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Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
#59495 04/13/22 08:53 AM
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Hello all,

I have experience climbing class 3 14ers in Colorado and doing high-country backpacking trips off trail. So I am planning a trip later this year and wanted to tap the collective knowledge of this group to see how doable this route would be. Obviously, doing both Williamson and Whitney will be difficult especially going George creek and multiple passes. But so far, everything I've seen is that this would be doable without ropes or any climbing gear. But I want to make sure and get some input.


https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=13...kId=479750da-8ea2-4166-9720-0dffa75a5211

If the group thinks this is impassable or just a very bad idea, I'd love some input on alternatives as someone who hasn't hike the sierra's.

Thank you in advance.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
JCrom777 #59496 04/13/22 11:02 AM
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You wouldn't need any special climbing gear as the route you are suggesting tops out at 3rd class. The topo you posted has a different route up to Williamson from George Creek than is typical. The George Creek approach comes up from the drainage on the southeast. George Creek is a very difficult approach even if you have that high sierra cardio going -- would suggest spending a lot of time studying that part of the route. You should also climb Tyndall since you'll be in the area and it's a real pain to get back there! I would also consider any or all of the dinner plate peaks (Tunnabora, Carillon, Russell, Morgenson, Cleaver) as you pass through!

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
BFR #59497 04/13/22 11:35 AM
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Thank you so much for feedback! You actually addressed one of my biggest concerns, George Creek. I haven't been able to find any track or gps of the George Creek route. I've read about it. I understand there's a lot bushwhacking and trail-finding and that most people that take it end up hating it. Lol. I am in good shape. I like avoiding the crowds and not too concerned about route-finding. That said any gps or trip reports you could point me too would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
JCrom777 #59498 04/13/22 11:41 AM
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Here's a good trip report from Bob Burd on Williamson via George Creek:
https://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/williamson_3.html

I would recommend looking up GPX files for Trojan Peak on Peakbagger. You will quickly find a .gpx for Trojan Peak which shares the same beginning part through the George Creek drainage.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
JCrom777 #59500 04/13/22 08:49 PM
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You're biting off a major hike for your first time Sierra experience!! If I were you, I would take the Shepherd Pass trail -- it is a decent (and grueling) trail, not a bushwhack. You're going to be hauling a full pack with a number of days' supplies, too. So take the trail!

Over the years, I have done the Shepherd Pass trail, and bagged Tyndall and Williamson from the Williamson Bowl. Williamson has a short crack to climb--we did it without any technical gear, but that might give you a little trouble. We were planning on taking your planned route over Mt Barnard and over to Whitney, but bailed after a bad night of the worst wind ever at Lake Helen of Troy.

I've hiked up from Wallace Lake over the Carillon/Russell pass and the descent on your map as well.

You'll want to pack lightweight as much as possible, since you will be hauling that pack and gear over 14k elevation multiple times. I do hope you know about AMS and how to acclimate, because you will be getting as much as anyone on this trip!

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
JCrom777 #59504 04/14/22 12:04 PM
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If you want to ascend Williamson on a path less traveled, but perhaps a bit more accessible than George Creek, you might consider the N. Bairs Creek drainage. I have not done this, but have read lots of trip reports and it appears to be relatively benign. There is a description of this route about half way down the page here: N. Bairs Creek Route

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
JCrom777 #59505 04/15/22 10:07 AM
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As others have said, I would go over Shepherd Pass. George Creek used to be open only a few weeks each year. It sucks. I had an unpleasant and unsuccessful attempt on Williamson in January 1995.

All the peaks over 13K in that area are worthwhile. Tag as many as you have time for. Tyndall and Trojan are especially nice. Carillon is trivial from your route. Russell is one of my favorites, though it’s exposed.

Your route takes you right past Upper Boy Scout Lake. I would leave my heavy pack there, tag Whitney as a quick dayhike, and descend directly to Whitney Portal. However, if you insist on hauling your heavy pack up the Mountaineers’ Route, I would tag Muir on the way to Trail Crest.

Finally, class 3 in Colorado tends to be easier than class 3 in California. Descending the west face of Williamson wearing a heavy pack after you came up from George Creek could get pretty interesting. If you use Shepherd Pass and camp in Williamson Bowl, you could tag Williamson with just a daypack.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
BFR #59506 04/15/22 10:31 AM
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This was GREAT advice. I can't thank you enough. Trojan files on peakbagger had everything I needed to see what passes and routes were possible. And that Bob Burd description was very helpful as well.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
Steve C #59507 04/15/22 11:21 AM
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Thank you for input. And yes, I am aware that this is not the preferred or recommended route. It will be steep and a leg burner and I will hate myself at times. But that's part of the fun, right? I enjoy the challenge of bushwacking and routefinding. This isn't my first rodeo even if it will be my first time in the Sierra's. But essentially every time I go on a trip like this it is my first time at that place so you got to take your chances and know when to turn around. I may reconsider and go the well traveled route. I'm still exploring the area and finding out as much as possible to come to my ultimate decision on the route so I genuinely appreciate all feedback.

I've got all the UL gear and am prepared to deal with the elevation. Despite being a flatlander I don't suffer the effects as acutely as other people so I am lucky in that regard. Thanks again.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
bobpickering #59508 04/15/22 11:27 AM
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Excellent feedback. Right now my focus is Williamson and Whitney but if my legs feel strong after that first ascent I will probably do as many as i can. And day packing was was my intent with Whitney and I have been trying to figure out what to do with Williamson as far as daypack vs full gear, timing, camping, and route, and realize I could shed the extra weight and do daypack from Williamson. It may be that my hand is forced and I have to take Shephard if I want to do it that way. Trying to be economical with distance and avoid crowds could just be adding unnecessary difficulty.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
jackeichler #59509 04/15/22 11:30 AM
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Thanks. I saw some routes on peakbagger using N. Bairs creek route but seemed like it was closer to class 4, which I wanted to avoid with a multi-day pack. I hadn't found that trip report so I will consider it.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
JCrom777 #59511 04/16/22 09:58 AM
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You can check my GPS recording from last year here: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=11...2d83fceb215e00c8d7ea2a3685edc195ff8f26b9

Williamson via Shepard Pass, Down to George Creek, Up to Trojan and Barnard, Down to Wallace Lake, Russell - Carillon Pass, Whitney via Mountaineering Route and down to Portal via Whitney Trail.

I took the wrong way down from Williamson to George Creek, so don't go this way. Crazy long, steep chute and any little mistake can get you injured.

https://www.flickr.com/gp/194919264@N03/e542Xx

Red and purple are correct ways up/down. Blue is a chute I took.

Re: Williamson to Whitney High Country Route
JCrom777 #59512 04/17/22 08:52 PM
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> Trying to be economical with distance and avoid crowds could just be adding unnecessary difficulty.

That made me chuckle. You definitely won't have any crowds. You will be lucky to cross paths with a single soul most of your route(s). Until you reach the Whitney area.


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