Many of you have been following the achievements of my hiking partners, Clem Bingham, and Fred Cochran, and I, through my column, “Mountain Secrets,” over the years in the Sierra Star, and sierrastar.com.
Almost every adventure we have attempted, we accomplished and shared with you in print.
A few years ago we broaden our horizons to hiking the mountains from the east side or Owens Valley. During the past few years we have successfully climbed the tallest peak in the lower 48 states - Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet. Our second adventure was to climb Mount Williamson, the second tallest peak in California (just 105 feet shorter than Mt. Whitney), and the sixth highest in the continental US. This 14,389 foot peak is located just north of Mt. Whitney and just west of Independence, Calif.
Now why am I making a point of this particular hike/climb? Three years ago Fred, Clem, and I attempted to summit this peak by the rugged George Creek route. From our research this was the longest path but a class 2 adventure. The first successful recorded accent of Mt. Williamson was performed by W. L. Hunter and C. Mulholland in 1884. They hiked this class 2 route which was the easiest of four separate routes to the summit.
I wrote in the July 26, 2012, edition of the Sierra Star, of our attempt to reach the top of Mt. Williamson, but at 11,300 feet, we were forced to turn back due to a series of fierce thunder storms.
The following year, after double-checking the weather reports, which were favorable, we decided to make a second attempt to the summit by the George Creek route. The weather was perfect but the desert road leading to the trailhead was a problem. We knew a week earlier that a severe storm had affected the area around Mt. Williamson. What we didn’t know was this storm removed parts of the eight mile 4X4 road leading to the trailhead. A second unfinished adventure.
Here we are once again, a year later and we are motivated to succeed in our effort to reach the summit of Mt. Williamson. This year we’ll depart by the Shepard Pass Trailhead at 6,302 feet. Just think, only 8,087 feet of elevation gain in five days.
This will be an easier route to follow but before reaching the summit there is a class 3, 40-foot slot to climb.
On Aug. 24, we will enthusiasticly proceed to the Shepherd Pass Trailhead, with high hopes of conquering Mt. Williamson.
If all goes as planned, I will share the climb and photos from this challenging adventure in a future column.