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Thunderbolt Peak

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Austrian Arete T 
North Couloir T 
Southwest Buttress T 
Southwest Chute 1 T 
Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse T 
Underhill Couloir T 

Thunderbolt Peak Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 14,003'
Location: 37.098, -118.5176 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 18,298
Administrators: Chris Owen, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: karl wilcox on Feb 1, 2007
This Afternoon

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Summit monolith - TR from single bolt. Note positi...


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

For the 09 - Palisades and Surrounding Peaks area.

Weather station 5.6 miles from here

6 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Thunderbolt Peak

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Thunderbolt Peak:
Southwest Chute 1   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine, Grade III   
Austrian Arete   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 1500'   
Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 5280'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Thunderbolt Peak

Featured Route For Thunderbolt Peak
Rock Climbing Photo: (right to left) Thunderbolt, Starlight, North Pali...

Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  California : 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 California

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

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!
By Geoff Unger
From: Moab, UT
Jun 11, 2016
FOUND! Iphone 5 near the summit of Thunderbolt Peak. PM me or email and I will return it to you.

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