Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson | High Sierra Topix  

Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!

Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson

Postby El Gigante » Sun May 31, 2009 8:33 am

"So this is the breakdown: leave SD (or Arcata!) Thursday night for Independence. Crash there. Friday AM start out on the Shepherd pass trail.
Sleep at or near Shepherd Pass Friday night. Sat AM is early – pre dawn – for the ascent of Williamson. Back at the pass Sat. night. Sunday is Tyndall.
Summit and back to the camp."
The above is a basic itinerary Emailed to me today for a Sierra trip planned for late June. I hear this area closes July 15 for Big Horn Sheep re-population. Does this sound feasible? My friends are adventurous but not experienced in the Back country. Will Crampons (or at least 5 Pts) be necessary? Ice axes? I know they dont have or use either.
Any information any of you experience "Sierrans" might have would be helpful. And might help me avert "Potential Trouble" with some friends.

User avatar
El Gigante
Topix Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 9:17 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson

Postby quentinc » Sun May 31, 2009 8:25 pm

I think this was a pretty dry year, although others can speak more intelligently to that. I did the trip you describe during a dry year, and there was almost no snow anywhere by the last weekend before July 15. And if there is snow at the pass I'm sure there will be a highway of footprints for you to follow.

In terms of itinerary, getting to the pass in one day is ambitious unless you are well acclimated to the altitude. On my trip, I camped at the Pothole (great name) area. The Williamson climb is not that hard so long as you don't mind slogging up one to two thousand feet of scree. Then there is a short, moderate class 3 pitch, which is easier than it looks. On my second day, I moved my stuff up to the pass and set up camp, started for Williamson around 9:30, and easily made it back before dark. On your next day, Tyndall takes only a few hours. It's a great trip. You'll have lots of company, though, if you do it that last weekend.
User avatar
Topix Expert
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

Re: Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson

Postby Wild Bill » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:03 pm

It ended up being an almost Average winter snow pack...what ever that means! Ice axe is a good tool to have.
A recommendation for you; what I did when I bagged those peaks. Take lights and walk the first part of the Shepherd Pass Trail when you arrive the first night. The first section goes up Symmes creek. Then you go up switchbacks to a very obvious saddle. Make camp there. Decent area to sleep, but no water. When you wake the next morning, you will have shortened part of the unpleasantness of Shepherd Pass. It is a long grinding hike! But the view off of the summits are worth it!
I've camped at the pass; water is nearby.
User avatar
Wild Bill
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:27 am
Location: Crowley Lake, Ca.
Experience: N/A

Re: Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson

Postby ERIC » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:15 pm

Wild Bill wrote:It ended up being an almost Average winter snow pack...

New members, please consider giving us an intro!
Follow us on Twitter @HighSierraTopix. Use hashtags #SIERRAPHILE #GotSierra? #GotMountains?
Follow us on Facebook:
User avatar
HS Topix Owner & Forums Administrator
HS Topix Owner & Forums Administrator
Posts: 3117
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: between the 916 and 661
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson

Postby copeg » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:46 pm

Shepherds pass is a long haul and a serious pain in the rear. Lots of elevation gain and a lack of acclimation can make things much worse - be aware of this especially if you or your friends are unfamiliar with how your bodies react to high elevations.

Water can sometimes be a pain after you leave Symmes creek, although this time of year you may find some running creeks between there and Mohogony Flat.

Anvil Camp is a popular location to camp, up close towards the pass it gets rocky and I'm not sure how successful you'll be at finding good camping.

Of particular note is the pass itself - there is a perennial snowfield just below the pass, this time of year I'm guessing the entire chute leading to the pass is covered. This is a very steep snowfield with no true way around it (do a google images search of shephards pass and you'll find some photos of what to expect). There may be tracks leading across making things feel a bit safer, but I'd always recommend being on the safe side with an ice-axe and crampons - especially if your ascent is early in the morning and there was a descent freeze overnight.

The climbs themselves I'm a bit unfamiliar with as well as the current snowpack that far south at this time, but I'd expect a fair amount of snow and keep in mind which face(s) you will be ascending - if any are north facing expect snow.
User avatar
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Posts: 2009
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:25 pm
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Summiting 14ers Tyndall and Williamson

Postby MooseTracks » Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:15 pm

DISCLAIMER: THESE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE FROM ONE YEAR AGO!!! But I thought they might give you a better idea of the pass itself.

First off, the snow field immediately below the Pass, as seen from the Pothole. The "trail" winds up through the scree on the right and behind the large outcropping:


The boot track traverse which starts behind that outcropping (remember, this was taken LAST YEAR):


The view down the chute from half way across (note to self: DON'T FALL HERE):


I had brought crampons/axe, but ended up stashing them at the Pass while I climbed Tyndall. The rest of the pics from that hike are here: ... 772158641/

Again, sorry they aren't more recent, but it will at least give you an overview of what you are getting into. Have a great time! I'm one of the sickos who actually ENJOYS Shepherd's Pass!! :eek:

-Laura :cool:
"Why do I climb? Quite simply because the mountains and I had to meet." - Colette Richard
User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:29 pm
Location: Bishop
Experience: N/A

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests