TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

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commonloon
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TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by commonloon » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:29 pm

Part 1 (will post 2nd half of hike later).

Day 1: (just a couple of hours of hiking really): Made the drive out from the bay area, met my hiking buddy Henry at Tenaya Lake. We had talked about a day "Hike," there to stretch the legs, but there was some confusion about what that meant. Henry had also mentioned possibly climbing, what he meant was by hike was "approach," but I didn't make the connection and bring my harness or shoes. We ran into Doug Nidever, a notable Yosemite climber and guide, who Henry had met before while backcountry skiing. It was really interesting talking with him, but we were soon interrupted by an afternoon T-storm so we made our way to Lee Vining and picked up our permit. On to the Bishop Brewery to fuel up. We hit the Shepherd trailhead sometime after 7 pm. The plan was to hike up to somewhere between the ridge that separates Symmes/Shepherd creeks and Mahogany flat. We stopped on the ridge. There was another guy camped there too, who we, unfortunately, woke up. Apologies. We had thought we were far enough away, but it was very quiet up there.
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Day 2: The hike up Shepherd's was as pleasant as it can be. The trail is in great shape after some trail maintenance BTW. Along the way, there was a huge cairn on the trail thru the talus field. Maybe it was the altitude, but we found it amusing. At the pass proper, we choose to go up the trail to where it crosses the snowfield at a 90-degree angle. No need for crampons, the top layer of snow was soft enough to kick steps. We continued on into the Williamson Bowl. Our planned route for today was to include traversing from Trojan Peak to Mt Barnard, but cleary weather was moving in. I had read a 10% chance of rain. This was to become a bad joke. We elected to set up camp in the bowl, as it looked like it was about to pour or T-storm or both. Hopefully, the weather would get better and we could continue. No. There we sat. The whole afternoon. Rain off and on with a little bit of T-storms. It cleared early evening.
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Day 3: We optimistically told ourselves the weather was improving so after a quick breakfast and coffee, we set off. Lake Helen of Troy was beautiful, mostly iced over with snowfields all around. We put on crampons and I took out my ice ax. Henry who has tons of alpine experience, left his ax stowed. I would describe the traverse around the lake and up towards Trojan as low to moderately angled. It was a fun walk. We got to a point just above the lake, a bench and took a break. As we were about to continue, it started raining/hailing heavily. We both looked at each and immediately decided to set up shelters and wait out the storm before continuing up Trojan. Henry had a tent, but I had my alpine bivy. Setup was obviously easier for me, but oh it was so small. We sat around for a couple of hours. Henry served up tea. Thanks man!

Lake Helen of Troy: https://youtu.be/c0juPoAe7Dk In my video, I mean "Colorado" not California when referring to the cutthroats, but not even sure which lakes they're in up here.

We packed up and headed up the snow slope then on to some easy class 2 to the Trojan summit. We had intended to follow the ridgeline to Barnard, but it was getting later in the day so we elected to drop down via a rock and talus band. The talus on the south side was loose, at least what we went down. We moved across the sandy slopes between the 2 peaks. We went up class 2 terrain to the top of Barnard. If you stay far right (north) then you get some exhilarating views and a bit of exposure towards the top. Break at the summit, then down the south slopes to Wallace lake where we set up camp.
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Barnard summit video: https://youtu.be/pXqHHkS8wfE
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TurboHike
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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by TurboHike » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:59 pm

commonloon wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:29 pm
The hike up Shepherd's was as pleasant as it can be.
Look's like an awesome trip. Thanks for sharing the pics/videos.

Any mosquito issues on the way up Shepherd's?

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commonloon
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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by commonloon » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:44 pm

No mosquitos on way up Shepherd's; however, the Wallace Creek drainage and Wrights lakes basin had them at or near peak levels. Headnet and bug juice recommended. We camped basically at Wallace lake because it was windy.

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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by cgundersen » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:02 pm

Gorgeous! Looking forward to the rest of the report, and good to hear that the Shepherd trail is back to its pristine best after the washout it suffered.

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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by commonloon » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:10 pm

Part 2.

Day 4: Wallace lake is IMHO one of the more interesting high lakes in the Sierra. Today we planned on The Cleaver and Carl Heller (if time and weather permitted). We made our way up easy slopes to the slope separating Wallace lake from Tulainyo lake. This is more like an x-country pass effort-wise than just a "Slope." I don't think it has a name(?). Mostly stable boulders. There was snowmelt running under some of it. It makes one wonder when do these boulders move?

We made it up to Tulainyo lake. It was mostly frozen. Crampons went on, as we traversed along the NE shoreline towards The Cleaver. We heard voices but couldn't see anyone. Maybe they were climbing Mt Russel high above. Off with the crampons, as we began the climb on talus. It's mixed stable and loose at the base. Henry and I disagreed on how to begin the route and I deferred to his take. He is a much better route finder than myself, but in this case well we ad-libbed. We did the west face basically and ended up on a south pinnacle near the actual summit. It was class 3-4 with a couple of low class 5 moves. Nothing sketchy, almost all solid rock. The summit had a glass jar as a summit register #-o Breathtaking views! We took the NW ridge (Norman Clyde) class 3 route down. I mildy twisted my ankle in the talus on the way down.

On to Carl Heller. The route described in Secor is hard to find. I don't think we found it. I started up but between just being tired and my ankle bugging me, I decided to bail after a short time on the lower slabs. Henry continued up and made the summit really quickly. He whistled down from the top.

We took a long lunch break then decided to hike partially back today. Mosquitos were crazy bad all the way down the Wallace creek "Unmaintained" trail. I quote because it was cairned nearly all the way down and off and on distinct as well. On to the JMT for a short bit then up the Wrights Lake basin where we camped for the night. Mosquitos again, but it was also very green. Heard coyotes and had a beautiful star-filled evening.
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Day 5: We hiked out today over Rockwell Pass. The pass was pretty much snow-free on the south side. The north side had snow, but we able to miss most of it using a small rock band and then on the use trail. Snow was again soft enough on Shepherd's to not forgo crampons.
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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:33 pm

The photo, "Carl Heller from Barnard" is wonderful!

Am a bit confused by the return trip when you said "soft enough on Shepherds not to forego crampons". Does that mean you needed them or not?

I am going that way in a few weeks and your TR is very helpful. I hope to start at Cottonwood and come out Shepherd, but if I cannot get a permit I will have to reverse it and go in Shepherd. I was really debating whether to take crampons or not. Really do not want to carry them for all the other days when I would not need them.

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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by commonloon » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:43 pm

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:33 pm
Am a bit confused by the return trip when you said "soft enough on Shepherds not to forego crampons". Does that mean you needed them or not?

I am going that way in a few weeks and your TR is very helpful. I hope to start at Cottonwood and come out Shepherd, but if I cannot get a permit I will have to reverse it and go in Shepherd. I was really debating whether to take crampons or not. Really do not want to carry them for all the other days when I would not need them.
Wandering Daisy: we didn't use crampons either way on Shepherd's... that was my bad writing/editing. You could easily kick steps after the snow softened up a bit. There were already a couple of boot tracks across the snow as well. The only place we really needed crampons this trip was around Lake Helen of Troy. I would guess in a few weeks there will be a well-defined track across the snow.

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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by stringbop » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:58 pm

Great trip report and awesome pictures! What were the dates of this trip?

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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by sekihiker » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:28 pm

Bold trip through spectacular country. Bravo! Thanks for sharing.

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commonloon
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Re: TR: Shepherd, Williamson Bowl, Wallace Lake and Wrights basin (w/ some peak bagging).

Post by commonloon » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:56 pm

Thanks sekihiker!

Thanks stringbop, July 24 (just evening),25,26,27, 28.

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