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Aug 9-11: Shepherd Pass and Mt Williamson
#59183 08/17/21 09:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
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futbol Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2017
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Acclimating
I spent two nights in Horseshoe Meadow, picking up my permit between them... also enjoying company with some cold bears.

Getting There
Dirt road is primitive, but my 2wd Ford Ranger made it to the trailhead again.

Along the Trail
Encountered Bob and Paul on the way up to Shepherd Pass, but going downhill. I was adjusting my bear cannister. They advised me to use an Ursack next time when a cannister is not absolutely required. They also said I had too much water, ant told me where the next source was.

Met Edwin at the JMT near Shepherd Pass (for the first time). He asked me if I was climbing Tyndall. I told him I was headed up Mt Williamson, at least first. He asked to tag along, which turned out to be great for me. Edwin has a fast pace which made me work harder. He also did most of the route finding. He had just bagged Whitney, Muir, and Langley along the JMT.

Bears and Berries
The last time I hiked Shepherd Pass Trail there was lots of evidence of recent bear activity. I was expecting the same this time. However, I realized that this was in mid to late September and we were now hiking in early August. The bears were absent because the berries (currants) were not ripe. The mosquitos were also missing (mostly) because the bears were gone. Bears will be all over the place when these turn blue.

[Linked Image]

Summit
The chimney required route finding to climb.

[Linked Image]

Me on the summit.

[Linked Image]

Edwin summited Mt Tyndall the next day. He banged his head 3 times on the granite. Good thing he was wearing a helmet.

After
The Totem Cafe chicken fried steak was delicious. Also, it took only 4.5 hours to get home. I originally planned to spend another night at Horseshoe Meadow to get some rest, but we both felt fine to drive.

Mistakes
Carried too much water on the way up (~8L).
Carried unnecessary gear (e.g., spikes).
Did not sleep enough beforehand.
Did not eat enough on the trail.
Took a fall on loose talus on the way down. Tumbled 4 times. Luckily, minor cuts and bruises. I'll wear a helmet next time for the trip down.

Next
I plan to drink water from Lake Tulainyo late September.

3 members like this: bobpickering, BFR, Igooooor
Re: Aug 9-11: Shepherd Pass and Mt Williamson
Steve C #59187 08/18/21 06:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 565
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Looks like a fine trip.

Sorry to hear about your fall. Glad you are okay.

Williamson's chute is very loose. It's pretty treacherous even if you pay attention: years back I was descending that chute with some climbing partners after making the summit. We were tired, but careful, as we picked our way back to the bowl we staggered ourselves to avoid knocking crud onto each other. Near the bottom of the face, I slipped on a sandy patch and simply slid onto my bum (no big tumble) when the weirdest thing happened. When I slipped a small cascade of sand started but it built and built over three seconds before eroding sand from beneath a microwave-sized boulder, which dislodged. I cried out "rock!" even though my buddy below was well off to the side. We were stunned when the boulder did one leisurely, slow roll down a sandy runnel smacking an embedded stone and glancing off at a higher speed. The rock changed direction down a steeper talus bed, hopping and pin-wheeling faster in a sloppy line towards my partner below. Fortunately, since I had called rock (even though it was obligatory and unconcerned at first) we had all stopped and paid attention. My buddy below had seen the change in direction and was on his toes the second the boulder careened towards him. He was bouncing up and down like a runner at the blocks as it wasn't clear if he needed to move. One final bounce of the boulder sent the boulder hurdling squarely at his chest. He dove out of the way with a little over a foot to spare. We all sat there for a moment grateful we had been careful, paid attention, and staggered ourselves. It took everyone doing stuff right to avoid disaster.

A buddy of mine recently was severely injured up in the Evolution region. Be safe out there!


@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for mainly landscape and mountain photos
Re: Aug 9-11: Shepherd Pass and Mt Williamson
Snacking Bear #59189 08/18/21 07:15 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
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futbol Offline OP
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Yeah, we found out that we were knocking free more rocks going down than going up the chute (especially me). We also decided to space out our descent.

I'm sure you are also familiar with the scree field on the way up to the Russell-Carillon Pass. It is a workout but not as hazardous as far as falling rocks go.

Re: Aug 9-11: Shepherd Pass and Mt Williamson
futbol #59191 08/18/21 10:17 AM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 565
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Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 565
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Yes. There's a lot of sand that way, which is real fun coming down.


@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for mainly landscape and mountain photos

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