I am planning on doing Mt. Russell over this weekend. Unfortunately, the last time I did Whitney via the MR, we descended via the trail route and I did not bag Muir. So, I figured if I'm going to be in the Whitneyzone, it's worth to do a feasibility check of my plans for a Russell - Whitney - Muir linkup.
My main target for this trip is Russell. We're going to be bagging that first so we can get our primary objective done. From there, we will check if my partner and I are feeling it for the linkup. If not, we will just descend the standard route on Russell. From what I can see from some GPS tracks, people descended via the south face of Russell. Does anyone have any beta for this? I'm a little wary about downclimbing something that I haven't climbed up, especially this early in the season. If the descent on the South face of Russell has some non-trivial moves and spooky class 4 stuff, I know it's not going to be worth the downclimb for me. If anyone has some opinions for this, it would be greatly appreciated. And this is all assuming that the descent via the South face is actually the best option. I don't know if its worth going all the way down to UBSL and then back up the MR to avoid unknown downclimbing, but that looks a little silly from an energy management perspective.
And if we do descend the South face of Russell... then what? Should we stick to the North slopes of Whitney and aim for the summit? Or should we aim for the Russell - Whitney pass and go all the way down to Iceberg lake (which is what one GPX track tells me). What's the climbing like for those two options?
I'm looking at Google Maps and its telling me ~8500 ft vert over 15ish miles. It seems doable, and while I haven't been up Russell yet, I'm not too worried for Russell since my partner has already done that and he told me its fairly straightforward. My only motivation for doing this linkup is to also bag Muir, and I really don't care much for Whitney. But if anyone can tell me how realistic this looks, and what the climbing is like, it would clear up some unknowns for us.
Last edited by climby_climber; 06/07/22 12:19 PM.