Planning first Sierra Trip (Tyndall->Whitney, July 2010)

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
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by SeanSullivan » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:12 pm

MoapaPk wrote:I apologize if I seem too cautionary. It's just that some people don't realize how hard and slippery a few inches of Sierra summer snow can get, if the night has been cold, or if the snow is in the shadow of a cliff (like some snow on the west face chute of Williamson). On the other hand, deeply sun-cupped snow can be miserable to cross.

Have a good time, I'm sure you'll do OK -- just don't step on any snow slope until you have accessed the conditions.

I apologize if I seem too "just another brash kid" (perhaps I am?) :lol: . I do struggle with wanting to do everything as soon as possible even though I have my whole life ahead of me. I am trying to go about it the "right" way though, and be prepared for whatever conditions I may encounter. Heck, maybe I'll go in June instead, give myself 7 days, bring my axe and crampons, and enjoy the snow slopes rather than the talus. Wouldn't want to do that without a partner as least as competent as me though. Its hard for me to say, I'm hoping I'll feel more comfortable on such terrain after some supervised trips on Cascade volcanoes in May, June. Even if the conditions are too much, I could just do Tyndall, head south on the JMT and do Whitney the easy way. I'm going to enjoy the trip whatever the route ends up being, so long as I'm not sick from altitude the entire time.

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by drpw » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:04 pm

The approach to Tyndall up Shephards pass is pretty rough, you might be re-thinking your itinerary by the time you get to Anvil camp. The whole route you described is all on one map though. I'd say take as much time off as you can and enjoy your first trip to the sierras.

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by Sierra Ledge Rat » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:52 am

Yeah, I'll agree that's a pretty aggressive itinerary. Unless you're an athletic superstar. I would schedule 10 days for your trip to accomplish your stated goals. Something like this is more realistic:

Day 1: Get up to Anvil Camp
Day 2: Shepherd Pass, hike up Polychrome Peak if I felt like it.
Day 3: Tyndall (Northwest Ridge or North Rib), (+ maybe Versteeg from North)
Day 4: Williamson (West Face), Trojan (from NW)
Day 5: Hike to Wallace Lake
Day 6: Hike to Tulainyo Lake)
Day 7: Chill out, rest
Day 8: Tunnabora, Carillon (or possibly Russell East Ridge), Iceberg Lake
Day 9: Whitney (MR)
Day 10: Hike out

As the date of your trip approaches, you can check on the actual snow conditions. There may be a ton of snow, or there may be very little.

Upper Kern Basin in July from Diamond Mesa

Tulainyo Lake in July

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by KathyW » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:51 pm

another comment: You're idea to get to Shepherd Pass in a day is a good one - it's a long day but it will make Tyndall/Williamson a lot easier because you won't be dealing with moving camp on Day 2 in the morning. We found it was a lot easier to do it that way when we did Williamson. I was able to get over the pass in day and I'm slow as molasses, so most people should be able to with an early start. Anvil Camp is often bug city in July anyway, so it's no fun camping there.


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