Mt. Gayley (13,510 ft.) towers above a boulder resting on the ice of Palisade Glacier.
For many of us rockbound Southern Californians, Palisade Glacier is our first experience with a glacier. Although quite small by Cascade standards it does have moraines, crevasses, pressure ridges, and beautiful blue ice. It also has a significant bergscrund, that must be crossed when climbing many of the routes originating on the glacier. This photograph was taken in the bergscrund at the base of the U Notch couloir on North Palisade (14,242 ft.). This particular year the conditions were ideal and it was not difficult to cross the bergscrund.
Spending a night on the glacier (well away from rock fall sources) is an fascinating experience. It has an other-worldly feel somehow linked to times past. Surrounded by 14,000 ft. peaks, the glacier struggles to survive. The creaks and groans heard during the night leave little doubt that it is alive and simply biding its time.