Mt. Williamson

3-6 Jul 1992 - by Brian Healy

This was my third trip up Mt. Williamson (14,375 feet) and the first for Bill Hauser and Janet Condino. We left San Jose on Thursday, July 2 in my car. We spent the night camping near Deadman Summit on US 395.

Friday, we picked up the permit in Lone Pine, drove to the Symmes Creek / Shepherd Pass trailhead, and began the hike under overcast clouds which made the long desert trek endurable. Near the beginning of the trail, we saw a two foot long rattlesnake. Formerly, one had to wade four streams, but someone has placed large boulders, allowing one to cross without getting wet. According to Bill, we have the Los Angeles chapter to thank. We spent the night at Anvil Camp feeding the mosquitoes.

Saturday, July 4, we hiked up over Shepherd Pass and into the Williamson lakes basin where we spent the night at the 12,200 foot lake closest to Mt. Tyndall. There were very strong winds blowing; we estimated 40 to 50 miles per hour. Sunday, we awoke at 5:00am and were underway by 6:00am. The weather was overcast, still very windy, with lenticular clouds blowing from the west. The sometimes dark and cloudy weather was apparently being spun off from the Mexican hurricane Darby. We wandered around the lakes and headed for the famous large black water marks, where there was ice and flowing water. We then climbed up the 1500 foot scree gully, encountering some hail but nothing serious.

The gully ends in a 75 foot class 3 chute where Bill and I spent a half hour looking at the ice and debating going further. We did, climbing up to the very large summit plateau, then wandered up over snow and talus to Williamson's summit, arriving at 10:00am. We spent ten minutes on the summit looking at the view and the summit registers.

We found an envelope addressed to the leader from the June 27-28 PCS climbers containing two expired fast food coupons. Janet soon arrived as Bill and I headed off the summit. She briefly visited the top, then all three of us headed back to our lakeside campground. After an hour's rest, we packed up and moved back over the pass to Anvil Camp. Monday morning, we hiked back down to the cars.

An often repeated statement about mountaineering is that the most dangerous part of the trip is the drive to and from the trailhead. I managed to demonstrate this by hitting a boulder while exiting the trailhead parking area and severing part of my fuel line. We were able to drive to Independence (leaking 3/4 of a tank of gas), where a mechanic spliced the broken line, allowing us to drive home.


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