Headed up to the South Lake trailhead.
~100#s of gear between Rob and me. Always leave a helmet or rope visible to distinguish yourself from backpackers.
...and up to...
...Bishop Pass, which leads into Kings Canyon.
"Where the heck are we going to camp?"
Thunderbolt Peak just above Rob.
"Bingo!" This was a great spot just below a snowfield with runoff that we could filter.
Brilliant sunset back towards Bishop Pass.
A fun little scramble up to T-Bolt Pass.
Just across the Pass begins the chute that takes us to the North Ridge.
It's a long chute.
Then BAM! Looking over the north ridge at the Palisade Glacier below. The big peak in front of us is Gayley, and the lower one just to the left is Temple Crag, site of one of my favorite adventures: https://picasaweb.google.com/115225801023930265991/SunRibbonArete?noredirect=1
We changed into rock shoes here.
Just below the summit; morning moon guiding us.
After a bite of food, Rob psychs up for the scary 5.9 moves to the top of the summit block.
BOOM! Thunderbolt Peak summit, 14,003'.
I was happy to top rope the moves. Thanks, Rob!
Looking over at Starlight, which we somehow missed the summit of while traversing around a difficult section.
Descending off Thunderbolt.
Lots of rock.
Somehow in all of this traversing we missed the summit of Starlight. Oh well.
Rob summits North Pal behind me.
North Palisade, 14,242', the high point of the day.
Polemonium to the right; Sill to the left.
Headed up great rock to Polemonium.
On top of Polemonium. Rob is either pointing to the descent or the scary-ass clouds headed our way.
Headed down to the saddle below Sill.
Rob on the summit of Sill with the rest of the traverse in the background. No time to screw around.
Looking down the descent valley. Storm getting closer...
Raining now. We race to get off the steep stuff.
Ah s***. Full-on hail. Pea to jellybean size.
We dropped down a series of cascades where we separate to move faster instead of getting bunched up at every obstacle.
After about an hour the storm moved on. On easier ground now, we head to Potluck Pass.
An hour later and everything is pretty much dry thanks to arid air and warm rock.
Running out of daylight, though.
Pretty soon it was so dark that it was pointless to continue. We were still miles from camp, which we probably couldn't find in the dark anyway. We had been on the move for 18 hours and were completely exhausted, dehydrated, and hungry. We descended until we found water, poked around until we found a flat spot to sleep on, and curled up for the cold night ahead.
Six hours of huddled shivering later, we continued the slog towards camp. Along the way we passed the team we met at Bishop Pass. They were camped at Thunderbolt Pass and knew that we should have passed them on our way back to camp the night before. When they heard we had accomplished our objective and were no worse for wear, they gave us a kind round of applause.
Cresting Thunderbolt Pass, we can finally see our camp. It's at the lower edge of the snowfield just up and right of center.
We unceremoniously packed up our camp and hiked over Bishop Pass and down to our car. Back in town we devoured two medium pizzas, a plate of wings, and a pitcher of beer before getting a motel room and sleeping for 18 hours.