This past weekend I and two friends made a go at Williamson via the big-big West Face/Shepherd Pass route. We made it as far as Anvil camp, but had to turn back the following day when AMS took out one of my companions overnight. While I was disappointed at not getting a shot at the summit (it would have been my third time up there), I've been struggling the past week or so with a mysterious but painful stomach ailment, so turning back was probably the smart choice for me as well. Maybe a winter's worth of drinking untreated snow/water has finally caught up with me.
Conditions on the Shepherd Pass trail were very much typical for this time of year following a strong winter: dry all the way the Anvil Camp, with snow appearing at that level, and the usual snow gear required or at least strongly recommended on the headwall and west face sections. As usual, I cursed the trail designer going both ways up (and down and up) Symmes Saddle. That really is a painful approach, which is probably the only reason I don't hike up the area more often!
Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents