Mt Tyndall (4273 m)
is located next door to Mt Williamson and reachable in a (long)
day hike via Shepherd Pass.
(See this page for details on the trail to Shepherd Pass).
The Shepherd Pass trailhead is near Independence, California, which is south of Bishop. If you need to camp on the mountain, the Bishop ranger station hands out permits between 12pm and 5pm (near KMART on the other side of 395). Permits are required only if you camp on the trail. Mt Williamson is closed to hikers from July 16 through mid December, but Mt Tyndall is open year-round.
July and August are the ideal time to hike this trail because: there is no snow; storms are rare.
The hike is long and hard because the trailhead for Shepherd Pass is only at 2000m.
The trail from the parking lot to Shepherd Pass is a sandy trail. There are two trailheads for the Shepherd Pass Trail, one for hikers and the other for stock. Those hiking the stock trail hike an extra 2 kms. The only reason to hike the stock trail is if you don't feel like driving your car to the hiker's trailhead.
The trail begins in the Symmes Creek canyon. It crosses Symmes Creek four times. If the water is too high, you may skip the second and third crossing by bushwacking along the right bank of the creek. After the fourth crossing, the trail begins the steep climb up Mt Begin (officially 55 switchbacks but i counted 67). At the top, you reach a "saddle" and cross to the other side into the Shepherd Creek canyon. You can see Mt Williamson's north face from here. Then you walk down (a 160 m of altitude loss) until a fifth creek crossing. The new canyon in front of you is surrounded by waterfalls. The wall in front of you, topped by trees, is where Anvil Camp is. Shepherd Pass is further up, at the top of the mountains that you see in front of you.
The trail starts climbing up very long switchbacks. Anvil Camp is at the top of the huge waterfall in front of you.
The trail after Anvil Camp is a brutal series of steep switchback up rocky terrain. The trail winds up to the right of a snow patch and reaches Shepherd Pass.
When you reach Shepherd Pass, you see Mt Tyndall in front of you (slightly
left). You see the spine very well: that's the northwest route.
Directions from Pleasanton to Independence:
Take the I-580 east towards Stockton
Take I-205 east towards Stockton
Take the I-5 North exit and follow signs for 120 east
After entering Yosemite, turn left on Tioga Rd
Drive through Yosemite until the end of Tioga Rd (Lee Vining) and turn right into US-395
Drive south on US-395 until Independence
From Hwy 395 in Independence, turn west on Market street, drive 7 kms to Foothill road, turn left.
The first parking lot (2kms on Foothill Rd) is the stock trail. In theory, only 4WD can go beyond this point. If you want to reach the hiker's trail, keep going on this very dusty road, and turn right at the next two forks. It's about 2 more kms than the stock trail, which means that it saves you 2kms of hiking. It easily takes 30 minutes from Independence to the trailhead.
There is no campground, but one can just pitch tent at the trailhead and leave the car there.
The total is about 500kms from Pleasanton to Independence.
California State Parks
California Highway Conditions
Latest weather conditions
High Sierra weather
Lone Pine chamber of commerce
Bishop chamber of commerce
Bishop visitor center
Lone Pine trails
Hotels in Independence
Directions to Shepher Pass trail
Lone Pine trails
CampingYou can park and pitch tent right at the trailhead.
PermitsNo permits are required for one-day hiking. Check with Inyo National Forest (1-760-873-2408). Needless to say, if you do want/need a permit, it is an absolute nightmare. Make sure you have an unlimited amount of patience and you are willing to deal with a level of stupidity that defies Darwinian evolution. Make sure to boycott any initiative meant to increase funds for the Inyo National Forest: those funds are mainly used to hire more rangers to enforce more bureaucracy.
Wilderness Permit Office
Inyo National Forest
873 N. Main St
Bishop CA 93514
What To Bring
If I had to list the most serious dangers of the Mt Tyndall hike:
For the record...Check how Tyndall compares with other mountains
Hikers' enemiesIf you plan to spend a day at Shepherd Pass, you are required to get a permit from the Lone Pine ranger station or other ranger station (or by phone 760 873-2483, $5 per person in 2003). They are (obviously) closed when you arrive to Lone Pine and they open late enough in the morning to mess up your hiking schedule. They should be willing to leave the permit in a "night box" though.
The Lone Pine rangers seem to have no clue about trails and routes. If you have questions, you can call them (760 876-6200) but it is unlikely that they will know the answers. If you trust their advice, you are literally on your own (some of the worst possible information have come from those rangers). It appears that they never hiked in their life any of the mountains. They appear to be mere bureaucrats handing out permits and selling souvenirs. Your best source of information is the hikers you meet on the mountain. Your money helps hire more bureaucrats to enforce more bureaucracy: it has nothing to do with protecting nature or serving hikers.