Where: Mt. Tyndal (14,018'), Mt. Keith(13,977') Map: Mt. Williamson USGS 7.5' Quad. When: 9/3-9/6 Who: Mike Rinaldi, Max Nachury, Dewey Dumond
This Labor Day weekend 75% of the Team Mo' members decided to knock off another 14'ner. We would of like to knock off two but the California Bighorn Sheep need their privacy this time of year. With this in mind we headed up Sheppard Pass to climb Tyndal and one or two other interesting peaks in the vicinity. Thursday PM Dewey left the Bay Area and headed for Independence and then The Trailhead. Max and myself left early Friday morning (5:50AM) from SF. We all met at Anvil Camp Friday evening at 6PM. Max and myself had quite a workout jamming up toward Anvil. We didn't want to be coming into camp with headlamps so we made double-time. We were two weary hikers when arriving at Anvil in 4.5 hours from the trailhead. Needless we all had an early evening by the blue glow of the Gaz stoves. The next day we hiked the remaining couple miles to Sheppard Pass and made for Tyndal. We chose the rib of rock visible in the middle of the East face. This is apparently the class 3 route. It's much more direct then the class 2 route further around the north side. Two years ago I had done this route solo and found it to be very enjoyable. This time around we proceeded up the granite slab using friction climbing as much as possible but ended up further north on the ridge (away from the summit). Climbing along the ridge toward the summit we encountered a couple of class 4'ish moves with much air on either side of the ridge. This was the best part of the climb. Enough exposure to make it exciting but not too much to cause sphincter lock! We reached the summit near noon and did the ususal summit routine, lunch, pictures, high fives.... The down climbing was also exciting as the granite slabs are about as steep as they can be and still hold a steady downhill walk. Then back to camp and some lazy PM Zzzz.
The next morning Dewey left early to return to the Bay Area. He had been battling a sore calf muscle which was borderline cramping the whole previous day. Over training for a local 10k race cut the trip short for him. But he was very content to have done another 14'ner. Max and myself decided to stay close to home and try our luck on Mt. Keith. It's south-south west face looked very impressive from Sheppard Pass being an almost 14'ner (13,977'). The route we chose is the obvious class 2 chute on the south-southwest face. We hiked up Sheppard Pass to the Junction Pass junction. We proceeded up the Junction Pass trail mostly losing the trail and then recovering it. At the point where the trail is about at the same altitude as the small waterfall from Junction Creek we turned North and up into the chute. The climb up the chute was laborious. There is much sand, scree and small talus. The entire chute is probably 2500' in length. When finally at the summit we were very excited at the view. We were not expecting such a wonderful view. We both agreed that it was better than the view from Tyndal the day before and also from Sill, which we climbed several weeks earlier. We could see north all the way to Mt. Goddard in the Evolution Area. The Palisades were all visible as well. To the south and East we could see the Kaweah's, Whitney, Langley,... But my favorite view was straight down into the Center Basin. The view of this was spectacular. We could see Mt. Bradley and University Peak as well. We briefly played with the idea of doing a ridge traverse to Bradely but decided against it since the return trip would be too long. Forester Pass was also visible with the mirad of switchbacks slowly making their way up. Next time I want to spend more time in the Center Basin area. On the return trip we made use of the sand and scree to plunge step, slide, and ski all the way down. What a very enjoyable day this was!!
All in all this was a most excellent trip. Great company and good peaks!!