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Palisade Glacier Approach

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Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby JedSMG » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:09 am

Hello all,
I just wrote up a bit an "opinion" piece on approaching the Palisade Glacier in summer. I feel, of course, that it offers a valid suggestion, but you may not. Enjoy, and discuss.

http://www.jediahporter.com/2012/07/palisade-glacier-summer-approaches-and.html

Jed
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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:18 pm

Very nice write up. I took that approach before in mid summer and was happy with it. A lot less boulder hop. Although I like to camp by the glacier lake (for the water source).
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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby Palisades79 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:40 pm

Very enjoyable ! I hiked with John across Contact Pass and Glacier Notch to Fischer Camp and was shown a Norman Clyde stash near the pass . I think that would be an interesting way to return from Gayley Camp .
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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby Teresa Gergen » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:48 pm

Four years later, and at this point in the season, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me if the approach suggested in Jed's post above is still a good idea. How much has the Palisade Glacier receded by now? I have not been there in the past, but a few days ago from a peak to the north, too far distant to really be able to see it, it looked like there might not still be any glacier at the elevation of the traverse between Fischer Camp and the base of Glacier Notch. If there's no glacier left, is the traverse across the rock still easier/safer here than on the traditional route that goes through Gayley Camp and below the west side of Gayley?

Thanks.
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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby hailman » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:35 pm

I completely agree with Jed's post about the instability of the slopes beneath Gayley. I've traversed that section toward the Palisade glacier / Glacier Notch twice in August, and the second time couldn't believe I let myself do it again! Definitely felt large boulders move underfoot -- very unsettling to say the least. Not to mention it is very slow going making this traverse.

I haven't been over to the Fischer Camp area, but in early August this year the glacier was melted out enough I'm sure you would need to cross rock. Really more like an odd mixture of glacial till suspended in animation between melting ice. It also looks like the U-Notch is dumping a lot of rockfall.

Best bet I think would be to visit the Palisade glacier in early season, and avoid it entirely by this time of year. Routes on Gayley / Sill might be best accessed via Contact Pass in late season. Just my opinion!

PS. Another good way to think about the instability of these slopes is that the materials are heterogeneous (glacial till has a wide variety of particle sizes) and they have been deposited with low energy. When the glacier melts it leaves them sitting in place very gently. Throw in some freeze-thaw action and the particle contacts become even more tenuous!
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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby stoaX » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:26 pm

Nice write up and a cool website. Now I'm pissed that I'm sitting in my office working....I gotta get out!
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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:58 am

The slog from Sam Mack to Gayley is always painful and miserable, but well worth it, although every time I've done it the conditions are something like this:

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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby Kurt Wedberg » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:06 am

Teresa Gergen wrote:Four years later, and at this point in the season, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me if the approach suggested in Jed's post above is still a good idea. How much has the Palisade Glacier receded by now? I have not been there in the past, but a few days ago from a peak to the north, too far distant to really be able to see it, it looked like there might not still be any glacier at the elevation of the traverse between Fischer Camp and the base of Glacier Notch. If there's no glacier left, is the traverse across the rock still easier/safer here than on the traditional route that goes through Gayley Camp and below the west side of Gayley?

Thanks.

I agree with others. I think it's best to visit this area earlier in the season. Here's what the Palisade Glacier looked like on Thursday August 25 from near the summit of North Palisade Peak.

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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby Teresa Gergen » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:45 am

Thanks, everyone.
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Re: Palisade Glacier Approach

Postby Norris » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:16 am

I climbed a number of routes with John Fischer back in the 1980s, including Sill via Swiss arete, North Palisade, Thunderbolt. We never, ever went anywhere near Gayley camp. John had a whole system, which included a camp site above third lake (which is still a great place to camp that few know about) and the high camp Jed talks about in his post from 2012. The high camp was much easier and quicker to get to than Gayley camp, and from there, one could jump on the climbs quicker and beat parties coming from Gayley camp to the routes, especially U Notch and Underhill couloir. But even for Sill, it was faster to traverse across the glacier than to climb to there from Gayley camp. And no "Ralstonator" boulder hopping!
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