Deaths at Mt. Shasta and Yosemite

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>
     Climbing up NorCal’s Mt Shasta is a logical “next adventure” for many Domers. It’s just below Mt. Whitney at 14,100 feet. Nothing to sneeze at. Even John Muir got to the top!  Last week, A 56-year old woman from Santa Clara died on the mountain. Reports say that she was hit by a rolling rock big enough to knock her down, crack some ribs and the trauma caused her to die from cardiac arrest an hour later at 11,000 feet. Judging from a early morning newspaper photo I’d guess her party (with 2 guides) was on Avalanche Gulch.

Looking up Avalanche Gulch

It’s called that just for this reason. When the temps warm up the snow can’t hold rocks and they tumble down. It’s the most common “do-able” route for us mortals.  She was well outfitted and had a helmet, but I have heard of Volkswagen sized boulders that have careened down. Make’s you feel like a bowling pin at the end of the alley. It so high that even on a hot summer day, it can create it’s own weather. My first time was an abort due to blowing snow and viz of about 40 feet – in June!!  The second time I hired a guide service and it was stellar. If you plan to do this I suggest you hire a pro – not that that will prevent accidents, but you have a better chance  of summiting. It’s hard and COLD…and you sweat under your down parka. Not like the shorts and shirt days at Half Dome. You need winter training – ice axes, crampons, self-arrest skills, etc. They also use the human waste disposal system. And yes, you need a permit. One of the best sources of info and leads to guides is The Fifth Season store in Shasta City click <HERE>.
     Local guide companies are: Shasta Mountain Guides: 530.926.3117,;  Sierra Wilderness Seminars: 888.797.6867,; Alpine Skills International: 530.582.9170,
     Closer to home, last week also, a woman climber from Stanford was free soling on Cathedral Peak when she fell 300 feet to her death.  Hike Safe!

     I got an Apple MAC Book to use for photo and video editing. I looked at this blog. Then a Google Ad popped in. Hmmm I DO NOT use Google ads. Anyone else see this renegade? 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution, take a bow for the new revolution. Smile and grin at the change all around me – Pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday. And I’ll get on my knees and pray . . . We don’t get fooled again.” – The Who 

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


17 Responses to “Deaths at Mt. Shasta and Yosemite”

  1. John Lauer Says:

    I have never had a Google Ad pop up here. By the weekend, Yosemite hikers will need swimsuits with temps near 100.

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    Thanks. It may be Mac specific. I traced it to a disconnected number in New Jersey.

  3. John Lauer Says:

    Look at all the snow still on Shasta…

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      There is snow year round on Mt Shasta.

      • John Lauer Says:

        Most has melted since I visited in early June, it was very beautiful to see it covered with thick snow top to bottom in the Summer Sun. I wasn`t about to hike it then. People were getting hit with ice boulders then. This hot spell will melt more…

  4. andy Says:

    Never had a Google ad pop up. I have a MacBook and use Safari.

    A real tragedy on Shasta. With a heavy snow year it’s supposed to be safer…

  5. kathy Says:

    No Google ads here either – but I am on a PC.

  6. Sönke Says:

    occasionally google ads. on mac and pc.

  7. Bill Says:

    It must be a pain to be climbing up Shasta and have a google ad pop up right in front of you 😉

  8. Al Laurente Says:

    The guided group was on the West Face, not Avy Gulch. My son and I were at the summit a week prior.

    Mt Shasta at Bunny Flat at 10am

    I used the guided group for my first time. They never teach us how to deal with rock falls. If the lady turned her back and let the backpack take the hit, she may have survived. Besides, the problem with the guides is that they go climb as high as possible good or bad weather. That week the forecasted winds were 35-50 mph. In the 5x I climb Shasta, I never go unless the summit forecast winds is 5-10 mph and summit temps in the 20s at the lowest.

    • mrhalfdome Says:


      Good points. I’m sure “summit fever” hits many. They have all the gear, did the training, drove all thaqt way and this is the only time they can get off work… they ARE going to the top.

      The rock that hit this woman was as big as a basketball – right in the chest. Ugh.

  9. andy Says:

    My guess is she never saw the boulder that hit her square in the chest. It’s not unusual to have your head down. She didn’t have the choice to “turn her back”
    and let the backpack take the hit.

  10. AL Says:

    In a guided group, there are two guides minimum, one at the front and the other at back of a single file. We dont know the circumstances but if she got hit on the chest, then it must be falling in front of them instead of the side. The lead guide would have shouted ROCK. In spite of this accident, I would take the guides in Mt Shasta anytime over those in Mt Rainier who are arrogant and too bossy.

    • John Lauer Says:

      Just curious, how much did your Shasta guides cost?

      • mrhalfdome Says:

        Go to the websites I listed for descriptions and prices – depends on your needs, route, duration, etc. About $250 for basic.

      • AL Says:

        I have never heard of the $250 basic. Maybe that is just basic mountaineering up to Helen Lake, teach you self arrest and glissading. When I did it 4 years ago it was $395. It costs $450 now but I highly recommend it if this is your first time in Mt Shasta. It is the next logical step after Half Dome. If Mr Half Dome doesn’t mind, we can have a group of 4 to 6 climb up Mt Shasta next year.

  11. John Butler Says:

    News report of Chris Chan’s death:

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