Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Thunderbolt Peak

Select Route:
Austrian Arete T 
Palisade Traverse T 
Southwest Buttress T 
Southwest Chute 1 T 
Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse T 
Underhill Couloir T 

Thunderbolt Peak  


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 14,003'
Location: 37.098, -118.5176 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 31,564
Administrators: Chris Owen, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: karl wilcox on Feb 1, 2007
Forecast:
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Summit monolith - TR from single bolt. Note positi...

Description 

The last fourteener in the Sierra to be climbed, Thunderbolt Peak is the next peak northwest of North Palisade, it too is on the main Sierra crest. It's summit monolith if often the crux of the climb - a 5.9 move over and onto a slab. It's safer if the monolith is draped with a rope first. As such it's one of the hardest summits in the Sierra to get to.

The name "Thunderbolt Peak" commemorates an incident during the first descent, when a nearby lightning strike gave Jules Eichorn cause for concern.

Getting There 

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).

Climbing Season



Weather station 5.6 miles from here

6 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',2],['5.8',0],['5.9',2],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Thunderbolt Peak:
Southwest Chute 1   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine, Grade III   
Palisade Traverse   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Mod. Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, Grade IV   
Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Easy Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, 5280'   
Browse More Classics in Thunderbolt Peak

Featured Route For Thunderbolt Peak
(right to left) Thunderbolt, Starlight, North Palisade, and Polemonium from the north

Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Easy Snow  CA : High Sierra : Thunderbolt Peak
Another posting of the Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse (but misnamed the Palisade Traverse) is posted here.This super classic route takes you on a tour of five 14,000ft summits. Start by climbing Thunderbolt Peak. Many options exist; we climbed Southwest Chute #1, which went at 4th class. This deposits you at the base of the summit block. Gaining the top of the summit block involves a few exposed moves of 5.9, and is the crux of the entire route. There are ample pl...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Thunderbolt Peak Slideshow Add Photo
Where Thunderbolt Peak fits into things - as seen from Temple Crag summit.
BETA PHOTO: Where Thunderbolt Peak fits into things - as seen ...
Thunderbolt Peak as seen from the summit of Temple Crag.
BETA PHOTO: Thunderbolt Peak as seen from the summit of Temple...
On the Palisade Glacier, E face of T-Bolt looming above
On the Palisade Glacier, E face of T-Bolt looming ...

Comments on Thunderbolt Peak Add Comment
Show which comments
By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jun 9, 2008
You can also approach T-bolt from the west. Hike up over Bishop Pass, then boulder-hop southeast behind the Palisades. It's possible to camp at a prominent saddle a couple miles from Bishop Pass. I strongly recommend bringing a six-pack of the beverage of your choice and stashing it in a handy snowfield near camp.

Ascent is via an obvious scree gully (usually pretty dusty in the summer). One 5.easy pitch (rope optional) will put you at the foot of the summit boulder problem.
By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Mar 1, 2009
My friend and I did the traverse from Winchel Col to Mt.Sill 3 or 4 years ago climbing T-Bolt along the way. Probably one of the best climbs I've ever done in the Sierra. Climbing onto the summit pinnacle really only involves a move or two and is mellow for 5.9. Clip into the summit bolt with your daisy, stand up and......WhhooooooooWEEE!