Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
burchey

[TR] Eastern Sierras - U-Notch / Chimney /North Palisade 7/14/2012

Recommended Posts

Trip: Eastern Sierras - U-Notch / Chimney /North Palisade

 

Date: 7/14/2012

 

Trip Report:

Following a few days of thunderstorms and a stretch of warm days, we threw judgment to the wind and headed up the 395 towards glorious alpine ice routes in the Palisades, just west of Big Pine, CA. Stories, gear, and bodily fluids were exchanged at the overnight parking lot around 7700 feet or so. Intended goal was North Pal by way of the U-notch couloir and the 2 pitch chimney. Lazy morning led to a 12 mile schlep up the north fork of the Big Pine creek. Water was plentiful all the way up to the glacier.

 

We passed the turquoise waters of the lakes below temple crag around 10,000

 

529385_335499459867796_31296563_n.jpg

 

headed up the Sam Mack Meadow around 11,000 and decided on the standard route to the glacier after inspecting the snow in the chutes at the southwest end of the meadow.

 

548081_335499546534454_1931644700_n.jpg

 

We left the trail above Sam Mack and headed across mounds of Moraine and snow up to the flat boulder just above the glacial lake at 12,200ish.

 

256421_3960425722991_501347633_o.jpg

 

Water was gathered (and treated upon discovery of an odd film on the water and the bug-corpse-floatilla ), dinner was consumed before sweating the night away in my 32 degree bag.

 

527890_335499769867765_1088861188_n.jpg

 

We'd heard tales of rock coming down the U-notch, but hadn't heard a peep out of it all afternoon or through the evening. Up at 1 am, we decided to give it a shot, hoping the early morning would afford the cooler temps to stave off rockfall, and we'd be down before the possible t-storms that hit this area in the summer afternoons.

 

482008_335499819867760_375903960_n.jpg

 

The mile or so and 800 feet to the mouth of the U-notch passed more quickly than we anticipated, even with the sketchy boulder slope traverse above the lake before you reach the toe of the glacier. Water ran over the surface into trenches scored by the running melt on its way to the lake. We found a flattish spot about 75 feet below the U-notch, flaked ropes and racked gear before we headed up to the bergschrund. At that moment, in the mostly-dark of the early morning, we heard a far off rumble to our right and way up high. It grew into a deafening rattle of rock down the Clyde Couloir, boulders sparking off the sides of the chute, landing in the snow and ice and setting off a huge plume of white that we could just make out in the dark.

 

The chute above us leading to the U-notch and North Palisade sat silently, waiting on us to make a decision. We decided this route wasn't worth the risk - it was too warm and the recent rains high up probably loosened up some treats above us. We packed it up and headed back down the glacier to camp - short nap and some snacks made the 11-12 mile hike out that much more bearable.

 

 

V-notch, U-notch, and Clyde Couloir above the Palisade Glacier.

 

DSC_00213.jpg

 

 

Gear Notes:

Didn't use it: took 60m half ropes, stubbies, draws, handful of nuts and cams. 2 tools.

 

Approach Notes:

11-12 miles to the notch from TH. Water plentiful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW: Feel free to contact Mammoth Mountaineering, Sierra Mountain Center, or Sierra Mountain Guides for the latest conditions. They're happy to share. When I lived in Bishop, that big dark streak down the U-Notch was the sure sign that its season was over. If you absolutely want to climb ice, send me a pm and I'll recommend a few routes to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Chris, thanks for the feedback. I know a guy at SMG - their website/condition reports are handy. PM sent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, thanks for the TR and info, we were debating on making the pilgrimage all the way to the Palisades, but it looks as though the season on the Notches may be over earlier than later this year! Is early September an average 'in condition' time to attempt these routes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Berg, this is really the first season I've even paid attention to alpine ice, so I can't speak for other years other than the research I've done. This was a pretty dry year, so the ice came/went pretty early. My understanding is that late Aug/early Sept is about average, as you say.

 

I'm still holding out some hope for early fall and the V-notch...keeping my eyes on it, but not holding my breath.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Conditions on a couple other great climbs (pics courtesy of Wes - 7/29/2012)

 

Gilbert is chopped in half by the sun

 

418889_2301679196816_1107686337_n.jpg

 

Harrington is in on Thompson, but looks like there isn't a ton of nice ice

 

530195_2301685276968_1026607386_n.jpg

 

425093_2301690757105_510826014_n.jpg

 

293034_2301691717129_1030474393_n.jpg

 

292445_2301692157140_1399543820_n.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×