June 19, 2010 - Palisade Crest seen near the Big Pine TH.
Palisade Crest seen near the Big Pine TH.
Middle Palisade and Norman Clyde Peak.
Peaks seen from the backpacker trail heading into the North Fork of Big Pine. The full Palisade Traverse begins at South Pass, just out of view to the left of Balcony Peak.
Professional porter Steph powering up the hot, sandy lower part of the trail, camera at the ready.
Skyhaven seen as we ascended the terminal moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
The Dark Star route on Temple Crag seen in profile.
The ridge between Temple & Gayley.
The ridge between Temple & Gayley. Mt Gayley is to the right.
Steph taking photos on the hike up slabs beneath the Palisade Glacier moraine. Gayley is above.
Steph taking photos on the hike up slabs beneath the Palisade Glacier moraine.
REI didn't remove the security tag from my shell pants, so I bashed it off with a rock. Bad idea!
Mt Gayley's N Face seen from the Palisade Glacier moraine. Glacier notch is to the right.
The classic Swiss Arete route on Mt Sill and the N Couloir descent route.
The classic Swiss Arete route on Mt Sill and the N Couloir descent route. When Dirk (Diggler) and I climbed it, we did variation "B".
Steph enjoying her first closeup views of the Palisades on our way to camp. Mt Agassiz is behind.
Camps with a view on the moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
Steph Abegg nearing our camp on the Palisade Glacier moraine, with an excellent view of the Palisades!
Thunderbolt Pk looming high above Steph Abegg.
Cowgirl Steph lounging at our sweet campside. Mt Agassiz is behind.
Steph Abegg taking in the views at our campsite. Mt Robinson is behind.
Steph Abegg doing some serious work scanning our planned traverse route.
Steph Abegg looking at our planned approach and ascent route of Thunderbolt Pk's N Couloir. Mt Winchell is on the right.
The panoramic view from our campsite on the right lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier at 12,200 ft.
The classic Swiss Arete route on Mt Sill and some descent routes. The N Couloir route is the favored descent. When Dirk (Diggler) and I climbed it, we did variation "B".
V-Notch, U-Notch, and Clyde Couloirs seen rising above the Palisade Glacier.
Polemonium Peak, N Pal, and Starlight seen from camp.
N Pal and Starlight seen from camp.
Mt Gayley seen from camp.
Mt Sill seen from camp.
Clouds to the north.
Polemonium to Thunderbolt Peak, seen from camp.
The E Buttress of Thunderbolt Peak. The East Face routes are hidden in a cleft just to the right of the Underhill Couloir, and the SW Ridge follows the right skyline.
Various routes on or near the E Buttress of Thunderbolt Peak. The East Face routes are hidden in a cleft just to the right of the Underhill Couloir, and the SW Ridge follows the right skyline.
Steph hanging out in the tent, enjoying the evening cloud & light show.
Mt Sill seen at sunset.
The ridgeline between Temple and Gayley. Looks inviting!
Polemonium Pk (left of the U-Notch), North Palisade (left of center), Starlight Pk (right of center) and the Underhill Couloir (right) at sunset.
The complex and exposed traverse section between Starlight and North Palisade. This is for traversing north to south (Starlight TO North Palisade). Heading the other way one would follow a different line.
Mt Sill seen at sunset from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
Mt Robinson seen at sunset from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
Sierra wave at sunset.
Mt Gayley seen at sunset from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
Mt Gayley & Mt Sill seen at sunset from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
Mt Agassiz seen at sunset from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
Mt Winchell seen at sunset from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
Pink hues on Mt Gayley at sunset.
Fiery sunset on the Sierra wave
My first night photo shoot with Steph! Looking towards Gayley and Sill.
Mt Sill to Starlight Peak at night.
Mt Winchell & Mt Agassiz seen at midnight from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier. The half full moon is just out of picture to the left.
Palisades at night.
Mt Gayley & Mt Sill at night.
The Palisades seen at midnight from 12,200 ft on the north lateral moraine of the Palisade Glacier.
June 20, 2010 - Steph Abegg getting out her tools for the 1,000 ft 35-40 degree snow climb on the North Couloir of Thunderbolt Pk to start the traverse
Steph Abegg getting out her tools for the 1,000 ft 35-40 degree snow climb on the North Couloir of Thunderbolt Pk to start the traverse
Steph Abegg getting out her tools for the 1,000 ft 35-40 degree snow climb on the North Couloir of Thunderbolt Pk to start the traverse. It was a straighforward snowclimb and the bergschrund was still bridged. Mt Winchell is behind.
Steph Abegg climbing the North Couloir of Thunderbolt Peak early in the day as we began the Palisade Traverse.
Steph Abegg happily crunching her way up nice neve in the North Couloir of Thunderbolt Pk.
Don't go right here unless you want a lot more ridge climbing. Instead, take the smaller left fork here, which looks like it cliffs out. Above the next set or two of rock bands, trend right.
Mt Winchell at Sunrise from the N Couloir of Thunderbolt Pk.
Steph Abegg near the top of the North Couloir of Thunderbolt Pk as we began our Palisade Traverse.
Steph Abegg tearing up the final stretch of the 1,000 ft North Couloir of Thunderbolt Peak. The snow was perfect for cruising.
The summits of Thunderbolt Peak seen from the right topout of the N Couloir/top of the SW Ridge. If you see this view, you took the wrong fork on the N Couloir. From here you climb mostly on the left side of the ridge. Pass the Lightning Bolt on the right side.
Starlight Pk seen from the east side of the Lightning Rod.
Following Steph up to the Thunderbolt summit block, which is around the corner as we corkscrewed our way up to it.
Steph Abegg at a high perch getting ready to throw the rope over the Thunderbolt summit block. Sadly we couldn't get the rope to stick, as it slipped off every time we pulled it!The vertical flake has a lot of exposure, but it is where you can best position yourself to toss the rope over the summit block. After successfully lassoing the summit later on, I'd have to say that I think she has too much rope coiled. When I got the rope to fly far and high enough, I used about 5-6 arm lengths, and dropped down some more slack on the back side of this flake to about 2/3 of the way down.
Looking south towards Starlight Peak from just below the summit block of Thunderbolt.
The final stretch to the summit block of Thunderbolt from the south. Aim to the right of the fracture slab (cl. 2-3) and then traverse left into the notch (4th-5.1?). The summit block is the pointy block to the left of the notch.
Looking down the 5.6 downclimb.
The ascent from the Underhill Couloir to Starlight Peak. I found the Dike Bands to be a convenient reference for determining where to cut right since it is hard to orient yourself once you're in the middle of that area.
The ascent from the Underhill Couloir to Starlight Peak. I found the Dike Bands to be a convenient reference for determining where to cut right since it is hard to orient yourself once you're in the middle of that area. There are two ways to climb Starlight, the easier way being on the south side (right side in the picture).
Steph down-simuling the easy slab just above the Underhill Couloir.
Looking back up the 5.6 section that we simul-downclimbed.
Looking down the Underhill Couloir.
Steph Abegg downclimbing easy but exposed cl.3-4 slabs above Underhill Couloir as we continued south from Thunderbolt Pk.
The descent from Thunderbolt to the Underhill Couloir. We couldn't find any rapp stations at the 5.6 chimney, but the downclimb is straightforward, with one short 7-10 ft 5.6 bouldering crux midway down.
Steph on broken terrain leading to Starlight Peak from the Underhill notch.
Steph Abegg leading the way as we simul-climbed up the west side of the ridge leading to Starlight. This section between Starlight and the Underhill Couloir had the best combination of solid rock and interesting climbing.
One crux section climbing to Starlight.
Looking north along the ridge between Starlight and the Underhill Couloir. This was my favorite part of the traverse.
Steph Abegg beginning to climb up after navigating the fun 50-75 ft catwalk as we neared Starlight Pk from the north. Clean rock and lots of exposure!
Our first close-up view of the Milk Bottle. It just suddenly appears there, and you then wrap around to the left, behind, and pop out on the right side pictured here to access the easy ascent of the Milk Bottle on Starlight Pk.
The north side of the Milk Bottle summit block of Starlight Pk. I think it goes at 5.9?
(by Steph Abegg) Summit block of Starlight ("Milk Bottle"). This is a cool summit block, a 5.7ish airy boulder problem which Mark led.FOR TR:The summit block of Starlight, called the "Milk Bottle" because of its distinct shape, is perhaps the coolest summit I've climbed. This was one summit block we were not going to bypass - we didn't bring along the pink cowboy hat for nothing! Although slabby and exposed, the moves were actually pretty easy (5.7ish?) on great holds, and Mark led easily up to the top. I had no problem following in my boots. To get down, we rappeled off the bolt that is on the top.
Steph reaching the summit of Starlight Peak.
Steph Abegg riding high on the Milkbottle summit block of Starlight Peak with the lucky pink cowboy hat.
Steph Abegg getting ready to be lowered off of the Milkbottle.
Steph Abegg getting ready to be lowered off of the Milkbottle. Note the runner lassoed around the summit block. I wish I had it that secure when I topped out!
Steph & pink cowboy hat getting ready to go onwards towards North Palisade.
The section of the N Ridge of North Palisade just north of the summit, looking towards the summit.
The route we took, and our best deduction of the correct route on North Palisade coming from Starlight (based on Secor, Croft, and discussions with others who climbed this section).
Flying buttress on North Palisade.
Looking down to the west from the Starlight-N Pal ridgeline.
The steep descent from Starlight to the first notch on the way to N Palisade, viewed from the "tower" between the two peaks, just before the main notch.
Steph Abegg rappelling towards the deep and wide Notch before transitioning to the "stem of faith" to mantle onto my side of the gap. This seemed more appealing to both of us than attempting to swing over the gap, which looked very awkward to do.
Looking back across into the deep notch.
One of the spurs sticking out to the west of the main Palisade Ridge as we neared North Palisade. Note the 'lintel' arch in the distance.
Improbable low 5th class way to the summit on the west side of the crest. We weren't sure if this was the way, so we looked to the east.
East side of the crest looking much easier, but turned out to be much harder!
Steph Abegg trying to find a snow-free way through to the summit of North Palisade. This last pitch had to be broken into 2 pitches as it wandered, and it really sucked - loose rock, awkward and hard climbing, and poor pro. Perhaps one of the snow-covered routes would have worked better if it were free of snow?
June 21, 2010 - Steph packing up camp.
Steph Hiking back down to Sam Mac Meadows, with North Pal & Starlight rising above.
Middle Palisade seen near the Big Pine TH.
Sweet golden granite of Half Dome at sunset from Olmstead Point.
June 21, 2010 - The SW Face of Mt Conness seen from Olmstead Pt. The W Ridge ascends the shadow line. You can see the gendarmes of the N ridge on the left skyline, and the cl. 3 rout ascends the right skyline.
Polemonium from the U-notch - by Scott Morrison
The 5.2 route from the U-Notch to the summit of Polemonium Peak. (by Scott Morrison)
Topo map created showing our various plans for a Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse. We ended up taking Var. A and bailed down the couloir just before Polemonium Pk (by Steph Abegg).
Elevation profile created showing our various plans for a Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse. We ended up taking Var. A and bailed down the couloir just before Polemonium Pk (by Steph Abegg).