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U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
 

Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby 2600fromatari » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:23 am

Probably too late to help you out, but there's really no snow or ice in the chute. There's a sliver about 20 ft long (?) that you can walk around near the top. I was in the area about two weeks ago and heard a lot of rock fall. I reckon you'd feel like a bowling pin. My first thought was, "This is the famous U Notch"? It looked so ugly I didn't bother taking a picture.

Top of the notch where the backpacks are at the bottom of the picture:
http://i49.tinypic.com/vhcj1i.jpg

Lots of human sized bowling balls coming down:
http://i46.tinypic.com/1z4cokg.jpg
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Burchey » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:56 pm

2600fromatari wrote:Probably too late to help you out, but there's really no snow or ice in the chute. There's a sliver about 20 ft long (?) that you can walk around near the top. I was in the area about two weeks ago and heard a lot of rock fall. I reckon you'd feel like a bowling pin. My first thought was, "This is the famous U Notch"? It looked so ugly I didn't bother taking a picture.

Top of the notch where the backpacks are at the bottom of the picture:
http://i49.tinypic.com/vhcj1i.jpg

Lots of human sized bowling balls coming down:
http://i46.tinypic.com/1z4cokg.jpg


I'm mostly interested in the V, but muchas gracias anyway, Senor blast-from-the-past.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Kahuna » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:13 pm

2600fromatari wrote:My first thought was, "This is the famous U Notch"? It looked so ugly I didn't bother taking a picture.

Top of the notch where the backpacks are at the bottom of the picture:
http://i49.tinypic.com/vhcj1i.jpg



That is actually pretty common this time of the year/season. Even in a normal or heavy snow season.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby 2600fromatari » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:57 pm

A5RP wrote:
2600fromatari wrote:My first thought was, "This is the famous U Notch"? It looked so ugly I didn't bother taking a picture.

Top of the notch where the backpacks are at the bottom of the picture:
http://i49.tinypic.com/vhcj1i.jpg



That is actually pretty common this time of the year/season. Even in a normal or heavy snow season.


Thanks for the info. I'm new to this and thought that chute was supposed to have snow year-round.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Burchey » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:09 pm

I think that upper section of the U often melts out at some point during the season. Not sure about the whole thing, haven't spent enough time up there. Would be sweet to get a full-on frontal nudity shot of the couloirs from a recent trip...if only some douche and his stuffed animal had been up there this past weekend and took a picture of them.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Deb » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:40 pm

2600fromatari wrote:Probably too late to help you out, but there's really no snow or ice in the chute. There's a sliver about 20 ft long (?) that you can walk around near the top. I was in the area about two weeks ago and heard a lot of rock fall. I reckon you'd feel like a bowling pin. My first thought was, "This is the famous U Notch"? It looked so ugly I didn't bother taking a picture.

Top of the notch where the backpacks are at the bottom of the picture:
http://i49.tinypic.com/vhcj1i.jpg

Lots of human sized bowling balls coming down:
http://i46.tinypic.com/1z4cokg.jpg

DAMN that's an ugly gash! :shock:
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Kahuna » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:51 pm

Just got a very NASTY first hand condition report on both V & U Notch from this past Friday.

Stay away from both!!! Tons of rockfall, bad ice and flowing water runnels by noon.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby ElGreco » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:49 am

Just came back from an aborted Palisades traverse. We climbed the Swiss Arete and made it to Polemonium when the thunder and hail rolled in. Bivied at the U notch for the night, so experienced the conditions first hand for hours. The next day, we were in whiteout conditions and the weather looked unstable, so we bailed down the back (West) side of the U notch to Palisade basin.

DO NOT CLIMB OR RAPPEL THE U-NOTCH. Unless you have a gambling problem and like it that way, or just love Russian roulette. The rockfall was echoing regularly through the night, and you can see the debris on the glacier below. There is ice coverage, but it's brown from all the melt and dirt. The brown patches and streaks that you see in the couloir are dirty ice, not dry ground.

The V-notch looks better, with continuous coverage to the top, although it's thin in places, but also looks like dirty ice (especially the bottom half). The V-notch also doesn't have the "bowl" with loose rock on top that the U-notch has, so chances of rockfall are lower in my view, but I still wouldn't do it. It's been a low snow year, and things are unstable.

The Clyde couloir looks like death trap as well. Keep clear. The Underhill is completely dry except for the bergschrund.

2 photos here (look at largest size and zoom in):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98501575@N00/7975281948/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98501575@N00/7975283720/

And a quick video showing the top of the V-notch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy1BoSWMlNI

Incidentally, if anyone makes it to Glacier lake and you find a pair of hiking poles, two slices of pizza and some trash under the rocks, they're ours. Feel free to take your booty (and pizza if you wish), but please clean up the trash - we never made it back to that side of the mountain after bailing.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Palisades79 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:35 pm

Once did the V notch this time of year & it was an enjoyable low angle ice climb the whole length. We descended by traversing to Mt. Sill and down the 4th class route to the Glacier. It is a good way to prepare for Winter mountaineering .
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Burchey » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:43 pm

Greco, thanks for taking time to post these up - very helpful info. The U looks like a nightmare. On rockfall - just got word a buddy and his group got pummeled climbing in the Alps ( halfway up Matterhorn?)...he got lucky and only broke his tailbone from a shot to the back. Rockfall ain't no joke.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Bascuela » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:35 pm

ElGreco wrote:Just came back from an aborted Palisades traverse. We climbed the Swiss Arete and made it to Polemonium when the thunder and hail rolled in. Bivied at the U notch for the night, so experienced the conditions first hand for hours. The next day, we were in whiteout conditions and the weather looked unstable, so we bailed down the back (West) side of the U notch to Palisade basin.

DO NOT CLIMB OR RAPPEL THE U-NOTCH. Unless you have a gambling problem and like it that way, or just love Russian roulette. The rockfall was echoing regularly through the night, and you can see the debris on the glacier below. There is ice coverage, but it's brown from all the melt and dirt. The brown patches and streaks that you see in the couloir are dirty ice, not dry ground.

The V-notch looks better, with continuous coverage to the top, although it's thin in places, but also looks like dirty ice (especially the bottom half). The V-notch also doesn't have the "bowl" with loose rock on top that the U-notch has, so chances of rockfall are lower in my view, but I still wouldn't do it. It's been a low snow year, and things are unstable.

The Clyde couloir looks like death trap as well. Keep clear. The Underhill is completely dry except for the bergschrund.

2 photos here (look at largest size and zoom in):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98501575@N00/7975281948/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98501575@N00/7975283720/

And a quick video showing the top of the V-notch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy1BoSWMlNI

Incidentally, if anyone makes it to Glacier lake and you find a pair of hiking poles, two slices of pizza and some trash under the rocks, they're ours. Feel free to take your booty (and pizza if you wish), but please clean up the trash - we never made it back to that side of the mountain after bailing.



Wow, amazing pics of the U. I was there for the first time this May. I can't belive how different it looks. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby PellucidWombat » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:33 pm

El Greco, or anyone else who has been up there recently: how was the snow crossing to the Swiss Arete? Would an ax or crampons be useful? Same question regarding descending the Palisade Glacier from Glacier Notch. I have no idea how melted out or icy those sections might be with this dry summer, and we're hoping not to bring any snow gear, but it would be good to get a sense if we should at least bring one ax between the two of us.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby Romain » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:42 pm

There is no snow at all to cross to get to the Swiss. Whatever snow/ice remains from the L-shaped snowfield can be entirely avoided. Not so for getting to Glacier Notch. The glacier is an ugly mess of crevasses and rockfall, and the only way to avoid traveling on it is skirting Gayley over a lot of talus. Then when you get to the 2nd class part below Glacier Notch you will have to negotiate ugly sipplery black ice to get onto the solid ground. If you're creative you may avoid the ice, but be careful. We approached by crossing the glacier (scary loud bangs of the ice cracking as we walked on it), for the return we skirted Gayley which seems like a safer option, except for the aforementioned black ice.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:02 pm

PellucidWombat wrote:El Greco, or anyone else who has been up there recently: how was the snow crossing to the Swiss Arete? Would an ax or crampons be useful? Same question regarding descending the Palisade Glacier from Glacier Notch. I have no idea how melted out or icy those sections might be with this dry summer, and we're hoping not to bring any snow gear, but it would be good to get a sense if we should at least bring one ax between the two of us.

We were able to decend the class 3 route from the south side of Glacier Notch last weekend over the aforementioned black ice without much issue and no ax or crampons. It isn't very long on the ice. A couple weeks earlier we used a class 4 route close to Gayley which avoided the ice and snow entirely. Once at Glacier Nortch there is no snow as an obstacle to reach Swiss Arete.

No snow gear should be needed, just be careful as you go in order to avoid (another) SAR.

BTW one ice ax for two people would be pretty pointless.
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Re: U-Notch V-Notch conditions?

Postby PellucidWombat » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:07 pm

Thanks, Romain! Regarding icy conditions I was more worried about descending Glacier Notch to the north. We were considering descending the S Fork of Big Pine back to the S Side of Contact Pass, or to the TH, as an alternative if that section required significantly different gear than accessing the Swiss Arete.

It sounds like we'll forgo snow equipment and make a nice loop out of our outing.

Chad, you're an ass and making a sad attempt to carry out your retributive threats against me. Grow up. Also, one ax for two people works just fine in the right conditions. I have used that system on several occasions with good results. I'm happy to share how it works, but I know you have no interest in learning. Carry on with your pathetic bullying.
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