Ascent of Thunderbolt Peak on 1994-09-17

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Saturday, September 17, 1994
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Thunderbolt Peak
    Elevation:14003 ft / 4268 m

Ascent Trip Report

Thunderbolt was the last of the fourteeners in California to be climbed and it is the farthest north of those in the Sierra Nevada. One of the easier routes to the summit is via the southwest chute which involves a backpack over Bishop Pass. From Bishop take highway 168, which is W. Line St., for 14.7 miles and then turn left at the junction to South Lake. After 7.0 miles the road will end at a parking area by the lake and this is the trailhead. From here it is 5 miles and 2300 ft. of gain to Bishop Pass on a good trail. With a heavy pack allow 4 to 4 1/2 hrs. From the pass go south over boulders and large slabs to an area above the large unnamed lake. There are a few campsites at the SE end of the lake at about the 11,400 ft. level. The pass on the ridge to the SE is Thunderbolt Col which is the route to the SW chute. Get an early start for the peak and after about 1 1/2 hours, climb to the col and then take the first chute to the left. After a short distance there is a chockstone blocking the way and an obvious sandy ledge to the right where many will want a rope. After the ledge continue up the chute and always take the right fork ending up at a notch just north of the summit. There are several routes to the summit and details are in "California's Fourteeners" by Porcella and Burns, p. 75-78. The book "The High Sierra" by R.J. Secor describes other routes on p. 198-200. Two climbing ropes are helpful on this peak. 9/94 RLC
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