Correction to Secor

Middle Palisade

by Leonard Daughenbaugh

Leonard Daughenbaugh

A friend of mine and I recently returned from an ascent of the Northeast Face of Middle Palisade. Having never done this route before, I resorted to the guide books and ended up getting lost. In order to finally summit, we had to traverse south over two chutes to get into the right one. Secor seems to have the best description, but, if anyone is planning to follow this route, even his is not really clear.

If you follow the ledge that goes diagonally up and to the right from the top of the moraine to its end, you will indeed come to a "wide couloir," but that is the wrong one. The secret is that, about half way along this ledge, there is a ducked "use trail" that will take you back to the left into the correct "wide couloir." Then Secor's route description can be followed to the top, except that, to reach the summit ridge, it is necessary to first climb to the top of the left ridgecrest of the couloir.

Another way of doing it would be to go ahead and follow the ledge to its end in the wrong "wide couloir," and climb it, but then skip to part about traversing into the next couloir to the right and just follow the left branch to the summit. The climbing is a bit more difficult in this wrong "wide couloir," but that's the way we went and it will go at a moderate Class 3. (I got lost because I thought we were in the correct couloir and therefore, at this point, traversed to the next couloir to right.)

David Underwood

I soloed this route about seven years or so ago. As I recall I went left to the smaller chute where it branched off above the wider lower chute. I remember having to make a nasty boulder move just before the summit where I made the summit from the right side. I then discovered that I could have gone to the left of the summit and avoided the more exposed move on the right.

Christopher Jain

I climbed this route last year and I just happened to check the trip reports before I left. Apparently a lot of people get off-route trying to follow the guide book. And if I hadn't checked the trip reports I would probably have ended off route also. One of the trip reports recommended following the route marked on the picture in the California 14ner book. I didn't have this book, so on the way to the climb I stopped at the visitor center outside of Lone Pine and traced this route onto a photocopied picture from Secor's book. Worked great.

The route is a lot more direct than was my impression from reading the written description in the guidebook. Instead of having to cross over into a chute to the right, the chute just merges into the correct chute--so the "cross-over" is accomplished by merely proceeding straight up. Then, when the chute split into two, I took the left-hand chute. This took me to a notch directly N. of, and a few feet below, the summit. By dropping down a few feet and traversing a bit to the N., I was able to access the summit with a moves of exposed 3rd class.

This is one route where I think it's worth it to print out the trip reports and study them.

The information provided in these pages is provided by interested volunteers and has not been field checked. R.J. Secor, The Mountaineers, the Sierra Club and are in no way responsible for the accuracy of any route advice on this web site. Safe climbers must be able to understand the terrain and topography of the area they travel in, and they must make wise route finding choices based their own knowledge, experience and observations.