|7,282 page views|
|Type: ||Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 800 feet, Grade II|
|Consensus: ||5.7 [details]|
|FA: ||Dick Jones, Spencer Austin, Ruth Dyer, Ray Ingwersen, Joe Momyer - July 1938|
|Submitted By: ||Chris Owen on Mar 9, 2006|
BETA PHOTO: Route schematic, Swiss Arete
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 - climb the Glacier Notch couloir (loose in low snow). About 1.5 hours from Sam Mack Meadow.
Wander across to, then up the L-Shaped Couloir until a convenient place is found to access the ridge. One usually ends up a pitch before the steepening. Although the arete can be climbed from much father down.
The climb consists of about 6 pitches of moderate climbing up steep steps using cracks in perfect granite. The crux is at P4 where an impasse forces a tricky little sideways excursion onto an exposed slab on the right, followed by a steep crack at the back, after which two more pitches lead to the summit.
Descent is down Walter Starr's infamous Class 4 North Coulior (aka L-Shaped Couloir). Head down the ridge towards North Pal, then descend from the ridge before it levels off (just before a split pinnacle), usually in a series of rappels to an exposed traverse across to the notch at the top of the L-Shaped Couloir. This is all very exposed and an unprotected slip would be fatal. One can breathe a little more easily once down the couloir. The last real iffy bit is descending back down the Glacier Notch couloir. From here enjoy the hike back down to the comfort and greenery of Sam Mack Meadow (early season glissades back to the meadow are ideal for the weary Alpinist).
Alpine rack, plus ice-axe and crampons.
BETA PHOTO: The climb as seen from Glacier Notch.
Marc Chrysanthou on Swiss Arete - Mt. Gayley to th...
Chris Owen at a steep bit. (c) Marc Chrysanthou 19...
A particularly fine pitch on Swiss Arete, Marc Chr...
Chris Owen on the crux pitch. (c) Marc Chrysanthou...
The arete that puts the Arete in Swiss Arete, Mt. ...
BETA PHOTO: Traversing the glacier is an easy stroll in early ...
Climbing out of the glacial bowl. The loose rock b...
Glissading down the L-shaped col - reason #2...
8-July-2010: Swiss Arete on left, U Notch and Nort...
|By Chris Owen|
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Apr 2, 2006
This is the way we went - you may find a better way.
|By Tom Dickey|
Jul 12, 2006
Excellent route-- pure fun, no worries-- it's what we climb for.
From: Sacramento, CA
Jun 13, 2007
A fun, scenic ridge traverse with nice views of the Palisades. The route itself is mostly 3rd and 4th class, with the occasional 5th class section. A long hike in.
We camped at the base of Mt. Gayley at ~12,000+ at the edge of the glacial moraine and that served us well.
|By Sam Prentice|
Oct 1, 2007
Just up the trail from sam mack meadows, there are a series of broken, vegetated ledges that are protected and work great as bivy spots. They're off trail to the right, as you staircase through the treeline. Check em out if the sun is low or to save energy for the next day.
|By Bruce Willey|
From: Bishop, CA
Jul 4, 2008
doesn't Ruth Mendenhall get credit for FA? Just defending her because I was in love with the idea of her as a child.
|By Rich Graziano|
From: Atascadero, CA
Jul 28, 2008
What a stellar route! Best summit view I've yet to see. Despite the route, I have to say that my partner and I had a ridiculous time trying to locate the this-is-where-you-descend cairn. We finally found it, but it was far from being what I expected. We were looking for what we thought was supposed to be a "substantial" cairn. While there's no doubt most cairns don't have seven stones, I'm not quite sure that seven genuinely counts as substantial. Oh well, no biggie. I suppose that that's just a part of what we do and why we do it: it's the nature of alpinism and makes it an adventure.
|By Chris Owen|
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Apr 21, 2009
Bruce sorry about omitting Ruth Mendenhall (nee Dyer). I'm in love with the idea of her and I'm 50, some dreams never die...
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 17, 2009
Find your way to the secret corner below the crux and experience some of the best climbing on the route. Climbing this adds 20-30 feet of steep finger and hand jamming. Climbed this by mistake the first time I climbed this route and thought that it felt stout for 5.7. Second time, the leader bypassed this section and went the "normal" way and I understood why I had thought the route was stout.
From: San Francisco
Aug 17, 2011
Fun route but very inconsistent climbing. We did find that there are some nice short (10-15') finger crack sections near the top. This can easily be bypassed but they add some fun movement at 14,100'.
Also, make a careful inspection of any rap slings before you use them if rapping into the L-shaped couloir from the notch between Sill and Apex peak. We found some that looked new but we were able to literally pull them out of the boulders they were around with just a few tugs. Maybe this was a result of some rockfall because I can't imagine someone rapped off of them.