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Mount Williamson (West Face) Professional Review and Guide
"The second-highest peak in California, after Whitney, and fifth-highest in the contiguous United States. Mount Williamson is a large peak and a major undertaking. With almost 9,000 feet of vertical gain, a 15-mile trek to the peak, and exposed, Class 3 rock, it is not for the timid. The climb of Williamson is often combined with an ascent of Mount Tyndall on successive days."
--Jay Anderson, Climbing California's Mountains (Falcon Guides).
We left Thursday from the trial head about 1630 and made it to Anvil camp at 22:30, the last 1000 vertical feet in the dark. The next morning we hiked up over Shepherd Pass and on to about 12,400 feet to the base of Mt. Tyndall where we left our packs. There was considerable snow below Shepherd pass but very not difficult with ice axes. Crampons were not needed. The route up Tyndall was bare except for some snow patches near the bottom and a final rather steep stretch near the top, about 200 vertical feet. Once through the slot on the ridge there was no snow. Up and down Tyndall including an hour at the top was about 4.5 hours. We spent the night at the base of Tyndall at 12,400 feet. The next morning we left at 0730 and hiked into Williamson Bowl sweeping around the bowl in a counter clockwise fashion till we were at the base of the black water stain where the route begins up Williamson. This took about an hour and included about 1.5 miles on snow, but it was very hard in the morning. The route up Williamson was clear except for some minor snowfields about 2/3s up where an ice axe was very helpful. The final class-3 pitch was snow free. The summit had some snow but the top was clear. Took about 2.5 hours up the route to the summit. No wind, beautiful day. Went down the same way and returned to our packs at the base of Tyndall at about 1500. Left here at 1530 and returned to car are 2030. Did almost 11,000 vertical feet. Not bad for a 49 year old!
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