I climbed the U-notch from Palisade Glacier with my friend Dan after flying over the Sierra in his Cessna; what an experience! The bergschrund is passable on the right, but it's on ice, not snow; we placed some pro on the right and used the rock a little to get pass the steepest parts. Also, the "Clyde Variation" does not start 40-50 ft. below the U-Notch as described, it's more like 15; the beginning open book is not class 3, it's easily class 4. We debated if this was even the correct route at first because open book (more like a chimney) was not trivial; however, the remaining moves around the corner were fun class 3/4.
Final stop of the day. Headed down the U-Notch back to camp. The Palisades are incredible!!!
It was a gorgeous weekend. Second Lake was about 60 percent frozen. I used to backpack here with my family when you could drive right up to the trailhead and drop folks off. Hasn't changed much but that was always summer. Right now it looks like fall even though it's supposed to be spring. Beautiful hike!
made it up the u-notch the year before, my second day on crampons, ever, didn't summit- slid a good hundred feet trying some dumb-ass, greenhorn stunt on descent- I learned how to self-arrest that day. Tried again the next year going up some west face thing but it got 'smoky' and we got lost and ... later that year we went up the west face to the chimney variation. I should have brought my diaper, I was afeared. But we survived, KB and I. We covted the Milk's Bottle of Starlight, but didn't have it in us that day, maybe tomorrow...
I hiked in from South Lake TH on Saturday morning and summitted Polemonium and North Pal. After descending back to camp below Thunderbolt Pass on Sat night, I attempted Thunderbolt on Sunday. I made it to the register but didn't feel up to free soloing the T-bolt summit block in boots with no rope. I made it back out to South Lake before dark and hitched a ride in to Bishop. I spent the rest of the evening in a major thunderstorm, first waiting for my friend to pick me up, then during the long drive back to LA.
Swesome climbing here! 4th classed down to the lookers right of the 5.2 chimneys. Not too bad but lured us into trying to 4th class Polemonium. I dpn't recommendt that.
"Hell Yeah, Baby!" I said with a whoop as I mantled onto the summit. Great well-worth-the-extra-push-to-get-there summit.
Phenomenal climb. Took 12 hours camp to camp! Getting over bergscrund was fine but it was starting to break up. Snow was good in UNotch in AM but was loose and slippery on the way down. Got to chimney around 10-10:30. 2 pitches of what I would call 5.6-5.7. Just a a few moves may be that way but it is definitely not 5.2 (ladder) as it has been called. Then was tricky trying to find the best route to traverse. We belayed from a little spot that overlooked the snowfield on the east face. Up over the slabs, around a tower, on the ridge, and then down on the 3rd-4th class slopes on the west side of the ridge. I would not describe this as a "bowl" but more like the top of a gully or couloir. Find the easiest way down to some sandy paths that will lead to the base of the summit block. You will be looking up at the summit from this point. Aim for the summit along 4th class blocks and small slabs. Up through a small chimney will get you on top of the summit block.
For the descent...From there about 25 feet to the west is a rap station that will get you to the bottom of the 4th class stuff. Walk a little further down, cross the sandy paths and retrace steps to top of chimney. 2 raps then to the Unotch. We rapped the Unotch because the snow was loose and slippery at this point. It took a lot of rappels with 1 rope! This seemed to take a long time. Careful over the bergschrund.
Climbed North Pal & Polemonium with Courtney P. Had fun leading the chimney and 3 pitches up to Polemonium (not the typical route apparently). No ice present in the couloir below the U-Notch -- just soft snow. After Polemonium we went on toward Sill and descended via Glacier Notch (a fairly long day).
The snowline on the approach hike is just below Sam Mack Meadow. You can hike snow from there to the glacier or find the trail on the ridge to the left (looking up). We camped on dry ground 30-40 minutes below the glacier. The U-Notch bergshrund was passable on the right by a ramp, but will not last much longer. We soloed soft snow steps in the couloir, then roped up for the fun, chimney pitches to the summit ridge, where we simul-climbed to the summit. Arrived at 10:45 AM. Our plans to traverse to Starlight Peak were hampered by a party of 3 ahead of us, so we descended to the notch and climbed Polemonium instead. Arrived back at camp at 6:00 PM and hiked out - whew! A great trip with perfect weather in the incomparable High Sierra.
Nice climb. Snow was a bit soft in the couloir. Chimney was fun. Fun scrambling to the highpoint. Did Polemonium Peak afterward. (June 06)
Honeymoon trip. Perfect weather, perfect climb.
Calm day, with a foot of powder up the U Notch. Climbed to the top of the Chimney, but ran out of time...wow, that traverse needs time with snow. I would use protection with snow as well.
What a climb. 5/14 ended to be a 20 hour day starting at 4:00am at just behind the lake to the summit at 11:30am and back to the car at Midnight. yeah!!!
Second attempt on this one. Climbed it the year before with Matt G. and Dave D., only to get turned back by a sinus infection that reacted badly to altitude. Ouch. Camped high on the moraine and crossed the 'schrund of the U-notch to gain the rock wall on the right side. 3-4 pitches of 5.6 climbing put us on the slopes below the upper snow field. Awesome climb.
Downclimbed and rapped the route
Fun climb, and the wind and blowing snow definitely made conditions more difficult than expected.
For those who want my want to try climbing the Chimney variation on a 30m rope - don't do it! Its not long enough unless you don't mind simul-climbing a lot.
Descending the Clyde Variation was very straightforward, even with no prior planning to use the route.
Climbed as a present to myself for graduating from High School. With Ray Barnett
Final peak on a traverse from Thunderbolt with Glenn and Curt. In contrast to Bob's experience, we found the section between Starlight and North Pal to be a fair bit easier than the section between Thunderbolt and Starlight--but carrying a rope, we probably made different choices than he did. There was one rappel along the way that we wouldn't have had a prayer of downclimbing.
Couldn't make heads or tails of Secor's route descriptions on the summit, and ended up rapping off the summit and following a mystery chute down. Found ducks, footprints, and a convenient ledge system to take us down into the main SW Chute. I guess we stumbled upon the LeConte route...
An excellant peak, I wish I could've enjoyed the summit a bit more but the reality of having to hike back to T-bolt pass in the dark made me cut it to 5 minutes. Still no book in the register, just a dull pencil and a few bits of paper. For more details see Mark's (Pellucid Wombat) impending trip report.
An exciting climb, I found the chimney difficult due to the altitude. We made the mistake of bringing only one nine mm rope. The snow conditions in the U-Notch were perfect in early morning. By afternoon we encountered slush over hard ice, and rockfall. It took us forever to rappel the couloir with only one 165 foot rope.
Still, it was a great day. I'll never forget the view from the top!