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Ascent of North Palisade on 2019-08-18

Climber: Clément Guillaume

Date:Sunday, August 18, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:North Palisade
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:14242 ft / 4340 m

Ascent Trip Report

I met Grant after 6am at south lake. We made our climbing pack lightweight: 2 x 30m 8mm ropes (the second one for extra length for the U-notch), few slings, carabiners and knots, helmets and rockshoes. We went at good pace on the trail and reach the pass after 1h45min Then we went off trail to the south east. We tried to minimize the elevation lost, avoid the biggest snow patch and aim for Thunderbolt pass. We filled up water bottle (where snow was not covering the stream). From the pass we could see the beginning of the SW chute #1. We started the ascent on mixed scree and talus. A big snow field was taking all the chute. It was really icy and in the SW at this time of the day it would stay in the shade for few more hours. We went on the right side, in between the snow and the rock wall. The snow was high, up to 6 ft. We continued like that and arrived at the chockstones.The ledge on the right is pretty obvious and class 3 as described. We continued up, the route finding is pretty obvious. We stayed to the right most of the time and naturally arrived at the based of the summit block. We pulled up some gears. I started to lead, with a rope on my harness that Grant was handling from an anchor he built at the bottom. I was pretty powerless on the wall. We spotted two low holds that can be used for the feet. Then the next foothold way higher. I was not expecting it but I managed to get on that hold, during my tries I once jumped away from the block to a safe flat platform. The next move was by the upper part where you have to put your right feet on top of a “cone”. I didn’t manage to pass that section, jumped once again while falling to a safe spot. Then Grant gave it a try with me at the anchor, he mastered the whole climb and got to the top. We passed the rop in the summit block ring and rappel down. Then I went again, with the rope attached at the top this time. I managed to climb it the same way Grant did. I later also rappel down. There we confirmed that we were going for the whole traverse to Sill. We had trouble get a stable cellphone connection but managed to text Grant’s girlfriend to shuttle us back from Glacier lodge to South lake. We said 8 pm and got confirmation that she was going to be there (but we didn’t confirmed that we received her response ...). Then we went on the traverse. Mostly following the high point of the ridge, sometime dropping to the right. For the whole traverse the climb was highly enjoyable, some class 4 maybe some low 5, but we were extremely happy to climb that. At the pass before Starlight we met a guide and its “student” coming up from the glacier with rope and crampons going for Starlight. We continued. All the day we would wear our helmet but never use anything else, no more rope. The milk bottle is an existing summit block. When we reached it, we explored it and the south face seems to be the easiest. While Grant was putting on it climbing shoes I started to climb the block. still with my trail shoes. It was ok. the final part as some good hand and foot holds. It also has a fix cordellette that I grabbed at one point. The way down is always trikier… After me Grant climb it. He didn’t use the cordelette for the way up but did for the way down. We continued the way to North palisade. There the route finding is a bit trickier, the is a notch we went down and then I took the route of the ridge, Grant did something on the east side. After North palisade we got to the U-notch and saw multiple good anchors but also a direct way down class 4 on multiple ledges, there we went. same thing on the other side, class 4 ledges all the way up to Polemonium. Then went toward Sill, the class 4 was pretty much over. There, was a snow field with sharp snow edges, I think those were penitente. The angle of the sun was lowering. After Sill we bagged Apex. Then we glissaded the chute north-east. We were not equipped for that but it work, people had glissaded there before us. Our trail shoes were getting wet and cold on the snow. We went to the notch in the ridge and descent the north-west chute on dry rock and sand. Then we were on the glacier. We headed straight north to reduce the snow travel. We got to the talus, prepared for faster travel, cleaned our shoes, removes our helmets and got some calories. We went a pretty straight line north to reach the trail. We crossed some small snow patches that we could sky and then got to the trail. We started to jogged, got to the more heavily used trail, passed one junction. After that I increased my pace and lost Grant. I knew he had incomplete mapping of the area, I had too, but thought that the route was obvious enough and didn’t wait. We way down was long. Fortunately I was able to continue running at a better and better pace. The night was coming, I passed 2 pair of hikers. Due to my incomplete mapping I stay on the upper trail while our meeting point was at Glacier lodge: mistake. At one point I put on my headlamp and went off trail down on the low bush to get to the trailhead where I directly find Grant girlfriend with her lamp. Then we waited for Grant.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/dwX2wmXQd7w1MHFX9
Summary Total Data
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Clément Guillaume
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