Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 14 guests, and 8 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Some questions about the Palisades
#59327 11/18/21 12:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 46
Likes: 5
C
OP Offline
C
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 46
Likes: 5
Well, summer is just over and I’m already day dreaming about future peakbagging prospects while I’m stuck in Indiana for college. One of my main objectives is Mt. Sill, but I would like to do it via the Big Pine Creek trailhead. I have heard that this can get up to class 4, which is no joke. I turned around on a class 4 route on Humphreys last summer, so I want to feel confident that I can do this unprotected. Has anyone done Sill through this route before? How was the climbing? Did it feel solid? Did you encounter any real trouble where you may have thought “geez, I wish I had a rope”?

I know I can do Sill through the cross country route via Bishop Pass, but I’d rather endure short, exposed scrambling than miles and miles of Boulder hopping. By the way, if anyone else is interested in doing Sill with me this upcoming summer, let me know.

Also, I was also thinking about North Palisade and the Palisade Traverse. It looks like beautiful and gnarly. It’s honestly my ultimate goal in the Sierras (besides getting all the CA 14ers). But I don’t have the proper alpine climbing experience for this. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to acquire the proper skills to do this traverse within the next few summers or so? Do you need to know trad climbing or just know how to make an anchor to rappel? If you’ve done it, how was it? Would anyone be willing to bring an ambitious 5.10c toproping noob to a climbing trip over the summer? I can carry the rope for the entire way so I’m not dead weight!

Cheers

Last edited by climby_climber; 11/18/21 12:06 PM.
Re: Some questions about the Palisades
climby_climber #59328 11/19/21 01:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 23
S
Offline
S
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 23
I posted a similar question on a different forum - the answer I got was basically that the Bishop pass route is actually less tedious, see below:

http://highsierratopix.com/communit...amp;sid=b4584165e89d334318a115803ef9d72b

For the technical stuff, it's pricey but a guided service is a great way to do something like the palisade traverse if you have some ability but not the amount of experience needed to tackle a gnarly route like that on your own. Sierra Mountain Guides is a great company.

Re: Some questions about the Palisades
climby_climber #59329 11/19/21 09:27 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 607
Likes: 38
Online
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 607
Likes: 38
Hi, Climby!

You can get to several of the Sill routes from the south fork of Big Pine Creek, but I don’t like that approach. I think that most climbers use the north fork of Big Pine Creek, cross the glacier, and climb the North Couloir route. I wouldn’t climb Sill from the west unless I was already on that side to do something else.

Crossing the glacier requires good basic mountaineering skills and equipment. The glacier gets steep near Glacier Notch. The rock above the glacier is rotten. The North Couloir is steep enough to require your full attention, but it’s not very difficult. It’s all rock from the top of the couloir to the summit. With perfect route finding, it’s only third class. It’s more work than Humphreys, but less technical.

The way you improve your skills is to get out there and climb stuff, slowly increasing the difficulty of what you do on your own. Most of us are mostly self-taught. If you never climb with a guide, you may miss out on learning from the best. If you always climb with a guide, you probably never learn to organize a trip and make your own good decisions. I would occasionally hire a guide, if you can afford it. You may also find climbing classes hosted by clubs, schools, or guide services.

As you know, I did Thunderbolt to Sill in 1997 and Sill to Thunderbolt in 2000. The key was practicing these entire traverses in sections before putting everything together. I would just keep climbing as much as you can, especially the 14ers. You’ll know when it’s time for the traverse.

Re: Some questions about the Palisades
climby_climber #59330 11/20/21 08:23 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 27
Likes: 4
J
Offline
J
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 27
Likes: 4
I've been up to the base of the class 4 section on Sill via the North Fork of the Big Pine trail/Sam Mack Meadow/Glacier Notch/L-couloir. It is a beautiful approach hike, but long. Once you get to the toe of the glacier above Sam Mack Meadow the traverse along the morraine to Glacier Notch is perhaps the most tedious boulder hopping I have done in the Sierra (especially on the way back down when you are snookered). Then the chute up to Glacier Notch was perhaps the sketchiest chute I have enountered, with the group above us knocking down a rain of rockfall that would have been deadly had one been in there. Once they cleared we proceeded up with no further issues. The climb up to the L-couloir is not bad, but then the class 4 traverse to the summit ridge ended up turning me and my partner back. This was early in my climbing/mountaineering days and I simply wasn't mentally prepared for the exposure. If I were to encounter that stretch now I feel confident it would be relatively straightforward, though certianly worthy of close attention (I have since done Mt. Russell East Ridge and Laurel Mt northeast gulley; I feel Russell East Ridge has similar exposure over a much longer strech, and Laurel required much more technical climbing).

With that said, when I go back to knock off Sill I will likely go via Bishop Pass/Potluck Pass/Southwest slopes. It is longer, but not that much longer. And from what I have read about that route there is nothing on the west side worse than the morraine traverse/glacier notch chute. My reasoning for doing this route would be to see a different area of the Sierra, and have more confidence in the descent/downclimb.

I would be interested in teaming up next summer if you choose to hit Sill and need a partner. My preference would be to go via Bishop Pass/Southwest slopes.

Re: Some questions about the Palisades
climby_climber #59331 11/20/21 11:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 21
Likes: 1
M
Offline
M
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 21
Likes: 1
If you want to keep the climbing at class 3 and below from the Big Pine Creek drainage, you can go over Scimitar Pass and climb the SW face route on Sill. If you want to make a loop of it, you can return over Agassiz Col. I really enjoyed that loop, but as they say, different strokes…


Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4
(Release build 20200307)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.15 Page Time: 0.021s Queries: 24 (0.013s) Memory: 0.5946 MB (Peak: 0.6600 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2021-12-04 14:02:19 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS