Salty's Willard Trip Reports


Hiking Dates


Date Climbed: 11/13/2016

Distance: 3.6 miles

Low Elevation: 1920 feet
High Elevation: 2900 feet
Elevation Gain: 980 feet
Elevation Loss: 980 feet

Start Location: Avalon TH
Finish Location: Avalon TH
Route: Avalon Trail, Mt. Willard Trail, bushwhack around summit area, Mt. Willey Trail, Avalon Trail

Weather: Sunny, clear, 40s, a little breezy
Companions: Robert Velbar


First let me preface this that you need to be sitting down. I actually got out for a hike for the first time in 6 months. Easy. Steady, now.

We've got a guy in from our Philippines plant, so I offered to take him up to the Whites Sunday. Bluebird day, but nasty winds up high, so I offered short and easy Mt. Willard. Filipino Frosbite was not on the menu for the day. Lo and behold, I was surprised to find it had >200 ft. of prominence, with the summit a few hundred feet off trail. My friend was excited with the concept of bushwhacking, including likely being the first Filipino to sign into the register.

As a bonus, he's never seen anything less than probably 70 degrees before the visit, let alone snow. The little traces of it at the perpetually disgusting Basin toilets was all I figured he'd see, but alas, there was some the whole way up the trail, and once we went into our bushwhack, there was a thin, but solid coating. He was delighted. Though he was disturbing me by telling me how everything reminded him of The Revenant. He was also delighted in telling me all the bad things that happened in the movie. But I jump ahead.

We hit the trailhead after a bout of stops for sightseeing and sustenance. The clouds were clearing into the promised Sunny forecast, but some still lingered over the Presis. Robert dons his arctic gear.

And we quickly find more snow.

Lots of people on this Sunday, not unepectedly, and many dogs, including this big, vicious 11 year old Goldie.

OK, it was vicious to that log in front of him. The trail was pleasant, especially the upper reaches with its gentle grades. Robert got to encounter ice patches along the way, to boot. Before too long we hit the ledges. The sun was creating a lot of glare south, so this was the best I could do.

A Washington sighting pleased me.

We plunged into the woods at an opening, and the woods started and stayed somewhere between open and moderate, thankfully, as I didn't want him coming out traumatized (or maybe I did if he kept bringing up the Revenant. Hmmm.).

I was about to take a bearing to the high contour when he said "just go up!" Ha ha, thanks for showing up the old man. These kids nowadays. I pondered not telling him to follow 4 feet behind me and thwacking him with a branch, but decided against it as I've seen him 3 times before in the Philippines, and his revenge might be greater next time. Like tying me down and forcing a balut down my throat (look it up if you're brave, make sure it has pictures).

Going up was great for about 50 feet until I realized this is one of those cursed summits that is flat with endless bumps and visibility that didn't extend that far. I introduced him to hobblebush, which he nimbly walked through as I tripped and cursed. We wandered from bump to bump, arriving at some downward slope in each direction, sadly finding no jar. If I had a spare, I wouldn't even have had a clue where to hang it. I think we hit about 8 candidates overall, maybe 10, some an astonishingly foot high.

And my friend told me this was the best day of his weekend (take that Boston!). Funny part was I hit so many stops that I've never bothered with before (Silver Cascade for one). So we both had a fantastic day, and it was nice to have my friend of many years to myself for a day.