White Mountain and Middle Palisade

After climbing three 14ers over Labor Day weekend I was hooked and knew that I wanted to get some more in before the winter came. None of my friends from Berkeley were free that weekend but luckily my friend Clax from the PCT was interested. After taking transit to Folsom, we were off, heading back towards the Eastern Sierra. We drove into the White Mountain parking lot at around 1AM.

There was no hurry the next day as the only thing on the agenda was the 14 mile round trip hike to White Mountain. We initially felt the altitude and started out slowly but eventually got over it and cruised up to the top of the mountain. We met a man who had just biked over 200 miles from Badwater Basin in less then 24 hours. About an hour and a half later we were back at the car.

The trail to White Mountain
Clax walking up the trail with the Sierra in the background
Atop White Mountain

It was about a two hour drive down to Big Pine and we stopped to see the ancient bristlecone pines along the way. We ate a large dinner there and then set our alarms for 4am the next morning to summit Middle Palisade.

With our PCT legs, Clax and I made quick work of the on trail section and around first light we reached the off trail section.

Clax starting the off trail section
The beautiful Finger Lake
Middle Palisade (l) and Norman Clyde (r)

We climbed to in between the glacier and reached the crux of the climb. The reccomended route is the red and white streak but it looked impossible from afar. We decided to take the Secor’s chute route which looked easier but was actually harder.

The 200ft crux to get to Secor’s Chute
Climbing up the chute
High up in the chute


The view from the top looking west
Atop Middle Palisade
We came down the red and white streak way upon hearing it was easier from another group of climbers

Middle Palisade was the most difficult peak technically that I have climbed, but other then the one crux section there wasn’t anything terrible sketchy. 11.5 hours after leaving the car we returned to the parking lot and drove home.


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