Scimitar Pass to Southwest Chutes

Scimitar Pass to Southwest Chutes

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.09440°N / 118.5019°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike and Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: A few days
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 2 - 3
Sign the Climber's Log


Use SF Big Pine Creek Trail. Follow the trail to Willow Lake. Once above and east of Willow Lake, leave the trail and skirt the south side of the lake heading west cross country.

Route Description

Cross the inlet creeks (3) to Willow Lake (tevas will do just fine). Climb the ridge on the south side of the creek draining from Elinore Lake and the Clyde Glacier but remain near the north edge keeping the creek in view. About 1/2 mile west of Willow Lake you will encounter a marsh (lots of willows) and the creek draining the Clyde Glacier. Cross the creek and regain the ridge and follow for 1/2 mile until you find the creek draining Elinore Lake (this creek joins the main stem from the southwest). You can stay on the ridge (do some slab climbing) or drop to the creek and boulder hop up to Elinore Lake. The campsites are located on the west side of the lake between Elinore and a small pond.

From here there are several nice routes to Sill:

1. Climb (easy scramble) due west from Elinore Lake gaining 500-800ft to the bowl just below Sill Glacier with Glacier Notch due north.
a. skirt the glacier to the north and ascend to Glacier Notch (class 3-4) for either the Swiss Arete or the North Couloir routes
b. ascend the Sill Glacier heading for the first couloir to the left of the main east face of Sill. You'll need to surrmount the schrund before entering the couloir (ice axe, crampons, ice screws recommended)

2. A longer, more circuitious route leads you over Scimitar Pass to the base of the Polemonium Glacier and the southwest chute on Sill. It also gives you opportunity to climb Pk 13962 and Polemonium (or the rest of the north Palisades for that matter).

From Elinore Lake head due south toward a saddle in the prominent ridge that curves southwest to the sierra crest between Palisade Crest and Mt Jepson. Once you've reached the saddle, cross over to the south side and follow the base of ridge over scree (sometimes very loose, but doable) untill the ridge is gained again (very obvious once you are there). On the ridge, climb (class 2-3) to the pass (west) which is actually 200ft up the west shoulder of Palisade Crest and above the low point in the sierra crest that you see from below.

Once on the pass, look northwest into the bowl at the base of Sill - the route is quite evident - talus, sand and scree - a gentle slope. It is approximately 1 mile from the pass to the base of Sill.

Essential Gear

For Scimitar Pass, no special gear is needed other than a helmet.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.