|Elevation||14,379 ft (4383 m) |
|Prominence||1643 ft (501 m)|
|Parent peak||Mount Whitney|
|Isolation||5.44 mi (8.75 km)|
|Location||Inyo County, California, U.S.|
|Parent range||Sierra Nevada|
|Topo map||USGS Mount Williamson|
|First ascent||1884 by William L. Hunter and C. Mulholland|
|Easiest route||Southeast face from George Creek, easy scramble, class 2|
Mount Williamson, at 14,379 feet (4,383 m), is the second highest mountain in both the Sierra Nevada range and the state of California. It is the sixth highest peak in the contiguous United States.
Williamson stands in the John Muir Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest. It is located approximately 6 miles (10 km) north of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous U.S., and about 2.5 miles (4 km) southeast of Shepherd Pass, the nearest trail access. The closest town is Independence, California, about 12 miles (19 km) to the north-north-east. It lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the Sierra Crest, which forms the western edge of the Owens Valley. It is more remote than Whitney in terms of access; however, as it sits east of the crest, it is actually a bit closer to the Owens Valley floor than Whitney. For example, the drop from the summit to the forest edge is 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in approximately 4 miles (6.4 km). This makes it an imposing mountain, and far less of a popular climb than its higher neighbor.
The mountain is named for Lt. Robert Stockton Williamson (1825–1882), who conducted one of the Pacific Railroad Surveys in Southern California.
The first recorded ascent of Mount Williamson was made in 1884 by W. L. Hunter and C. Mulholland, by way of the Southeast Slopes Route. The first ascent of the West Side Route was made in 1896 by Bolton C. Brown and Lucy Brown. New routes continued to be put up on the harder faces at least through the 1980s.
The standard ascent route is the West Side Route, accessed from Shepherd's Pass. From the pass, one travels across the Williamson Bowl, which lies between Mount Williamson and Mount Tyndall, part of the Sierra Crest. The bowl is home to five high alpine lakes. From the bowl, the route climbs gullies up the west face to the relatively broad summit plateau; this portion involves scrambling up to class 3. Technically easier, but with a more difficult approach which can involve route finding and bushwhacking, is the Southeast Slopes Route, rising from George Creek. Other routes exist on the mountain, including a significant technical route on the North Rib (Grade IV, 5.7).
Climbing Mount Williamson is made more difficult by the lengthy and strenuous approach. Elevation gain from the trailhead is over 8,000 feet (2,400 m), and the trail to Shepherd's Pass alone is 11 miles (18 km).
Mount Williamson is in the California Bighorn Sheep Zoological Area and these rare animals can often be seen on the lower slopes during the winter when heavy snows drive the sheep down from their summer grazing areas. From 1981 until 2010 the California Bighorn Sheep Zoological Area was closed to access for much of the year, but late in 2010, the Inyo National Forest Service declined to renew the closure, opening the area to access year-round.
Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). It is in East–Central California, on the boundary between California's Inyo and Tulare counties, 84.6 miles (136.2 km) west-northwest of North America's lowest point, Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. The mountain's west slope is in Sequoia National Park and the summit is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail, which runs 211.9 mi (341.0 km) from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. The eastern slopes are in Inyo National Forest in Inyo County.
The White Mountains of California and Nevada are a triangular fault-block mountain range facing the Sierra Nevada across the upper Owens Valley. They extend for approximately 60 mi (97 km) as a greatly elevated plateau about 20 mi (32 km) wide on the south, narrowing to a point at the north, with elevations generally increasing south to north. The range's broad southern end is near the community of Big Pine, where Westgard Pass and Deep Springs Valley separate it from the Inyo Mountains. The narrow northern end is at Montgomery Pass, where U.S. Route 6 crosses. The Fish Lake Valley lies east of the range; the southeast part of the mountains are separated from the Silver Peak Range by block faulting across the Furnace Creek Fault Zone, forming a feeder valley to Fish Lake Valley. The range lies within the eastern section of the Inyo National Forest.
The John Muir Wilderness is a wilderness area that extends along the crest of the Sierra Nevada of California for 90 miles (140 km), in the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. Established in 1964 by the Wilderness Act and named for naturalist John Muir, it contains 581,000 acres (2,350 km2). The wilderness lies along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra from near Mammoth Lakes and Devils Postpile National Monument in the north, to Cottonwood Pass near Mount Whitney in the south. The wilderness area also spans the Sierra crest north of Kings Canyon National Park, and extends on the west side of the park down to the Monarch Wilderness.
Mount Sill is one of the fourteeners of the Sierra Nevada in California. It is located in the Palisades, a group of striking rock peaks with a few small glaciers on their flanks. Mount Sill is located 0.6 miles (1 km) east of North Palisade, the high point of the group. The two peaks are connected by a high, rocky ridge, on the north side of which lies the Palisade Glacier. Mount Sill lies on the main Sierra Crest, but is at a point where the crest turns sharply, giving it particularly striking summit views. On one side is Kings Canyon National Park and Fresno County; on the other is the John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest and Inyo County.
Mount Langley is located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada, on the boundary between Inyo and Tulare counties, in eastern California in the southwestern United States. To the east is Owens Valley, and to the west is the Kern River Valley. It is the ninth-highest peak in the state and the seventh-highest in the Sierra. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States, lies 4.8 miles (7.7 km) to the northwest. Mt. Langley also has the distinction of being the southernmost fourteener in the United States.
Mount Russell is a peak in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the U.S. state of California, about 0.8 miles (1.3 km) north of Mount Whitney. It rises to an elevation of 14,094 feet (4,296 m) and is the seventh-highest peak in the state.
Mount Tyndall is a peak in the Mount Whitney region of the Sierra Nevada in the U.S. state of California. It rises to 14,025 feet (4,275 m), and is the tenth highest peak in the state. The mountain was named in honor of the Irish scientist and mountaineer, John Tyndall.
Mount Barnard is a mountain in the U.S. state of California, and has the dubious distinction of being the highest thirteener, a peak between 13,000 and 13,999 feet in elevation, in the United States. It is located on the Sierra Crest and straddles the boundary between Tulare and Inyo counties about 2 miles (3 km) southwest of Mount Williamson, the second-highest peak in the state; Mount Barnard is the twelfth-highest.
Mount Agassiz, at 13,899 feet (4,236 m), is one of the twenty highest peaks of California. It is the northernmost and easiest to climb of the major Palisades summits. This peak is not to be confused with the 9967ft peak by the same name in Desolation Wilderness, also in the California Sierra.
Mount Le Conte is a mountain located in the Sierra Nevada of California. The boundary between Inyo and Tulare counties runs along the crest of the Sierra, across Mount Le Conte. The mountain was named in 1895 for Joseph Le Conte (1823–1901), the first professor of geology and natural history at the University of California.
Mount Morgan is a mountain located in northwestern Inyo County, California, in the John Muir Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest.
Mount Mallory is a mountain located in the Sierra Nevada of California. The boundary between Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park runs across the summit. The peak was named in memory of George H. Leigh Mallory, of the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition, who was lost on Mount Everest, June, 1924. Norman Clyde advanced Mallory's and Andrew Irvine's names following their loss after attaining the highest altitude reached by a mountain climber.
Mount McAdie is a summit on the crest of the Sierra Nevada, and is located 2.1 miles (3.4 km) south of Mount Whitney. It has three summits, with the north peak being the highest. The summit ridge marks the boundary between Sequoia National Park and the John Muir Wilderness. It is also on the boundary between Inyo and Tulare counties. Lone Pine, 12.4 miles (20.0 km) to the northeast, is in the Owens Valley on U.S. 395.
Mount Irvine is a mountain in the Sierra Nevada of California. The summit is in Inyo National Forest and the John Muir Wilderness. The peak was named in memory of Andrew Irvine, of the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition, who perished on Mount Everest, June, 1924. Norman Clyde proposed Irvine's and George H. Leigh Mallory's names following their loss after attaining the highest altitude reached by a mountaineer.
Mount Dade is a 13,600-foot-elevation mountain summit located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northern California, United States. It is situated in the John Muir Wilderness on the shared boundary of Sierra National Forest with Inyo National Forest, and along the common border of Fresno County with Inyo County. It is one mile west of Dade Lake, and approximately 22 miles (35 km) west of the community of Bishop. Nearby neighbors include Mount Abbot, 0.4 mile to the northwest, and Bear Creek Spire 1.2 mile to the southeast. The USGS probably named this peak during a 1907–09 survey, and the first ascent was made August 19, 1911, by Liston and McKeen, of Fresno.
Mount Gayley is a 13,510-foot-elevation mountain summit located one mile east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Inyo County, California, United States. It is situated in the Palisades area of the John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is approximately 13 miles (21 km) west-southwest of the community of Big Pine, 0.67 miles (1.08 km) southwest of Temple Crag, and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north-northeast of parent Mount Sill. Mount Gayley ranks as the 59th highest summit in California.
Picture Puzzle, also known as Picture Puzzle Peak, is a 13,297-foot-elevation mountain summit located one mile east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Inyo County of northern California, United States. It is situated in the Palisades area of the John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is approximately 14.5 miles (23.3 km) west of the community of Big Pine, one mile north of Bishop Pass, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) north-northwest of Mount Agassiz, and 1.1 miles (1.8 km) south-southwest of parent Cloudripper. Picture Puzzle ranks as the 90th highest summit in California, and the third highest peak of the Inconsolable Range.
Black Mountain is a 13,291-foot-elevation mountain summit located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northern California. It is situated on the common border of Fresno County with Inyo County, as well as the shared boundary of John Muir Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Park. It is 10.5 miles (16.9 km) west of the community of Independence, and 4.3 miles (6.9 km) north-northwest of parent University Peak. Black Mountain ranks as the 91st highest summit in California. Topographic relief is significant as the west aspect rises 2,750 feet (840 meters) above Rae Lakes in approximately one mile. The John Muir Trail traverses below the west aspect of this peak, providing an approach to the mountain. The first ascent of the summit was made in 1905 by George R. Davis, a USGS topographer. This mountain is habitat for the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, which restricts climbing from July through December, so most ascents are made in the spring.
Kearsarge Peak is a 12,615-foot-elevation (3,845 meter) mountain summit located less than two miles east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in Inyo County of northern California. It is situated immediately northwest of Onion Valley in the John Muir Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is also 8.5 miles (13.7 km) west of the community of Independence, and 2.1 miles (3.4 km) north-northwest of Independence Peak. Topographic relief is significant as the east aspect rises 5,250 feet (1,600 meters) above Onion Valley in two miles.
Thor Peak is a 12,306-foot-elevation (3,751 meter) mountain summit located east of the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Inyo County, California. It is situated in the John Muir Wilderness on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is 12.5 miles (20.1 km) west of the community of Lone Pine, and 1.5 mile east of Mount Whitney. Topographic relief is significant as it rises 3,937 feet (1,200 meters) above Whitney Portal in 1.5 mile. Hikers on the Mount Whitney Trail pass below the impressive south face of the peak.
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