Trip Report
Palisades, Mithral, and Whitney
Wednesday September 19, 2012 10:45pm
Kyle and I went to the high Sierra early this September. It was the first trip to that area for both of us. We only had a week, so we did what we could, but it was an awesome trip all the same.

We climbed:
The Palisades Traverse (Thunderbold to Sil)
The Mithral Dihedral
The East Face of Mount Whitney

This is just a ton of photos. I’ll throw in comments where it seems necessary, but I’ll be honest: I write trip reports that I would want to read, and when I’m looking at a TR, I skip most of the commentary that’s not specific route information or logistics… mostly, I just look at the pretty pictures.

(one quick comment: this TR was written for a New England climbers' forum, so don't get too upset that I'm describing what the routes on Mt. Russell look like.)

We started (and this may have been a poor choice) by hiking in to climb the Palisades traverse.

Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Sea level to several peaks over 14k led to us abandoning our plans to start the traverse on day one. Instead, we stopped early, set up a bivy under a boulder on the moraine, and hung out for a while. We didn’t bring sleeping bags, and instead shared a space blanket for the night. It kinda worked.

Here, Kyle mentally prepares for the next day.


Visit on photobucket.com


We got up the next day, hiked up to the Winchell/Thunderbolt col, and began the climb.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Kyle, on the summit of Thunderbolt, I think.


Visit on photobucket.com


The ridge to come


Visit on photobucket.com


We climbed large portions of the ridge either simul-climbing or solo, as I recall, this particular section of down-climbing was a bit unnerving for me.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


I think these next photos were taken as I was leading up Polemonium after U-notch, I don’t have any pro in yet, because it’s easy, but the wind was blowing the rope sideways.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Summit of Polemonium, technical climbing basically done.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Which means rock shoes off!


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Can you guess where I forgot to put suntan lotion?


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Retrospective of the ridge


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


So I admit, we’re slow because we were still acclimatizing and, well, we’re probably just slow. The point is that it got dark just as we got off the glacier and the moraine, but before we got back to the trail. So we got pretty lost finding the trail. We ended up down-valley picking up the climber’s trail off of temple crag (yeah, we were that lost) and finished the hike out.

On the plus side, I found these awesome sunglasses under a log. I think a bear had been chewing on them.


Visit on photobucket.com


We woke up the next day, headed south, and got permits to head into the Mt. Whitney area for the Mithral Dihedral. The plan was to climb it car-to-car in a day.

We got up early and started the hike in. It was pretty.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


This is Mt. Russell, the Mithral Dihedral is a obvious shaded corner left of center. The Fishhook Arete follows the curving ridgeline from near the base of the Mithral to the summit.


Visit on photobucket.com


At the base of the Mithral


Visit on photobucket.com


Unfortunately, weather conspired against us. We were roped up and ready to go by 10:30, but that wasn’t fast enough. Enough clouds and rain were moving in that we felt it prudent not to start up a semi-remote climb in the face of bad weather. We called it, and decided to return with camping gear for a few days so that we could do a proper alpine start. As you can see—although I totally proposed and made this decision—I am happy with this outcome.


Visit on photobucket.com


On the hike back down, Kyle and I reached an agreement. If it obviously rained on us during the hike out, or on Mt. Russell, I would buy Kyle a burrito in town. We never found a burrito place, but Kyle and I each had a great taco platter from a truck in Independence, CA.


Visit on photobucket.com


A day later, we were back with overnight permits for a few days. This photo was taken at lower boyscout lake, as we waited out an afternoon shower.


Visit on photobucket.com


Once the shower passed we continued on to iceberg lake. The clearing clouds made for some awesome scenery and sunset.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Mt. Whitney, looking rad.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Mt. Russell, from the campsite at Iceberg lake.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


The night sky, $%^& yeah….


Visit on photobucket.com


Kyle on pitch 2 of the Mithral.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Me following pitch 4, the money pitch. About 200 feet of gorgeous dihedral.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


This was one of the best pitches I’ve ever climbed. Seriously.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Mt. Whitney, with the standard afternoon clouds and rain-ish looking things.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


This guy climbed the Fishhook Arete with his partner while we were on the Mitral.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


The next morning we were off to do the East Face of Mount Whitney


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


We climbed it in three simul-climbing blocks in about 2 hours from roped-up to summit. We could have done it in two, or maybe one block, but we each wanted to make sure the other guy got a fair share of time on the sharp end. It was a really fun climb.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Here’s a foot for Alfonzo.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Topping out was great. Similar to topping out at Cathedral. There were a ton of hikers there who had just finished the John Muir trail. They didn’t know what “lots of 4th class and some 5.7” meant, so as far as they were concerned, I was an alpine bad-ass.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Pre-cooked bacon is available at your local grocer, and is proof that god loves you, and wants you to be happy.


Visit on photobucket.com


Somehow, on the descent down the Mountaineers’ Route, a scree-filled gully, I think I got off-route and had to do some sketchy down-climbing.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Kyle wore the tape gloves for two days without taking them off.


Visit on photobucket.com


Then it was time to hike out. We had flights out of SF to catch the next day.


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


Gotta fuel the engine


Visit on photobucket.com


By the way, the Sierra are really, really pretty…. Seriously….


Visit on photobucket.com



Visit on photobucket.com


  Trip Report Views: 4,266
Mr. Rogers
About the Author
Mr. Rogers is a climber from The Land of Make-Believe.

Comments
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:47pm PT
Proud.
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:52pm PT
Nice pictures!
this just in

climber
Justin Ross from North Fork
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
One word, fuk yeah. Some of the best pics and greatest TR ever. Tfpd.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
  Sep 19, 2012 - 11:03pm PT
Excellent!
Thanks for the share, and what a fine trip.
That is the first real closeup of I've seen of the Mithral Dihedral-looks KILLER.

and yes the Sierra are beautiful (total understatement ya think?)
cheers
climbski2

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Sep 19, 2012 - 11:32pm PT
Fantastic Pics. Wow! Great climbs! Grats!

TFPU!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Sep 19, 2012 - 11:36pm PT
Awesome trip, thanks for the excellent photos!
msiddens

Trad climber
  Sep 19, 2012 - 11:44pm PT
Really cool!!!
bajaandy

climber
Escondido, CA
  Sep 19, 2012 - 11:52pm PT
Photo essay's are the shizzle.
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:17am PT
Sweet!


Thanks


Wes
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Sep 20, 2012 - 01:24am PT
very nice
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:20am PT
Pretty pictures is right!
213

climber
Where the Froude number often >> 1
  Sep 20, 2012 - 04:13am PT
Super rad! Glad the Range of Light provided for ya!
phile

Trad climber
SF, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 01:06pm PT
pretty. nice pics!
pix4u

climber
Sonoma, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
Some more views of these areas.[photoid=264143]
pix4u

climber
Sonoma, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
pix4u

climber
Sonoma, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 01:28pm PT
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 01:49pm PT
Fantastic! Great photos. TFPU!
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:03pm PT
Wow, you guys epitomize making the most of a week-long vacation! What do you normally climb that you could so quickly handle techie moves at altitude?

Thanks for sharing lots of great pictures.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
Your pictures are killer! Are you running just a point and shoot there? Or something else? Any post work? Just beautiful. Especially like the sunrise shots from the Traverse day.

Prediction: you'll move out west within 10 years :) The Sierra sinks a hook in after trip 1.
CalicoJack

climber
CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:20pm PT
Awesome shots - thanks!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:26pm PT
Yall put a hurtin' on some serious stone! Way to go. Great shots too. Whatcha usin as far a s photo gear?

Stellar!
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:36pm PT
Ya, what camera are you using? Really nice pics!

Mr. Rogers

climber
The Land of Make-Believe
Author's Reply  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:51pm PT
For cameras we're both running point and shoots. I've got an older Nikon Coolpix (about 4-5 years old) and Kyle has a Cannon powershot, I think. Kyle does some work on his photos afterwards, I do not. Most of the good sunset/rise shots where the colors really pop were taken by Kyle.

That said, the light in the Sierra was just incredible. The view of the E. Face of Whitney from Iceberg lake, just after a storm moved through, and as the sun was setting, was simply amazing. Just jaw dropping.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 20, 2012 - 04:52pm PT
Fantastic TR , Thanks MUCH for putting this together!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
  Sep 20, 2012 - 05:41pm PT
Great TR. I just got back from doing the E. Buttress about an hour ago with a friend who is new to climbing, love that area.

Did you find some gear on Mithral? We bailed due to bad weather about 3 weeks ago and left a ton of gear. I am sure it made someones day when they happened upon it. If you did find it enjoy it, it's one of the perks of alpine climbing.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 20, 2012 - 05:56pm PT
Great report. And there is a burrito place in Lone Pine!
Mr. Rogers

climber
The Land of Make-Believe
Author's Reply  Sep 21, 2012 - 09:38pm PT
Batrock,

I think we did. But we only cleaned some of it. Did you leave a nut and tri-cam anchor at the small ledge in the diahedral? We left that because I am lazy. Also, and I'm being honest here, we were psyched to see it because it meant less gear in the anchor, and more available for the rest of the diahedral.

Vitaliy,

There is? Do you mean that truck? 'Cause it was closed, so we had to drive to the truck that was open in Independence. It worked out though, their tacos were tasty, and their mexican sodas were delightful.

Also, to correct an earlier statement, it turns out that my camera is a Canon Powershot A720 IS. I still think Kyle's is some sort of Canon--whatever it is, it's smaller than mine.
Daphne

Trad climber
Northern California
  Sep 21, 2012 - 11:12pm PT
What a great trip report. Thank you for sharing it with us!!!!!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
  Sep 21, 2012 - 11:17pm PT
Yep, that was ours. Hard to believe nobody had been up there since our trip. Glad to hear the gear came in handy.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Sep 22, 2012 - 12:16am PT
WOW! Now there's an awesome trip!


Mind blowing pics!
Highlander

Big Wall climber
Ouray, CO
  Sep 24, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
Climbed Mithral on Sept.11, found tri cam-nut anchor, wired bliss cam, some other nuts and a ton of webbing and tat. The route is a lot cleaner now.
David D.

Trad climber
California
  Sep 24, 2012 - 01:45pm PT
Gorgeous photos! TFPU!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 24, 2012 - 02:02pm PT
I spent a few days on the East Side three weeks ago as a tourist, still healing from Achilles tendon surgery. This TR really stoked my climbing fantasies. Great route selections, wonderful pics, and superb TR.

Thanks.

John
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
  Sep 24, 2012 - 02:21pm PT
Cool TR, thanks for posting.

I want to go back now!



MS, check out those gullies off the Russell East Ridge Descent plateau.
Go