A quick update from instructor Jasmine: The past few days have been a whirl wind! Starting at about 7,000 feet we climbed over another 7,000 to reach Shasta’s 14,179 feet peak over the course of three days. For the first day of our Shasta summit, we had a leisurely stroll to our first camp. We got plenty of rest and hung out in our small groups. The next day we hiked up above tree line and set up base camp in the snow. Our guides showed us how to dig out platforms and secure our tents in the snow using guide lines and anchors. Afterwards we completed a short snow school in which we became more comfortable with our snow gear, like crampons and ice picks, as well as learning how to tie in to our rope teams. After a delicious and early dinner, we went to bed while the sun was still high in order to get some sleep before our 1am alpine start! We stumbled out of our tents, got our gear on, and started to hike in the dark by the light of our headlamps. Looking back from the mountain, we could see thousands of stars and the lights of the town bellow. Throughout a long hard climb the sky began to lighten as the sun rose and we watched the enormous shadow of Mt Shasta grow over the valley so far below us. Eventually we made it to our first ridge line of the mountain where the sun hit us hard and the wind picked up. Because of intense conditions, some of our teammates had to turn around for various reasons, though everyone was safe. The rest of the group then climbed Misery Hill (it’s seriously called that) before making our final push to the summit. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and wow, what an accomplishment! But when climbing mountains, the summit is not nearly the end. We still had to make it all the way back down! In fact, we had to make it all the way back to the trail head at which we had begun our hike two days before. So we began our descent of the mountain through walking and/or glissading (sliding down chutes in the snow on our butts!). We packed up camp and hiked the last 4 miles down before finally reaching our beloved u-haul. For many of us, it was the hardest thing we had ever done, but we did it! Afterwards, we got to go out for some well deserved pizza and went to bed as early as possible to get the much needed sleep. All in all, it was probably the coolest thing I’ve done on the Fourth of July, and it’s nice to be able to look back at Mt Shasta knowing what we accomplished as we drive away towards our next adventure on the Klamath river!