Mount Tyndall North Rib

Independence, California

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Clarence King and Richard Cotter made the first ascent of this peak in the summer of 1864 while working on the Whitney Survey. They named the peak for John Tyndall, a noted British scientist and alpine explorer. They spotted the peak from the distant summit of Mt. Brewer, and thinking it to be the tallest of the peaks on the crest, set off on an epic five-day expedition to claim the summit, crossing the rugged Kings-Kern Divide twice in the process. In his book, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, King presented an account of their ascent. “If Nature had intended to secure the summit from all assailants, she could not have planned her defenses better; for the smooth, granite wall which rose above the snow slope continued, apparently quite round the peak and we looked in great anxiety to see if there was not one place where it might be climbed.” King’s account reflected the day’s romantic style of writing. In contrast, his official report tersely stated, “The summit was reached, without serious difficulty, after some risky climbing.” The huge east face of Tyndall is very reminiscent of the east face of Mt. Whitney.
Climbing California's High Sierra

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Climbing California's High Sierra

by John Moynier & Claude Fiddler (Falcon Guides)

Clarence King and Richard Cotter made the first ascent of this peak in the summer of 1864 while working on the Whitney Survey. They named the peak for John Tyndall, a noted British scientist and alpine explorer. They spotted the peak from the distant summit of Mt. Brewer, and thinking it to be the tallest of the peaks on the crest, set off on an epic five-day expedition to claim the summit, crossing the rugged Kings-Kern Divide twice in the process. In his book, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, King presented an account of their ascent. “If Nature had intended to secure the summit from all assailants, she could not have planned her defenses better; for the smooth, granite wall which rose above the snow slope continued, apparently quite round the peak and we looked in great anxiety to see if there was not one place where it might be climbed.” King’s account reflected the day’s romantic style of writing. In contrast, his official report tersely stated, “The summit was reached, without serious difficulty, after some risky climbing.” The huge east face of Tyndall is very reminiscent of the east face of Mt. Whitney.

©  John Moynier & Claude Fiddler/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Independence
Class: Class 3
Local Contacts: Inyo National Forest; Sequoia National Park
Local Maps: USGS Mt. Williamson, Manzanar
Driving Directions: Directions to Mount Tyndall: North Rib

Recent Trail Reviews

8/1/1972
1

From Shepherd Pass Trail at Shepherd Pass (12,000 ft) go southeast around the right side of Lake at 12,000 feet and up under Mount Tyndall at the low point that crosses into Williamson Bowl. From here a narrow rib of rock comes directly down the North face of Mt Tyndall. It is easy to spot because the entire north face is very smooth and very formidable. This single rib of rock is easy to climb with almost no exposure except the last 100 yards of the main ridge to the summit. Where the North Rib comes in contact with the main ridge there is one class 3 pitch to gain the ridge itself. From this point to the summit is a very exposed knife edge and many climbers will want a belay for safety. An easy return route is via the Northwest Ridge route, class 2 (standard route). The North Rib route of Mount Tyndall is among the top 10 class 3 routes in the Sierra and is a beautiful climb.



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