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Ascent of Mount Williamson on 2013-07-21

Climber: Eric Kassan

Others in Party:Susan Murphy
James Cho
Date:Sunday, July 21, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Mount Williamson
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:14373 ft / 4380 m

Ascent Trip Report

I thought I was in decent shape given the peaks I did prior to this outing, but lugging a full pack up to Shepherds Pass nearly killed me. Most of the trail was fairly decent (except for a few sections damaged by a flash flood from the 7/21/13 storm) until about 3400m where it levels out but shifts to loose rock and dirt terrain- then it gets steeper and steeper until the pass. Between the cumulative exertion and the altitude, that final section was BRUTAL!

At the lake by the pass, there are numerous well-worn campsites, many of which are up against rocks offering some decent protection.

The hike up to the ridge overlooking the bowl is relatively easy. Their are numerous conflicting cairns but they can all be ignored to just aim for the low point on that ridge. There there was an outdated sign telling of the bighorn closure (which ended in 2011).

Navigating the bowl was much better than most reports indicate with most of the route following cairns on solid terrain. From the north shore of the last lake (WL 3733), the route to the "black stain" is fairly obvious following a contour to the right of the direct line.

Once above the black stain, the chute is obvious. Once there, one needs to stay in until one sees the notable chimney (about 40 feet tall). The chimney is basic class 3 climbing, though it can be a bit tricky to descend.

Once atop the chimney, it's easy (as easy as anything can be at 14,000+') class 2 to the summit.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:10154 ft / 3093 m
    Extra Gain:1040 ft / 316 m
    Distance:29 mi / 46.7 km
    Route:Shepherd Pass/Williamson Bowl
    Trailhead:Shepherd Pass Trailhead  6299 ft / 1919 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads



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