Norman Clyde Couloir 13,500’ – Middle Palisades
Elevation Change: 5700’
These pics are from May 18, 2019. Ben Mitchell, Christian, Nick Bliss and his dog Owen all made it up to the top of Norman Clyde Couloir with me. This was a stellar day with blue skies and no wind. We had old shin deep powder from the toe of the glacier to the top, and really good corn snow below that. I’ll upload a bunch of pics in the reply below from another day when I skied the peak with Greg Loring when I can find them. That was probably mid 2000’s. Same pics, same snow conditions, older gear. I think this line is always going to pow up high. It’s protected from wind. I’d like to ski the alternate couloir sometime just to the right.
I have skied a bunch of amazing peaks from this trailhead at Big Pine Creek Trailhead, above the town of Big Pine. You can park at this 7800’ trailhead pretty much all winter I believe. I think the snowplowing occurs for some residents up there perhaps. One time I had to start a mile back or so. The other ski tours on my website I have posted from this trailhead are Kid Mountain, Buck Mountain, Mt. Bolton Brown and Balcony Peak, Mt. Sill N Couloir, U Notch and Thunderbolt Peak. If you don’t see one of these tours on here, it is because I’m working on the website this season.
Finding Norman Clyde Couloir is easy. Stay on route for Middle Palisades, which is the natural path heading into the mountains from the car. You won’t accidentally shift into North Palisades or over South Fork Pass unless you really didn’t look at any map or pictures…and skin tracks confuse you. Norman Clyde is pretty much due east of the car. The summit of Norman Clyde is over 13,900’ and I’ve never been up there, and you won’t be climbing it either in ski boots. I don’t know about crevasse danger, but there is certainly a big Bergstrom somewhere in there to look out for. I didn’t notice it at all in the 2 times I passed it due to deep snow cover.
Norman Clyde Couloir is not in the guidebooks, and I don’t recall where I heard about it. Probably online in a picture on supertopo or maybe from an early internet blog by BCD or some other go-getter.