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Middle Palisade conditions - Std. route NE

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Middle Palisade conditions - Std. route NE

Postby rruby » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:25 am

Thinking of heading up the south fork big pine creek this weekend. Want to check out middle palisade though not sure i'll try climbing the class 3 route right now. Though I've done snow travel before, I've never had to wander out on a glacier, and it looks like the class 3 ledges require traversing part of the glacier. anyone been up there lately.

Thanks
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Postby MoapaPk » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:09 am

There was a recent thread on this. They brought ice axes, no crampons, and were fine -- that was perhaps a month ago. If you cut right and take the red band, you may have 40' of kick-stepping.

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewto ... e+palisade
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Re: Middle Palisade conditions - Std. route NE

Postby KathyW » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:24 pm

rruby wrote:Thinking of heading up the south fork big pine creek this weekend. Want to check out middle palisade though not sure i'll try climbing the class 3 route right now. Though I've done snow travel before, I've never had to wander out on a glacier, and it looks like the class 3 ledges require traversing part of the glacier. anyone been up there lately.

Thanks


If you don't plan on climbing up one of the Class 3 chutes on the NE, you really don't need to worry about crossing the glacier - the only place you typically have to deal with the glacier this time of year is at the very top near where you get onto the NE face. The problem this time of year is more often the bergschrund at the top of the glacier on the left side of the moraine ridge that separates the glacier. You can go to the right instead and go up the looser red band route to avoid the bergschrund if you decide to go higher.
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Postby Kurt Wedberg » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:13 pm

Here are a couple pics that may help you out. You can view pictures from other parts of the route here: Middle Palisade Peak August 15-17, 2010.

Image
This is the snow section you need to cross to access the 3rd class route. I suggest at least bringing an ice axe so you can chop steps if necessary. A light pair of Kahtoola crampons make most folks feel more secure. This picture was taking on August 16. It will be more firm than this now.

Image
This is what the crossing looked like on August 16. This picture doesn't do the moat justice. In between the snow and rocks is a moat that is deep enough it is difficult to see the bottom of it.

Image
This is the "red band" traverse that misses the snow crossing. It more or less follows the white streak. It's loose and not very fun climbing IMHO but it'll keep you off the glacier.
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Postby rruby » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:06 pm

Thanks,

The pics are great. I was going to leave today for either Mid. Pal. or Mt Conness, though I'm told permits might be hard to come by in yosemite this weekend (was thinking of young lakes route). Anyway, forgot I promised someone at SF State that I'd analyze some viral DNA sequences for him today, but I'm outta here first thing in the morning.

Mt Russell is still on my list before the season is out as well, though those permits are hard to come by as well right now.
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Postby KathyW » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:04 pm

That red band route sure does look loose and like it wouldn't be any fun at all. We took one look at it when were were up there and went left across the glacier, instead of right toward the red band route. (We were glad to have our ice axes when we crossed the top part of the glacier on August 16th - I brought my lightweight aluminum crampons and was the only one in our group to use crampons crossing the glacier, but I'm overly cautious on hard icy snow after a fall at the top of Lyell Glacier a couple of years ago when I thought the steps I cut with my axe were good enough to hold me).
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Postby MoapaPk » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:15 am

I took the red band -- not that bad, you just have to be careful if people are above you.
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Postby rruby » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:39 pm

Just got back from my aborted attempt on mid pal. Hiked up with someone I met in the parking lot, but we got lost trying to find the so-called use trail up to finger lake. Should've just continued to Brainerd lake and took the trail from there as the ranger on the trail suggested. We spent alot of time and energy climbing around, but before it got too late, I to downclimb back to the trail and over to Brainerd and set up camp. The guy I was hiking with, as it turns out, didn't have a permit, and since the ranger we met said it was odd that he would dayhike (that's what he told the ranger) with a 60 lb pack, and also that he hoped not to see him on the trail the next day, my new friend decided to hike out.

The next morning got up and found the use trail to finger lake out of brainerd. Got up there with the intention of heading down the left side of the lake and up to a tarn from where I could take a line up to the glacier. As I was walking to the lake however, someone stuck their head out of their campsite, and asked where I was going. When i told him, he said I should backtrack, cut across the rock feature various people were camped on, continue to cross the finger lake outlet and head up some switchbacks. Maybe it was the thin air, but I totally blanked on my original plan and said "OK". I ran into two guys on the bluff who were getting ready to climb as well. They went on ahead while I mucked around with my gear, but I watched them cross the outlet and head up the switchbacks. I followed their path.

I topped out of the switchbacks and came to a massive boulder field, and was surprised that I didn't see the two climbers. No way they got up there that quick I thought. Where'd they go? Anyway, I climbed it expecting to see a clear line to the mountain. Instead I was traversing this boulder field from hell for I don't know how long. It seemed to just go on forever, but never giving a clear view of the approach. I don't mind climbing up boulders. but climbing sideways is a pain in the butt. How does a boulder field like that even get made geologically speaking? It's like God put it there specifically to remind me that it's sunday, and that I should be in church, not climbing a mountain. Again the thin air.

At that point two things became painfully clear. First the tarn I intended to get to was way below me, and I suddenly realized that that was where I wanted to be. Second, I suddenly remembered one of the climbers mentioning clyde Peak, and it became clear (and they confirmed it later that night) that they weren't climbing middle pal. at all, but were instead climbing norman clyde peak. I felt a little lost at this point. Though someone later that night did say I could've gotten to Mid. Pal. by that route.

Anyway, I decided that it was probably getting late, and rather than plow ahead not sure where I was going, that I would turn around. Needless to say, I learned alot about the area, and will probably be back. The views were some of the best I'd ever seen, so I wasn't really disappointed, and it's not like I didn't get any climbing in. My fingertips are raw. Being relatively new to climbing, I've turned around so many times now that I kind've expect it, and if I do make it to the top of something, it's a pleasant surprise.

Thanks for all the info. everyone. Just wish I could've gotten myself to a point where I could've used it. Though I did pass Kurt's info regarding the bergschrund on to several climbers who did make it to the top, and a few others on their way. Very helpful.
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Postby rruby » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:19 am

Funny you say that about perfect navigation. One of the two climbers who camped above me at Brainerd Lake the night before had actually summitted Middle Pal before via the Class 3 chute on the NE face, though according to him, it was few years back. Armed with the bergshrund info that I passed on to them from Kurt, they headed for the ledges that lead to the main chute. Unfortunately, even having been there before, they jumped across the bergshrund to where they thought were the ledges leading to the class 3 main chute. They ended up climbing to the peak on what they said was probably more like class 5 terrain. Fortunately, a woman who had just summitted pointed out the actual class 3 route back down. They told me later in camp that they were sooo happy not to have to try and downclimb their original route without class 5 gear.

As far as guide, I went on a guided climb of Mt Abbott with SMI. It was a great trip, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, probably will. Mt russell if at least one other crazy person signs on. Can't really afford it solo.
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