Day Four: We shift camp to the Palisade Glacier. This is a half-day walk and on the way we will stop and cover snow travel techniques including self-arrest, ascending and descending snow all in a high mountain setting surrounded by dramatic peaks.
Day Five: A full day of snow skills and includes plenty of practice in the prior days topics as well as new skills like anchoring on snow, use of crampons, and snow belays. We will also cover the rudiments of glacier travel though the Palisades glaciers are small and this is not the ideal place to learn glacier travel skills.
Days Six: We get out climbing the high peaks and put those skills into use. Likely peaks include Mt. Gayley, Mt. Sill or Thunderbolt Peak. These days will include a lot of ‘on the route' instruction and coaching to get you applying the right technique at the right time.
Day Seven: Maybe a morning climb before we hike out to the trailhead.
As well as technique instruction during the days class will continue into the evenings with lessons on camp craft, map and compass use, Sierra geology and natural history, mountaineering lore, and tall tales...
Guidebooks include Secor's “The High Sierra; Peaks, Passes and Trails”, “Sierra Classics” by Moynier and Fiddler and Peter Croft's “The Good, The Great, and the Awesome”.
Get the latter from Maximus Press.
The best of course is “Eastern Sierra Ice” by SP Parker.
Get it from Maximus Press
You can also get our very detailed unpublished SMC Guide to The Palisades here.
We highly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000') just prior to the trip. Spending a night in Mammoth would do the trick or better yet, camped at an even higher trailhead, such as one of the campgrounds in Big Pine Creek for a night just before the trip. Glacier Lodge is also a good lodging option. Please refer to our Planning for Success info sheet for more info.
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