Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 794 total · 12/month
Shared By: kenr on Aug 16, 2014
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Certain Peaks: Access limited from May to October every year Details


Lots of fun climbing and down-climbing moves over boulders and gendarmes along the ridge. The idea is to stay as close to the crest of the ridge as possible, and to seek out the most fun climbing moves.

Most of the harder sections or moves are short - (many are avoidable). So doubtless this ridge could be climbed at an easier grade. Just make sure you don't climb up anything you can't also climb back down.

Usually done as a fun addition after completing a famous route on Mt Russell and descending its E ridge to Russell-Carillon Pass. Actually it offers a lot of climbing if take it "direct" on the crest of the ridge and crossing over the top of all the "gendarme" and boulder obstacles: about 1000 ft / 300m long.

comparing: This route has a higher "density" of fun moves than the famous East ridge of Mt Russell, and perhaps more satisfying because it is possible to get up onto and over down the other side of (almost?) all the "gendarmes" obstructing this Carillon ridge, with easy/moderate difficulty - (unlike Russell E ridge where some of the obstacles on the crest are much harder or even impossible to get down the other side).

more: For a further addition of fun climbing after reaching the summit, could try climbing down the upper 150 feet of the NorthEast ridge (perhaps easier a bit lower on NW side of that ridge), then back up it to return to the summit. Or can also climb down the upper section of the SouthEast ridge.

descent: Scramble down a little somewhere on the S or SW side, soon reach talus and sand. Hike S on sand to meet approach route.

statistics: The hiking/scrambling approach to Russell-Carillon Pass from Whitney Portal is about +4930 vertical feet over 4.75 miles distance (+1500m over 7.6km). So a typical hikers' time for that would be 7 - 7.5 hours. An athletic climber with good altitude acclimatization might hope to reach the Pass in 4 hours. Or if camping at Upper Boy Scout Lake, reaching that is about +3050 vertical feet over 3.6 miles distance (+925m over 5.7km).

Then for climbing from the Pass up to the Mt Carillon summit, the difference in altitude is about +330 vertical feet (+100m) -- but since there are many ups + downs, the actual upward effort is much larger than that. The horizontal distance is about 0.25 mile (0.4km), including some weaving around.

Permit required: This route (or at least its normal approach + descent) require a USFS wilderness permit for either single-day or overnight use. The permit can be requested in advance in January, or sometimes permits are available the day before by walking into the Mt Whitney Visitors Center just south of Lone Pine - (only available at this center, not at any other USFS centers along the Eastside Sierra).


The summit of Mt Carillon is at (lat long ~ N36.59242 W118.27794) - (altitude 13,552ft / 4132m).
The start of the climbing is a bit east from Russell-Carillon Pass (lat long ~ N36.5915 W118.2817) - (altitude ~ 13250ft / 4040m)

... (If not coming from the Mt Russell East ridge) ...
Russell-Carillon pass can be reached from Whitney Portal trailhead by hiking up the Mt Whitney Trail (past the Carillon Creek turn-off) to the signed turn-off for North Fork Lone Pine Creek (N36.5869 W118.2453). Turn Right onto the (unofficial) North Fork trail and hike with some serious scrambling sections (full 3rd class), generally W up to Lower Boy Scout Lake. Continue up generally East toward Upper Boy Scout Lake, with some serious talus scrambling, then some slabs. But before reaching Upper B.S. Lake, near Clyde Meadow at about (N36.5815 W118.2678), turn Right off the trail and head up NW, perhaps at first a short ays through some bushes, then on sand. Gets steeper later, then WSW on gentle sand up to the Pass.


No fixed anchors or other gear. Type or size of Trad protection which might be used is unknown. Anyway the difficulties are very short and mostly avoidable.