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#14112 - 05/16/11 11:04 AM MR to Russell south face approach
Burchey
Unregistered


Hey team,

I've researched a lot of trip reports, etc. COuldn't find exactly what I needed.

I know the weather may keep me from even doing the MR this weekend, but should the snow stay light around Whitney, I'm going to head up. I'll check my time/energy at the summit, and possibly head over to bag Russell as well. Of course, the recent/coming snow may stop my plans.

Does anyone have experience coming off the MR and heading to Russell? Below is my idea of roughly how I'll head, I know my routefinding will be slightly different when I get there and identify the entrance to the south slope, etc. Any input would be much appreciated, I know there are decades of experience on this board.



Plan is day one to Upper Boyscout. Early start day two up steep path to iceberg, summit MR, don't turn right into the chute after the descending final 400, but find route down the Northwest side of Whitney. Find the Whitney/Russell pass-notch to head up the south-rightside approach to Russell. Back down to camp that night at Upper Boyscout. Out to portal day three.

**done a little more reading/picture searching. I know it will appear differently once I'm there - Topo maps and someones pictures can only give you so much. I feel like this would be a more appropriate route based on what I've found online - dotted blue optional ascent, pink traverse and ascent of Russell. I think I might be able to hang to the west side of that ridge instead of traversing above Iceberg Lake, but I'm not sure. Can't find the shots I want online to verify slopes/etc. I do know that people have gone flying off the end of the final 400 to their death on the north face, but they weren't downclimbing. I've also read of summer descents by that way, but this ain't exactly summer.


Does anyone have a decent shot of these chutes? In winter/early spring where there might be snow/ice in them? Probably all rock with my luck.


Edited by Burchey (05/16/11 08:04 PM)

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#14142 - 05/16/11 09:30 PM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 403
Loc: Reno, Nevada
I did a similar trip in April 2009. I hiked to Iceberg Lake on day one. I climbed Whitney, Muir, and Russell (in that order) on day two. I hiked out on day three.

My advice:
Ascend Whitney via the blue line on your second map. Go from Whitney to Russell via the pink line on your second map. Descend to UBSL by following the line on your first map. You could also descend by following Russell's East Ridge to the Russell-Carillon Saddle before dropping down the slopes north of the outlet of UBSL. I don't think any of the lines on your maps are exactly on the easiest routes, but they aren't far off.

I don't know anything about the chutes on your third map. Good luck, have fun, and don't get your name on the evening news.

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#14146 - 05/16/11 11:30 PM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Burchey, regarding your first map, line between Whitney and Russell: I once tried climbing Whitney that way, and got into stuff that was waaay too steep. I saw Rick Kent climbed that route in the summer some years ago. But that was summer, and climbing, not descending.

Bob Rockwell climbed Russell via the Sakai Col above Upper Boy Scout. Here's his picture report: 2010-07-09 Mt. Russell. Near the end of the photos is a map of their route.

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#14155 - 05/17/11 06:10 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
Burchey
Unregistered


Morning Bob and Steve,

Thanks for taking time to respond, I do appreciate the experienced input. I'll take the routes you are suggesting into serious consideration. I'll also be carrying a 30M rope, plenty of slings, and light alpine rack, so this trip will hopefully be safer than my last one up there on Mallory/Irvine.

I'm not really looking for easiest, just reasonable. I hope one of those chutes directly above UBSL are passable - they appear to have a similar incline to the final 400, for example, if you squint your eyes and try to count/judge the distance between lines. I'll find out when I get there - take the normal way up to Iceberg if needed.

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#14162 - 05/17/11 08:50 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 403
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Burchey:

I did a Russell-Whitney-Muir trip on 9-20-02. There are many ways up the north side of Whitney, but I found a fair amount of class four, some of it loose. As Steve implied, descending it with snow probably wouldn't be much fun.

I'm mostly self-taught, and I made plenty of mistakes when I was learning. However, I took a couple of rock climbing classes and occasionally climbed with a guide. One of my early partners got me to focus on whether we used good judgment, not just whether we tagged a summit and got out alive.

It's my perception that you tend to substitute ambition and technical equipment for experience and good judgment. You clearly have plenty of ability, but I get the feeling that you're a little too willing to tackle technical challenges that you're not quite ready to handle safely. I've never climbed with you, and my perception might be totally wrong. I just thought I should speak up and let you decide for yourself.

Bob

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#14164 - 05/17/11 10:06 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is a photo album from Bob R where he tried one of those chutes: 2007-10-14 Attempt of Mt. Russell

Here's the GMap4 map of the area. Click on the choices in the upper right corner: MyTopo, Terrain, US Topo, etc, for different views. Some allow more zooming than others. (Same map, separate window)

Here's the map (embedded):



...Say! The area just north of the "erg" of "Iceberg Lake" on the map looks like it should be an easy enough climb. But you never know until you get there...

And whoever drew that "LOCATION APPROX" line for the "trail" was crazy.


Edited by Steve C (05/17/11 11:05 AM)

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#14165 - 05/17/11 10:48 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: bobpickering]
Burchey
Unregistered


Originally Posted By: bobpickering
Burchey:

I did a Russell-Whitney-Muir trip on 9-20-02. There are many ways up the north side of Whitney, but I found a fair amount of class four, some of it loose. As Steve implied, descending it with snow probably wouldn't be much fun.

I'm mostly self-taught, and I made plenty of mistakes when I was learning. However, I took a couple of rock climbing classes and occasionally climbed with a guide. One of my early partners got me to focus on whether we used good judgment, not just whether we tagged a summit and got out alive.

It's my perception that you tend to substitute ambition and technical equipment for experience and good judgment. You clearly have plenty of ability, but I get the feeling that you're a little too willing to tackle technical challenges that you're not quite ready to handle safely. I've never climbed with you, and my perception might be totally wrong. I just thought I should speak up and let you decide for yourself.

Bob


Hey Bob,

I appreciate the advice on being careful - this is definitely one of the things I'm working on. I picked up a lighter rope and more pro because I felt I was too lax on my last sierra trip ( my 60M rope and quickdraws aren't going to do me any good out there - too heavy and/or inappropriate ). I do an enormous amount of reading / studying other folks reports with successes and failures. I've learned it's best to pay attention to those that have gone before you. Also, I'm no stranger to bailing out on a climb if the weather gets ugly, and my resource management and time management in the hills is improving as well. In the house I practice rope handling / crevasse rescue / friction knots and their applications, and I've been rock climbing ( non-alpine ) for a few years now...equalizing anchors, etc. That's all nice, but I need to apply and test these things on the mountain. I look forward to the day when I have as many summits/trips under my belt as some of you guys, so I'm going to do my best to make sure I stay alive and get there. Example - when I did Mallory and Irvine, I wanted McAdie as well, but decided NO even though I plenty of time. The weather, my gear, and where my head was that day were inappropriate.

Besides, who are you to get on someone about judgment? You went up those dangerous winter switchbacks to trailcrest without your parachute wink How dare you!

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Here is a photo album from Bob R where he tried one of those chutes: 2007-10-14 Attempt of Mt. Russell

...Say! The area just north of the "erg" of "Iceberg Lake" on the map looks like it should be an easy enough climb. But you never know until you get there...



Steve, thanks again for the recon on the info - you guys really come through on the advice, etc. THat's funny, I just climbed the NE face of Gorgonio with Dave G, he's a great guy. I think the chute they are going up is not one of the ones I was eyeballing - if I had to guess from those great pics from Bob R, it's the one directly north of the lake on that map. I think I may end up just doing the trad route around and up to Iceberg from the south - don't feel like messing with a bunch of steep loose scree. If they were packed with good snow most/all the way up, I might check out at least the bottom of the chutes in question. I'm guessing not, though.

We'll see if this is all for nothing, anyway. Fingers crossed for a "light" winter storm this week so I won't have to contend with a ton of new snow/avy conditions.

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#14183 - 05/18/11 05:05 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: bobpickering]
hikehigh Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 28
Loc: 20.12345 -101.12345
Quote:
It's my perception that you tend to substitute ambition and technical equipment for experience and good judgment. You clearly have plenty of ability, but I get the feeling that you're a little too willing to tackle technical challenges that you're not quite ready to handle safely. I've never climbed with you, and my perception might be totally wrong. I just thought I should speak up and let you decide for yourself.


This is excellent advice!
_________________________
Day Hiking Mt. Whitney

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#14191 - 05/18/11 10:23 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
Burchey
Unregistered


Interesting - found this great super Hi-res shot of the Mountain and zoomed way in - looks like these might be those two chutes I'm curious about near UBSL. Looks pretty darn dangerous to me - the snow slog is looking so much better.

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#14335 - 05/22/11 09:34 PM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
Burchey
Unregistered


Thanks for all the advice, guys. Trip report here

MR but no Russell

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#14348 - 05/23/11 06:39 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Burchey,
you are one hell of a good writer. Very vivid descriptions.

Loved that TR
Tom

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#14354 - 05/23/11 08:56 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: tdtz]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
That was an amazing TR. Riveting story telling. You make a difficult trip up the MR in cold and winter coditions sound like a stroll in the park.I am glad to hear you admit the Ledges gave you a bit of concern. The thought of them either way scare the crap out of me.Great job.

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#14359 - 05/23/11 09:58 AM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: Rod]
Burchey
Unregistered


Hey guys, thanks for the kind words. I love writing this stuff down, then reading it months down the road when I'm stuck in my cubicle and want to re-live it.

I can't imagine this route in deep powder in the true winter - I'm guessing that would be a bad idea to even attempt it. This was just fine for me.

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#14383 - 05/23/11 05:57 PM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: ]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 453
Loc: San Diego
Great trip report as always Burchey and really great pictures. Funny enough, I think the best one is of your boots by LBSL.

I'm thinking of doing this route soon when the better is a little better than when you were doing it. What's your impression of the viability a dayhike with an alpine start with current condition? I was a little surprised you decided to take it in two chunks.

Thanks!

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#14386 - 05/23/11 09:00 PM Re: MR to Russell south face approach [Re: 2600fromatari]
Burchey
Unregistered


Thanks Atari, I did my best with the cellphone camera - left the other cam at home because my pack was already too heavy. I got the heavier 2 man tent to encourage a friend to come along, but now I think I should have grabbed a lighter bivy instead.

I would have actually preferred more snow, but more compacted in the chute ( clearly ). You rarely get the perfect conditions the whole way, I would expect. I like the multi-day trips more, personally. I feel like I look around more and appreciate where I am if I'm not head-down moving as fast as I can to get to the top and out. Also, I had hoped to do Russell as well, so the extra time would have been needed for that.

Current condition dayhike? I'd say it's doable, but you'd have to be fit and not mess around with time. I passed a group as I was coming down the chute that were going up the MR and who knows what route down as a dayhike. Not my thing, but possible. I'd guess that snow would keep most folks from getting all the way up in one day, though. You'd be exhausted. I've got a group of friends heading up the MR this weekend - I think they're shooting for a dayhike, but I'm not sure.

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