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North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada Range, Palisades, Traverse of the Crest

Palisades, Traverse of the Crest. In late July Gerry Adams and I completed the first traverse of the Palisade Crest. The Palisade, with many small glaciers and five peaks over 14,000 feet, is the most alpine region of the range. Atypical of the range in general, the mountains are precipitous on all sides and connected by narrow ridges. The first attempt to traverse the entire Palisade was in 1969. Since, there had been perhaps a dozen attempts. An attempt in mid-July by Vern Clevinger and Nigel Gifford ended, four days out, when they ran short of food. The traverse is eight miles long: a mile and a half of moderate 5th Class, three miles of 4th Class, some snow and mixed pitches, and acres of scrambling. The complete traverse took seven days and seven bivouacs, with approximately 12,000 feet gained and lost respectively. In Steve Roper’s The Climber’s Guide to the Sierra Nevada, the complete traverse was predicted to be “a multi-day classic.” Indeed, the situation is fantastic and the quality of the climbing outstanding: the rock varies from the finest High Sierra granite to teetering stacks of shattered diorite.

John Fischer