Drive to Bishop. From Bishop, take West Line street, which is signed for the South Lake Recreational Area. Drive the 22 miles to South Lake. The trailhead begins here. The pass is reached after about 8 miles.
Descend from the pass to a small tarn, then leave the trail, and begin hiking cross country, above the lakes of Dusy Basin to Thunderbolt Pass which is obvious in the distance. Several small cliffs need to be circumnavigated, try not to get too low into the basin.
Once Thunderbolt pass is reached, head down easy ledges to a perfect little camp site nestled among huge boulders on flat sand.
Westside Chutes as seen from the Palisade Basin
From the campsite. locate a series of big white cliffs to the right. The biggest chute between the 2nd and 3rd cliffs is the route. Slog up sandy talus, then onto cleaner rock about halfway up the chute. When the chute above begins to narrow to an overhanging coulior STOP.
To the left is a cliff with a dainty, well marked catwalk. It's not over conspicious, but if it looks exposed, you found the right one. As of Sept. 2005, cairns clearly marked the beginning of the catwalk. Head out, and slightly down on this catwalk, until reaching the very outside of the chute, and around the corner of the cliff.
Climb up 3rd/4th class ledges and cracks, then scramble over a small hump and up into a second chute. This chute narrows with short sections of stemming or face climbing to get past, when in doubt, stick to the left side of the coulior.
The second coulior ends in the famous 'bowl', with the summit within reach. Following the natural line straight up and left ends in a drop-off. Instead head for the boulders of the summit ridge up and right. The boulders must be hopped over, squeezed between, edged around, and in general just figured out, until suddenly the summit is upon you.
Descent: It's faster to rappel from the summit to the bowl than to repeat the boulder antics, then it's a straight shot down the coulior. Two short rappels are required in the coulior. The catwalk is actually a little easier on the descent.
A single 50 or 60 meter rope speeds up the descents, though competent parties shouldn't need it on the lead. The 4th class sections are surprisingly steep, but not sustained. Some extra webbing to replace the ratty anchors you might find is a good idea.
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