V Notch Couloir, Polemonium Peak III+ AI 4 5.5-5.8


High Sierra, California USA

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Mountain climber
Manhattan Beach, CA
Jun 12, 2013 - 11:52am
No ice beta (did Tbolt to Sill), but the summit register in Polemonium is missing! Take a small notebook and a pen with you next time.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 22, 2008 - 11:48am
here is a condition reports thread:

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 9, 2008 - 09:43pm
From Ryan Crochiere

Polemonium (Sky Pilot) 14,080
Vnotch III+ AI 4 5.5-8* (depending on how the bergshrund is navigated)

Approach is the same as described for Pirates, just don't hike as far.

This route is sesanally dependent it can be a snow slog in the spring, a heroic nieve dream in Aug, or a sweet alpine ice route in the fall. Climb it early in the day when the snow/ice is firm and loose rock flying down the couloir is at a minimum, late day has debris randomly shooting at you.

Gear bring mostly rock gear to protect the walls of the couloir or bring a bunch of screws in the late fall and go up the center. Unless you own a bunch of pickets and wanna drag em out to the Palisades so as to climb the middle of the 100 ft wide couloir then stick to the granite walls for pro. At least one axe and crampons mandatory, also crampon compatable boots. Gloves allow for you to have fun, but a soggy sock will do in a pinch.

This is a classic route in a very unique way considering that you are climbing in the Sierra Nevada which has few real ice/snow routes that stick around all summer and fall. Climb it before the earth warms up too much and it becomes a nasty gully, I give it 30 years max.

Head up the glacier to the right side of the bergshrund. Here climb either the snow or the rock to the right at 5.7/8 super fun in crampons.

P1 WI3, AI4, or 5.7/8-climb over the Bergshrund then belay on rock.
P2-7 Climb 1000ft of snow, nieve, or ice breaking right near the end. The couloir is about 50 degrees for most of the way and a ssuuupper cool place to be. Be sure to contour away from your partner so as to avoid knocking chunks of ice onto your partner. Keep your heels low and face your foot down hill for a rest.
P8-12 mostly 4th-5th (feels harder in boots) to the summit, simuclimbing is helpfull.

Descend the Unotch or try the way shown in the picture, it involved some rappelling and down snow/ice climbing to the top of the bergshrund on U notch. Now do a rappell. one 60m rope works. This is honestly the most difficult part of the route be carefull of loosening rock as the day gets warmer.

Polemonium Peak - V Notch Couloir III+ AI 4 5.5-5.8 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
V Notch in red, descent in yello.
Photo: Ryan Crochiere
*What is "Route Beta"?
It's climber slang for information or tips on a route as in, "what's the beta on that route?" As a service to fellow climbers we ask SuperTopo guidebook users to post tips and updates to this website if they have relevant information to share after a climb.