Sunday, July 22 - Friday, July 27th I spent in the Palisades. Members of our group summitted on Robinson, Winchell, Sill and un-named peaks (12,600+) Northwest of 6th lake. The trip was close to a repeat of the trip I enjoyed with friends in 1991. This time I was able to take my two sons aged 16 and 13. It was great to enjoy summits with both of them.
I have a couple of comments. The first may benefit those attempting Mt. Sill by the "standard" route from Glacier Notch. The climbing from the low point between Apex Peak and the North face of Sill is not as difficult as I previously recall. It is straight forward class three (in my opinion). I think the rappel slings climbers encounter is because many use this route for a quick decent after climbing the Swiss Arete. There is harder class three climbing on several peaks I have summitted.
The snowfield is another matter. Climbers on this route (this year) need to be prepared for ice. We found a thin sloppy layer of corn snow over hard, wet ice. Without crampons and axes, I would not have risked the climb. Because it was my 16 year olds first "mountaineer's" summit I opted to belay above the "L" section of the coulier. We also rappelled down the coulier on descent because of threatening thunderstorms and we wanted off fast. I guess the short story is this....This year this coulier is not a simple snowfield....be careful out there.
Also, if you ever want to get more class 3 climbing when ascending Winchell from Sam Mack Meadow, go around the north side of Sam Mack Lake. There is a wonderful route of class 3 rock from the end of the west end of the lake, then you can climb the east end of the east buttress of Winchell and get on the ridge from the east rather than climbing the south face of the east buttress. More fun, less slog..
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