Tulainyo Tower Direct East Face

Independence, California

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Just to the south of Mt. Carl Heller is one of the finest walls in the Sierra—the 1,000-foot tall Tulainyo Tower. Galen Rowell and Marek Glogoczowski made the first ascent of this remote feature in October of 1972 via the northeast face (IV 5.9). Rowell provided the details. “On the right side of the truly perpendicular tower is a crack system, which begins some distance above the base. We started even further right in a wide chimney that we followed for two leads until a broken area of reddish rock allowed us to reach the base of the main crack system.” “Three consecutive pitches of 5.9 crack climbing past frequent overhangs brought us to a point where Marek became sick and weak. The temperature was freezing and we had begun the route only one day after leaving sea level. The back side of the tower appeared to be easier, and so I soloed toward the top while Marek rested on the ledge. I climbed within walking distance of the summit, then descended 300 feet to Marek’s position, where he told me he was too weak to even ascend fixed ropes. We were forced to rappel the face and we descended the canyon after dark, with Marek feeling much better once the elevation diminished. The climb is a true classic; a steep and narrow face on the Sierra Crest on excellent rock.”

Tulainyo Tower: Direct East Face Professional Review and Guide

"Just to the south of Mt. Carl Heller is one of the finest walls in the Sierra—the 1,000-foot tall Tulainyo Tower. Galen Rowell and Marek Glogoczowski made the first ascent of this remote feature in October of 1972 via the northeast face (IV 5.9). Rowell provided the details. “On the right side of the truly perpendicular tower is a crack system, which begins some distance above the base. We started even further right in a wide chimney that we followed for two leads until a broken area of reddish rock allowed us to reach the base of the main crack system.” “Three consecutive pitches of 5.9 crack climbing past frequent overhangs brought us to a point where Marek became sick and weak. The temperature was freezing and we had begun the route only one day after leaving sea level. The back side of the tower appeared to be easier, and so I soloed toward the top while Marek rested on the ledge. I climbed within walking distance of the summit, then descended 300 feet to Marek’s position, where he told me he was too weak to even ascend fixed ropes. We were forced to rappel the face and we descended the canyon after dark, with Marek feeling much better once the elevation diminished. The climb is a true classic; a steep and narrow face on the Sierra Crest on excellent rock.”"

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Independence
Class: Class 5 - 5.5
Local Contacts: Inyo National Forest; Sequoia National Park
Local Maps: USGS Mt. Langley, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Williamson, Manzanar
Grade: Grade IV
Driving Directions: Directions to Tulainyo Tower: Direct East Face

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May 2018