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#1024992 - 07/05/11 10:49 PM [TR] Mount Sill - North Couloir 7/3/2011
off_the_hook Offline

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 13448
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Trip: Mount Sill - North Couloir

Date: 7/3/2011

Trip Report:

I climbed 14,159 ft Mount Sill on July 9, 2009 and enjoyed the scenery along the route and from the summit so much that it was time to return! The trail approach along the North Fork Big Pine is gorgeous passing through First, Second and Third Lakes with Temple Crag towering above. This year there was quite a bit more snow lower down and the talus moraine near the Palisade Glacier was substantially more covered. Conditions heading up to Glacier Notch were ideal for cramponing in the morning, but the snow in the L-shaped couloir was incredibly soft with thigh deep post-holing in spots for 700 vertical feet. In fact, the snow was so soft that I was unable to glissade on the way down despite the steep angle. On the 4th class section, all snow patches can now be avoided and it's fairly straightforward. The final bit of scrambling along the ridge up to the summit was fun and I enjoyed the spectacular vista from the "best summit view in the Sierras." Starting at 5:15 am, the total roundtrip took 8:45 finishing just before 2 pm. (5:15 up, 3 hours down, 30 minutes on top).

Second Lake

Palisade Glacier, Mount Sill, North Palisade

Third Lake

North Palisade

Norman Clyde Peak, Middle Palisade and Split Mountain

4th Class Traverse

Exposed 4th Class section

Look down the L-shaped snow couloir

First, Second, Third Lakes

Sam Mack Meadows


Black Diamond Neve Strap Crampons, Ice Axe, Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack, La Sportiva Fireblade Trail Runners, First Endurance EFS and Liquid Shots

Approach Notes:

Trail in great shape all the way up to the Glacier Trail junction and then it's mostly snow (melting fast). The snow below glacier notch is very firm in the morning requiring crampons.

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#1025123 - 07/06/11 05:16 PM Re: [TR] Mount Sill - North Couloir 7/3/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
johnson Offline

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 50
TRs: 0 Photos: 2
Loc: North Bend, WA
those pics of Temple are great! we climbed Dark Star last year and it definitely goes down as one of my favorites. The Sierras are fantastic. thanks for the TR.

#1025570 - 07/08/11 08:46 PM Re: [TR] Mount Sill - North Couloir 7/3/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
QITNL Offline

Registered: 11/08/08
Posts: 25
TRs: 0 Photos: 8
Hey off_the_hook -

Holy crap, I think that's the second time we crossed paths. The first time was here:

We were heading back down around the same time last Sunday, you were making good time and gave me a startle. I remember your little yellow pack, mine was black and much larger. I'm terrible with recognizing faces but next time I must remember you!

I was on my way down from a few days wandering around the lakes, Vagabond Peak & Cloudripper. I'm still sorting through my shots, but a few more and higher-rez versions are here:

Here are a few shots of Mt Sill:

You're fast, dude!

#1026220 - 07/12/11 01:59 PM Re: [TR] Mount Sill - North Couloir 7/3/2011 [Re: QITNL]
off_the_hook Offline

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 13448
Loc: San Carlos, CA
QITNL - Fantastic photography and excellent lighting! What a great view of the peaks surrounding the Palisade Glacier from Cloudripper. Next time we cross paths make sure to stop me for a chat!


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