Friday, September 29, 2006

So I'm back to obsessing on Shasta. This is actually good as I used to obsess on Whitney and that's 8 hours away where Shasta is just over 4. (Ok I'm really not done obsessing on Whitney as I haven't climbed the last 800 feet or so but I've done the hard part more than once.)

I haven't written it here but I've been struggling with altitude sickness once I get over 8000 feet. The real bummer about this is that altitude sickness has nothing to do with what kind of shape you're in which irks me no end. There's no way to train for it really, and I've discovered that even Diamox can only get me so far. If I want to go to altitude I have to go the slow way. The really slow way. I can only ascend about 1500' before getting ill.

My last time on Whitney I stayed over night at portal (8800 feet), then overnight at Outpost (10k') and was ill. Then was well enough to continue the next day to Trail Camp (12k') and was ill then to and didn't feel better in the morning (even on Diamox) so I decended as I was missing Terri who had already descended. If I had stopped at 11,500 I would have probably been ok.

When I'm ill I wonder why on earth I'm doing this as it's not fun anymore. And then I get back down and start wondering if there's a way to make it work.

For Shasta it's pretty much the same dilemma.
Bunny Flat is at 7900', and Helen is at 10,300'. I could stop at 50/50 Flat whose elevation is around 9500' which would work and it's nicer than Helen anyway, and plan to stay an extra 24 hours there.

Horse Camp 1 night
Back pack to 50/50.
stay there for 2 nights
the middle of the 2nd night get up and try a summit attempt
after the summit attempt stay another night at 50/50
pack out the next day

Day 1) Horse Camp
Day 2) 50/50
Day 3) 50/50 (sleep only 1/2 the night)
Day 4) 50/50
Day 5) Pack out and head for Redding

The extra time at 50/50 might help me acclimate, though I don't know how that will help me on a 4000+' summit climb. though Diamox should help with that as I've been able to climb comfortably above 13,000' on it when starting out at 10,000'. I think with Whitney the problem was that I was carrying 45 pounds which is really too much and over exerting which is why I was unwell. Unfortunately it's hard in snow to go light as there are some things that you simply must carry: insulated boots, crampons, ice axe, down jacket, extra fuel, more burly snow stakes. I suppose I could hire someone to carry the bag but that takes such organization but if I was staying put somewhere that wouldn't be so bad (and I may be able to carry it down since there would be less food and hence lighter.)

I also want to do some skiing too though the above trip would most likely be on snow shoes unless a miracle happened and I got really good at skiing this winter. (I'm planning on doing a fair bit of skiing this winter in hopes of improving.)

I think with next year's REI dividend I'm going to put it towards some skis (though REI is not the best place for Randonee skis), or more likely get some Denali Evo Ascent snowshoes. I discovered that I really had a use for the heel lifters and my old pair didn't have them and I've since sold them to Patricia.

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