Ascent of Heald Peak on 2009-01-10

Climber: Nathan Schultz

Others in Party:Karen
Date:Saturday, January 10, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Heald Peak
    Elevation:6901 ft / 2103 m

Ascent Trip Report

Heald Peak (6901’) is located in the Piute Mountains which are South of Lake Isabella. We met in South Lake at 7:00AM, and then drove East on Highway 178 to Vista Grande Road and then navigated the dirt roads to the BLM land on the North side of the mountain. We parked below the saddle that divides Nicolls Peak and Heald Peak, and then started hiking at 7:30.

We ascended to the saddle, and began making our way West toward Heald Peak. We had been at that same place nine days prior and there was a lot of snow, but most of it had melted off the saddle and thus out of our way. We proceeded toward Heald following the 'ducked' route as we were able, but the snow coverage and depth increased as we gained elevation and/or moved into shaded areas. It was warm, and the sky was clear and blue, and it was breezy in some places. The view of Lake Isabella to the North was mesmerizing, and we could see sunny South Fork and Kelso Valley to the South and East.

We reached Heald Peak at around 12:30, took some pictures, and signed the register. We made our way back down to the saddle near Nicolls Peak, and then we descended to the car.

I am estimating that the hike was between 6 & 10 miles, and the elevation gain was 3700 feet. Our route on this day featured class 1,2, & 3 skills with the difficulty enhanced somewhat due to the snow which was often to my knee, and once was almost up to my waist. I was really glad that I had my knee-high gaiters on which kept my legs dry and protected from yucca bushes. I shaved my face recently so I also got to try-out my new balaclava which protected my face and neck nicely from the cool breeze.

Click here to see pictures of Heald Peak
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3700 ft / 1127 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1,2, & 3
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3700 ft / 1127 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Start Trailhead:3201 ft / 975 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km

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