Of all the Cascade volcanoes, Mount Shasta is perhaps the most visually distinctive, due in large part to the presence of the massive secondary peak of Shastina. None of the other major Cascade peaks have such a monumental feature that fundamentally alters the entire appearance of the mountain. Those of us who look at Mount Shasta, whether in images or in reality on a regular basis have become accustomed to seeing the great bulk of Shastina augmenting the towering cone of Shasta. And yet, it is the absence of Shastina that makes the view of Mount Shasta from the east so striking. Only from the east does the mountain reveal itself as a giant, solitary cone unencumbered by the presence of a secondary summit. From the east it is just a single, lonely and icy spike thrust skyward. So used have we become to the presence of Shastina that it is easy to mistake the eastern perspective of Mount Shasta for another Cascade volcano.
Interestingly, it is not just Shastina that is absent from Mount Shasta’s east side. This side also lacks other notably prominent points like Thumb Rock, Shastarama Point and Green Butte. It also lacks the broad flanks of the great ridges that flow from the summit on the south and west sides like Sargents and Casaval Ridges. What the east side does have is the massive and fascinating bulk of the Hotlum and Wintun Glaciers. These massive sheets of ice are the first and third largest glaciers in California. Many glacial features, including crevasses, the bergscherund and icefalls are visible to the naked eye even from great distances. The Hotlum in particular is a spectacular feature.
Views of the east side are fairly rare. There a couple of good vistas from the loop road as well as from the spectacular lookout on Little Mount Hoffman. However, it is Ash Creek Butte that likely yields the best perspective on the east side of Mount Shasta. The great pyramid of the mountain utterly dominates the view from here and leaves a very different impression on the few who venture into this remote and seldom enjoyed area.
View north side locator here.
View west side locator here.
View south side locator here.
Click to enlarge: