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Routes in Mt Carl Heller and Tulainyo Tower

East Arete - Mt. Carl Heller T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Tulainyo Tower T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft, 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Bill Stronge and Al Green (September 1973)
Page Views: 1,016 total, 25/month
Shared By: Viren Perumal on Aug 10, 2014
Admins: Chris Owen, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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No Longer Restricted Access (Bighorn Sheep Zoological Restrictions lifted 2010) Details
Access limited from May to October every year Details


This is a fun route with alpine granite that ranges from amazing to a little grungy and flakey. There are plenty of sections of wide climbing and rewards those who make the hike into this area with a grand adventure.

The climb follows the prominent crack on the right side of the face, and the first pitch starts to the right of the lowest arch on the face.

Pitch 1: (5.6) crack climbing to a ledge
Pitch 2: (5.9) Wandering face and crack Climbing
Pitch 3: (5.10) Thin Seam into a 5.8 crack to a nice ledge
Pitch 4: (5.10) Easier crack climbing leads to a left traverse back into the main wide crack
Pitch 5: (5.10) Long Pitch up a crack that has 2 distant roofs to pull through (Save #2-4 for belay plus you need big pro for next pitch)
Pitch 6: (Burl fest) (5.10+ OW and Squeeze) Leave the belay and work towards the crux that lies about a bolt that is just above a small roof in an off width section of the crack. I found this pitch containing wet moss in the back of the crack which kept the excitement high
Pitch 7: (5.8) continue up the crack and move right up a ramp at the top of the pitch to avoid some loose rock and then back left into an alcove.
Pitch 8: (5.8) Another pitch with broken rock in the corner but a clean crack on the left wall when the corner ends continue up to the right on a ledge and belay (avoid your rope running across loose rocks)
Pitch 9 (easy 5th) continue up to the summit wondering up and slightly left.

Further Information:
Fiddler Pg 96
Secor Page 82

Summit Post:


The route is located just to the left of Mt. Carl Heller and is in a wild alpine cirque.

Descent. From the top of the roped climbing head due west in the direction of wallace lake. cross over several rock ribs on the west side of Mt. Carl Heller as you travel north over Vacation Pass. Follow sandy slopes and ledges back to your camp.

Alternatively you can approach from Russell - Carillon Col and camp at Wallace Lake for this route


50 M rope
1 bolt
Double rack to #3 Camalot and a #4 & #5 were helpful. Smaller stoppers and cams could be helpful for the seam on pitch 3. Many long slings
An excellent route with a lot of really bad & loose rock. Choss connoisseurs rejoice! Helmets should be considered MANDATORY. The 5.10+ OW crux is short and well-protected with the 3/8" buttonhead bolt, and good small gear can be found just below to back it up. I managed to have a #2 camalot unclip itself from my harness while squirming up some 5.10 OW high on route - maybe the booty waiting at the base will attract other climbers to come try this thing.

Are there any alternate descents off this tower? Descending all the way to Wallace Lake on the west side of the crest, then re-ascending 1,500' of loose talus & sand up Vacation Pass back to our camp on the east side has to be the most brutal descent I've done in the Sierra. Expect 3+ hours from the summit back to camp if going this way. Maybe consider going to the top of Carl Heller from Tulainyo and downclimbing the East Arete instead? Sep 3, 2015