Polemonium Peak (June 15-17, 2007)

Chris and I had set a goal to climb all of the California 14ers (14,000 ft. peaks).
We originally planned to finish our goal last summer, but that didn't work out, we
had one more to climb, Polemonium Peak. This peak is in the Palisades off the North
fork of Big Pine Creek. Since this has become mine and Chris' favorite trailhead,
we didn't mind coming back this summer to complete our goal. Unfortunately, this
was a low snow year, which made more difficult hiking above Sam Mack Meadow. Even so,
we made it to to the top, enjoyed the best view in the Sierras, and completed our
goal of climing all 15 California 14ers!

Walter and I starting up the hot, dry part of the trial, the South fork glaciers
seen in the background.

Middle Palisade on the left, and Norman Clyde on the right. Middle Palisade is a
14er we day-hiked last summer.

The falls of the North fork of Big Pine creek once we got to the cooler, more scenic
section of the trial.

Walter and I taking a break near the creek.

The trail heading up.


Temple Crag behind Second Lake. You can see Polemonium Peak, to the left side of
the U-notch on the right side of Temple Crag.

More of Second Lake. There are 4 14ers in this picture. Polemonium to the left of
the U-notch, North Palisade to the right of the U-notch and over a bit, then Starlight
to it's right. Thunderbolt can be seen to the right of the V-notch, that is not
completely visible here.

Chris enjoying the view.

Walter and I appraoching Sam Mack Meadow, the Palisades are still visible in the background.

This is the chute we ended up climbing up out of Sam Mack Meadow. The three of us decided
to hike up the chute and "kick steps" while the snow was soft in the afternoon so we'd have
good steps in the morning when we hiked the peak.

Me climbing up the chute with Sam Mack Meadow behind.

Near the top of the chute, with Sam Mack's river below.

Walter at the top of the chute.

Me and Walter hiking back down the chute.

Chris standing in the river rinsing off.

Chris jumping rocks.

Me and Walter in camp, I was getting hot water for hot chocolate.

The chute on the left toward the bright mountains was the way we went last year in July, hiking
three other 14ers. Last year it was mostly covered in snow!

We were getting cold staning outside, so we went to bed before dark to get out of the cold.
I was nice and warm in our sleeping bags. (:

Sunrise on peak day.

Mt. Sill, another 14er on the left, you can see Polemonium, left of the U-notch to Mt. Sill's right.

Reflections in the meadow puddles, Walter and I starting our hike.

Walter and I heading up the steep chute. We were glad for our steps from the previous day, but
the snow wasn't all that hard after all anyway.

Walter in the snow cups heading for the rocks. Thunderbolt in front of him.

A better view of the mountains and the Palisade Glacier. All 5 14ers from this trail can be seen.
Mt. Sill on the left, Polimonium to the left of the U-notch (kind of hidden, the second notch to
the left), then North Palisade on the right, Starlight, and Thunderbolt is the peak farthest to the

A weird old wooden box Chris and I came across while trying to find the best way onto the Glacier.

Walter down on the glacier, I guess he found the more direct route. He's heading toward the U-notch.

A closer view of the U-notch, and Polemonium on the left.

Me sitting and waiting for our turn to climb up the bershund, there were two other climbers that helped
us out a bit by pulling our rope up.

Walter climbing up the bershund.

Me climbing up the chute.

Me climbing up the chute and the two other climbers in front of us. You can see the top of the notch here.

Walter leading the first pitch of the technical part of the climb.

Chris took a picture of me while he was traversing/climbing (very difficult climbing, you can see).
Sam Mack lake is visible behind me.

The view to the West, beautiful!

More western views, and Polar Bear Lake at the bottom left.

Me with the view behind.

Chris with North Palisade behind.

Chris and I at the peak!

I was coming down to the rappel place and took this picture of Walter and Chris.

More Western views and some lakes.

Me heading down to the rappel spot.

On the way down, we went a differnt way, after a long boulder field, we came onto this icy lake.

Chris and I on the last day, getting ready to head out. You can see Polemonium Peak behind on the left.

The chute we hiked up from Sam Mack Meadow.

Temple Crag on the way out.

The ranger cabin nessled in the trees near the creek.

Chris getting back to the trail after exploring the cabin.