Wheeler Mountain is sequenced with Clinton Peak and McNamee and Traver are also included in the Clinton description. One way mileage and elevation gain are measured from the summit of Clinton. Round-trip mileage and elevation gain assume completion of the entire circuit. It should be noted that the elevation gain to reach Wheeler does not really include the multiple times you go up and down through several gullies. Wheeler was previously measured at 13,690 ft.
From the summit of Clinton Peak, follow the ridge line east to a 13,820 ft. point where the ridge turns NE. Continue on the ridge over another bump toward the Clinton-Wheeler saddle at 13,340 ft. Most of the ridge is rubbly with a little interspersed tundra, embedded rock, etc. Descending to the saddle will become a little rougher. The real fun comes just after the saddle. For the descent, note that there is a cairn-marked trail that descends to the east from the saddle. It may be faint. Keep an eye out for it. It heads down on steep grass/tundra.
From the saddle, the 3rd class work begins, but most of the ridge is really sketchy Class 2+. Wrong decisions can get you onto more difficult terrain than 3rd class. Currently, cairns mark much of the way. When we first did this in 1988, there was no trail or cairns to speak of. As you work north up the ridge, generally the west side is the best, as it was dropping down to the saddle from Clinton. However, strong winds typical of this range may force you onto the east side. That's where things can become more difficult. Working up the ridge, you will need to cross several rock "ribs" followed by steep gullies. At each, you will need to climb over the rib and likely descend the gully, then regain the ridge for the next obstacle.
The summit is identifiable by a sideways "Y'" formation of lighter-colored rock. There's another gully just south of the summit with steep, Class 2+ boulder rubble, that's both narrow and loose. Good choices route finding can keep this as an enjoyable 3rd class workout. Rope is not needed. Exposure is not great.
From the summit of Wheeler, it is possible to work over to the summit of North Star, which we have written up as a separate climb. For the descent, the following are some useful details that we provide in part because some may wish to do this route in reverse. From the summit, work back down the south ridge again to the 13,340 ft. saddle. Look for the faint trail that heads down to the east on steep grass and tundra. The trail will lead back down to the upper, unnamed lake at 12,500 ft. If you get off the trail or miss it, while there are some rock outcrops to work through-across-around, it's still no worse than Class 2+ route finding to reach the upper lake. The trail goes along the east shore, then crosses the outlet to descend the west side of a drainage with a small stream that leads down to Wheeler Lake. If you've found the trail, it will lead along the west shore of Wheeler Lake and reconnect with the 4WD road. From there, make the long trudge back out to Montgomery Reservoir. We mention again that you can find some open tundra flat areas to pitch a tent at Wheeler Lake.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.