Mount Williamson

Featured photo of Mount Williamson

Mount Williamson is the second highest mountain in California, located roughly five miles north of Mount Whitney (14,494 ft.), the highest. Mount Williamson is located one mile east of the main crest of the Sierra Nevada, and is a massive mountain, dominating its neighboring mountains, and dominating the western view for fifty miles along U.S. Highway 395. Additional text submitted by Brent Harder: Mt. Williamson is the second highest peak in California, only second to Mt. Whitney. From Highway 395 in the Owens Valley it can be seen for 50 miles. There are times of the year when the area is restricted, so be sure to check with the Mt. Whitney Ranger District Office in Lone Pine. Because of this restriction, climbing is only open from December 15th to July 15th. By far the worst part of this climb is the 10 mile approach from Shepherd Pass Trailhead to Shepherd Pass. It is recommended to climb Mt. Tyndal and Mt. Williamson once in the Shepard Pass area, since you have exerted the approach effort already. The standard West Face Route starts on the southern portion of the West face. The climber will enter a large chute and climb either snow (preferably) or skree for aproximately 1000 vertical feet. A broken rocky cliff stops progress and the crux of the climb is the final challenge. It is fairly easy yet exposed class 3 rock climbing for about one pitch. A rope and a few nuts may be useful here for protection. Once this pitch is compleated, the summit ridge is an easy scramble to the South (main) Summit to the right (Southeast).

Elevation (feet): 14,370
Elevation (meters): 4,380
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Sierra Nevada
State: California
Latitude: 36.6561
Longitude: -118.31
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1884
First successful climber(s): W. L. Hunter, C. Mulholland
Nearest major airport: Reno, Nevada, Los Angeles, California
Convenient Center: Lone Pine, California

Trip Reports

There are 32 trip reports for Mount Williamson.

  • Log #8116 - by Scott C. Boyd on July 13, 20043.00 stars
    SORRY, the previous post by me was intended for Mt Langley. Hopefully someone can remove my previous erroneous post from the Mt Williamson log for me. Sorry, and thank you!!! Williamson is next years...
  • Log #8117 - by Scott C. Boyd on July 14, 20043.00 stars
    Beautiful views and CLEAR day-could see over 80 miles in every direction including White Mountain Peak which we summited 3 days later. We backpacked to Muir Lake left about 6:30am and summited and...
  • Log #8118 - by Robert Charles Altman on July 15, 20043.00 stars
    Day hike summit via West Face route. I left at 12:35am from the Shepherd Pass trailhead. It was early when I arrived at the pass. I hiked across the bowl without trouble.
  • Log #8119 - by Michel A Etchebarne on June 07, 20043.00 stars
    Departed from base trail head (Eastern Approach)at 4:30 a.m. Friday and summited at 4:35 p.m. Back down to the trail head by 1:30 Saturady morning. Round trip at 21 hours.
  • Log #8120 - by Scotty Strachan on Mar 18, 20043.00 stars
    Dayhiked the Northeast Ridge route with my friend Barry Beck from the Shepherd's Pass trailhead on a summer day in 2002. No climbing gear was used, so we freeclimbed all 4th-5th sections of the...
  • Log #8121 - by Kyle Forman on Nov 26, 20033.00 stars
    Started at 5am, made the summit around noon. The day was very calm and sunny. Descended the same way, the normal route, and headed towards Tyndall; summit it, and back at the car at nightfall.
  • Log #8122 - by Bradley Hirsch on Nov 26, 20033.00 stars
    Beautiful hike. Camped by the lake at the base of Tyndall. It was long but not terribly so. Crossing Williamson Bowl was the only really annoying aspect.
  • Log #8123 - by Doug McKenzie on Oct 04, 20033.00 stars
    Very long 1-day hike up the N fork of Bairs Creek. The summit plateau is huge & unforgettable. The summit register back then had entries back to the 1920's. Next time was up the West side from...
  • Log #8124 - by an anonymous user on Oct 04, 20033.00 stars
    Many personal firsts on this trip: 1st successful solo climb, 1st fourteener, 1st winter trip, 1st time I ever used crampons... Very little snow below 12,000 feet. Weather was cold, as expected, but...
  • Log #8125 - by Skip Post on Apr 03, 20033.00 stars
    Several days around the peak. Original approach, West Face.
  • Log #8126 - by Dan Wiedrich on Mar 14, 20033.00 stars
    There were 6 of us who successfully climbed Mt Williamson via the West Face. We camped the 1st night an Anvil Camp. The 2nd day there was a lot of icy snow below Shephard's pass - we put crampons on...
  • Log #8127 - by Chris Bielecki on Oct 19, 20023.00 stars
    Approaching from the first non-frozen lake in the bowl, and knowing only to aim for a gully, I headed for the northern most chute on the west face. After a few ups and downs, with some loose class 4,...
  • Log #8128 - by Miguel Forjan on July 16, 20023.00 stars
    Climbed the West Face route on July 14, 2002. Hiked most of the day on Saturday, July 13th. After Shepherd's Pass, set up camp near the second lake (after the pass) at 12,500ft. Next day got an...
  • Log #8129 - by marius on July 11, 20023.00 stars
    Via Shepherd pass, regular route. First night at Anvil, next day over Shepherd pass and did Tyndall in the afternoon, 3rd day summit, 4th day out from Shepherd pass (long!). Completely snow free, no...
  • Log #8130 - by Richard Hanson on July 09, 20023.00 stars
    Twenty-four years ago this July (2002), my 12 year old son Mark, a friend from Houston, Paul Cunningham and myself set out from the parking lot at the base of Shephard Pass to spend about a week...
  • Log #8131 - by Craig Peer on July 01, 20023.00 stars
    Three of us ( myself, Tim Winiarski and Bob Lathuras ) climbed the 100 classics route " The Long Twisting Rib " ( rated 5.4 ) on the north side of Mt. Williamson. We summited the West...
  • Log #8132 - by Blake Hinman on May 29, 20023.00 stars
    Entered from Shepards Pass trail head at 6:30 am and had a relaxing stroll with a few naps to the base of Shepards Pass and arrived there feeling great at 4:30pm where we set up camp. Left the next...
  • Log #8133 - by Miguel Forjan on Apr 29, 20023.00 stars
    Did not actually reached the true summit. Made it to the East Horn at 14,125 ft. I wrote a short account of the climb. Go to http://www.
  • Log #8134 - by Mark on Mar 06, 20023.00 stars
    I made my 2d effort to summit in winter via the NE Ridge. There was little snow cover until above about 10,800' which meant lots of nasty bushwacking and scree/talus crossing. On summit day, despite...
  • Log #8135 - by Louis M Lenzenhuber on Jan 04, 20023.00 stars
    (4) attempts 1989-1992 varrious people did summit the last two attempts The long way in via Anvil Camp & Shepherds Pass I heard a woman refer to it as the death march to Anvil Camp but it is...
  • Log #8136 - by Dave Hess & Joel Debortoli on July 17, 20013.00 stars
    Summited at 10AM, on Friday, July 13th with James Kolter after a 4 hour climb from the 2nd lake at Sherpherd's Pass -we spent 1/2 hour on the summit. 14er #5 for me. It was my second attempt (we were...
  • Log #8137 - by Jesse on June 11, 20013.00 stars
    My friend Dave and I climbed the magnificent NE ridge with the intention to bag all of Williamson's three summits. After a glorious 2 a.m. start we hiked through beautiful desert pinyon forests till...
  • Log #8138 - by Greg Arnold on May 23, 20013.00 stars
    Took the chute out of Williamson Basin, good ice in the morning on the way up. Always wanted to summit this one. Rob Mansfield along too.
  • Log #8139 - by Mason Kelsey on Apr 15, 20013.00 stars
    Climbing Mt. Williamson We only climbed 4,000 feet up Kearsarge Pass That rainy day, pitched our tents in the trail, To tired to care, we made a fast meal, Put our bodies into bags, sleeping...
  • Log #8140 - by Mark on Mar 14, 20013.00 stars
    We attempted the NE Ridge in early March '01 but were turned back after 3 days by too deep, unstable snow. The ascent was very slow going. Our high point was only 10,600 feet. Still, it was extremely...
  • Log #8141 - by Brent Harder on July 02, 20003.00 stars
    Nick Soelberg and I are on a long term quest to summit all of the California 14,000' peaks. (1 short as of 7-2-00) In May of 1993 we summitted both Mt. Tyndal and Mt. Williamson, which we highly...
  • Log #8142 - by Stan Sattelberg on Jan 26, 20003.00 stars
    The Sierra Climbers Guide date for the first ascent is off by about twenty years. I'll be publiching the documentation next year. I enjoyed crawling up through the "tunnel" under the...
  • Log #8143 - by Brent Harder on Dec 09, 19993.00 stars
    Nick Soleberg and I climbed this fine peak the day after summitting Tyndal. The toughest part of the climb in my opinion is the approach to get over the seemed to me to be the most...
  • Log #8144 - by Jeff Tynan on July 12, 19993.00 stars
    Summitted Williamson with my brother Scott, Dave Sundius, and Dick Bennett while Dad climbed Mt. Tyndall. Awesome peak with terrific view of Whitney, Russell, and Langley. No bears and no Big Horns.
  • Log #8145 - by Joel D. Goldberg on July 07, 19993.00 stars
    Summiting Williamson's via the West Face Route has got to be one of the most physically demanding class 3 climbs in the Sierras. "Hell-For-Sure" Pass deserves its name. Ascending two...
  • Log #8146 - by bob macdonald on June 16, 19993.00 stars
    my friend ed rose and i made an epic 3 day ascent by way of george creek.we had a beautiful high camp just below the southeast was a snow and ice climb with axe and crampons.what a great...
  • Log #8147 - by David L. Underwood on May 04, 19993.00 stars
    From the west with Bill T. Russell and others. Day climb from Anvil Camp on Shepherd Pass.