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Middle Palisade Conditions October 2013

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Middle Palisade Conditions October 2013

Postby JedSMG » Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:18 am

Holy glacier recession, batman. I guess I hadn't been up there since September 2011. Things have pulled back quite a bit. Sounds like others are finding the same, but dealing just fine. Maybe we missed the "easy" way, but we did some proper 5th class to go from "glacier" to "traverse" ledge. Used to be trivial. We did wander a bit back and forth, both up and down, just to see what would work and what wouldn't. I like to think we found the best way, but that could be incorrect.

This dark and poor pic was taken 10/4/2013 from just about 5 minutes down the dividing ridge/moraine/jumble. The blue line roughly marks what I remember to be the glacier surface. (I remember no appreciable change over a handful of trips 'tween '03 and '11, but sometime's I'm not that attentive to such details...). The orange is the "traverse ledge". Yellow is how we went up. About 20 feet of low-fifth. And red is where we rapped about 10m back down. Left a cord with metal on a bomber horn. No other slings in sight.
Image

Further up, we found up to a foot of faceted and slippery snow in the gully. We could avoid it 75% of the time.

Image
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Re: Middle Palisade Conditions October 2013

Postby obsidian » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:50 am

JedSMG,
Interesting post. I was hiking around in the Palisades in mid-June, just to get a look at the terrain.
I ran into a group of three climbers who made the same approach that you did, essentially. They had found a trip report on the Internet that rated that assent of the Middle Palisade as a class 3. They were so confident that they didn't even bring a rope. I asked them how they intended to descend that face after summiting,...and, I just got a confused look. When I ran into them further down South Fork several days later, I asked them what became of their climb. And, they said that they hiked to the foot of the wall, looked up, and decided to retreat.
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Re: Middle Palisade Conditions October 2013

Postby seano » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:54 am

obsidian wrote:Middle Palisade as a class 3. They were so confident that they didn't even bring a rope. I asked them how they intended to descend that face after summiting,...and, I just got a confused look. When I ran into them further down South Fork several days later, I asked them what became of their climb. And, they said that they hiked to the foot of the wall, looked up, and decided to retreat.

This just sounds like ignorance all around: (1) faces always look steeper head-on, and Middle Pal is a prime example that was super-intimidating the first time I approached it; (2) if you don't bring a rope, don't climb up anything you can't climb down. They probably would have been safer without a rope than futzing with one on class 3 terrain covered in loose stuff, and they were even safer turning around when they didn't feel it.

In any case, the Middle Pal glacier is one of the saddest glacial victims in the Sierra. Though we probably won't be around to enjoy it, maybe nuclear winter will restore it to its former glory. :twisted:
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