Starting off Saturday morning down the south fork of big pine creek. An avalanche last winter took out the bridge up ahead making for a fun crossing.
Things start to get a bit steeper as we head up to finger lake
First glimpse of Middle Palisade, 14012 ft (center left)
Getting up the boulder field to finger lake. Tiring but very straight forward compared to what Sunday had in store
getting the gear sorted out
Base camp at finger lake ~10,800 ft.
About 5am. Middle palisade (left) from the lower portion of the approach. There was about 2.5 hours of scrambling over somewhat snow covered boulders before reaching the toe of the glacier.
Nicks headlamp squiggles as twilight hits.
Our approach takes us left over the glacier to a class 3 ledge that was supposed to access the main chute to the summit (seen below/left of summit)
Middle Palisade in all its glory.
Found the ledge. Easy climbing here, but it got worse very fast.
the vertical world
Nick picks his way through the rock
By this point we had missed our access to the main chute and had climbed a few hundred feet off route to the left. The mixed snow and rock made things pretty precarious, and we quickly found ourselves in class 3/4 terrain.
Given that we were moving so slow and we were off route, we decided the summit was out of reach, and started to downclimb.
Nick coming down a ledge back to the glacier
looking back up at our route
Good reconnaissance for next time.
Perfect weather though.
Scrambling back down to brewer lake. Unfortunately down-climbing took forever, and we ended up hiking out in the dark. We got back to the car around 9:30PM. That made for about 17 hours of continuous climbing/hiking, about 5 of those hours being in the dark. We were pretty beat.