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Summer Stashes: A guide’s guide to Mt. Shasta

By now most skiers have accepted summer’s arrival in all its warmth and glory. But while some may be hanging up their gear for the season, high in the mountains remain a few dedicated souls who are still chasing turns. This summer, we will talk with a few of these die-hards about their favorite “summer stashes” that take them to the hills while they wait for the next snowfall.

All summer long, we will add to the growing list of places where you can find snowy terrain to beat the heat. Next on our list is Mt. Shasta, where Shasta Mountain Guide Rich Meyer pursues his favorite lines in late June.

Rich Meyer makes his way down a sunny West Face run on Shasta. [Photo] Chris Carr

Rich Meyer makes his way down a sunny West Face run on Shasta. [Photo] Chris Carr

Location: Mt. Shasta, Siskiyou County, California
Team: Rich Meyer, Sean Malee, Polly Simpich, Chris Carr
Prime Time: May – June
Summit Elevation: 14,179 feet
Descent Date: June 22

“Whether it’s a low-angle, 20-degree open slope [or] glaciated steeps, all day epics [are possible] for the super adventurous ski mountaineer,” says Rich Meyer, senior guide with Shasta Mountain Guides (SMG). “[Mt. Shasta has] a line for just about everybody.”

Meyer began guiding on Mt. Shasta in 2000 and summited the peak 100 times by 2010. He now spends his summers skiing anything from the most popular lines to some lesser known personal favorites.

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Rich Meyer flies the flags high on the top of Mt. Shasta. [Photo] Cathy Ann Taylor

“For the entry level skier who is learning how to skin, there is a go-to run off Avalanche Gulch from about 10,400 feet,” Meyer says about the easily accessible 3,000 foot climb. “There’s a little camp spot called Lake Helen that’s very well known and there are these gradual rolling moraines that have deep snow and it’s only about 25 degrees of steepness.”

Sunset on the West Face of Shasta. [Photo] Rich Meyer

Sunset on the West Face of Shasta. [Photo] Rich Meyer

And after guiding for 16 years, Meyer has gotten to know the mountain and has a favorite line for every point on the compass. “On the south face my favorite is called the Trinity Chutes,” says Meyer. “They start around 13,500 feet, and they empty into Avalanche Gulch.”

On the north side, Meyer’s favorite line is on the Bolam Glacier which begins at almost 14,000 feet and ends below 10,000 feet. He describes it as, “more glaciated, a little more complicated, but [it’s] pretty sweet.”

Meyer enjoys some après ski at sunset on the West Face. [Photo] Rich Meyer

Meyer enjoys some après ski at sunset on the West Face. [Photo] Rich Meyer

“There’s a line called The Hot Tune. It’s wedged between the Hotlum Glacier and the Wintun Glacier,” says Meyer of the long, east-facing descent. “It runs all the way down the mountain into the woods, and if the snow sets up correctly and you hit it at the right time, you’re looking at potentially 8,000 feet of pretty rad skiing.”

But at the very top of Meyer’s list is the West Face. “It doesn’t get as much sun as south-facing aspects, so it’s not as sun cupped and thrashed,” Meyer reports. “The West Face is an all-time favorite of mine.”

Mayer camps below the West Face. [Photo] Rich Meyer

Meyer camps below the West Face. [Photo] Rich Meyer

Do you have a “Summer Stashes” adventure worth sharing? Submit your story, photos and video to intern2@backcountrymagazine.com.

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