On Saturday 4th May 1996, 5 of us climbed Lassen Peak, lead by George Van Gorden. The others were Adrienne, Liz Binkley, Ted Raczeck and Arun Mahajan.
We started hiking at the parking lot for the Sulphur Works which is close to the Lassen Chalet (southwest entrance of the park, via 89). The road was closed at that point, even though they had taken the pains to plough it right up to Lake Helen, something we couldn't fathom why. With George on skis and the rest on snowshoes, we followed a ski trail till we came to Diamond point where we got the road. After a couple of such cut-thrus, we walked on the road till we were at Lake Helen. There is a lot of snow there, we saw banks of up to 20 feett on the side of the road at some places.
From Lake Helen, we headed up towards the ridge that leads to the summit. At about 9000 feet, we switched to crampons and after some steep parts came to the ridge. We did cross the Lassen Peak trail at a couple of places. Within 20 mins after getting the ridge, we were at the summit. George climbed it from the steeper south side, while the rest came up from around the summit hump. It had taken us 5 hrs to get the summit. It was about 2 pm then. It was a perfect day, warm and low winds. It was not clear enough to see Diablo to the south (as has been claimed), but Shasta dominated the view in the north. After 30 mins for lunch at the summit, we headed down. Getting down to Lake Helen was quick due to a couple of exciting glissades. After slogging the rest of the way cross-country, we made it to the cars at 6pm. It was a 9 hour day with close to 4000 foot gain (the chalet is at 6640 feet, I think) at a moderate pace. It is 6.75 miles by road to the trailhead of the Lassen Peak trail from the Chalet, and 2.3 miles to the summit by the LP Trail. It is not clear how many miles we clipped off by cutting thru the switchbacks, but judging by how tired we were, it could have been a 14 to 15 mile round-trip.
Here endeth the lassen.
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