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Shepherd’s Pass to Onion Valley
#57821 07/31/20 05:52 AM
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Original trip from OV to Mt Whitney fell apart due to trip leader bailing. Everything got cancelled. I got a permit to enter Shepherds Pass and exit at OV for August 13-17th. I hear Shepherd Pass trail is a ball buster and wondered if any had been up there recently?
Itinerary is:
Shepherds Pass TH ——— Anvil Camp
Anvil Camp ————- Center Basin
Center Basin ——— Vindette Meadows
Vindette Meadows ——- Onion Valley

I will be soloing this trip. Any info you have would be great!

Re: Shepherd’s Pass to Onion Valley
eegallatin #57822 07/31/20 08:31 AM
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The biggest thing is the elevation of the trailhead: 6300'. It is hot dry desert there. When I did that climb, we started after dark, and hiked with headlamps until midnight -- that way we beat the heat. Or you could start super early, and try to gain some elevation before the heat sets in.

Here's the trailhead on Caltopo   and on Google satelite.

Anvil Camp is at 10,800, so you have a huge climb the first day! So yes, it is a bear.

By the way, you will be lucky if you can find a trail between Anvil Camp and Center Basin. The map shows a route, but I've not heard of anyone going that route. Looking at the satellite view today, I see there is a section @36.6931461,-118.3282242 where it appears the Forest Service is working on restoring the Junction Pass trail. Once you get the Junction Pass, you can find the old abandoned trail. But that is a killer route, since you go from Anvil Camp to Junction Pass at 13,300'. No water all the way on day 2.

By the way, I see you are from Ohio. This hike is not ideal for someone not accustomed to the Sierra. If you could hike it in the other direction, it would be easier, since the elevation gain is slower. Good luck!!

Last edited by Steve C; 07/31/20 08:50 AM.
Re: Shepherd’s Pass to Onion Valley
eegallatin #57833 08/01/20 01:02 PM
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I went over Shepherd Pass a week ago to climb Williamson and Tyndall. I’m going over next week for the 18th time. Some people never learn.

Yes, it’s a ball buster. 6,000’ of gain, including the 500’ you have to gain twice because the trail goes down 500’ on the way up. We started up at 6:00 AM last week and got to the pass at 2:00 PM. Many people will want to camp at Anvil Camp, rather than do it all in one day. The pass has many good campsites and a superb view of Tyndall.

There are four stream crossings down low. All can be done without taking your boots off or getting them wet. There is flowing water near the bottom of the 500’ descent. I drink it unfiltered; just hike above the trail to fill up. Anvil Camp has lots of water, but I would filter there because of all the human traffic. There is water gushing out of the rocks just right of the trail at about 11,000’. I always stop there and never filter.

The last several hundred feet of the trail are steep and loose. This section of trail is by far the worst. However, they have done some maintenance recently, and the trail isn’t nearly as bad as it has been in past years.

Finally, there is a patch of snow near the top of the trail. That snow can be absolutely treacherous, especially early in the season. Last week, the snow had melted out where the trail crosses it, so you will be able to walk across on dry dirt.

Re: Shepherd’s Pass to Onion Valley
bobpickering #57836 08/01/20 03:16 PM
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Thanks for posting Bob. Maybe I misread the original post. He wrote Center Basin, so I assumed he meant via Junction Pass. But he wrote in the title "Shepherd Pass". So I guess he meant joining the JMT to get to the Center Basin creek.


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