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Clyde Couloir (N. Palisade/Starlight)

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Clyde Couloir (N. Palisade/Starlight)

Postby ElGreco » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:21 am

I have managed to find only a limited amount of information on the Clyde couloir that splits N. Palisade from Starlight. Porcella/Burns and Secor caution about ice and rockfall.

There are a couple of videos here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc_7K3QlmGY , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcdbqNaYDOA
and some photos here: http://www.kurtwedbergphotography.com/S ... 4155_782xh

Physics and fbagni also have information on the SP page: http://www.summitpost.org/clyde-couloir/213924

But the question remains what exactly happened during those accidents in the couloir. Apparently two of them involved fatalities. Does anyone have more info on these? What time of year was it? What was the nature of the accidents? What happened? Has anyone else climbed the route and not reported back on their experience?

The route seems to have acquired a bad name for itself, but I want to get a better feeling whether it's because of bad luck, circumstances and the guidebook descriptions, or because the objective dangers of the route are indeed very high. I also wonder if people have climbed this over the years and not spread the word.

If you can shed some light on this, please speak up!
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Re: Clyde Couloir (N. Palisade/Starlight)

Postby WML » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:02 am

Wait, you mean there is a CLIMBING thread and it gets ignored here? What a shocker!

On a serious note, I am intrigued by this as well. A few years ago when I was on the Palisade glacier in August that thing was riddled with rockfall but as I said earlier, I am curious about this route and the reputation belonging to it as well.
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Re: Clyde Couloir (N. Palisade/Starlight)

Postby Blair » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:39 am

"Wait, you mean there is a CLIMBING thread and it gets ignored here? What a shocker!"


lol

I will bump this cuz I have always been interested in this couli....

Just waitn for the right conditions and one day...

norman clyde was no joke
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Re: Clyde Couloir (N. Palisade/Starlight)

Postby ElGreco » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:02 am

What I am trying to get a feeling for is whether the consequences of rockfall in the couloir are simply high because it's so narrow, or whether its location makes it more prone to rock and ice fall. Also, if people have found it ok in the early season or even spring vs. later in the summer and fall.

Personally, I'd want to hit this in May/June depending on the year. No ice - well, too bad. There are other ice climbs to do in September... But I want to hear from people who've done it.
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Re: Clyde Couloir (N. Palisade/Starlight)

Postby Vitaliy M. » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:29 pm

What I am trying to get a feeling for is whether the consequences of rockfall in the couloir are simply high because it's so narrow, or whether its location makes it more prone to rock and ice fall. Also, if people have found it ok in the early season or even spring vs. later in the summer and fall.


I think it is a combination of these things. Rock quality on that ridge sucks (although there are some spots with good rock). Doing this couloir in summer months would be kind of foolish I think, unless you do it at night or something. I watched a boulder size of a car roll down one of the chutes, it destroyed pretty much everything in it's path. Sounded like a war zone, was crazy. So narrow couloir with chance of rock fall. My friend and I went there to attempt it but couldn't due to high winds early last spring. I thought it was a good time because there was some good warming and than a cold period. Really hoped a water ice pitch formed up there, but never got a chance to find out...hopefully will find out some day. But I would not do it in August, or July. Or whenever things are warm and melting.
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Re: Clyde Couloir (N. Palisade/Starlight)

Postby bobpickering » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:21 am

I led the Clyde Couloir on 7-6-96. We didn't get as early a start as we should have, and the snow was softening by the time we climbed out of the bergschrund. We encountered both snow and ice. The ice never goes all the way up, so we escaped the couloir on the right and climbed to the North Palisade – Starlight notch. We traversed over to North Palisade. My partner descended the U-Notch couloir and I traversed over Polemonium to Sill before descending to camp.

I followed a guide up the Clyde Couloir to Starlight on 3-18-97. We exited on to the rock on the right as I had done the year before. We descended the left Underhill Couloir back to camp.

I used to measure the slope of most of the couloirs I climbed, but I somehow missed the Clyde Couloir. I would guess that it's about 55º at the steepest, excluding the bergschrund. Nothing came crashing down on either climb, but I certainly believe it happens. The snow/ice climbing in the couloir is fairly short, since the ice peters out part way up. It's not a bad way to get to North Palisade or Starlight from the east. I hope this helps.
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