U-Notch Conditions?

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U-Notch Conditions?

by MDP88 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:54 pm

Hi all,

Does anyone have a recent update on the conditions of U-Notch couloir? Is ice 100% avoidable? Also, what is the state of the bergschrund? I'm heading out to the Sierras this weekend and was hoping to make an attempt at North Palisade or Polemonium via this route.

In addition, can anyone recommend to me some alpine-style routes that would involve as little ice as possible? Easy snow would be ideal -- I'm climbing with someone who has minimal alpine experience, and I am unfamiliar with the area and conditions. The U-notch was originally my first choice based on what I have heard; however, if the conditions are not so good, I would be open to anything else



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by Franky » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:11 pm

I don't think you are going to want to do the U-Notch this time of year by the sound of your group. Even if you can avoid the real alpine ice, you are just going to be in steep neve, frozen snow.

I don't know any easy snow climbs that will be easy snow climbs this time of year.

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by pjc30943 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:59 pm

North peak's left couloir is easy snow right now... A bit soft and slippery at parts, so probably belay a beginner when they follow you up.

EDIT: there's lots of loose rock though on the exit pitch, so be cautious and climb side by side...not sure if this is a beginner on snow only, or rock as well.

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by jdmorris » Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:37 pm

Lots of ice in the U-notch when I was there a couple weeks ago though the 'shrund was still barely bridged. You could climb to the U-notch from the west via 3rd class rock if it's North Pal and Pole you're after. Or if you wanted an excuse to carry crampons to 13k feet the North Couloir of Sill still has great snow (it's even steep at the top!) and the option of avoiding it altogether with the scree to climber's right (good for descending when the snow never softens now that it's cold up there). You could climb Pole via ridge traverse and fourth class from Sill if you went that route. Good luck!


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