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Palisades conditions

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

Re: Palisades conditions

Postby ffschooley » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:56 am

Anyone have an update on conditions of the glacier this year? Climbing Sill next month and was hoping to camp on the west side of the glacier lake (Fischer camp?) as opposed to gayley camp and cross the glacier to get to glacier notch and avoid the talus below gayley, but was worried about cravases after 2 weak winters...
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby AlexeyD » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:54 pm

ffschooley wrote:Anyone have an update on conditions of the glacier this year? Climbing Sill next month and was hoping to camp on the west side of the glacier lake (Fischer camp?) as opposed to gayley camp and cross the glacier to get to glacier notch and avoid the talus below gayley, but was worried about cravases after 2 weak winters...


Spent 5 days (June 15-19) in the Palisades, climbed Gayley, Sill and Gendarme. Most of the glacier was in good shape, no crevasses visible on the traverse from the Gayley Camp to Glacier Notch. The couloirs are a different story: both the U-notch, V-notch, and Thunderbolt N. Couloir schrunds looked wide open and difficult to cross. As of now the glacier is still largely snow-covered, but coverage seems thin, with patches of ice already showing through in parts. Snow is firm in the morning, but gets very mushy by around noon, so that we would wear crampons on the way up, but not on the way down, which worked out nicely for a quick plunge-stepping descent. Access directly to Glacier Lake from Sam Mack Meadow would, in my opinion, be problematic (at least when we were there): the gully you would need to ascend was mostly filled with what looked like dangerously undermined snow. Personally I would suck it up and take the Gayley Camp approach - the talus isn't really all that long anyway. Of course, if you're going in a month things might be different, so hard to say.

As a final point, as of 6/17 the ledges leading up to the 4th class section on Sill were still holding quite a bit of snow, and as a result, the route takes a lower than normal traverse across the W face of Sill, resulting in a considerably longer and more involved 4th to low 5th scramble to gain the SW ridge (a couple hundred feet, as opposed to the usual 40-50). Again, things may change by the time you're there, but just something to keep in mind.

Loved the Pals and can't wait to come back...good luck and enjoy!
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:23 pm

A lot can happen on Sill in a month. You may be able to skirt the L-couloir totally on the rock.
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby BCL » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:53 am

Anyone know what conditions on the west side are like? We are attempting the nw chute on Starlight next week and are debating hauling crampons/axe.
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby Climber Dave » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:44 am

We were up at Fischer Camp last weekend ,June 28-30. On Saturday we headed to the base of the U-notch and saw that you could cross the bergschrund on the right side still, there was water and sand coming down however. We were here at 6am and one of our group narrowly missed being nailed by one of two falling rocks.
We decided we had missed the window for the U notch, last weekends heatwave definitely didn't help, and headed to glacier pass and Did Sill via the North Couloir and Mt Gayley via the Yellow Brick Road.
The snow in the north couloir was pretty soft and crappy, it goes up maybe 60-70% to the top but we bailed to the rocks on the right about halfway up to get out of it. Rocks here are pretty loose and crappy. There was still some snow on the ledges on the west face but it was easily avoided.
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby Climber Dave » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:30 pm

Some pics from last weekend;

View from camp
Image

U-Notch
Image

U-Notch
Image

V-Notch
Image
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby MattGreene » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:55 am

Did the V-Notch on Saturday, July 6th. We easily crossed the schrund via a snow bridge at the far left side. We studied the route well for signs of rockfall before committing, and only had one baseball sized rock rocket down during our ascent. Tons of rocks were falling down the U-Notch, though.
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby ska21 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:17 pm

Bump. Headed up for the little pal traverce Thunderbolt to Polemoneum. Anyone know conditions on Underhill or the North Chutes of Thunderbolt? Headed up the North Fork. Also, with all of the rockfall in the U-Notch that's been reported, any advice on an rap route near there? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby craig512 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:45 am

I was up there from the 20th-26th and conditions were terrible. Rained every day which caused a great deal of rockfall all over the place. We were based at Third Lake and Temple Crag sounded like it was falling apart. We managed to bag Mt. Sill via an approach across the North base of Mt. Gayley but for several hundred yards there was rock dust and obvious fresh rockfall. Five of us climbed without axe and crampons.
We tried to bag Thunderbolt via the North Couloir on Thursday the 25th but ended up bailing and bagged Mt. Winchell instead (awesome peak BTW). Two of us managed about a pitch up the left side of the Bergschrund. One stayed on the top of the 'schrund dodging rocks. Myself and one other invented a new sport dubbed "Rock Dodge" as we sprinted in crampons south across the glacier avoiding car tire sized rocks descending faster than can be considered comfortable.
I wouldn't spend any time on the Palisades Glacier because of the rockfall there, and IMHO I wouldn't advise any of the routes. A descent via the North Couloir of Thunderbolt is probably best, but if you're set on the traverse, then I'd advise going all the way to Sill and descending that way, even if it means a bivy. Anything that involves "chute" or "couloir" is going to suck. I'll try and get some pics posted...
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby craig512 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:04 am

Well...I'm having a hard time linking pics. So you'll have to check them out at https://mybrewery.shutterfly.com/
Sorry!
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby craig512 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:51 am

3Deserts,
Yep that was me and my party. Were you the one I got all the beta from in the parking lot and then saw later on the trail? If so, thanks for all the good advice, we all appreciated it!
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby ska21 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:58 am

I went up SW chute on Thunderbolt on Friday August 2. The west side is clear of snow and no rockfall except for my buddy dropping a softball size rock hitting my ankle as he was climbing above me. There is a bit of water near a snow patch near Thunderbolt pass on the west side, and we found some silty water 3/4 of the way up SW chute#1. As we were hitting the summit block, there was an explosion sound on the East side above Palisade Glacier near the V notch and some Volkswagen bus sided rocks popped off the wall creating a smoke layer above the glacier. I would not want to be on or near that Palisade Glacier right now. That rockfall happened at around 8 am.
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby gcircle » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:00 pm

Any word on condition of Glacier Notch- Planning to circumnavigate Gayley/Temple next week.
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Re: Palisades conditions

Postby Vertigo soul » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:12 pm

In addition to Glacier notch, anyone been close enough lately to provide an update on ice (if there is any) conditions in the U & V Notch, N. Couloir of T-bolt, etc., or any other useful beta on the area (i.e. rock fall still a major issue)? Thanks in advance!
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