Mount Tyndall

19-20 Jul 2003 - by Sid Rao

8 of us, Sid, Mehran, Zoe, Suraj, Michelle, Alex, Kerri and Benson, started at 5:30am Sat instead of the planned 4am. Kerri, had decided to come only up to base camp since she was not comfortable with class 3. Reached Shepard pass between 1-1:30pm, set up camp.

This was the first decision point: Looking at the clouds some of the people from the group decided not to go up the peak. Couple were undecided. Benson and Sid decided to go up. Meanwhile others changed their mind and all 7 of us headed up. Conditions: Watching these for about an hour and a half, these were high moving clouds with sun peeping in once in a while. The peak (about 200-300' of top)was a couple of times covered with clouds. No rain or thunder.

We started up Mt Tyndall from the lake near Shepard pass between 2 and 2:15pm via North Rib 5 of us peaked between 4-4:30pm 2 turnaround since rain caught up with them before they could hit the ridge. At around 4pm, it started drizzling later on, with mixture of hail, and we heard a thunder. At this point, Alex was on/near the peak, Michelle, Zoe and Sid were on/near the main ridge, Mike was near the ridge but he came up to the right of N Rib. Benson and Suraj were 10-20min away from reaching the ridge.

This was the second decision pt: Benson and Suraj turned around. Alex peaked and started heading down. The rest decided to go down the NE ridge (class 2/3) instead of the way we came up (class 3) since due to rain it would be slippery compared (assumption) to the scree field of NE ridge. In retrospect N Rib was the better option.

3rd dec. pt: After reaching the main ridge at around 4pm the peak was about 200ft far and about 20ft higher, so we decided to rush to it. mistake?

Alex reached the top by 4 and was on his way down when Michele, Zoe and Sid reached the peak at 4:10, Mike followed via the route to the right of North Rib. Alex started down the North Rib around 4:15pm. The rest of us (Mike, Sid, Michele, Zoe) decided to go down the easier North ridge route.In order to go down NE ridge we had to stay close to the main ridge for about 0.1m, we heard another thunder at this time and this forced us to get down quickly and soon we were down 1000ft from the peak. But in trying to avoid the ridge (because of chances of lightning) we had headed south and had to cross the SE ridge to get back on track. Due to rain the rocks were slippery and the ridge crossing was too dangerous.

4th dec pt: Given the new situation we decided to go down south, circle around west tyndall and join the trail back to shepard pass near tyndall creek. Other choice was to go back up to N Rib or try to cross the SE ridge. We walked along Wright creek and started heading north towards the ridge coming west,off of west tyndall.

5th dec pt: It was 9:30pm by now and the choice was between continuing to walk in night and try to reach the campsite. Pros: Keep moving to lower chances of hypothermia, Cons: We were moving in the right direction and knew the general area we were in but were not able to pinpoint exact location on map. Energy level was low and could lead to injury on uncertain terrain, since we had to cross a ridge (didn't know the terrain, talus?). The other option was to huddle together for the night and rest and start off first thing in the morning. Cons: Hypothermia, especially if it rained. We opted for 2nd option. Luckily it didn't rain and the temp. was around 45-50.

Next day at around 5:30am we headed N, crossed the ridge and joined the trail back and reached Shepard pass base camp at 7:00am.

Meanwhile on Sat night Alex and Kerri went to the Sequoia ranger station to inform the ranger(nobody was there). Alex had planned to go down to the cars and call on Sunday morning but we just radioed in before he could leave telling him of our postion.

Hiked out on Sunday morning 9:30am, did not attempt Mt. Keith.

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