According to the experts at Shasta Mountain Guides the best times to climb Mt Shasta are the spring and summer months. Here they break down the weather patterns and conditions on one of California’s most climbed big peaks:
The main factor is we want to climb Mt. Shasta when there is adequate snow coverage and a reasonable chance for high pressure and good weather. The current winter snowpack depths and weather patterns will ultimately determine when that is.
Unlike peaks to the south in the Sierra Nevada Range, we need the snow depth for safe and efficient travel. The old notion to wait for the snow to melt is a potentially dangerous solution and certainly a tedious challenge of uphill scrambling on loose, steep, rocks.
Shasta is a volcanic mountain in Southern tip of the Cascades – which is part of the Pacific ring of fire. As a volcanic mountain, underneath the snow, there is very loose rock and scree. At best, it is annoying to slog through, at worse, it is dangerous a big chunks of rock can come dislodged and fly down the mountain at high speeds. Also, because Shasta is by itself towering over anything in the vicinity, it creates its own weather. Always keep your eye on the latest forecasts at the Mt Shasta Avalanche Center.
Due to the small-ish window of ideal conditions to bag Mt Shasta, expect crowds on the weekends. Also don’t forget to pick up your summit permit at the kiosk at the base of the mountain.