioning for the ski back down, the rain picked up a bit… yuck. We waited it out a bit, got the gear dialed, and then took an easy ski back down our skin tracks on manky wet snow. Back at camp, I had a brilliant idea that I could never do on the North side of the mountain, because it's so remote: drop the gear and head into town with Dane for burgers! That was a good idea.
After a BBQ chipotle bacon burger (whoa!) at the Wayside, I thanked him for his time and expertise—it was super valuable to me—and then I headed back up to my little campsite.
Sleep came easy Saturday night. I'd had a good workout and a huge gut-bomb of a meal, complete with sweet potato fries, so I pretty much passed out and slept warm. Again, though, every few hours I'd toss a bit, check my watch, and go back to sleep, again finding my sleep rhythm near the morning hours.
I was satisfied, and with my mission accomplished, I stood about halfway up Shasta's mighty flanks, and knew it was time to go home. The difference, however, is that today's uphill pack was fully loaded, so the ski down was quite a bit harder than the day before. My quads were burning by the halfway down mark.
On the way home, I noticed I'd taken 344 pictures. Whoa. HAHA