The following is the easiest way to approach this fine climb. From the end of the Glacier Lodge road out of Big Pine, hike up the South Fork Big Pine Creek trail. Follow this trail to beautiful Finger Lake. From here, cross country hiking leads to excellent camp sites below the moraines of the Middle Palisade Glacier.
The map needed is the Split Mountain 7.5 minute USGS topo map.
Head for the low point in the ridge that runs Northeast from Norrman Clyde peak to a peaklet to its northeast. This ridge can also be attained from the Norman Clyde Glacier side. Climb south on the ridge until it steepens, then climb up and right on the North Face, staying below the crest of the Northeast Ridge ( climbing right on the crest makes this climb 5.9 ). Aim for some black water streaks a couple of hundred feet below the summit. Follow a crack system to the right of these streaks, then follow the crest to the true summit.
When I climbed this route in 1981, I found it a nice, fun climb. While it can be climbed unroped, many climbers may want a rope on one pitch ( class 4 ), and to aid your descent ( which is via the climbing route ). The rest of the climb is fun class 3.
A rope, a couple of chocks and a couple of slings will easily get you up this fun climb. If approaching from the Norman Clyde Glacier, an ice axe and possibly crampons may be needed.
Additional Route Info
Bob Burd adds the following route information - On the NE Ridge before getting to the NNE Face, there are at least three cairns making entry /exit points onto the face. Secor and and others have described climbing as high on the ridge as possible before moving on the face, but all three cairns will get on on the face.
The climbing in the lower half of the face is easier (class 3) with many variations possible and the cairns are mostly unhelpful, possibly just annoying. As one gets higher, this changes and the cairns should be used to find the easiest route. The exit
chimney is located just under what looks like from below as the summit (the true summit is out of view behind it), the convergence of the NE Ridge and the main crest. I couldn't find the black watermarks referred to here and by Secor, but I found others that took me off-route to the left - so be wary about relying on that landmark.
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