Before you go, let's talk Mt. Shasta Wilderness Permits and Summit Passes
Climbing Mt. Shasta in 2016?
Here's what you need to know...
Currently there is NO quota system for Mt. Shasta and reservations are not required. You may arrive and climb on any date you wish. Please keep in mind that weekends during the climbing season are extremely busy. If possible, try to plan your trip for mid-week in order to help minimize human impact on the fragile mountain environment and to enhance your wilderness experience and the experience of other climbers. group size is limited to ten persons in a party.
Dogs are not allowed in the wilderness area and out of respect to other visitors and native wildlife, NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED ON SIERRA CLUB FOUNDATION PROPERTY (720 acres near Horse Camp).
When you arrive at Mt. Shasta you will need to obtain a Summit Pass and a Wilderness Permit before you climb the mountain. There are several ways to do this.
You can stop in at the Ranger Station in Mt. Shasta or the Ranger Station in McCloud during business hours for assistance. Or you can self-issue your permits and passes at any of the trailheads that are open or the permit station outside the main office of the Mt. Shasta Ranger Station 24 hours a day. Instructions are provided at each permit station.
Each person entering the wilderness will need to fill out their own individual Wilderness Permit. Please leave the WHITE copy in the permit book and take the GREEN copy with you.
If you are climbing above 10,000 feet, you will also need a Summit Pass. Summit Passes cost $25.00 per person and are valid for three days from the date of purchase. If you self-issue at the trailhead or outside the Mt. Shasta Ranger Station, you will need correct change or a personal check. Please use the fee envelopes provided, place your payment in the fee tube, and be sure to keep the stub that says “Summit Pass” with you while climbing.
Annual Summit Passes are available from the Mt. Shasta and McCloud Ranger Stations during regular business hours and cost $30.00 per person. They provide for unlimited climbing opportunities during the season and are valid until December 31st of the calendar year.
There are NO parking fees at any of the trailheads on Mt. Shasta. Please check in advance for road conditions to access North Gate, Brewer Creek, and Clear Creek trailheads. Toilets, human waste packout bags, deposit barrels, Wilderness Permits, and Summit Passes are available at all trailheads that are open.
There are NO reservations required for climbers camping at Horse Camp, Helen Lake, or any of the other base camps on the mountain. All camping is free except for Horse Camp where there is a fee of $5.00 per tent, payable on site to the Sierra Club. The composting toilets at Horse Camp are open on a limited basis. Please check with the Ranger Station in advance to find out if the spring at Horse Camp is flowing for drinking water. There are no facilities at Helen Lake or any of the other base camps. There is no surface water at Helen Lake until late summer. Plan on bringing extra fuel for melting snow.
All climbers are required to pack out their human waste. Packout bags are available free of charge at the trailheads and Mt. Shasta Ranger Station. Deposit barrels for used bags are placed at each trailhead for your convenience. Make sure you pack out all of your garbage and micro-trash, such as wrappers, food particles, matches, and other commonly overlooked items. Please be responsible and Leave No Trace.
In order to have a safe and enjoyable climb, there are a few other things you need to be aware of. There are no trails to the summit of Mt. Shasta. All travel is via approach trails and climbing routes. You will need at least an ice axe, crampons, and a climbing helmet for all routes. Glacier routes require advanced skills and extra gear. Snowshoes or skis may be required early in the season. Know how to use your tools and how to self-arrest. If you plan on glissading make sure the snow is soft enough and be sure to remove your crampons first! Climb early and descend early to avoid rock fall. Solo climbing is not recommended. Travel in a group and stay together. Expect daytime temperatures below freezing on the summit. Be prepared with proper outdoor clothing and carry the Ten Essentials! Know what the weather forecast is before you climb. Weather conditions can change rapidly at any time of the year.Do not climb into deteriorating weather. Avoid upper slopes and ridges during any sort of storm activity. Don’t fall prey to summit fever. Plan a reasonable turnaround time and stick to it. Watch for signs of hypothermia and altitude sickness and descend if necessary!