Middle Palisade Northeast Face

Big Pine, California

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In 1919, a team consisting of J.M. Davies, A.L. Jordan, and H.H. Bliss made the first recorded attempt of an ascent of Middle Palisade from the west. The trio climbed a gully to the top of a subsidiary peak. However, finding no reasonable way to traverse over the broken ridge to the main peak, they christened their summit Disappointment Peak. Two years later, Francis Farquhar and Ansel Hall made the same mistake, again trying the peak from the west. Unfazed, they rectified their mistake by dropping back down and climbing another gully to reach the top of Middle Palisade. In recognition of the peak’s defenses, Lewis Clark, chairman of the Sierra Club’s Mountaineering Committee, noted, “There is no easy approach to Middle Palisade, either from the ends or the sides; rather it is generally considered the most inaccessible and the most difficult of the state’s 14,000' peaks.” Norman Clyde was the first to climb the peak from the east, ascending a series of steep gullies leading from the glacier to the summit. Although this route looks intimidating from below, stair-step ledges allow for relatively safe and moderate climbing. Clyde considered the Middle Palisade as “the second in the group in scenic beauty and possibly the first in mountaineering difficulty. The summit itself is a ragged knife-edge about a hundred yards in length.”
Climbing California's High Sierra

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Climbing California's High Sierra

by John Moynier & Claude Fiddler (Falcon Guides)

In 1919, a team consisting of J.M. Davies, A.L. Jordan, and H.H. Bliss made the first recorded attempt of an ascent of Middle Palisade from the west. The trio climbed a gully to the top of a subsidiary peak. However, finding no reasonable way to traverse over the broken ridge to the main peak, they christened their summit Disappointment Peak. Two years later, Francis Farquhar and Ansel Hall made the same mistake, again trying the peak from the west. Unfazed, they rectified their mistake by dropping back down and climbing another gully to reach the top of Middle Palisade. In recognition of the peak’s defenses, Lewis Clark, chairman of the Sierra Club’s Mountaineering Committee, noted, “There is no easy approach to Middle Palisade, either from the ends or the sides; rather it is generally considered the most inaccessible and the most difficult of the state’s 14,000' peaks.” Norman Clyde was the first to climb the peak from the east, ascending a series of steep gullies leading from the glacier to the summit. Although this route looks intimidating from below, stair-step ledges allow for relatively safe and moderate climbing. Clyde considered the Middle Palisade as “the second in the group in scenic beauty and possibly the first in mountaineering difficulty. The summit itself is a ragged knife-edge about a hundred yards in length.”

©  John Moynier & Claude Fiddler/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Big Pine
Class: Class 4
Local Contacts: John Muir Wilderness; Kings Canyon National Park
Local Maps: USGS Split Mountain
Driving Directions: Directions to Middle Palisade: Northeast Face

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May 2018