Ascent of Mount Williamson on 2018-08-20

Climber: Rafee Memon

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, August 20, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Williamson
    Elevation:14373 ft / 4380 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Sierra Challenge ended the previous weekend, and I was anxious to get back up into the mountains. A few of my friends were planning trips for the following weekend, but since I would be out of town, I was determined to do something. Since I was feeling good and the weather forecast was perfect, I settled on Williamson, which I had been eyeing up for months. It would be the most demanding day hike I've attempted, requiring 30 miles round-trip and over 10,000 feet to gain.

I left the Bay Area early Sunday morning and headed to Saddlebag Lake where I warmed up on North Peak. I got a very early dinner in Bishop and was asleep in Independence at 7pm with a 1am wakeup time. I had a breakfast of tea and cookies and hit the road for the short drive to the Shepherd Pass Trailhead. The road was rough in spots, but not nearly as bad as the road to Taboose Pass a couple weeks earlier and easily passable in my low-clearance rental car.

I got started from the trailhead at 2:38am and made good progress up the trail, not taking my first break until three hours in just short of Anvil Camp. I reached Shepherd Pass at 7:15am where I got my first views of Tyndall and the Great Western Divide in the distance. I made my way up the sand slope and got a glimpse of the Williamson west face and the infamous Williamson Bowl. I climbed down into the bowl and crossed the ridge, reaching the final lake and the start of the ascent at around 9:00am. I climbed towards the black stain and into the chute. I had exceedingly low expectations for this part of the climb, but I managed to find relatively stable rock on the climber's right for most of the way up. I ascended the class 3 crack with relative ease, and I hopped over the last bits of talus and summited at 10:48am. The views from the summit were absolutely stunning. Tyndall, impressive from its base, was now dwarfed by the background of the Great Western Divide, including the Kaweahs and Milestone/Midway/Table. If I squinted hard enough, I could almost make out the hoards of people on Whitney to the south, whereas I had this entire mountain to myself.

I plunge stepped down the chute back to the lake, where I filled up on water and started the long walk back at 1:00pm. Having seen no one all morning, I passed numerous parties on the trail on the way down. Most thought I was insane for dayhiking Williamson, and one group had heard about me from the owner of the motel. The ascent back to the Symmes Canyon saddle was more brutal than I had hoped for, but it was an otherwise enjoyable descent through the canyons. I reached the trailhead at 6:11pm, drove to Lone Pine for dinner before I crashed, and then promptly crashed when I got back to Independence. I was utterly exhausted but not feeling as much like death as I had expected. I suppose my body is starting to accept these sufferfests.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:10499 ft / 3199 m
    Total Elevation Loss:10499 ft / 3199 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:9286 ft / 2830 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 8073 ft / 2460 m; Extra: 1213 ft / 369m
    Loss on way in:1213 ft / 369 m
    Distance:31 mi / 49.9 km
    Route:West Face
    Start Trailhead:Shepherd Pass TH  6300 ft / 1920 m
    Time:8 Hours 10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:9286 ft / 2830 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 8073 ft / 2460 m; Extra: 1213 ft / 369m
    Gain on way out:1213 ft / 369 m
    End Trailhead:Shepherd Pass TH  6300 ft / 1920 m
    Time:6 Hours 50 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rafee Memon
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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