As many of you may or may not remember I tore my ACl and Meniscus on February 16th this year. After a horrendous rehab process which would not have been possible without the support of all kinds from my awesome girlfriend Nafeesa, 11 weeks ago my doctor declared my ACL healed.
After a lot more training and resting, my doctor told me this past Thursday (6/30) that I could do whatever I wanted to on my knee. So, after checking in with the Mount Shasta climbing ranger who assured us that there was still plenty of reasonably smooth snow on the north side of the mountain, Nafeesa and I hopped in the car and drove 9 hours to the junction of I5 and US89 in order to get ourselves a skiing fix. The next morning we stopped in McCloud where we were just going to get some coffee so we could get to our base camp still early in the day. However, the local café had a special on French toast with berries, so our hands were tied, and we spent the next 2 hours gorging ourselves instead of hiking. We did not leave McCloud until around 10:30am. We then drove aimlessly in the maze of dirt roads on the north side of Mount Shasta looking for the Brewer Creek Trailhead.
By 12:30 we finally found the trail and dawned our horrendously heavy packs. After a short hour of walking we found continuous snow, and skinned up to around 10,700 feet at the base of the Hotlum Glacier (the largest glacier in California!!). We got to camp around 5:30pm (right on time?) and spent the few hours before bed scoping out the route, making tea, and looking at the view. We were a little nervous because the climbing ranger had told us that people had been jumping over crevasses vertical limit style, and we did not really want to do that. Anyway, we woke at 4:15am and were on the glacier by 5:30am which proved to be straightforward and definitely did not involve any jumping. We exited the glacier in what we believed to be the left ice gully just below the Hotlum headwall. After a steep boot pack up what was still luckily snow, we hit the summit by 11am. Skiing of the Hotlum-Wintum ridge starts directly off the summit and was actually very good. You just needed to wait every few turns to let the slush sluff off down the mountain and expose the smooth snow below. Down low cloud cover allowed sun cups to to remain soft but not too soft, and we were able to ski down to 8,500 just a 1000 vert above our car. That night we drove to Bridgeport, woke up and joined everyone else in California in Buckeye hot springs (I definitely recommend this spring) and then we drove to Mammoth for the closing day of the resort ski season. Anyway, it is wonderful to be back on my knee and on skis, and thanks everyone especially Nafeesa for making it possible. If anyone wants to ski Shasta, the freeze lines will be dropping for the next couple weeks, and it should hold smooth snow until mid July at least. I attached a few pictures from the trip.