Eastern Sierra guides Jed Porter and Ian McEleney fired the first winter ascent of the Palisade Traverse (5.9 VI) (and more info HERE) in a fully independent (no gear caches), five-day, four-night mission ending March 2. The longest and “biggest” technical route in the lower 48, the full Palisade Traverse spans eight horizontal miles of technical climbing, with six 14ers and even more 13ers along the way. Fewer than 10 parties have sent the route at all and Porter-McEleney are the first climbers to complete a winter ascent.

P1120418Camp 1 on Middle Palisade–Jed Porter on beverage duty.

The complete Palisade Traverse isn’t to be confused with the shorter (and totally classic!) Thunderbolt-to-Sill Palisade Traverse. The shorter version is a mile long, while the complete goes from Bishop Pass to Southfork Pass, is eight miles long and sports a rumored 70,000 feet of climbing. Shut-the-front-door! The duo climbed completely self-sustained, without resupplies, caches, or any tomfoolery.

P1120458Ian McEleney on a steep section of the Complete Palisade Traverse.

I’ve got a note into Jed Porter for some photos, so I’ll update as I receive them (UPDATED). Jed is an AMGA/IFMGA aspirant guide, as well as a mellow, fun dude with whom to get some vert. I haven’t met Ian McEleny yet, but I trust he’s as chill as Jed–good job, gents!

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Jed Porter contemplates the next few feet of an eight-mile traverse with a rumored 70,000 feet of climbing.