Mt. Russell Rock Climbing
Mt. Russell as seen from the summit of Whitney
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.
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.
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]
Classic Climbing Routes in Mt. Russell
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics 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
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'
Featured Route For Mt. Russell
Mithril Dihedral 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a CA
: High Sierra
: ... : Mt. Russell
Day 1 From Whitney Portal, hike up North Fork to camp at Iceberg Lake.Day 2 Do climb.Day 3 Hike back to Whitney Portal.A magnificent climb on good rock, with excellent protection.Scramble up to ledges.Below is how we did it years ago - before real beta, we just knew it had been climbed and that was it. See comments for modern beta.P1 5.7 Follow cracks up to a ledge. P2 5.7 Better rock leads up along a knobby crack to a ramp below the corner proper.P1 and P2 can be combined with a 70...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
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.
Aug 16, 2014
West summit is higher than the East summit.