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12 - Shepherd Pass

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Mt. Tyndall 
Mt. Williamson 

12 - Shepherd Pass Rock Climbing 

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Location: 36.72732, -118.27886 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Chris Owen, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Owen on Aug 5, 2015
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The impressive East Face of Mt Tyndall


The hike over Shepherd Pass to access Mounts Williamson and Tyndall is not to be taken lightly, and is best split into a two day affair. The basin on the west side of the pass is vast and remote with sprawling vistas of the Great Western Divide to the west.

Mount Tyndall was mistakenly first climbed by Clarence King on his quest to climb the highest mountain in the then-USA (pre-Alaska) - when he got to the top looking south he realized his error.

Both Williamson and Tyndall are 14-thousanders, and if peak-bagging is your game it's advised to knock both of these off with only one hike over Shepherd Pass.

The most logical place to camp is the lake just south of the pass on the west side.

Shepherd Pass is the standard starting point of the famous Sierra High Route ski mountaineering traverse, which is one of North America's classic backcountry ski tours.

Getting There 

Shepherd Pass Trailhead
From Hwy 395 in Independence, turn west on Market street, drive 4.3 miles to Foothill road, turn left. The road is not paved but wide for a while. The first parking lot (1.25 miles on Foothill Rd) is the stock trail. The road turns left and narrows considerably. In theory, only 4WD can go beyond this point. If you want to reach the hiker's trail, keep going on this very dusty collapsing road, and turn right at the next two forks. It's about 1.25 miles further down than the stock trail, which means that it saves you a mile and a quarter of hiking.

The road is in terrible conditions (2013). It occasionally gets re-graded, but within two years it returns to its state of "quasi-impassable". It easily takes 30 minutes from Independence to the trailhead.

There is no campground, but one can just pitch tent at the trailhead and leave the car there. There are no bear boxes and there is no drinkable water. The hike over the pass is long and arduous, and may be sensibly split into two days camping at Anvil Camp.

Are available here.

Climbing Season

For the High Sierra area.

Weather station 6.5 miles from here

6 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in 12 - Shepherd Pass

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for 12 - Shepherd Pass:
North Rib   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a     Trad, Alpine   Mt. Tyndall
West Face   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a     Trad, Alpine   Mt. Williamson
North East Ridge   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c X     Trad, Alpine, 8000'   Mt. Williamson
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in 12 - Shepherd Pass

Featured Route For 12 - Shepherd Pass
Rock Climbing Photo: About half of the route, not seen is the  summit h...

North East Ridge Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c California : High Sierra : ... : Mt. Williamson
STILL WORKING ON THE ROUTE PAGEVertical-TH to Summit: 8000 feetTotal climbing vertical: 11,000 feetRound Trip: 25 miles The Northeast Ridge of Mount Williamson is a Sierra classic--not for the history (which it has--in his twilight years, Norman Clyde claimed that he had made the FA in the 1920s, and Warren Harding made his maniac bones in an epic first winter ascent recounted in Doug Scott's "Big Wall Climbing"), and not for clean, good rock, which it has, at least when it counts, nor for the v...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of 12 - Shepherd Pass Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit of Tyndall with Williamson in background.
Summit of Tyndall with Williamson in background.
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit of Shepherd Pass.
Summit of Shepherd Pass.
Rock Climbing Photo: Anvil Camp (aka Advil Camp) on Shepherd Pass trail...
Anvil Camp (aka Advil Camp) on Shepherd Pass trail...
Rock Climbing Photo: A few more steps to the summit.
A few more steps to the summit.

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