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Thunderbolt Peak

Routes Sorted
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Austrian Arete T 
Palisade Traverse T 
Southwest Buttress T 
Southwest Chute 1 T 
Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse T 
Underhill Couloir T 

Thunderbolt Peak  

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Elevation: 14,003'
Location: 37.098, -118.5176 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 35,242
Administrators: Chris Owen, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: karl wilcox on Feb 1, 2007
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Summit monolith - TR from single bolt. Note positi...


The last fourteener in the Sierra to be climbed, Thunderbolt Peak is the next peak northwest of North Palisade, it too is on the main Sierra crest. It's summit monolith if often the crux of the climb - a 5.9 move over and onto a slab. It's safer if the monolith is draped with a rope first. As such it's one of the hardest summits in the Sierra to get to.

The name "Thunderbolt Peak" commemorates an incident during the first descent, when a nearby lightning strike gave Jules Eichorn cause for concern.

Getting There 

The eastern approach:

From Big Pine on 395 drive up the road to Glacier Lodge; trailhead is signed on the right.

Hike up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek past Cienega Mirth, Lon Chaney's old cabin, and First, Second, and Third (spectacular views of Temple Crag) Lakes, then instead of continuing on to Fourth Lake turn south and up into Sam Mack Meadow. This is where I usually camp (6 miles, 3,400 ft of elevation gain). People staying more than a couple of days may want to cross the creek and head up the glacier trail to primitive sites either below the Palisade Glacier Moraine, or on the Moraine (1.25 miles, 1,100 more feet of gain).

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.6 miles from here

6 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Thunderbolt Peak:
Southwest Chute 1   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine, Grade III   
Palisade Traverse   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Mod. Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, Grade IV   
Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Easy Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, 5280'   
Browse More Classics in Thunderbolt Peak

Featured Route For Thunderbolt Peak
The Palisades

Palisade Traverse 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Mod. Snow  CA : High Sierra : Thunderbolt Peak
This a description of the Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse (not the Palisade Traverse) which is also posted here.This is a ridge traverse from Thunderbolt Peak to Mt. Sill that encompasses five fourteeners, North Palisade being the highest. This is an incredible way to bag all of these summits in a long day of moderate climbing and scrambling. Most people will want to have a separate day for the approach and another for the exit.Thunderbolt peak, Starlight Peak, North Palisade, Polemoni...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Thunderbolt Peak Slideshow Add Photo
Where Thunderbolt Peak fits into things - as seen ...
BETA PHOTO: Where Thunderbolt Peak fits into things - as seen ...
Thunderbolt Peak as seen from the summit of Temple...
BETA PHOTO: Thunderbolt Peak as seen from the summit of Temple...
On the Palisade Glacier, E face of T-Bolt looming ...
On the Palisade Glacier, E face of T-Bolt looming ...

Comments on Thunderbolt Peak Add Comment
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By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jun 9, 2008
You can also approach T-bolt from the west. Hike up over Bishop Pass, then boulder-hop southeast behind the Palisades. It's possible to camp at a prominent saddle a couple miles from Bishop Pass. I strongly recommend bringing a six-pack of the beverage of your choice and stashing it in a handy snowfield near camp.

Ascent is via an obvious scree gully (usually pretty dusty in the summer). One 5.easy pitch (rope optional) will put you at the foot of the summit boulder problem.
By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Mar 1, 2009
My friend and I did the traverse from Winchel Col to Mt.Sill 3 or 4 years ago climbing T-Bolt along the way. Probably one of the best climbs I've ever done in the Sierra. Climbing onto the summit pinnacle really only involves a move or two and is mellow for 5.9. Clip into the summit bolt with your daisy, stand up and......WhhooooooooWEEE!
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