Via a very scary and loose Southfork Pass with Tommey via Bolton Brown. Did the traverse way too low which caused numerous route finding issues. Found the correct route much higher on the way back (25 min vs. 90 min). Hit Balcony before returning to camp at 10pm. Pictures
We managed to make it a full day zig zagging all over the peak with many changes in plans as well. Originally we expected to do one route up The Thumb and another up Disappointment, but weather shortened out plans. We went in the afternoon before to a camp high at the unnammed lakes below Middle Palisade Glacier. Up early the next morning to climb Doug's Chute, then Northeast Couloir, then up to the East Ridge but bergschrunds and rockfall kept leading us to change course.
Eventually we went up a chute just right of the normal route to the ridge. After negotiating a class 5 headwall we went up and beyond the normal traverse, nearly to the summit of Balcony. It began with a short class 5 downclimb but soon we were on our way without so many rib crossings, having bypassed most already. Fun climb from the notch to the summit.
Storms continued to menace throughout the day on Split Mountain just four miles south, but weather stayed ok for us on Disappointment!
Sean O. inspired me to give it a shot and Bob B.'s beta gave me the necessary background. The ridge on the north face of Peak 3994m sucked (loose and exposed) and I had a hold pop here or there between Disappointment and Excitement but otherwise the rock was pretty decent. I traversed high under Excitement and then climbed up to the ridge from a large bivy site onto the nice granite along the ridge leading to Middle Pal (and it's many false summits). There may have been some 5.5 or 5.6 there but I'd rather climb 5.6 granite than 5.2 choss. My solo climbing speed was not awesome as it took me about 16 hours, car to car, from Glacier Lodge. Not a bad way to spend a day, though!
Sierra Challenge day 6. There was some scary-loose black rock on the last part of the traverse from Balcony, but the rest of the way to Middle Pal was awesome. Trip report.
This was a really fine traverse of three summits along this impressive section of the Sierra Crest. Highly recommended! Trip Report
Very enjoyable scramble, descending from Balcony to traverse its north side to the notch south of Disappointment, and heading up from there (the "East Ridge" route described by Secor).
The traverse over to Middle Pal was much easier than I expected, and was particularly satisfying. Highly recommended.