East Face Gully

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 36.07267°N / 115.47775°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scrambling
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 3
Sign the Climber's Log


From the First Creek pull-out on highway 159 (Charleston Blvd.), follow the well-traveled trail toward the mouth of First Creek Canyon (the canyon running between Indecision Peak, which is on the left, and Mt. Wilson, which is on the right).

After about a mile, leave the trail and head cross country directly toward the base of Indecision Peak. While doing so, you will note an obvious large gully on the east face of the mountain - that is NOT your objective. Rather, shoot for a much smaller, but still distinct, gully to the left (south) of the prominent one. This smaller gully is the start of the route.

Route Description

Once at the gully, start ascending. The gully is steep and the scree portions of the route can easily be avoided by sticking to the class 2 (and occasional class 3) features typically found near the center of the gully. You will ascend for about 1000 feet before the angle starts to lessen and you find yourself on nice moderate terrain at the top of the gully.

From the top of the gully, look for the southernmost crag in front of you. Its very smooth 100-foot high east side will stand out distinctly from the other crags nearby. Work your way over class 3 boulder terrain around to the south side of the smooth-sided crag.

From here, the topography becomes a tad more complex. Your goal is to end up on the west side of the smooth-sided crag. Fortunately, cairns are plentiful. Once the west side of the crag is gained, start up another gully heading north, keeping your eyes open for cairns steering you westward along the base of the large boulders and cliffs comprising the south side of the mountain. Follow the cairns.

After passing through a sort of natural tunnel in the rocks (or bypassing the tunnel via a short class 3 downclimb) and traversing a short distance more to the west, you will find yourself at the bottom of another large gully which heads northwestward.

Start up the 1000-foot gully. Although the center of the gully near the bottom is choked with manzanita, the brush is easily avoided by following use trails. As you travel upward, the manzanita lessens and the gully becomes more of a series of boulders, ramps and ledges. Cairns, although sometimes easy to miss, are generally pretty plentiful.

Although the gully may sound simple and self-explanatory (it truly is, anyway), those lacking route-finding skills can easily find themselves on some fairly nasty and exposed terrain. If unsure, look for, and follow, the cairns. They will show you the easiest route up.

Anyway, once the top of the gully is gained, the terrain levels out. The summit is the top of the obvious crag ahead and to the right. It is easily reached in about 5 minutes via a class 2-3 scramble.

A summit cairn conceals a geocache, but no register. The register, for whatever reason, is underneath a cairn on a slightly lower crag immediately to the north of the summit crag. The register was probably placed in the slightly lower crag because that crag actually has more of a summit "feel" than the true summit. Despite the fun terrain to get to it, the true summit is actually kind of a let-down.

The bigger summit bummer, though, is that, although geologically-speaking, probably not a part of Indecision Peak, only a 1/2 mile or so away to the west and connected to Indecision Peak by a ridge is a very noticeable, and higher, limestone subpeak. A saddle between the two "peaks" drops, oh, about 150 feet. I suppose if there's any question, you might as well bag both of them, just to be sure you got the summit.

Roundtrip numbers for this route are in the ballpark of 5 miles and 3000 feet. A nice, half-day scramble.

Essential Gear

The usual half-day desert scrambling stuff (hiking boots, water, hat, sunscreen).

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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