Photo by Mike Koerner
Getting Started on North Palisade - Gaining access to the region is most often made by use of three different approaches. The Bishop Pass Trail
gives access to the south western side of the divide and begins (as the name implies) from the little town of Bishop, California. This in my book is the more
lengthy approach, and depending on season can involve a whole lot of bolder hopping, which is certainly not my idea of fun. Fifteen miles to the South, is the
even smaller town of Big Pine, and from there, we have a choice of two forks in the divide. The Southern Fork of Big Pine Creek, and the Northern Fork of Big
Pine Creek. I prefer the Northern Fork, because it gives the most direct access to the Palisade Glacier and thus the U Notch couloir which directly accesses
the summit of North Palisade. The Southern Fork is the best way to go if you are climbing peaks such as Middle Palisade or Norman Clyde Peak, etc.
Having been on both sides of the Palisade Crest, I would say that the North Fork approach is the classic alpine approach and involves exciting multi terrain
climbing. You have trail, cross country travel, glacier travel, a steep snow and ice couloir to negotiate, and technical rock. All things considered, it is an
To get there, travel on US highway 395 to the little town of Big Pine located at the base of the Eastern Sierra's. From there turn west on the Glacier Lodge
Road (West Crocker Road) that continues uphill for 13.9 miles and ends at the trailhead parking lot. The road does continue another half mile to the site of
the old Glacier Lodge (burned down), but there is no overnight parking in that area. For permit information and availability click here.
"Climbing the North Palisade is a great
experience. If you ever decide to make the climb,
or if you have already completed this wonderful
adventure, I am sure you will never forget it.
North Palisade is definitely one of my all time
North Palisade - Getting Started timberlinetrails.net
Click Here to see Video
of Dave Koerner above
Glissading on Mt Shasta.