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    Palisade Glacier High Camp – 5 Days

    Palisade Glacier High Camp – 5 Days

    per person

    Climb the Palisades from a basecamp near the Palisade Glacier in a 5-day format!


    Climb the Palisades from a basecamp near the Palisade Glacier in a 5-day format! This approach takes you to the most rugged and glaciated part of the High Sierra for classic, technical alpine climbing. This itinerary is more for mountaineers than peakbaggers, but does present the opportunity to climb 3-5 iconic fourteen thousand foot Sierra peaks. We include roundtrip porter support on this trip – in our experience this makes a huge difference in success and enjoyment.

    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.

    Due to COVID-19 this trip is only being offered on a Custom Private basis. 

    The Palisades have inspired climbers since Joseph Le Conte’s first visionary ascent of North Palisade in 1903.

    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 ranges breathtaking peaks using skills and equipment for classic alpinism. This side of the mountains usually requires use of crampons and 1 or 2 ice axes, in addition to the use of the standard climbing safety equipment (ropes, harness, helmet, rock protection, ice screws,  other hardware, etc.). There are 10 major peaks that surround the Palisade Glacier and 5 of them have summits above 14,000 feet: Mt. Sill, Polemonium Peak, North Palisade, Starlight Peak, and Thunderbolt Peak. Each climb has distinctive challenges but all of them require good all around skills (rock, ice, snow), and good physical condition. We will have 3 full climbing days to climb as many quality routes and summits as possible.

    The Palisades 5-day approach pack is a heavy one because 5 days is a relatively long period of time, and because we go prepared with a full kit for rock, ice, and snow climbing, which includes lots of heavy metal. The approach takes a full day of significant effort over 7 miles and 4600 feet of elevation gain to establish camp near the glacier. For this reason, we include 1 roundtrip porter per person in the cost of this program. In the old days, guides had an established summer basecamp near Third Lake. This was a good base of operations that helped to lighten loads for guided climbers. The Inyo National Forest no longer allows this type of established camp in the Palisades, but we have found that assistance from SMG porters gets us to high camp with plenty of energy and much better acclimatization for 3 days of subsequent climbing.

    • Included
      14ers
      alpine climbing
      California fourteeners
      High Sierra
      mountaineering
      Mt. Sill
      Mt. Winchell
      North Palisade
      palisades
      Palisades Glacier Camp
      Polemonium Peak
      sierra alpine
      Starlight Peak
      Thunderbolt Peak
    • Not Included
      3D chute
      3rd pillar
      3rd Pillar Dana
      AIARE
      AIARE 1
      AIARE 2
      Alaska
      Alaska skiing
      alpine
      alpine rock climbing
      Alps
      Alps climbing
      Alps running
      Alps skiing
      Alps trilogy
      American Mountain Guides Association
      AMGA
      avalanche awareness
      avalanche course
      backcountry
      backcountry 101
      backcountry ski
      Backcountry Skiing
      backcountry snowboard
      backpacking
      Bear Creek Spire
      Berner Oberland
      Bernese Oberland
      Bishop
      Bishop Skyline
      Blacksmith Peak
      Bloody Mountain
      Breakthrough
      Bridgeport
      California
      camping
      Cardinal Pinnacle
      Carson Peak
      Celestial Aretes
      Chamonix
      Chamonix climbing
      Charlotte Dome
      chef
      classic rock climb
      classic Sierra rock
      climb
      climbing
      climbing camp
      climbing skills
      climbing Swiss Alps
      Clyde Minaret
      Convict Creek
      cook
      courses
      courses instruction
      crampon
      Crest tour
      Crystal Crag
      custom
      custom private ski
      Dana Plateau
      destinations
      Devil's Slide
      Dolomites
      Dolomites climbing
      Double Eagle Resort
      Dream Bowl
      East Buttress
      East Face
      Eastern Sierra climbing
      Eastern Sierra skiing
      Eastern Sierra Winter
      Eiger
      Evolution Loop
      exam
      fastpacking
      Fishhook Arete
      Four Seasons
      France
      Glass Creek
      Grindelwald
      guide course
      Haute Route
      heli assisted
      heli skiing
      Hemlock Ridge
      High Sierra skiing
      high tour
      hiking
      Horse Creek
      horses
      Horsetail Falls
      Hut to Hut
      ice 101
      ice axe
      ice climbing
      ice climbing course
      Incredible Hulk
      instruction
      intermediate level
      international
      introductory
      introductory ice climbing course
      Italy
      John Muir Trail
      John Muir Wilderness
      June Lake
      June Mountain
      Jungfrau
      kids
      kids climbing programs
      Las Vegas
      lee vining
      Lee Vining area
      lee vining canyon
      level 1
      level 1 refresher
      level 2
      light and fast
      lightweight
      Lone Pine
      Lone Pine Peak
      Lovers Leap
      Mammoth Lakes
      Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite
      Mammoth Mountain
      Mammoth to June
      Mammoth to Yosemite
      Matterhorn
      Matterhorn Peak
      McGee Creek
      Merriam Peak
      mixed climbing
      Monch
      Mont Blanc
      Mont Blanc run
      Mount Conness
      Mount Dana
      Mount Emerson
      Mount Gabb
      Mount Humphreys
      Mount Mills
      mountain running
      Mountaineers Route
      Mt Conness
      Mt. Dana
      Mt. Emerson
      Mt. Humphreys
      Mt. Russell
      Mt. Tom
      Mt. Whitney
      mules
      multiday
      negatives
      Nevada
      North Peak
      north ridge
      onion valley to mt. whitney
      Ortler
      Owens River Gorge
      pack outfit
      pack support
      packers
      peak descents
      Peter Croft
      Pine Creek
      porters
      Positive Vibrations
      private
      private custom
      professional development
      Red and White Mountain
      Red Dihedral
      red rock
      Red Slate Mountain
      rescue skills
      Ritter Range
      rock
      rock 201
      rock climbing
      Rock Creek
      Rock Creek to Mammoth
      Sabre Ridge
      San Joaquin Ridge
      Sawtooths
      self arrest
      self belay
      self rescue
      Sequoia National Park
      sherpas
      Sierra
      Sierra 5.10
      Sierra Mountain Guides
      Sierra Nevada
      Sierra skiing
      single pitch instructor
      ski
      ski guiding
      ski mountaineering
      ski tour
      ski touring
      skiing
      snow
      snow skills
      snowboard
      SPI
      splitboard
      sport
      sport climbing
      supported
      Switzerland
      Tahoe
      Temple Crag
      third pillar
      Thompson Pass
      Tioga
      trad climbing
      trail running
      traverse
      Tuolumne
      Twin Lakes
      Ultra Trail Mont Blanc
      ultralight
      Valdez
      Via Ferrata
      white line
      wilderness trip
      winter
      Yosemite
      yosemite national park
      Yosemite ski
      Yost Meadow
      Zermatt
      Zermatt Valley
    TRIP ITINERARY: Palisades Glacier High Camp
    DAY 1 Meet early morning at the SMG office in Bishop. Gear check and final packing. Give loads to the porters and transport to Glacier Lodge and the trailhead. Hike 7+ miles with 4600+ ft. of elevation gain to camp at either Gayley, Fischer, or Thunderbolt glacier camps, depending on the group and conditions.
    DAY 2 Climb Mt. Sill, Thunderbolt Peak, or Mt. Winchell.
    DAY 3 Climb Mt. Sill, Thunderbolt, Starlight, North Palisade, 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.

    Included:

    • AMGA trained and/or certified SMG alpine guide
    • Group camping and cooking equipment
    • Breakfasts and dinners
    • Wilderness permits and permit fees
    • 1 roundtrip porter per climber

    Prerequisites:

    • Prior wilderness camping experience
    • Prior multi-pitch rock climbing experience to 5.6, and comfortable climbing up to 5.9 at altitude
    • Excellent physical fitness and stamina
    • Ability to climb steep snow and ice with ice axes and crampons, up to 50 degrees in steepness