July 1st 2014.
Alpine climbers and enthusiasts, we just finished a trip into the Palisades. Here is a breakdown of current conditions.
Approaches and Camps:
The North Fork of Big Pine Creek is dry walking all the way to Gayley camp. The sites at Gayley camp are dry. There is still water and melting snow at Gayley camp. The mosquitos are out through Sam Mack meadow.
The Bishop Pass approach is dry through Thunderbolt Pass. There are a few patches of snow on the north side of Thunderbolt Pass that look easily avoidable. There is still water in the ponds on the south side of Thunderbolt Pass.
The west side routes looked mostly dry with just patches of snow that looked avoidable.
The North Palisade Glacier is drying quickly. There is snow on top of ice with some dry sections. The crevasses still have snow bridges and are easy to spot.
The Glacier Notch north approach is snow on top of ice and then dry until you get off the glacier, and then dry to the notch. You will need crampons.
L-Shaped couloir on Mt. Sill is still snow. Crampons in the morning and softening by mid day.
The U-Notch already has loads of running water, brown streaks, and lots of exposed loose rock above the first section. Because of the continued drought conditions the U-Notch is out of shape. There are just too many hazards from loose rock to risk spending time in there.
The V-Notch looks to be in good shape still. There are snow bridges on the left and right of the bergschrund. The couloir is a mix of blue ice and snow. You would do well with two tools.
The Northeast Couloir of Thunderbolt is a mix of snow and ice with a good snow bridge over the bergschrund. We were able to climb this with one axe and crampons.
The Thunderbolt to Sill traverse is in great shape. We bivyed in the notch between Thunderbolt and Starlight and there was plenty of snow for melting. We also bivyed on the south side of Polemonium and the sites are dry and there is snow for melting right near by.