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Climb to the summit of Mt. Shasta in California via Avalanche Gulch, 2 days


Join an IFMGA-certified mountain guide for a scenic and informative 2-day mountaineering expedition up to the summit of Mt Shasta via Avalanche Gulch. Take in the incredible alpine scenery of the California Cascade Range and learn important mountaineering skills along the way.

Private and Group

Cascade Range

2 Days

May, Jun, Jul, Aug




  • Enjoy the stunning alpine scenery of northern California.
  • Conquer the second highest peak in the Cascade Range.
  • Learn valuable mountaineering skills along the way.


Situated at the southern end of the Cascade Range, Mt Shasta is the perfect peak for novice mountaineers!

Rising to 14,179 feet above sea level, the potentially active volcano is the second highest mountain in the Cascades and fifth highest in California.

Over the course of two days, we will make our way to the summit of Mt Shasta via Avalanche Gulch, traversing the volcano’s glacier using crampons and an ice axe.

If we have the time, we will also go over self-arrest techniques as well as cover basic route-finding and other necessary mountaineering skills, provided we have the time.

The fun begins at 8 am on the first day, when we will meet in the town of Mt Shasta and pack our gear as well as go over the itinerary. From there, we will carpool and drive to the trailhead at Bunny Flat (6,860 feet) on the southern side of the mountain.

We begin the ascent by hiking up through exquisite alpine scenery until we reach the high camp at Avalanche Gulch (~10,000 feet). The afternoon will be spent acclimatizing and going over how to use the ice axe and crampons.

Getting an early start on the following day (1 or 2 am), we will start climbing over the glacier until we reach the summit. From the top there are excellent views out over the surroundings.

We’ll have a short rest allowing us to take in the great views before hiking back down to the camp and then onto the trailhead.

So what are you waiting for? Book now for this fun and informative 2-day ascent of Mt Shasta in California’s Cascade Range!

If you like the look of this trip but are looking for a bit more of a challenge, then we think you will also enjoy our 3-day winter ascent of Mt Shasta via the Casaval Ridge!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Permit and entrance fees

- Breakfast

- Dinner

- Rope

- Harness

- Helmet

- Ice axe

- Camping equipment tents

- Camping equipment cooking utensils

Price details

Please note for the private option of this trip, a minimum of three guests are required. Price includes: Professional instruction/guide, breakfast(s), dinner(s), ice axes, helmets, harness, group equipment including

ropes and safety equipment, group camping equipment including tents and stoves, permits, and license fees including Mt.

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

for rent. Please check with us for the full equipment list.

Food: Group breakfast(s), dinner(s), and hot beverages included. Please bring your own favorite, high-calorie, high-

carbohydrate lunches and snacks. Examples: bagels, cheese, dried fruit, trail mix, Clif bars, chocolate, etc.


Day 1 to 2: Mount Shasta

After meeting at 8:00 am on the first day at our Mt. Shasta office, we will conduct a complete pack check and
divide up the group gear. We will then carpool to the trailhead at Bunny Flat (6,860 feet) on Mt. Shasta’s south side. From
there, we will hike to our high camp (9,800 feet) just below Helen Lake. The afternoon will be spent acclimatizing and
learning how to use the ice ax and crampons. We will then retire early in preparation for an alpine start on summit day (up by
1-2:00 am). After arriving at the summit, we will head back to our camp to pack up our gear and return to Bunny Flat by 5:30
pm. PLEASE NOTE – This is a best-case scenario. This itinerary is subject to change at the guide’s discretion and is
dependent upon mountain conditions, group experience/expectations, and other factors we cannot anticipate.



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





Belay device

Watter bottle

Frequently Asked Questions

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

What is the Elevation Gain and Loss during the trip?

How will accommodation and meals be handled on the mountain?

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

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?

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

Can I join a group?

What happens in the event of bad weather?

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

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

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

About the 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.





What people are saying about SWS Mountain Guides

Silvia Alonso


July, 2023

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Mikael Brandrup


June, 2023

One of the best experiences we ever had. Amazing trip with lots of excitement, challenges and action - all in the most beautiful scenery. Our guide Matt played a crucial role making this trip a life time experience. Hi-fives to Matt and thanks for being the best guide! Best, Gustav and Mikael

Loren Sweet


September, 2022

Had an amazing experience! What memories but must be honest, we were in over our head. Feel we were physically up to it but we went from sea level to 10,000 feet in 30 hours and it was a challenge to keep up. Some time to acclimate would have made a big difference. The guides were careful and supportive. We were outside our comfort zone for sure but also realize that made it so memorable! Thanks Loren

Jon Niswander


July, 2022

Life changing experience!!

Theodora C


January, 2022

I have summited some amazing peaks, but Mt. Whitney has stolen my heart. From her diverse landscape, to the ever changing appearance of her face each hour of the day; she is a wild beauty not easily put out of your mind. This Jersey girl hiked/climbed/scrambled-up/slid-down the Mountaineer’s Route, which was both physically and mentally challenging but, incredibly fulfilling. My guide, Matt M., was confident, extremely knowledgeable and skilled, and I am pretty sure part mountain goat. Best guide I have ever had, prettiest mountain I have ever been on; if you are considering this hike, I would say DO IT!

Bryan Vidinsky


January, 2022

Fantastic guide service! I have skied with a number of guides over the years and I have to say that the guide we booked through SWS was one of the most knowledgeable, instructive and fun guides I have spent time with on the mountain. From the pre-trip communication all the way through the climb and ski down, I felt that I was in good hands, which was really important to me as my climb/ski partner was my 17 year old son. Our trip was epic, 4:00AM wakeup to a full moon, beautiful climb and huge ski down, my only complaint is that it was only a two day trip! Highly recommend, great experience!

Rising Percey


May, 2022

Our guides took 27 of us, all of different skill level and age range 12- 50. We all loved it! Professional, friendly, helpful and highly skilled. I highly recommend them.

Magdalena Bucka


April, 2022

This was an amazing trip and overall super positive experience with SWS Mountain Guides. I had a great guide with lots of mountain experience and many cool stories to share!

Ken Manabe


February, 2022

The hike was great and I got exactly I wanted.

Barbara J Eikmeier


January, 2021

Too bad this review does not allow six stars. SWS is professional, client focused, flexible, and has the clients best interests in mind. I can say the personnel and leadership skills of the SWS guides are among the best. You can't go wrong with SWS.

Kendra Grubb


August, 2021

Excellent experience with my guide Ben and SWS. Was able to summit Mt Whitney via the mountaineer’s route thanks to Ben’s understanding of the mountain and assessment of my capabilities. Great experience that exceeded my expectations.

Oz Pena


June, 2021

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.

Harshikesh Panchal


January, 2019

Had an amazing experience climbing Mt. Whitney with Richard & Tim. They were excellent guides and safely got us to the summit and back.

Michael Smith


January, 2019

Neil from SWS was amazing. We climbed the Mountaineering Route up to Mt. Whitney. It was an amazing experience. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. I leaned a lot. I would absolutely use these guys again.

Jordan Kowalski


January, 2019

My guides name was Matt and we were lucky enough to summit Mt. Whitney during the winter. This was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I have done and SWS did a great job throughout the process. Matt was such a great guide who took the time to educate us. He was polite, understanding and very helpful throughout the climb, I felt comfortable with him right from the start and look forward to more climbs with both Matt and the SWS team. Would recommend them to anyone!


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