Round Trip- 9 miles Total Vertical Gain-3,300-ft.
-This is not Pentingell's standard route
First, avoid killing the owners of dogs who let their little buddies trample through delicate alpine tundra off leash!
Starting at the Herman Gulch TH (10,280-ft) locate and ascend the wide trail a quarter mile to a signed junction. Turn left and continue to ascend the Herman Lake Trail as it eliminates some steep vertical and tops out into the beginning of Herman Gulch. The first prominent mountain you will see at the head of the drainage is Pettingell Peak. You can also see the East Ridge plus, the headwall on the ridge towards the summit looks daunting. After hiking in and out of trees for about 2.5 miles the trail begins a series of minor switchbacks up and away from Herman Creek. These switchbacks deposit you above tree line and directly at another signed trail junction. This junction is key to the route for you will need to leave the trail for good and hike directly north, trying to attain the grassy ramparts of Pettingell Peak’s east ridge. This is a steep slog up grass and minor scree for 1,100-ft. After finally cresting the broad ridge continue hiking up and over Point 12,300-ft on the Continental Divide. From here you get a good view of the rest of your route. If weather doesn’t look promising this might be a good place to descend for the ridge becomes inescapable for the next .75-mile. The route from here doesn’t look as bad as first viewed earlier from the start of Herman Gulch.
Start picking your way across the ridge. The rock is pretty solid but shouldn’t be totally trusted. Staying directly on the ridge crest increases the difficulty of this route. The route would be class 4. The ridge contains three minor notches and one headwall to negotiate. Most of these cruxes can be avoided with good route finding on the ridges south side. Using the north side of the ridge to traverse these cruxes is not feasible.
Once you have passed the initial notch difficulties you will come to a 50-ft headwall that looks impassable if you were to stay on the ridge crest. Your only option is to drop about 20-ft and climb the loose talus (class 3) back up to the ridge crest. The climbing beyond this headwall is minimal and attaining the summit is an easy class 2 hike.
From Pettingel Peak’s 13,553-ft summit continue southwest down to the grassy saddle between Pettingell and Point 13,418-ft. If you have the energy, Point 13,418-ft is a worthy sidetrip. The views of the continuing ridge to The Citadel and Hager Mountain are stunning. At any rate, descend Pettingell Peak’s standard South Slopes Route to 12,600-ft and locate a grassy ramp (east) that will deliver you to the lakeshores of Herman Lake. From Herman lake at 12,000-ft easily locate the Herman Lake Trail and follow it back to your vehicle.
Lastly, avoid killing the owners of dogs who let their little buddies trample through delicate alpine tundra off leash!
Alternate approach to East Ridge
Date: Feb 09, 2005 2:28 PM
You can also access the fine east ridge by continuing up the trail to the eastern shore of beautiful Herman Lake. From there ascend due north for 900' up the couloir of grass slopes and easy scree to the obvious saddle at 12,860' between Pettingell and the 12,980 point to the east. From here, the 3/4 mile of Class III ridge lies directly above you to the west.
Standard hiking gear. Be aware of your surroundings, watch for cloud build-up, especially in late July and August. I would start any hike before 6:00a.m. during late July and August, the monsoon season. Off the mountain by 10:00 a.m. should be the goal.