BETA PHOTO: North Palisade from Mount Gayley - U-Notch Couloir...
Simply stated, the finest alpine peak in California. The summit of this peak should be on everyone's tick list.
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).
A nice alpine route which is almost out of character for the High Sierra. Save time wherever possible. Also get an alpine start.From Sam Mack Meadow climb the lefthand 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 head straight up to the start of the couloir. About...[more]Browse More Classics in CA