We offer these climbs as a custom program. The scheduled version of this is our Palisades High Peaks Camp and we often find that it is worth adding in another climb and maximize the climbing to hiking ratio. These are the two most well known gully climbs in the Sierra. Mainly snow climbs in early season, they turn to ice as summer progresses and offer great challenges. U-Notch averages about 45 to 50 degrees in steepness, and V-Notch is a little steeper at 50-55 degrees, especially near the top. On both routes the crux can often be crossing the large crevasse at the start of the routes that in some years can cut off access totally. V-Notch leads to the top of Polemonium Peak and from the top of U-Notch there are two short, steep pitches of climbing and a long traverse to the top of North Palisade, the high point of the region at 14,242 feet.
Guidebooks include Secor’s “The High Sierra; Peaks, Passes and Trails”, and “Sierra Classics” by Moynier and Fiddler. The best of course is “Eastern Sierra Ice” by SP Parker. Also check out our unpublished guide to the Palisades here.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 the South Lake/Bishop Pass trailhead for a night just before the trip. Cardinal Village Resort in Bishop Creek near North Lake is also a good lodging option. Please refer to our Planning for Success info sheet for more info.