Palisades 14’ers – 5 Days
Climb the Palisades from Palisade Basin on the Southwest side in a 5-day itinerary! This approach takes you to the most rugged and glaciated part of the High Sierra for classic, technical alpine climbing. This itinerary presents the opportunity to climb 3-5 iconic fourteen thousand foot Sierra peaks.
Minimum of 2 to run at this price on scheduled dates with a maximum guiding ratio of 2:1. There are many ways to climb in the Palisades and we encourage you to consider booking a custom private itinerary that best suits you and/or your group. Click HERE to request a custom program reservation and get more information.
The Palisades are the most rugged and “alpine” ridge on the Sierra crest. The complete Palisades region spans from Taboose Pass in the South, up over Split Mountain (once called South Palisade) to the mighty peaks like Mt. Sill and North Palisade that cradle the Palisade Glacier, the largest glacier in the Sierra, and on to the north to Bishop Pass. This area has a rich and storied climbing and guiding history. The Palisades have inspired climbers since Joseph Le Conte’s first visionary ascent of North Palisade in 1903 and on to the golden age of climbing there in the 1930’s, led by the great Norman Clyde. In 1959, the first guide service, called Mountain Guide Service, (as Sierra Mountain Guides you may be able to see why we love the simplicity of that name) was opened and located its primary operations in the North Fork of Big Pine Creek, the eastern access point to the Palisade Glacier and surrounding peaks. Eventually that guide service became the Palisade School Of Mountaineering (PSOM) run by the likes of Smoke Blanchard and the recently departed legendary guide John Fischer. SMG guides have in recent years continued to climb and guide new variations in the Palisades to discover new ways to appreciate these spectacular mountains and to feel a sense of connection to the feelings that the pioneering climbers may have experienced long ago. Whenever we go to the Palisades we consider ourselves part of a special tradition and spirit of Sierra mountaineering cultivated for over a century. We hope you will enjoy experiencing the Palisades with us.
On this five day program, we plan to climb several of the range’s breathtaking peaks in a self-supported style, using a lightweight mountaineering kit, from the southwest side of the crest. We may use a light ice axe and crampons if couloirs are still snowy, but usually by late summer conditions are bare of snow on the routes we climb. This allows us to leave heavy metal spikes and mountaineering boots behind in favor of lightweight, sticky rubber approach shoes. There are 5 lofty summits above 14,000 feet in this area: Mt. Sill, Polemonium Peak, North Palisade, Starlight Peak, and Thunderbolt Peak. We will attempt to summit 3-4 of them using alpine rock climbing equipment and technique, with technical difficulties from class 3 to 5.9, depending on the routes and summits we choose. Each climb has distinctive challenges but all of them require decent general mountaineering and rock climbing skills, and good physical condition. We will have 3 full climbing days to climb as many quality routes and summits as possible. For a bonus, and one of the best views in the Palisades, summit Mt. Agassiz on the way out, near Bishop Pass!
- 5-Day Itinerary
TRIP ITINERARY: Palisades 5-day DAY 1 Meet early morning at the SMG office in Bishop. Gear check and final packing. Transport to South Lake and the Bishop Pass trailhead. Hike over Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin, then up over Thunderbolt Pass to camp in upper Palisade Basin. DAY 2 Climb Mt. Sill or Thunderbolt Peak DAY 3 Climb North Palisade, Starlight Peak, and/or Polemonium Peak DAY 4 Climb one of the peaks we haven't yet climbed. DAY 5 Porters meet us at camp. Pack up camp, hike down to the car, celebrate a successful trip and collect our things when they arrive to meet us in Bishop.
- Additional Information
- AMGA trained and/or certified SMG alpine guide
- Group camping and cooking equipment
- Breakfasts and dinners
- Wilderness permits and permit fees
- Prior wilderness camping experience
- Prior multi-pitch rock climbing experience to 5.6, and comfortable climbing at least at that grade at altitude
- Excellent physical fitness and stamina
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