Mt. Williamson and Mt. Tyndall
Williamson and Tyndall Trip Report, June 2006
Tuesday June 20, 2006; clear, sunny & warm during the day with an occasional breeze, slightly below freezing at night (typical all nights).
Wednesday, June 21, 2006; clear, sunny & warm during the day, gusty winds at night causing some minor tent collapse problems.
Thursday, June 22, 2006; clear sunny and warm, almost perfectly calm on the summit of Williamson.
Friday, June 23, 2006; mostly sunny with some clouds in the afternoon. Calm on the summit of Tyndall, clouds made for a scenic sunset.
Saturday, June 24, 2006; partly cloudy but still over 100 degrees upon our return to the Owens Valley.
Overall the weather was ideal. We wore only single layer, shorts and tee-shirts during the day, even when in the snow. After the sun went down we added layers as the temperature dropped.
Trail & Route Conditions:
Symmes Creek, we took our shoes off at the first crossing and waded through in mid-calf deep water (cold but it felt good!). We were able to hop rocks and logs at the other three crossings without getting wet.
Above Anvil Camp at the beginning of the moraine the trail was covered in snow in several areas. We had to make an effort to find the route on the way up.
Shepard’s Pass, the final ascent from the moraine to the top of the pass was covered with deep snow. Going up on Wednesday afternoon the snow was soft enough to kick steps in but firm enough to keep us from post-holing. I wore crampons on this slope but Mario led the way up without wearing his crampons. He made “Cadillac” steps for the rest of us to follow. We camped by the small lake at the top of Shepard’s Pass. The lake was mostly frozen but we were able to filter water from an area of partially thawed slush.
Williamson Bowl, we traversed approximately seven snow fields and/or slopes traveling over a total of mile through snow. The snow was good here too, not too much post-holing.
The chute on the west face of Williamson had snow covering about the middle third of the ascent between the waterfall (black stain) and the chimney. All except abut 200 feet of the snow could be avoided by going around on the rock. I used my ice axe and crampons going up and down on this snow. The snow on the summit plateau could be avoided by scrambling over the boulders along the ridge between the top of the chimney and the summit. On the descent, in the chute, we dislodged an approximately two foot diameter rock. It picked up speed and rolled all the way down the chute and launched airborne off the waterfall.
Tyndall, North Rib route, was flanked on each side by snow. It was possible to go directly up the rib on dry rock (very extremely loose rock!) except for the last 150 feet of the rib. I wore crampons & used my ice axe on this part. The exposure was substantial, a slip would send you sliding down over a thousand feet. At the top of the snow, we went right and climbed some class 3 rock around an arête that crowns the rib. We learned from another party (from Ridgecrest) that it was possible and easier to avoid this climbing by staying on the snow and going a little to the left of the arête into an obvious notch. We used that option on the descent. We glissaded the final 300 feet down on a glissade chute left by another previous party.
Actual Travel Times:
Tue., June 20, 2006 Trailhead to Mahogany Flat, 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 6 hrs.
Wed., June 21, 2006 Mahogany Flat to Shepard’s Pass, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 6 hrs.
Thurs., June 22, 2006 Shepard’s Pass to Williamson, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 8 hrs.
Thurs., June 22, 2006 Williamson to Shepard’s Pass, 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 5½ hrs.
Fri., June 23, 2006 Shepard’s Pass to Tyndall, 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 4½ hrs.
Fri., June 23, 2006 Tyndall to Shepard’s Pass, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 3 hrs.
Sat., June 24, 2006 Shepard’s Pass to Trailhead, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 7 hrs.
People we saw or met:
Wednesday afternoon, after we set up camp we hiked up to the rim of Williamson Bowl. We saw an REI Half Dome tent set up next to the Big Horn Sheep Zoological Preserve sign. Thursday morning we saw a young couple (man and lady) hiking down from that camp. They said that they had spent about 14 hours making the trip to and from Williamson the day before.
Wednesday we saw a three man party on the snow slope to the right (north) side of Mt. Tyndall’s north rib. We watched from Shepard’s pass as they glissaded down the lower portion of the snow. It must have been fun because they climbed back up to do the glissade a second time. Later we talked to them as they passed us at Shepard’s Pass on their way down. They told us that they didn’t think there was an easy way to get from the northwest ridge of Tyndall to the summit slope. They recommended the north rib.
Friday afternoon two groups, one group of four and one group of three arrived at Shepard’s Pass and set up camp. Both groups told us that they were headed up to Williamson on Saturday.
Friday, a group of three passed us near the top of the north rib on Tyndall. They went up in about half of the time that it took us. We caught up to them on the summit. Two of them were form Ridgecrest and the other was from Price Utah.
(each of us prepared a night’s dinner meal for the whole party. Bob challenged us to make something good, not pre-packaged, dehydrated food.)
Tuesday: Rick’s steak fajitas.
Wednesday: Phil’s rice and smoked salmon.
Thursday: Joe’s bow-tie pasta with chicken in marinara sauce.
Friday: Bob’s chicken noodle soup, angel hair pasta with chicken breast in butter garlic sauce & parmesan cheese.
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