MT. TYNDALL (14,019') May 4-6, 1991

Having another nice drive with sights down U.S. 395, the California Mountaineering Club had organized an early spring climb for the base camp up the Shepard Pass Trail. A few of us backpacked from the Symmes Creek trailhead up the strenuous trail to our base camp at Anvil Camp. There was only a little snow on the way.

I set up my tent on snow to declare it a snow camp of sorts, and we enjoyed a nice night. The others mostly left early to start on their own peaks. I wasn't sure on what I'd do, only that it took several cups of Orange Cappuccino to get me up.

Alone, I cramponed up the snowfield to Shepard Pass, and pondered on my doing Mt. Tyndall. It looked easy, and was rated class 2 or so. I started up the North Ridge, and soon began having eye pains. My sunscreen, on my forehead, was carried into my eyes by my own perspiration, and I first thought it was snowblindness. I soon figured out the problem, and was on my way, climbing up.

Traversing over the ridge to the top, I ran into some class 3 traversing, forced by the ridge headwall. I took some care in crossing some steep snow, then was back on class 2 talus. Reaching the top, I thought to take my time. I shot many photos of the view, and read the register. It was a bright sunny day, with perfect weather.

The others were bagging Mt. Williamson or Junction Peak. I started down, crossing back over the class 3 traverse, then thought to shortcut down the east arete. I plunged stepped down the snow, fearful of some icy patches, but I made it down O.K. It was late in the day, so I had to crampon slowly down the pass snowfield. Back to the trail, I ambled back into camp, and met the others. If I had not shown up, they would have contacted Inyo County Search and Rescue. There was little that they could do themselves.

We had another pleasant camp together, and backpacked down the next day. The previous year, we had another trip here, but I had to leave, since my stove wouldn't work without my windscreen. They had bagged Tyndall, so that was a grudge peak for me. Also, a storm had come in, making the camping and hiking out especially challenging.

I like the early trips, it is so beautiful with snow still about. We all have good gear, and are used to this. Although bad weather can come in this time of the year, we have good forecasts, and are strong enough to plow through any new snow. Some climbers will not go until July. That, then, is two months of climbing that they miss!