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  John Muir on Mount Shasta

In April of 1875, in an effort to triangulate and eventually map northern California, an expedition was dispatched. Captain Augustus Rogers, of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey along with the naturalist and mountaineer John Muir, arrived in Mount Shasta to take barometric readings, and to determine how they would place a metal signal on the summit of Mount Shasta. On the trip were Rogers, Muir, and two local guides, John Morgan and Jerome Fay.

They arrived at the summit in 12 hours and 20 minutes after leaving Sisson's home. Muir took more barometric readings, explored the summit, and found evidence of heat and steam spewing from a fumarole. John Muir took many notes and made sketches. They returned to a camp at a lower elevation, and after a rest Muir and Fay returned to the summit.

They took more readings and then the mountain became engulfed in clouds, a storm dumped more than two feet of snow on them. They decided to spend the night near the steaming, foul smelling vents. They froze their backsides, while scalding their fronts. Their feet had frostbite. They spent seventeen hours kept alive by the steam; they set out for lower elevations, their clothes frozen solid. They arrived at tree line to where they met up with Sisson, who had not been concerned about them, as there was no storm in town. Muir's ordeal on the mountain is documented in his many writings

Follow this link to reaf Muir's own account of a wintertime mountain ascent, "Shasta in Winter" from the Daily Evening Bulletin [San Francisco] 21 Dec. 1874 at at the College of the Siskiyous Mount Shasta Collection web site.

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