“It’s been a tough year for Mt. Shasta, In the past, Mt. Shasta had year-round snow on its summit. But this summer is different. The white patches you see today are glacial — not snow. The glaciers are melting very quickly this year. Our hearts are with our neighbors who are currently affected by mudflows and wildfires.”– Brendan Hickey, Mt. Shasta Ski Park Resort Manager
The peak of Mt. Shasta in California is covered with snow year-round thanks to its various glaciers. Enter 2021, which has become the most traumatic year for California climate in the state’s history. The LA Times reports the impacts have been felt especially at Mt. Shasta, home to the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. The only snow remaining at the summit is glacial, and the natural snowpack that usually remains through much of the summer melted in early June.
The big issue of the summer had been mudslides, where the melting of the mountain’s glaciers have unleashed havoc on the surrounding area. These flows of partially volcanic ash and glacier water have turned the green meadows into hellish gray moonscapes. U.S. Geology Survey scientist Andy Calvert defines mudflows as “sudden releases of water that scour out-stream channels and pick up rocks and dirt on the way down, leaving a muddy mess.” These catastrophic mudslide floods trample trees, destroy roads, nearly burying the town’s water pipeline, and covered the area’s local dam.
Earlier this summer, we covered that Mt. Shasta Ski Park had shut down its summer operations due to wildfire threats and staffing shortages. Wildfires have gotten close to the resort, but firefighters set up shop at Mt. Shasta Ski Park a couple of weeks ago to prevent them from getting close. It’s unclear if the mudslides have affected the trails at the ski resort. Mt. Shasta confirmed the lack of snow on the peak on a recent social media post and presented it as a cautionary tale on the dangers of climate change.
Image Credits: Mt. Shasta Ski Park