Technical Difficulty (Class):
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Client/Guide Ratio: 2:1

Guides climbing and safety gear, climbing helmet (reservation required).

Does not include:
Personal items on gear list.

The Palisades

The V-Notch Couloir, Polemonium Peak (14,080')     3 Day
III Class 5 Ice, 5.6 Rock

Above the Palisade Glacier and left of the U-Notch Couloir is the stand alone V-Notch Couloir. It presents quality climbing and has a profound history of modern ice climbing in the Sierra Nevada.

$925 ea/2 people

Choose your own date

The Approach:
From Glacier Lodge (7,800'), we begin along a relatively easy graded trail to Third Lake (10,250'). From here, we usually choose the route that leaves the trail and ascends the direct Gayley Gully to our high camp at the edge of the Palisade Glacier (12,150'). This requires about 7-8 hours of ascent with over 4,000' of elevation gain in one long day.

The Climb:
From the high point of the glacier, we find the best crossing of the bergschrund depending on the condition of the glacier. Once in the couloir, we are climbing sustained 50° ice with belays from rock and ice as is appropriate. From the top of the couloir, depending on the interest and time, it's not too far of a side trip to the summit of Polemonium Peak (14,080').

The Descent:
The best descent is to scramble down along the ridge to the notch of Mt. Sill. One or two rappels down the class 3-4 terrain brings us to the notch of Apex Peak. Depending on snow quality and quantity, we choose either the couloir north of Apex Peak or the L-shaped couloir to Glacier Notch, then down to the Palisade Glacier.

One or two days prior acclimatization to 10,000' is recommended prior to this climb. Be prepared for sustained, enjoyable multi-pitch snow and ice climbing up to 50° in a high altitude setting.

  • Previous snow/ice climbing experience 40° or greater
  • Previous multi-pitch belayed climbing
  • Rock climbing following 5.6
  • Previous rappelling experience
  • Mountain hiking and overnight camping to altitudes above 12,000'

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