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Tips and advice for climbing Mt. Shasta?

I am looking to do a climb on Mt. Shasta.  I am from the central part of the country so don't know many people who climb.  I am planning the climb in July.  Anyone interested in a climb up Mt. Shasta.  Also, any advise from any of you who have climbed Mt. Shasta?

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3 Replies

@MidwestHiker Thanks for reaching out!

While I haven't climbed Mt. Shasta, I have summited Mt. Rainier on a couple of occasions and there are three pieces of advice I have for doing a climb like that:

  1. Hike all the hills. It doesn't matter if its a staircase in a building, a mountain, hill, or grassy slope. Try to do as much upward walking as you can to condition your legs for the climb. Do it with your backpack, fully weighted. Squats also help but are less fun than hiking.
  2. Embrace the 'rest step'. This is hard to explain in writing and much easier to describe in person, but I'll try: every time you take a step up on a slope, before you transfer your weight to your uphill foot, lock your downhill leg for just a brief moment before you step. Effectively what this does is gives your muscles a brief rest while your skeleton bears all the weight of your body. It is just for a moment, however, multiplied over thousands of steps, can be the difference between a summit and a debilitating cramp that ends your day early. This is very easy to practice on stairs but can be used anywhere on any slope. It feels a bit like you're 'marching' up the hill, but every mountain guide I have ever met employs this technique.
  3. Prepare for altitude. Ideally you would be able to spend time acclimatizing at altitude for your trip. Often times when traveling that is challenging to fit into your itinerary. I've summited Rainier (14,410'), Mt Adams (12,280'), Mt. Hood (11, 250'), and Mt. Baker (10,781') and each time I had varying degrees of affects from the altitude. I felt the best when I was able to take an extra day at altitude. As an example, for the Rainier climb where I felt the best on summit day we drove from sea level, climbed to 10,000' and spent the night, climbed to 11,500' and spent the night, then summited and climbed down the next day. You really can't predict how your body will respond to altitude but it helps to be in good shape, drink plenty of water, and eat enough food.

All in all you're in for a great adventure, hopefully we can get some more folks from our community to jump in here with some advice as well. Hope this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks for the reply and feedback.  Last year I did Mt. Shuksan.  I agree with the advise you gave me.  There is a park in my home area that has over 200 steps.  I train on it with my loaded pack.  I found it to be the best preparation along with distance running to build stamina.  I spent last week hiking in Wyoming at 8,000 to 9,000 feet. I am hoping a Pre-trip like this will also prepare me for altitude. However, each trip can be it's own situation.  I am not sure how long the effects of being at this altitude hold over for future trips.  Any thoughts on that?

Currently, I am in need of someone to do this hike/climb with.  No funny business.  I am just looking for like-minded people who like outdoor adventure, hiking, mountaineering.  



That's awesome that you summited Mt. Shuksan! That's on my list, as is Glacier Peak, Mt. Olympus, and Mt. Stuart. Unfortunately, it seems that the more mountains you climb, the more mountains there are you want to climb. 

I doubt that any gains you make going up to altitude will last much more than a couple of days, outside of the general fitness you gain by hiking. Most studies on the subject are looking at folks who were living at altitude for weeks at a time. Are you familiar with the 'pressure breath'? I have found that to be helpful in dealing with the affects of altitude. Forcing all the air out of your lungs allows them to act like a bellows on your next inhale, filling them fully with air.

I'm wondering if some of our community members in California, @hikermor@AshleyMay@cdever@HikingMema@kgawley59, or @mepurcellmight have any connections or know of any hiking/climbing clubs that you may be able to find a climbing partner in.



At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.