Trip Report
Swiss Miss on Mount Sill
Saturday July 21, 2018 10:53pm
Good line.
Good line.
Credit: Contractor
I'm keeping this short because we got rained off the route.

Thursday July 12th- Procure permits then 10 mile acclimatization and gear cash hike to 4th Lake.

Friday-
N. Fork, Big Pine Creek
N. Fork, Big Pine Creek
Credit: Contractor
Making time, feeling light prior to picking up our cache.
Making time, feeling light prior to picking up our cache.
Credit: Contractor
The creek crossing before heading up the switchbacks to Sam Mack.
The creek crossing before heading up the switchbacks to Sam Mack.
Credit: Contractor
Sam Mack- Our route would take the Gayley Trial to 11,600 then jump of...
Sam Mack- Our route would take the Gayley Trial to 11,600 then jump off on a forested bench and series of slabs that would get us to the base of the moraine in easy fashion. This was all theoretical and would be applied with a phone GPS and some Google Ea
Credit: Contractor
I figured that camp was at the top of this snow chute.
I figured that camp was at the top of this snow chute.
Credit: Contractor
Nailed it! This looked good with a peak of Swiss Arete lit up in the d...
Nailed it! This looked good with a peak of Swiss Arete lit up in the distance.
Credit: Contractor
After setting up camp I climbed up a series of ledges to get a vantage...
After setting up camp I climbed up a series of ledges to get a vantage of the approach. First third up the center of the slabs, second third stay right then climb up a 4th or 5th class water fall, last thirt stay left on the slabs all the way to Fischer C
Credit: Contractor
Looking down on camp Friday afternoon just before the rain.
Looking down on camp Friday afternoon just before the rain.
Credit: Contractor
Saturday, climb day.
Heading out of camp under clear skys.
Heading out of camp under clear skys.
Credit: Contractor
On the slabs looking back at camp.
On the slabs looking back at camp.
Credit: Contractor
First look
First look
Credit: Contractor
Mount Sill
Mount Sill
Credit: Contractor
Starting the traverse to Glacier Notch.
Starting the traverse to Glacier Notch.
Credit: Contractor
Mike
Mike
Credit: Contractor
Heading across the "L" Snow Field, then a hundred meters or so up the ...
Heading across the "L" Snow Field, then a hundred meters or so up the North Couloir to gain ledges that lead to the first pitch.
Credit: Contractor
Just as we shoe'd up and tied in, rumblings of thunder came in from the East with a cascade of freezing fog.
The soggy bottom boys slogging back to camp in the rain, hence the Swi...
The soggy bottom boys slogging back to camp in the rain, hence the Swiss miss.
Credit: Contractor
Down climbing the waterfall portal on the way back to camp.
Down climbing the waterfall portal on the way back to camp.
Credit: Contractor
And right back where we started.
And right back where we started.
Credit: Contractor
Sunday, bug out day.
Heading out, sunny and nice- missed it by that much...
Heading out, sunny and nice- missed it by that much...
Credit: Contractor
Sam Mack is nice but the Moraine camp was much better for our needs.
Sam Mack is nice but the Moraine camp was much better for our needs.
Credit: Contractor
Perhaps this next season.
Perhaps this next season.
Credit: Contractor



  Trip Report Views: 2,203
Contractor
About the Author
Contractor is a boulder climber from CA.

Comments
T H

Boulder climber
ne'erdowell
  Jul 21, 2018 - 11:05pm PT
Burly
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 22, 2018 - 12:13am PT
great memories from long ago... 1996
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Jul 22, 2018 - 12:22am PT
hey there say, contractor... wow, this is wonderful...

thanks for sharing... :)
NutAgain!

Trad climber
https://nutagain.org
  Jul 22, 2018 - 01:35am PT
The nice thing about a day in the mountains is that its great even if weather doesnt cooperate :)
wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
  Jul 22, 2018 - 10:00am PT
If that was in my backyard,you would have a hard time finding me....


Real nice
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 22, 2018 - 11:05am PT
Awesome report. Really got me stoked to head back in there. I have never summitted anything despite three trips to Sam Mac and a few times on the glacier.

Thanks for sharing. Man I love that place.


Scott
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
  Jul 22, 2018 - 11:59am PT
Contractor...Hope you can make it back in there...Cool summit and view...
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jul 22, 2018 - 12:24pm PT
TFPU. I have about 50/50 record in the Palisades, mostly because I've experienced similar weather when I'm up there. So much to do, so little time.
big wall paul

Trad climber
tahoe, CA
  Jul 22, 2018 - 03:48pm PT
thanks for all the pictures.
Makes me want to get back in there too.
I only went there once, like 15 years ago, with CragnShag from supertopo. We didn't try Sill, but we went up U Notch. The bergshrund was a big vertical gap, like 50' I wanted to summit north Pal, but Bob looked up at the looming clouds and advised against it, so we descended. It didn't open up on us, but it easily could have.
After camping at third lake, we climbed Moon Goddess Arete: fun long 18 pitch 5.7
Yinzer

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jul 23, 2018 - 12:05am PT
Beautiful, beautiful photos, and lovely conditions. TFPU.

is it substantially shorter from the S fork entrance? I think the sierra ski book i have (mingori?) says Sill is 6mi. I have made a few trips in both-sides, never gone to the glacier even on the N Fork side, but have climbed temple.

On the S fork side, I visited Sill solo on skis once, and it was one of my favorite and most special days in the mountains. I left them at the saddle and did the '4th class'. i think i was back down by around 5:30pm, & did the drive back to LA after.

We are truly blessed to have these majestic places in our state & country. Enjoyed this one !!!
autojohn

Trad climber
Mill Valley
  May 15, 2019 - 09:28pm PT
Nice TR. Is this approach beta standard/better? You stay well west of the Moraine, stay west of the lake and make a long, eastward traverse over the glacier. In other TRs, folks stay east of the morain and skirt the east edge of the glacier along the Galey scree. Which is better/faster? HOping to do this soon.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Author's Reply  May 16, 2019 - 07:17am PT
Yes, West of the moraine. There's a bench that you can jump off the trail that puts you in that direction. There's very nice travel on dirt and slabs for much of the route. If you're climbing Swiss Arete, the camp location and approach puts you in a better position to get the climb done in a reasonable day.

If your camping down at the Meadows then this approach is still a good option.

Cons: Humping camp gear an extra mile or so and 700 feet of additional elevation.

Pros: Minimal mosquitos, most likely, no people and shorter approach on climb day.Red is the West slabs option, blue is the traditional talus fuk option and yellow arrow is our camp. I can give more details if you're considering the West slabs.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  May 16, 2019 - 07:21am PT
Nice! Missed this first time around...thanks for posting.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Author's Reply  May 16, 2019 - 07:30am PT
If you really want to dive in.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=3157708&msg=3158010#msg3158010
brotherbbock

climber
So-Cal
  May 16, 2019 - 11:19am PT
Mt Sill is pretty cool. We got rained off 2 times before we finally summited on our 3rd attempt.

Go get after it again!
jbaker

Trad climber
Missoula, MT
  May 16, 2019 - 02:39pm PT
A thunderstorm was coming across Owens Valley, shooting down lightning as it marched along. We just managed to top out, sprint to the descent, and get down a couple pitches before the rain hit us.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  May 16, 2019 - 04:27pm PT
hey there, say, ... wonderful to SEE this again... :)
Inner City

Trad climber
Portland, OR
  May 16, 2019 - 04:52pm PT
Great report, thanks. We got rained off at 9am at the rope up point in early August of 2000. It was quite disappointing and I have not yet returned. Moraine campsite was austere. Your photos seem to show that shrinking Palisade Glacier if I am seeing it right.
JerryA

Mountain climber
Sacramento,CA
  May 17, 2019 - 08:58am PT
Went to PSOM in 1977 & Allen Steck led his daughter ,Sarah, & I up the Swiss Arete . In 1978 & 1979 ,John Fischer & I placed caches on the summit for our traverse from South Fork Pass to Agassiz Peak . It took us to 8pm to make the cache in July 1979 & our water bottles froze that night.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  May 17, 2019 - 01:43pm PT
I used to guide in the Palisades for Doug Robinson and Allan Bard. I recall doing the Swiss Arete. It is funny that I read all of these reports of storms. I can't recall a single day of bad weather over about three summer seasons. When the weather settles down after spring, the Sierra weather is usually perfect. Of course, spring and fall are different.

We used to lead without belays. Just instruct the clients to keep the robe running cleanly. At 5.5, we were more worried about getting pulled off than falling.

One time we were glissading down after the Swiss Arete and one of the clients hit a barely buried rock, breaking his tail bone. He didn't complain about it, and found out after he went to a doctor after returning home. Tough guy.

Anyway, it was always great fun. Doug would get a bunch of us young guys to basically be slaves. We carried big propane tanks, tons of wine, you name it. Then after it was over for the year you could hang out and climb, living on the leftover food.

Is the glacier shrinking? It isn't much of a glacier to begin with, other than having bergschrunds.
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