Mt Shasta - Green Butte Ridge
April 30, 2016 written by Gergo Baldauf
The Green Butte Ridge trip was a last minute event for many of us. We knew the weather was not in our favor, but decided to go ahead anyways. The wind was blowing really hard Friday night when we arrived at Bunny Flat trailhead. We ended up having to move little ways down along the side of the road because of all the small rocks hitting the cars. Sometime after midnight everything calmed down. Saturday morning came with clear skies and calm weather. Our team met up after 1000 and left for the Green Butte Ridge around 1100. The snowline started from the parking lot, fortunately it was hard enough that we didn't need snowshoes. We reached 10,000ft under 5 hours and decided to camp on the east side of the ridge. Although the weather was perfect we knew things could change very quickly. It took nearly 3 hours to dig in a flat ledge for our 2 tents. Knowing the wind could pick up any minute we made sure our gear was properly anchored before going to sleep.
We decided on a 3am wake up, but everybody started climbing the ridge separately as soon as they were ready to go. We regrouped within 20 minutes then continued up together for the most part. The sun was nearing the horizon by the time we really needed light for route finding. Our ascend was going as expected until 12,500ft. We were 300ft from reaching the ridge under the Thumb Rock when the wind picked up. We decided to rope up, and by the time we started moving it was nearly white out. By the time we finished the Green Butte Ridge the conditions made us question whether it’s safe to continue. Every gust of wind made us want to turn around, but every time the sun came out for a few seconds we agreed to continue. We continued this battle up to 13,000ft, and decided it was time to turn around. Avalanche Gulch was too firm for glissading or plunge stepping but we made it back to camp around 1. After a 20 minutes rest we started packing up camp and headed back to the car. We were off the mountain around 3. This trip was a partial success since we were able to finish climbing the Green Butte Ridge. The firm snow, clear skies and the solitude of the eastern side made the climb very enjoyable.