Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
Mt. Russell

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bloody Corner  T 
East Arete T 
Fishhook Arête T 
Mithril Dihedral T 
South Slope T 
Star Trekkin' T 
Western Front T 

Mt. Russell Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 14,088'
Location: 36.59, -118.291 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 28,549
Administrators: Chris Owen, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M.Morley on Mar 5, 2006
Forecast:
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Routes on Mount Russell - with descent for Mithril...

Access limited from May to October every year MORE INFO >>>

Description 

At 14,088 ft (4,294 m), Mt. Russell is the 7th highest peak in California, and one of 15 above 14,000' in the state.

It's a very fine peak, with many classic routes, including its easier routes, a very worthwhile objective.

Getting There 

Approach from Whitney Portal via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. This is the same approach used for the East Face, East Buttress, and Mountaineer's Routes on Mt. Whitney.

If overnighting, you must obtain a wilderness permit for the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek by following a specific set of procedures outlined on the forest service's website.

Allow about 5 hours from Whitney Portal to Iceberg Lake if carrying full packs with overnight gear.

Climbing Season



Weather station 15.3 miles from here

7 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',2],['5.10',3],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Mt. Russell

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Mt. Russell:
East Arete   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a     Trad, Alpine, Grade II   
Fishhook Arête   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, 1000'   
Mithril Dihedral   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 500'   
Bloody Corner    5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 800'   
Star Trekkin'   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 600'   
Western Front   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 900'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Mt. Russell

Featured Route For Mt. Russell
Rock Climbing Photo: The money pitch, just above the prominent notch.

Fishhook Arête 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  CA : High Sierra : ... : Mt. Russell
Excellent rock, incredible exposure, high elevation, and panoramic views earn this the deserved status of one of the 100 best alpine climbs named in John Moynier and Claude Fiddler's "Sierra Classics".I'm sure this has been done many times car-to-car by parties stronger than mine, but most will opt for at least one overnight at either Iceberg or Upper Boyscout Lakes to acclimatize and enjoy the surroundings. Consider combining with one of the Whitney routes (East Face, East Buttress) by cam...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Mt. Russell Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Russell as seen from the summit of Whitney
Mt. Russell as seen from the summit of Whitney
Rock Climbing Photo: Diana at the west side of the south face, Mithral ...
BETA PHOTO: Diana at the west side of the south face, Mithral ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Russell from the summit of Whitney
Mt. Russell from the summit of Whitney
Rock Climbing Photo: View of Mount Russell from Whitney-Russell Pass
View of Mount Russell from Whitney-Russell Pass
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Russell from Iceberg Lake
Mt Russell from Iceberg Lake
Rock Climbing Photo: The East Ridge and North (or Northeast) Face of Mt...
The East Ridge and North (or Northeast) Face of Mt...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Whitney and Mt. Russell from the top of the st...
Mt. Whitney and Mt. Russell from the top of the st...
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearly 360 panorama from the East Summit of Russel...
Nearly 360 panorama from the East Summit of Russel...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Russell.  The Fishhook Arete follows the line ...
BETA PHOTO: Mt. Russell. The Fishhook Arete follows the line ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Contemplating Mt. Russell from the summit of Whitn...
Contemplating Mt. Russell from the summit of Whitn...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Russell
BETA PHOTO: Mt Russell
Rock Climbing Photo: Tulainyo Lake from near Mt Russell.
Tulainyo Lake from near Mt Russell.
Rock Climbing Photo: Descending looking west
Descending looking west
Rock Climbing Photo: Routes of Mt. Russell. As seen from Mt. Whitney.
BETA PHOTO: Routes of Mt. Russell. As seen from Mt. Whitney.
Rock Climbing Photo: Russell from the Whitney summit
Russell from the Whitney summit
Rock Climbing Photo: "L Shaped Pass" is the flat area to the ...
"L Shaped Pass" is the flat area to the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Routes of Mt. Russell. As seen from base.
BETA PHOTO: Routes of Mt. Russell. As seen from base.
Rock Climbing Photo: The use tail and scree slope below the south face....
The use tail and scree slope below the south face....
Rock Climbing Photo: Main summit of Russell seen from the East Summit.
Main summit of Russell seen from the East Summit.

Comments on Mt. Russell Add Comment
Show which comments
By Murf
Sep 20, 2010
There is an alternate approach via the "Cartwell Variation" which continues past Upper Boyscout Lake. The was originally used to approach the East Ridge. Continue on a use trail past the right of Upper Boyscout. Keep going past an alpine lake, again passing on the right, and around a scree slope until you meet a slabby buttress. You can climb the slabby buttress at Class 3+ or continue on the faint tail. In either case you eventually work your way high under the south face of Russell heading for the "L Shaped Pass".

It is shorter than the Iceberg approach but the scree below the south face is truly heinous. 3/4 of the way through it I swore never to do it again (similar oaths have been uttered on the Whitney-Russell Col). In truth, both ways are kinda brutal.

Where I think this variation truly shines is getting down to Upper Boyscout in the event the East Ridge isn't an option. This happened to a partner and I due to a heavy dusting of snow on the upper reaches. East Ridge was a death trap, so we went back via Iceberg. This would have been a much better way down.
By Darren Malloy
Jul 23, 2013
Just a note - in the description it states that a permit is required for "overnighting" in this area. As of 2013, I am pretty sure a permit is required for day trips up the N. Fork of Lone Pine Creek as well. Check with the Inyo NF to make sure you have the story straight.
By kenr
Aug 16, 2014
West summit is higher than the East summit.

The Definitive
Climbing Resource

Inspiration & Motivation
to Fuel Your Run

Next Generation Mountain
Bike Trail Maps

Backcountry, Sidecountry
& Secret Stashes

Better Data. Better Tools.
Better Hikes!