Shepherds Pass

cover photo
Jul 16, 2020 - Jul 19, 2020

A new path into the Whitney high country via Sheperds Pass. From the pass down to cross the JMT/PCT at Tyndall Creek then West to revisit the upper Kern river lakes, then a cross-country climb to Lake South America & back down to Tyndal Creek. Backtrack over the pass to the TH.

Spent the 1st night below Sheperds Pass due to the lengthy and strenous hike from the TH, much of it in shadeless heat. Also not in great shape for climbing. Next day crested the pass with a small snowfield crossing and down 3.5 miles to the JMT/PCT at Tyndall Creek. Continued West on the Upper Kern cutoff trail to a scenic unnamed lake with just enough time to put up tarp before heavy rains and thunder. Was able to relax in the hammock during the storm. Next morning had sunny skies so explored the area around the lake looking for more hammock trees and the trail to Lake South America. Trail not to be found so used combo of GPS and map to climb up some miles to 1st visible trail. Continued past scenic lakes up steep terrain to finally reach 12K feet and the lake. Relaxed at lake then continued loop down to the Kern cutoff trail. Rejoined trail and setup camp at Tyndal Creek before a few sprinkles. Had run out of trail so decided to hike back next day since it would be a long one. Next morning probably starting to feel the onset of my pneumonia but still managed to reach Sheperds pass before noon. From there the hike was quite strenous and required many breaks. There was a long climb to be done w/out shade that took quite a lot of time & energy. After that the last 4-5 miles downhill to the TH seemed to take forever. Made it to car by 7pm & started the day's hike at 9!

Fun facts

A coyote ran past me on my way down from Lake S America. They were making a lot of noise in the area.

DifficultyClass 1
Distance47 miles
Highest ElevationSheperds Pass (12035 ft)
JurisdictionJohn Muir & Sequoia National Park
MapTom Harrison Maps Mt Whitney High Country
TrailheadSheperds Pass - Independence