Mount Carl Heller via East Arete

Where: George Creek area, southern Sierra Nevada, California
When: 2006
Partner: Rick Kent
Route: East Arete (class 4)
Mileage/Gain: 15/10,000
TOPO: Here

Mount Carl Heller

In 2006, Rick Kent and I set out to dayhike Mount Carl Heller, a locally named peak situated between Mount Russell and Mount Williamson in the Siera Nevada. With perhaps 15 miles and 10,000 feet of gain over largely trail-less terrain on the roundtrip, we were certain the route would be memorable.

With an initial slog through heavy brush in lower George Creek, the middle portion of the route was beautiful and relative easy-going. Eventually, we gained a lake at the toe of Carl Heller's beautiful east arete. Stopping for a drink and a bite to eat, we then traversed over to the toe of the arete, gaining it via steep class 4 slabs and ledges.

Once on the ridge, the going was fast and fun. It wasn't long before we found ourselves on the summit of this obscure peak.
CP on the East Arete

On the descent, we dropped down the west slope of the peak, then traversed north until we could gain a chute that would take us back east up to the saddle north of Carl Heller. From there, sandy slopes took us back down to the lake at the base of the east arete.

Romping back out, we were back at our vehicles 15.5 hours after we'd started.

The best class 4 route I've done in the Sierra? You bet.

Photos courtesy of Rick Kent