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3-day Introduction to mountaineering with Mt. Shasta summit via Avalanche Gulch


Join an IFMGA-certified mountain guide for this incredibly fun, scenic and informative 3-day mountaineering course. Learn the basics of this incredible sport right on the slopes of Mt Shasta and finish off the course with an ascent of the mountain via Avalanche Gulch.

Cascade Range

3 Days

Jun - Aug



* Learn all the basics of mountaineering right on Mt Shasta's slopes.

* Enjoy the stunning alpine scenery of California's Cascade Range.

* Conquer the second highest peak in the range and fifth highest in the state.


Situated at the southern end of the Cascade Range in northern California, Mt Shasta is the perfect destination for an introduction to mountaineering!

Over the course of our three days together, we will climb up to the summit of the 14,179 foot high volcano and go over essential mountaineering skills and techniques as we go.

The fun begins on day one when we meet up in the town of Mt Shasta and carpool out to the trailhead. From here, we will hike up to our base camp at the bottom of Avalanche Gulch through, passing through some stunning alpine scenery.

The rest of the first day as well as all of the second one will be spent going over how to properly use ice axes and crampons, ice axe self-arrest techniques, route finding, mountain awareness, setting up camps and other safety skills.

The third day will easily be the highlight of the trip. Getting an alpine start, at about 1 to 2 am, we will climb over the glacier and up to the top of the mountain.

The feeling of summiting the second highest peak in the range as well as the fifth highest in California is incredible, as are the views that come with it.

So what are you waiting for? Book now for this informative and inspiring 3-day mountaineering course that finishes off by climbing of Mt Shasta!

If you like the look of this trip, but are looking to try out something a bit different, then we think you will also enjoy our 2-day introduction to backcountry skiing on Mt Shasta!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Dinner

- Permit and entrance fees

- Tents

- Rope

- Harness

- Helmet

- Ice axe

Price details

Professional instruction/guide, breakfast(s), dinner(s), ice axe, helmet, harness, group-climbing equipment

including ropes and safety equipment, group camping equipment including tents and stoves, permits, and permit fees

including Mt. Shasta summit fees. Mountaineering Boots, Snowshoes (early season), and Crampons are NOT included, but

are available for rent from SWS Mountain Guides


More info

Please contact us for a complete list of what is included.

Meeting point

Mt. Shasta, California

Equipment you will need to bring


Ice axe


Water bottle




Belay device


What experience and how fit do I need to be to climb this mountain? Is this program suitable for children or older people?

Physical Conditioning:

Climbing Mt Shasta at 14,179 ft. is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It requires both physical and mental toughness. Listed below are the minimum physical requirements we would expect for all of our clients before they show up to climb Mt Shasta via the Avalanche Gulch route:

  1. Be able to maintain 600 ft -700 ft feet per hr / 185 to 215 meters per hr climbing pace AND be able to maintain this pace for 1-hour increments.
  1. Carry a 35 lbs - 40 lbs pack / 15 kg-18 kg pack
  1. Be able to move efficiently off of maintained trails on hard snow, soft snow, rocks and talus. Using large step ups and step-downs, and some movements requiring the whole body while carrying a pack.
  1. A client who can do 750 feet per hr with a loaded pack (235 meters per hr) with 25-30 lb / 11-14 kg pack on a stair climber, stepper or stair running should have the fitness to climb Mt Shasta
  1. Plus, Weekend training hikes 8-10 miles /12-16 kilometers with a loaded pack 25-30 lbs /11-14 kilos over the hilly terrain a client has access too is also recommend prior to your climb.

Note: Time to basecamp on Mt Shasta is 4-6 hours and time to the summit from basecamp is 5-8 hours.

How far in advance should I start training and what kind of training do you suggest?

We recommend 3-4 months before the climb if you have not been climbing or hiking extensively prior to your climb date.

Will I need to bring any technical equipment of my own? Is it possible to rent equipment, and if so, what would be the approximate cost of that?

You will need to bring your own sleeping bag, internal frame backpack, and mountaineering boots, and crampons All are available for rent: Sleeping bags & Pad ($42.00 for 2-3 days), Backpacks ($42.00 for 2-3 days) and Boots ($45.00 for 2-3 days) Crampons ($25.00 for 2-3 days) We also have Gaitors, Down Jackets, Hard Shell Jackets, & trekking poles for rent

Will there be porters to help to carry group and personal equipment?

Porters are available by reservation on all Mt. Shasta climbs cost $200 each way. Porter’s loads are limited to a maximum of 45 lbs

How will accommodation and meals be handled on the mountain?

Our guides will be providing hot water for hot drinks, instant cereal, freeze dried dinners and for filling water bottles for drinking. SWS Mountain Guides provides Tents while on the Mount Shasta.

What happens in the event of bad weather?

Weather Credits and Rescheduled Climbs & Courses:

SWS Mountain Guides aka Sierra Wilderness Seminars Inc. reserves the right to reschedule seminars and courses due to severe weather conditions or other uncontrollable circumstances which make the course or climb unsafe to continue. Weather Credit or Weather Partial Credit will be given for courses or climbs during or within 24 hrs of the course start dates if severe weather conditions or other uncontrollable circumstances make the course or climb unsafe to continue. Our decision will be at the discretion of the climb leader and the Director(s) of SWS Mountain Guides.

Are there any other special requirements such as permits/insurance/vaccines that we need to consider before the tour?

We recommend trip cancellation insurance.

What is the guide-to-client ratio to climb this mountain?

1:3/4 guide to client ratio

What is the best time of the year to climb this mountain?

Best time for a Summer Ascent of Mt Shasta via Avalanche Gulch is April to early July

Can I join a group?

Yes, you may join a group; please see the regular schedule departure listed. You may also request a custom climb of Mt Shasta with your departure date with 3 to 8 climbers. The price is the same as our group rate. For less than three climbers, the cost for a private / custom climb is two climbers: $575.00 per person per day / 1 climber $700 per day plus Explore-Share fees.

What are some recommended accommodations near our adventure location?

We understand that finding the perfect place to stay is an essential part of your adventure experience. To help you with this, we’ve curated a list of three highly recommended hotels that offer comfort, convenience, and a touch of local charm. These accommodations are well-suited for adventurers looking to relax and rejuvenate after an exciting day of exploration
Shasta Lodge Mount Shasta California USA
See rooms
Comfort Inn Mount Shasta California USA
See rooms
Strawberry Valley Inn Mount Shasta California USA
See rooms

About the guide

Guide profile image




Mountain Guide

Since 1981, we have been California's leader in guided mountaineering. From the Eastern Sierra to Mt. Shasta, we guide all of California 14ners and internationally.





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What people are saying about this trip



Overall, the fair evaluation for the SWS Mountain Guides and the guide assigned to me is 3 stars. Reasons: 1. The guide did not seem to remember or respect the fact that I was new to mountaineering and that the name of program is called “introduction to mountaineering...”. For example, the guide set his own time for walking and resting without any concern to my physical ability for that timing. The guide walked ahead many times and didn’t even notice when I fell a few times. I understand the guide is not the insurer of safety or a hand holder, but a complete abrasive approach to the service is not right, especially when it’s a paid service. Perhaps, the guide is not a right choice for introduction tours. 2. There was a miscommunication with timing of the summit day. I thought we would start summiting around 5am the next day; however, I was told less than 15 hours before that we would start hiking at 1am the next day from base camp. We arrived at base camp early afternoon, and I’m wired up, hot, and not prepared to fall asleep between 5pm-12am, thus, I didn’t sleep at all. I attempted the summit hike but around 12k feet the sleep deprivation was killing me and I was catching myself falling asleep and my body trying to lay down while waking. The guide didn’t seem to concerned about this. Lack of empathy. Eventually, I had to insist we turn around because I didn’t want to go beyond 30 hours of no sleep and still have to descend from the summit. 3. The guide did help set up the tent and food. The guide did explain layers of clothes on and off and why. The guide did help instruct how to pack and why. 4. Overall, I feel this guide is best suited for advanced climbers not introduction courses as he seems to be more of a “ill walk ahead of you” not “ill walk with you” type of guide.

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