Mt. Sill and Polemonium Peak are the easiest (it's all relative, right?) of the five 14ers in the North Palisade range. With ten of the fifteen 14ers done, these were the first two in this range that I wanted to take a shot at (not counting that attempt on North Palisade two years ago that ended just a couple of hundred vertical feet from the summit!) on July 9th, 2016.
|View of Polemonium pk, North Palisade, Starlight and Thunderbolt pk above the Palisade glacier|
GPX: Use the GPS coordinates from here. Use hillmap.com or caltopo.com for accurate maps.
|Peaks of this section of the Palisades seen fairly early during the hike|
|Approximate route till Glacier notch seen from above Willow lake|
The route followed the descriptions linked above very well. I started (maybe a couple of hours too late?) at 5 am and reached Willow lake at the top of the switchbacks by 6:30am. I then had to cross a couple of small creeks to reach and follow the creek coming down from Mt. Gayley on the south side till the pond and move over to the north side. Continuing on on this side till both the waterfalls are crossed, there was a lot of snow and water in the gully directly towards Mt. Sill till glacier notch is visible. From there, the path to glacier notch, the L-couloir and the (barely) class IV wall upto Mt. Sill are fairly obvious. It's a nice fun scramble all the way to the top of Mt. Sill - and you'll most likely see some climbers on the classic Swiss Arete route.
|View from the top of Mt. Sill|
From the top of Mt. Sill, the ridge leading up to Polemonium peak is very clear and is Class 2/3 depending on the line you take and snow on this side of the ridge.
|Wide-angle view on the ridge between Mt. Sill and Polemonium|
From the false summit of Polemonium, you can descend a steep chute towards the Palisade basin and climb back up to the ridge leading up to the true summit.
|View of the Palisade basin from the false summit of Polemonium|
Alternately, you can traverse a class 4 section to reach the same place (which I did on the way back - and was much more pleasant considering the snow in the chute).
|The classic Class-4 climb to the summit of Polemonium|
The summit ridge is only around 25 ft - but has steep exposure on both sides. A very fun climb though!
|Looking down on the summit ridge towards the Palisade glacier from the summit|
And this panorama from the top of Polemonium makes it all worth it!
|The Palisade glacier, Mt. Sill, the Sierra ranges, Palisade basin and North Palisade as seen from the Polemonium summit|
|Sunset .... and still a while to go .....|