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Routes in Mt. Russell

Bloody Corner T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
East Arete T 3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a
Fishhook Arête T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Mithril Dihedral T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
North Face T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
South Slope T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Star Trekkin' T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Western Front T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
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Access Issue: Certain Peaks: Access limited from May to October every year Details

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.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mt. Russell

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a
 89
East Arete
Trad, Alpine
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 133
Fishhook Arête
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 99
Mithril Dihedral
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 24
Star Trekkin'
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 9
Bloody Corner
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 24
Western Front
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
East Arete
 89
3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a Trad, Alpine
Fishhook Arête
 133
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Mithril Dihedral
 99
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Star Trekkin'
 24
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Bloody Corner
 9
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Western Front
 24
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Mt. Russell »

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Murf  
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. Sep 20, 2010
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. Jul 23, 2013
kenr  
West summit is higher than the East summit. Aug 16, 2014

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