Add Heading Here
This was for the dates of June2-4th.
My friend Dave and I successfully summited Mt. Williamson this past Saturday. To say the least, this is not an approach for the timid. Our original plan was to get to Shephard Pass Friday, summit Williamson and Tyndall on Saturday, and hike out on Sunday. Williamson ended up taking a lot longer than we thought, so we left Tyndall for another time. Anyway, here's the beta:
The first 4 stream crossings are all manageable with careful footwork. The only one we had to take our shoes off for was the first because all the rocks normally used for crossing are under water. The rest all have exposed rock and/or logs. The 4th one was tricky!
No snow up to Anvil camp (~10,000), except for a couple snowfields right before.
After Anvil Camp we lost trail and stayed high through scree/talus/snowfields above the pothole. It seemed like we were following bighorn sheep trails and followed this up to the base of Shephards Pass.
Shephards Pass is still completely covered in snow.
On top of Shephards Pass there is water available from the lake adjacent (break through the ice), or there is also a small "bog" of sorts that can used to filter water from.
On a side note, I was not aware that this area was used for pack animals, but there is a corral at the base of the trailhead and donkey remains were found on the trail, although obviously from a long time ago. Keep this in mind when deciding on whether or not to filter water...
Getting to the base of the black stain from Shephards Pass took about 2 1/2 hours. Snow is scattered throughout Williamson Bowl. Most of the ridge you follow is dirt/rock, but when you drop off to the right of the ridge and around to the black stain you are crossing all snowfields.
We crossed this area in the morning, and all the snow was very firm.
It took us about 4 hours to go up the chute to the 3rd class section. It should be noted the black stain is where the waterfall is currently. We met some other climbers who took the wrong chute and ended up at a dead end! Make sure to take the chute off to the right of the waterfall.
The chute is mostly rock, with about ~500-700 feet of snow climbing. Since this was my first big snow climb, I decided on using a running belay up the snow section. This is what took the majority of the time heading up and going down this section.
No one else we saw in the chute was using a running belay. This section is all rated Class 2, and for seasoned mountaineers comfortable with their abilitiy on this terrain, most would probably not bat an eye at this section.
The 3rd class section all has very good holds. The bottom part is the trickiest because there is some ice at the base of the climb. You kind of have to stem to go around the ice (this was a little tricky coming down too).
Overall, an awesome climb. From Shephard Pass it took nearly 9 hours. But that was with ample time for breaks, getting water, eating lunch, running belays, and hanging out on the summit. I'd say the worst part about this climb is coming out of Williamson Bowl and realizing you still have to head back up to the Tyndall Plateau. Ugh!
After getting back to camp I decided that I was comfortable with putting Tyndall off until another trip, even though the base of the climb was a mere 20-30 minute walk from our tent. Two 10+ hour days of hiking, plus looking at the hike out was good enough for me. My partner still wanted to do Tyndall on Sunday then hike out, but luckily for me he acquiesced.
Heading back down to the trailhead was much easier, and we even found a "trail" between Shephard Pass and Anvil Camp. Mostly covered in snow, it should be pretty easy to follow until getting to Anvil Camp. Right around the Anvil Camp area just make sure you cross back over the creek. We lost the trail here again, but used our GPS to head back to a waypoint we had set earlier.
In all, great, long, arduous, physically exhausting climb.
As soon as I get the pictures up on Yahoo, I'll post in a link.
Here's the link to the pictures:
For descriptions you can click on each picture. I believe there all in order...
As for Tyndall and Williamson in a day (from Shepherds Pass anyway)... given current conditions you would have to start REALLY early to make it feasible. Maybe next time....
In regards to Shephers Pass and the icy conditions, after we summited Williamson, we actually packed up camp at Shepherds Pass and moved down to Anvil Camp for that reason. I didn't really want to deal with the icy conditions in the morning. (The prior night the open water at Shepherds Pass had frozen). When we descended on Saturday night (approximately 5:30ish) it was perfect for heel plunging:)