This beautiful mountain is found on the Sierra crest just to the north of Middle Palisade in the Palisade region. Named after the High Sierra's legendary pioneer climber Norman Clyde, this peak has several interesting routes including -
The North Face - a 700' 40 degree snow / ice gully that leads to the col between Mount Williams and Norman Clyde Peak ( class 4).
The North - Northeast Ridge, an interesting rock route ( class 3 - 4 ) and probably the easiest route from the east. Recommended.
The Firebird Ridge route ( IV, 5.9 - stay religiously on the crest of the North - Northeast Ridge ).
Eagle Face ( II, 5.4 ), the face left of the North - Northeast Ridge.
Twilight Pillar ( III, 5.8 ), the steep pillar which drops directly from the summit, supposedly a beautiful climb.
Thunderbird Wall ( III, 5.7 ), the crack / chimney system left of Twilight Pillar.
Southeast Ridge ( 5.6, A0 ), the traverse from Middle Palisade.
The South Face ( class 3 -4 ), possibly the easiest route but far harder to get to than the N.N.E. Ridge.
For more detailed information, please refer to the guidebook The High Sierra, Peaks, Passes and Trails, by R. J. Secor.
Also see Bob Burds excellent web page - Norman Clyde Peak
Although this peak can be climbed from the west by going over Bishop Pass from South Lake ( via Hwy 168 from Bishop ) on the Bishop Pass trail, and then over Thunderbolt Col to Palisade Basin, most climbers will ascend this mountain from the east via the Glacier Lodge road.
To get to Glacier Lodge take Hwy 395 South from Bishop (or North from Lone Pine) into the Town of Big Pine. Head West on Big Pine Creek Road until you reach Glacier Lodge.
From Glacier Lodge take the trail that leads up South Fork of Big Pine Creek until you reach Finger Lake.
The map needed for this mountain is the Split Mountain 7.5 minute USGS quadrangle.
Wilderness permits are required for overnight camping. There is a wilderness permit quota in effect from May 1st to November 1st. 60% of the wilderness permit quota is advance reservation ( $5.00 per person ) and 40% is available on a walk in first come first serve basis ( free ). See the Inyo National Forest website at http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/inyo/ for the most current information.
Inyo National Forest - Wilderness Permit Office - 873 North Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514
Reservation Line - 760 - 873 - 2483
Wilderness Permit Fax Line 760 - 873 - 2484
Wilderness Information - 760 - 873 - 2485
When To Climb
June - September are generally the best months for climbing.
There are several camping sites below the moraines west of Finger Lakes in addition to camping at Finger Lake. For the North Face route ( or an alternate approach to the North - Northeast Ridge route ), follow the north branch of the creek ( after passing Willow Lake ) to Elinore Lake. There is a rough cross country trail that leaves the main trail after Willow Lake and skirts a swamp to its west.
.See the Inyo National Forest web site ( http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/inyo/ ) for more information.