First Winter Traverse of Palisades

Palisade traverse campsite
Bivy site during the first winter Palisade Traverse. Courtesy of Jed Porter

3/12/13 – Ian McEleney and Jed Porter have done the full Palisade Traverse (VI 5.9) in the Sierra Nevada of California, the first time this eight-mile link-up has been completed in winter. The two guides spent five days on the route, ending March 2.

Likely the longest technical climb in the Lower 48, the Palisade Traverse (not to be confused with the much shorter Thunderbolt to Sill traverse) runs from Bishop Pass to Southfork Pass and climbs over six 14ers and numerous high 13ers, with thousands of feet of low fifth-class climbing. First done in 1979 by Jerry Adams and John Fisher, the full traverse has only been completed about 10 times.

“With stable weather in our favor, our primary challenges were the extensive booted and gloved rock climbing, overall work load, and the standard difficulties of functioning in a cold and high-altitude environment,” Porter said in an email. McEleney and Porter completed the route with no gear, food, or fuel caches.

Dates of ascent: February 26–March 2, 2013

Sources: Jed Porter, Rob Coppolillo