Author: Don Otis
Mt. Sill is in the eastern Sierras near Big Pine on the North and South Forth trailheads. It is 14,162′ one of the 12 ranked 14,000′ peaks in California. I headed up Fathers Day Weekend in 2015 making easy time. We reached the Palisade glacier and began to traverse it to the North Couloir. The couloir is not difficult though rated class 3. We used ice axes and crampons much of the way above 12,500′. The tough spot was traversing Glacier Notch with it’s ice and snow. In dry conditions the exposure is manageable. Once across, the summit was 30 minutes. We spent 20 hours on the trail and peak — not recommended. Headlamps in and headlamps out. Exhausting. The Palisade area contains nearly half of the 14,000′ peaks in California — all are class 3 to 5 and none are a walk-up. The area is magical in every way — rugged, challenging, beautiful, and still largely unspoiled. There are glacier lakes and cairns with free-flowing streams such at the one through Sam Mack Meadow — a favorite high camp.