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Mt Williamson day hike?
#49340 03/07/17 09:46 PM
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Anyone hike Mt Williamson in a day?
I've read quite a bit about the hike - is it possible / safe to climb without mountaineering gear?

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
BFR #49341 03/07/17 10:43 PM
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I’ve day hiked it four times: twice by itself and twice with Tyndall. My best time for the twofer was 18:39, car to car, when I was 60. It’s been done much faster than that. In early season, you may need crampons and an ice axe. Once the snow is pretty much gone from the couloir, you can do it with light hiking boots or maybe even trail runners. It’s a ton of work, but the only technical challenge is a bit of class 3 rock at the top of the couloir. Study the route descriptions carefully; it’s fairly easy to screw up.

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
bobpickering #49343 03/08/17 08:55 AM
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I have a friend who did it twice...both Tyndall and Williamson in a day. The first time he finished in 25 hours. The second time under 24 hours.

These guys, including Bob are animals.

I met Bob one time while camped at Tyndall Creek around 7 pm. Bob had just hiked over Shepherd Pass and was headed toward a peak to climb the next day.

paul

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
bobpickering #49357 03/09/17 07:57 PM
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How easy is it to follow the trail? Is it easier to just summit Tyndall without Williamson or vice versa?

If anyone has plans to do it this summer, I'd be interested in joining you. I am a fast hiker - day hiked Whitney last summer in about 9 hours. Please PM me if interested.

Last edited by BFR; 03/09/17 08:09 PM.
Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
BFR #49360 03/10/17 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted By: BFR
How easy is it to follow the trail? Is it easier to just summit Tyndall without Williamson or vice versa?

From the car to Shepherd pass is straightforward. It’s all trail, mostly pretty good trail. In 2015, there was a short section of washed out trail below Anvil Camp, and the last 700 vertical feet below Shepherd Pass is always eroded and a bit of a pain. There will be a big patch of snow just before Shepherd Pass well into the summer. It always has a boot track across it, but it may be a little dicey when it freezes up late in the day. I’ve crossed it in trail runners, but I really had to pay attention.

There is no trail from Shepherd Pass to the peaks, though you will stumble across short sections that look like trails. Just follow the path of least resistance in the general direction of Williamson.

If you’re doing both peaks, do Williamson first. Crossing Williamson Bowl is a time-consuming pain in the ass… both ways. There are lots of huge boulders and a few places you have to climb down or around cliffs. Williamson itself isn’t too bad, once you find the right couloir. As I said before, study the route descriptions carefully; it’s fairly easy to screw it up.

The North Rib route on Tyndall is much quicker and more pleasant than Williamson. It’s one of my favorites.

Water is usually available along the trail once you get into the Shepherd Creek drainage. It’s always available at Anvil Camp and the Pothole. You can also get water at the lakes near Shepherd Pass and in Williamson Bowl.

Edit: Typo

Last edited by bobpickering; 03/10/17 01:21 PM.
Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
BFR #49361 03/10/17 03:01 PM
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I posted a TR after my 2009 twofer, but I can’t find it here or on WPSMB. Steve couldn’t find it either, so I’m reposting it here. Note that in 2009, I filtered my water. The last two times I did Williamson, I didn’t bring a filter. Many people filter, and many don’t. You decide what’s best for you. Here is the original TR from my 7-7-2009 trip:

I hadn't heard of Mt. Williamson and Mt. Tyndall until my friend, Darryl, invited me on a trip to climb them. We camped at the Pothole the first night, climbed Williamson the second day, and climbed Tyndall the third day. I also climbed Mt. Keith that day. We hiked out on the fourth day. That was twenty years ago, and I've been back several times since.

In July 1990, I headed back up to climb Williamson and Tyndall in a single day. I started at 3:30 AM and staggered out at 10:30 PM, victorious, but trashed, and with one toenail no longer attached to anything.

A few years later, I got the bug to climb California's 14ers in the winter. My first Williamson/Tyndall attempt was in December 1994. I ended up soloing the north rib on Tyndall on New Year's Eve while my partner stayed at Anvil Camp because of mild AMS. That was the day I decided he wouldn't be a good partner for Denali.

A year later, right after Christmas, I attempted Williamson via George Creek. I had heard (and believed) horror stories about the bushwhack, but it was worse than I ever imagined. I had enough food and fuel for four days, but I had told my wife and my boss that I would be back in three. I ran out of time and had to give up at 11,300.

I was back for another Williamson Attempt on President's Day weekend (1996). My partner and I camped at Anvil Camp the first night. We summitted at 4:30 PM the next day, just as it started to snow. We had 6" when we got back to camp, and 12" the next morning.

I finished my winter 14er project and sort of drifted away from climbing. My aging parents needed assistance, we build a new house where we could keep our horses, and I discovered marathon running. Well, things changed again. After living long and fulfilling lives, my parents are gone. The house is complete, and I had to give up running because of an Achilles injury. The injury doesn't interfere with cycling, but I have to be careful when I hike or climb.

As I approached my 60th birthday (February 2009), I was thinking about projects and goals for the year. I decided to re-climb the California 14ers, plus Norman Clyde Pk. and Mt. Humphreys. I wondered whether I could still do Williamson and Tyndall in a single day, as I had done 19 years earlier. I decided to go for it, and set July 7 as the day.

I drove to the trailhead on Monday afternoon. The road was much better than I remembered. I hiked up the trail to check out the four stream crossings. I hadn't been there since 1996, and I didn't want to start a trip like this by getting lost or soaked in the dark. Then I ate a lot of spaghetti and went to bed. It was really hot, and then the wind rocked the camper for a few hours. Then it was time to get ready to go.

I hit the trail right at 3:00 AM. At 3:09, I stopped and yelled at myself: "You f*****g moron!" I had left my jacket in the camper! I hiked back down the trail to get my jacket. I started up for the second time at 3:17. Fortunately, the forgotten jacket was the only thing that went wrong the entire day.

I just marched up the trail until I got to Shepherd Pass. The steep section below the pass wasn't as long as I had remembered, but the trail was in terrible condition. It's mostly loose scree where there used to be a decent trail. That steep, loose, crap is really hard on my Achilles tendon, and I had to be very careful. The snow at the top of the pass was easy to cross with trail runners. It was 8:58.

I hiked over to Williamson bowl and dropped down to the first lake. I filtered some water, ate some food, put on hiking boots, and headed for Williamson with three climbers who had camped at the lake.

It was 10:30 when I was below the black water stains, 2,000 feet from the summit. I decided to try to make it before noon. I spent the next 1:29 at about 95% of my maximum cardio output, and summitted at 11:59 AM! After a short break, I started back down. The snow in the chute was a moderate obstacle going both up and down, since I didn't bring crampons or ace axe.

I made it back to the lake and retrieved some stuff I has stashed there. I hadn't seen the other climbers since 10:30, and I couldn't figure where they went. I headed up out of the bowl and really paid the price for climbing so hard on Williamson. I thought about blowing off Tyndall, but it is hard to pass up when you're that close.

I went up the north rib, reaching the summit at 4:02. I was still paying for pushing so hard on Williamson. I climbed back down the rib. There was a fair amount of snow near the route, but it was easy to bypass it. The detour up Tyndall had taken 2:20.

By the time I got to Shepherd Pass, it was 5:30, and the snow was icing up. It was a little dicey crossing the snow. I started feeling stronger, and made good time to Anvil Camp. I stopped to eat, filter some water, and change back into trail runners. After a 30-minute break, I headed back down the trail at 6:45.

The trip down the trail was as uneventful as the trip in. When I got to Mahogany Flats, I figured it was about time to get out the headlamp. My eyes adjusted as it got darker, and I could feel where the trail went when I couldn't see it. I made a game out of seeing how far I could go without the headlamp. I didn't get it out until I hit the first stream crossing at 9:30 PM! I got back to the camper at 9:56 PM.

Total time, car to car, was 18:39. That's 21 minutes faster than when I did the same climb 19 years ago. It feels really good to be able to do that at age 60!

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
bobpickering #49363 03/11/17 10:00 AM
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Fvcking animal. There's always someone richer, better looking and/or stronger than you.

I've hiked up Shepherd/over Rockwell to WLB (15 miles), I've hiked from Wallace over Rockwell/down Shepherd (20 miles), and I've hiked from Center basin over Forester/down Shepherd (18 miles) each in one day. That snow cornice always freaks me out. It really is best to start from the Symmes TH around 4am.

Last edited by Hobbes; 03/11/17 10:02 AM.
Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
Hobbes #49364 03/11/17 03:48 PM
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You may do Mt.Whitney in 9 hours, many young adults in any kind of shape do so or less time . Mt Williamson ( requires extensive route finding ability )has No Easy Way Up or Trail. Mt.Tyndal has a easy north side sand gravel shoulder . I have done both summits a few times - winter ( with skis , crampons, and ice axes ), and regular ( not winter ). The Sheperds Pass ( in it self ) is not easy and is considered as tough as Lamarch col . I have done both pass's a multitude of times in Winter and summer . The F.S. and P.S. both have warnings about the New Difficulties from massive slide damage done to the Sheperds Pass trail going up . The other posts make it sound easy as Pie, it is not ...unless you are in World Class shape and should possibly be doing K-2 type stuff. Money being the Travel constraint . No offense , for these few are indeed great athletes . If you are a regular,normal,or active mountainer / hiker in Shape then just Sepherds Pass will take a day up and down car to car . Most people ( non-Animals ) will camp at anvil camp or the pass and do the peaks from there , Then hike down ( with pack) to the trail head . You can do these peaks in one brutal day ( I have ) or in three or 4 Days with camping involved ( alot of Fun and Good Times ! ) With this Heavy Winter year ... there "Will be " a Very Steep and Massive Ice /snow covering on the Pass if not a Cornice . We have had Many rescue operations at Sheperds Pass and Lamarch Col . over the years and they were not Pretty . These are not " Green Runs " , so start running and duct tape your mouth shut ( to lose weight ) when you look like Bob then you can break the 7 hour barrier up and down Mt. Williamson from the Car . Unless, that record has been broken already ( Bob probably has done it and is keeping it to himself ) . Anyway, that is my two cents of an 60 year old guy babbling who has seen way to much Blood coming from others . Good luck and be Safe out there People ! Cheers! GST

Last edited by Sierra Angler; 03/11/17 04:01 PM.
Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
BFR #49366 03/11/17 10:29 PM
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Shepherd Pass is not the only approach to climb Williamson and Tyndall. In a heavy snow year like this one, much shorter routes up George Creek, Bairs Creek and the combination of Shepherd and Williamson Creek are good approaches to climb those mountains. The snow covers the brush and makes nice open highways up the normally brush-choked drainages. 2005 was also a heavy snow year, and the snow allowed me to day hike Williamson twice- once via George Creek and once via Bairs Creek, and day hike Tyndall via Shepherd and Williamson Creeks.

Another advantage of the snow is that the descent can be done very quickly via glissade, skis or snowboard. The quick, fun descents allowed me to day hike both Williamson routes using only daylight hours.

If you are able to assess avalanche conditions and are comfortable and competent on steep snow, any of those routes will provide an experience you won't soon forget.

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
bobpickering #49378 03/13/17 07:26 AM
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Thanks for the responses.

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
BFR #54114 08/20/18 09:59 AM
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Hello there, there seems to be a lot of knowledge about mt Williamson hike on this forum so I thought i'd ask for advice, as I am planning 2-day ascent, including hiking to williamson bowl on day 1, then doing Williamson and Tyndal on day 2 and return to car (last week I did Whitney in 13 hours from Whitney portal, so I believe this plan is doable for me). I have three main questions if somebody is familiar with the trail
* Is it possible to pitch a tent past Sheperd's pass, say in the Williamson bowl area, and does anyone recommend a particular spot there?
* if camping in the Williamson bowl, is it worth bringing a bear canister? or is it rare for bears to hang out at such altitude?
* there seems to be no precise route/path once you depart the Sheperd's pass trail towards to Mt Williamson bowl, neither a precise route up the east face, just some indications to go up the "black stains" and through the chimney. is the route to be find visually through these indications, or is there a defined trail?

thanks in advance

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
Rocco #54115 08/20/18 03:39 PM
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There are several excellent campsites at the first lake in the bowl (I think it is called Lake Helen of Troy on some maps), with an awesome front row seat to Tyndall's east (southeast?) face. I have camped there twice, and while I brought a bear canister, I feel at that elevation they are more helpful for keeping marmots out of your food and giving you a nice stool to sit on. I am sure bears pass through that area on occasion, but you are much less likely to encounter one there as opposed to Anvil Camp. I'd say it is lower risk, but your call. No defined trails once you leave SP, just a number of use trails that seem to fade in and out across sandy slopes to the bowl. I have found some good routes into the bowl towards the center of the ridge which lines the northern side of the bowl. Once in the bowl, I would recommend following the ridge that runs through the center of it as best you can. I have only done the west chute on Williamson with roughly 90% snow cover, so I cannot speak to the existence of any use trails there, but given the slope and substrate, I doubt there is anything with much definition. I saw a kid in Lone Pine this weekend wearing a t-shirt which said "Mt. Williamson, The K2 of the Sierra" and while that may be some slight hyperbole, it still puts every other 14er I have climbed in CA to shame with the exception of a dayhike of the Southwest Ridge of White Mountain Peak. Good luck with your attempt!

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
Rocco #54116 08/20/18 03:40 PM
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Rocco, I haven't gone up that trail in 30 years, but the elevation hasn't changed: You start at 6,400', and climb to Shepherd pass at 12,000, with a 500' drop and gain between Symmes and Shepherd creek. So be prepared for a big elevation day. I hope you will be packing extra light.

The vegetation is so sparse, there should not be any bear activity anywhere near Shepherd Pass.

Good luck!

I did both peaks in the same day, too. But we started up in the dark, dry-camped in the middle of the trail after gaining several thousand feet. Spent the next day climbing to Shepherd Pass. But we had extremely heavy packs.

Re: Mt Williamson day hike?
Rocco #54118 08/21/18 11:41 AM
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I did this trip last year in 2 1/2 days. We hiked over Shepherd's Pass and camped near the second lake to the south just over the pass. I'd recommend this spot as it's a great staging point for Mt. Tyndall and you don't have to carry a full pack in to and out of the Williamson Bowl. Day 2 we did Williamson and Tyndall and hiked down to the Pothole. We hiked out on the morning of day 3.

Check out his webpage. There is no defined route but I found it easy navigate based on the pics and route description on this site.

https://www.scaruffi.com/travel/williams.html

Good luck! It's an awesome trip.


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