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Mount Sill from Potluck Pass, pls comment on best route

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Mount Sill from Potluck Pass, pls comment on best route

Postby oleander » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:34 am


We'd like to summit Mt. Sill the least dangerous way possible. Approaching from Bishop/Knapsack/Potluck Passes and then ascending one of the southwest chutes.

To best honest, some of the trip reports I've seen scare me. Secor makes out this route as straightforward, Class 2 with some Class 3 on top. But everyone else who seems to do it reports ending up on Class 4 stuff. (We are not equipped for that.) I suspect they end up on Class 4 stuff b/c they're not on the ideal route; hence I hope for some guidance from you guys.

1. Best (least steep) route down from Potluck Pass?

2. Good camping below Potluck Pass? Lake 11,676 or tarns/streams above it?

3. Going up-canyon from the big lake below Potluck (11,676) to the Palemonium Glacier looks on the map to be straightforward, but I read reports of people going up the wrong canyon. We know how to use our compass & topo maps to orienteer, but any other visual advice would be useful.

4. Which chute or ridge to the top of Sill? Secor says stay far left and go up the west ridge; but at least one trip report suggests that ridge has a lot of exposure. People seem to favor the next chute over, and/or one of the ridges between chutes. But I am not sure (visually) which one this is.

Looking at this photo here:

Is it the chute with the snow in it that we should go up? Or a ridge on either side of it? Or some other route?

Thanks much,

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Re: Mount Sill from Potluck Pass, pls comment on best route

Postby Snow Nymph » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:58 pm

We climbed up ridge between 1-2 chutes, then dropped in chute 2. I can't remember all the details, but pix might be helpful. ... 5894_RUj7T
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison
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Re: Mount Sill from Potluck Pass, pls comment on best route

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:11 am

I did this years ago. I mistakenly climbed the peak that is mistakenly named Polimonium Peak (on the 7.5-min USGS map), then traversed snow then scrambled up easy rock to the notch at the letters "CO" on the map, and then up that ridge, more or less. I did it in tennis shoes. A few years later I took two fellows up North Palisade. They also wanted to do Sill but I had already done the peak three times, so we went over Potluck Pass and I showed them the start of the route. They missed it and climbed the wrong sub-peak. It is really difficult to get into the proper chute. It is mainly a route-finding problem, not technical. We mistakenly tried to cut east off Potluck Pass- big mistake. You need to traverse on a small ramp southeast then down scree to the small lake. There is good camping at the north end of the larger lake. Getting from the small lake to the large lake involves lots of little ups and downs and little cliffs. It is very beautiful in this valley. The year the two fellows did it, it was solid snow above 12,500 feet (late July). If you can do snow climbing (bring an ice axe) it is actually easier to do Sill this route when there is snow- otherwise there is a lot of talus hopping.

It is a fabulous area- even if you cannot find the route, you will have a great time.
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