To give context, Mt Williamson is the 6th tallest peak in the contiguous US at 14,375ft. What sets this mountain apart is the truly heinous & relentless nature of the approach.
The route starts from high desert and grinds up 9,000ft through loose & sandy single track, loose and technical single track, across several talus fields, & up steep scree slopes. In order to top out the west face, a slabby 60ft crack climb is mandatory. As if this isn’t enough contend with, there’s also the heat with little shade. At lower elevations, temps often reach triple digits.
Smoke was heinous at the start from the SQF Complex Fire. Various air quality index sources marked the air quality at upper orange to lower red - not ideal.The air quality seemed to be moderate above 10,000ft , so I decided to roll the dice and go for it. My plan was to bail if conditions remained too drastic. I had a hard time making the decision whether to start or to bail.
Winds cleared some smoke at the lower elevations later in the day, dropping the AQI down to yellow.
I ran through the hazardous smoke and had a great time in moderate air quality through the rest of the day. It probably wasn't the best decision to take a stab at Mt Williamson today, but hey, you can only YOLO once... right?
What a wild experience!
Feeling satisfied & thankful,