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Mt Carl Heller and Tulainyo Tower
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East Arete - Mt. Carl Heller T 
Tulainyo Tower T 

Tulainyo Tower 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Bill Stronge and Al Green (September 1973)
Season: Summer/ Fall
Page Views: 998
Submitted By: Viren Perumal on Aug 10, 2014

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Shadow of the tower from the summit

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  • Description 

    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.

    Rock Climbing Photo: The tower
    The tower

    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.

    Rock Climbing Photo: A great topo created by Dave Nettle that was share...
    A great topo created by Dave Nettle that was shared with us and helped us on our route.

    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.

    Rock Climbing Photo: sunrise on Tulainyo
    sunrise on Tulainyo

    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

    Photos of Tulainyo Tower Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Orozco leading the final pitch on Tulainyo T...
    Chris Orozco leading the final pitch on Tulainyo T...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Orozco following P4 or 5 on Tulainyo Tower's...
    Chris Orozco following P4 or 5 on Tulainyo Tower's...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Orozco leading out the steep alcove on P8.
    Chris Orozco leading out the steep alcove on P8.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tulainyo Tower
    BETA PHOTO: Tulainyo Tower

    Comments on Tulainyo Tower Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Richard Shore
    Sep 3, 2015

    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?

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