BETA PHOTO: Sill, North Pal, and Thunderbolt from the summit o...
High alpine peak in the Palisades - California's most alpine mountain group. Has a commanding view of the surrounding area. Most usually accessed from the east, via North Fork of Big Pine Creek.
The eastern approach:
From Big Pine on 395 drive up the road to Glacier Lodge, trailhead is signed on the right.
Hike up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek past Cienega Mirth, Lon Chaney's old cabin, and First, Second, and Third (spectacular views of Temple Crag) Lakes, then instead of continuing on to Fourth Lake turn south and up into Sam Mack Meadow. This is where I usually camp (6 miles, 3,400 ft of elevation gain). People staying more than a couple of days may want to cross the creek and head up the glacier trail to primitive sites either below the Palisade Glacier Moraine, or on the Moraine (1.25 miles, 1,100 more feet of gain).
Although not quite as spectacular as its namesake climb on the Matterhorn, the rock is so much better, in a more remote setting too.From Sam Mack Meadow climb the left-hand gully at the back of the meadow, bear right under the Palisade Glacier moraine, through another shallow gully just to its right (Thunderbolt Peak framed in the notch) and so gradually gain the crest of the moraine. Follow it until it peters out (wonderful views of North Pal) then work across the Glacier towards Glacier Notch ...[more]Browse More Classics in CA