Mount Williamson


By: Bill Henderson


It is hard to determine a proper criterion for a successful trip, but on this trip 37 persons turned out and participated in 47 "man-peaks". (i.e. a summation of the products of peaks climbed and the number on each peak)

A back pack began Saturday at 8:00 A.M. for one group of 10, and at 9:00 for the remainder. The route loads from the entrance of George Creek Canyon to a camp site at 10,000' where the creek forks. The climb is largely trailless. Near the beginning, fishermens' trails wind through a thicket of birch and willows in the bottom of the canyon. After several hours of this, including some hand and knee work under low branches, one begins traveling well up out of the bottom, making use of game trails, often widened by former humans, but just as often not. The last half is the easiest; hare there are no trails. Eight hours is good pack-in time though a few did bettor, and thirty-five made camp.

On Sunday morning, the climbers departed at 6:15 A.,M., and in an hour passed the high camp, over 11,500 ft., on the north fork of George Creek. This was to have been our camp site the previous night, but many felt that they had had enough by the time 10,000 ft. was reached. (A group consisting of Rosie and Lloyd Balsam, Eli Canin, Margie and myself used this camp site last summer, and consider it one of the best we have had in the Sierra to date. It showed no signs of use since last year.) From camp to the summit of Williamson is 4,400 ft., but this didn't stand in the way of Paul Estes making it in 2 hours and 15 minutes! Paul took off immediately for Barnard, did it, and was in camp by 1:00 P.M. John Del Monte was next on top only an hour and 20 minutes later. He continued on by way of the pass between Williamson and Trojan Peak, doing Trojan Peak, then Bernard, and on back to camp. The good strong hikers then began arriving in another half hour. Those who enjoyed the scenery even arrived much later. The spread of time was from 2 hours 15 mm. to 8 hours. (The reason I stress tines is that these newsletters are to record technical data for posterity. It will give those desiring to make such a climb an idea as to how long it will take them, if they classify themselves correctly.) In most of our Desert Peak climbs, there isn't this large spread in climbing tine, since there is an effort to keep the party more unified for both safety sake and companionship.

After all had reached the summit, and signed their names, the register showed 31 names Paul Estes, John Del Monte, Robert Bear, Charles Gerkins, Jim Bonner, Tom Kendig, Polly Connable, Peggy Cullons, Bill Henderson, Bill Voss, Andy Hanson, Jean Campbell, Dick Dodds, Peter Marvin, Carol DeDeckor, Bill Busby, Paul Green, Pauline Green, Alden Hilton, Eric Kent, Roland Kent (11 years old), Bernice Heninger, Walter Heninger, Nelson Nies, Bill Crookston, Glen Warner, Jr., and Irene Charnock. Banner, Bear, Gerkens, and Henderson went over a short distance from the summit and climbed East Williamson. From Williamson, East Williamson looks like a difficult rock climb, but on easy route lies out of sight on the north side of the fin that separates East Williamson from the Williamson plateau. The views from East Williamson are even better than from the main peak.

On Monday, most of the group descended to their cars, but Bonner, Bear, Gerckens, Voss, Cullons, Hanson and Neis climbed Mt. Barnard by the large chute due west of camp. Bear and Hanson proceeded on to Trojan Peak (or Peak 13,968) before returning to camp. The following is Bob Bear's account of Trojan: "Peg (Cullens) and I were lucky enough to see three deer watering in the watered gulley leading to the upper basin under Barnard. But Hanson had the prize treat; as he rested momentarily climbing Trojan, three mtn. Sheep ambled over the ridge toward him only 30 feet away. To his amazement they gazed at him for several moments and wandered briefly about their business before suddenly deciding to depart over the ridge whence they came. I might add there is an informal register on Trojan indicating it was first climbed by a party of 4 fellows from S. Pasadena in 1937 and named by them Mt. Strayhorn. " (On the Balsams, Canin, and Hendersons trip of last summer, 7 sheep were observed at short range and photographed in the steep narrow chute on the east face of Trojan Peak). Chester Versteeg states that he named Trojan Peak, Southern California Peak in 1937. He is now requesting that it be given the permanent name of Trojan in honor of the Univ. of Southern California.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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