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#17720 - 08/23/11 06:39 AM 8/20-21 Mt Russell
Burchey
Unregistered


It was yet another beautiful weekend in the Eastern Sierras, my friends. After a short discussion about food and gear, Casey (snowmanrn) and I decided to head up one of my new favorite peaks - Mt Russell. We escaped injury and issue for the most part, had hours and hours of free time to explore around UBSL and above, talked at length about beautiful and crazy women, and added another 14er to the list. I had only recently met Casey near Mt Tyndall - he had climbed to Anvil and then summited Tylly/Willy the following day. He seemed like a decent chap, so I took a chance on him and we had a most excellent time.

The dirty:

I slept at the portal Friday night, Casey slept in Lone Pine proper. We met at 7 am at the store for a delicious breakfast, and headed up the old trail around 8 or so. We took our sweet time, made sure to hydrate as we should, took a nice long break at LBSL, and arrived at UBSL around 1130 am or so. After picking a camp spot, we hiked up towards Iceberg, exploring and acclimating and making use of the daylight. We hit the sack around 8pm or so, and woke up to the digital rooster at 330 am.

We chose to head up the scree slope above Clyde Meadow towards the East Ridge route (~415 am). The first portion of this section was hell - very very loose scree and decomposed granite. Dave G had recommended this route up to the ridge - even gave me a little route drawing to follow, but we did a slight variation. Sun was coming up as we took a break on the edge of the plateau above the scree slog, we drank up, and headed across towards the base of the ridge route. The strenuous climbing was over at this point, the rest of the ascent was either strolling or careful climbing through exposed class 2-3 boulders. The ridge was 99.5% clear of any snow and ice, and the going was great. We were on the summit about 815 am, too a nice break and some pictures, and headed back towards the east summit. Between the two summits lies the entry to the south face - left side route (5.0). The crux is the chimney directly below the ridge, and this proved to be a piece of cake on the downclimb. We saw some webbing for a rap-anchor as we descended. It looked to be in pretty good shape. After the chimney ends, it's scree surfing down to the big ridge that connects Russell and Whitney.

On the ridge, we headed east hoping to cross over the Sakai Col and drop down towards UBSL. We accidentally dropped down too far north, but this proved to be okay. Too far south and you're in the cliffs, so watch that. More scree surfing ensued, although some of it could be avoided early by climbing down along the rocky formations to your right. There was a large cliff band midway down this face, and we skirted it to the north until we found a decent path down to the valley floor below. We walked along the old snow, past a smaller lake above UBSL, descended along a waterfall to our right that fed UBSL, hopped through the boulders near the lake, and then walked around the north edge of the lake back to our camp. We ate a little food, broke down camp, and left just before noon for the portal. Took the old trail down to the parking lot, finished up just after 2pm. Stopped in Lone Pine so Casey could see first-hand my terrible judgment when it comes to eating an entire large pepperoni/onion/pepperoncini pizza.

We packed light - I'm guessing we each had 15-20 pounds on our backs with food/water.

Highlights:

Exploring... having the free time at camp was great, we were climbing around in the waterfalls just to the south-east of UBSL. We foolishly free-climbed a 45 foot wall just because it was there. The world was our oyster, whatever the hell that means.

Acclimating... We both have a short history of funk higher up. I got sick on Rainier, Casey had to bail on Kili just past 16,000 feet. We worked on pacing ourselves, taking in enough water, etc. We felt great the entire time, and camped higher than Casey thought he might be comfortable. Zero issues. I used the ole Diamox again, and had very little tingling if any. I will say, I was looking slightly sexier in my shorts and sun-hat, and I think it was an unintended side effect.

Piling up rocks...I had hoped to pile up a huge pinnacle on the summit of Russell, but when I got there, the rocks were all enormous. When we returned to UBSL, I decided I would tempt the hernia-gods and move around some big stones. Good times were had by me, although I'd imagine Casey will think twice about a second trip with me.

Green screen - we stopped at the Ye Olde Photo Shoppe in Lone Pine to take these amusement-park-like photos in front of a green screen. Well, that's what it looks like


Route Pics:

Above LBSL


Up to the plateau


Dropping back to camp



Pics of trip here

Videos in the next post - I can't figure out why the Markup options never work for me.


Edited by Burchey (08/23/11 07:59 AM)

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#17721 - 08/23/11 08:01 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: ]
Burchey
Unregistered












Edited by Burchey (08/23/11 08:01 AM)

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#17723 - 08/23/11 09:37 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: ]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Great pictures and videos. Looks like you guys had a PERFECT day. Did you guys purposely make it harder? Some of those pictures look like Class 4 versus 2/3 to me.

Funny how the Ebersbacher Ledges looks so scary in pictures and videos, but is a cakewalk in real life.

Rock on dude.

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#17725 - 08/23/11 10:36 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: 2600fromatari]
Burchey
Unregistered


Thanks dude, we did have a perfect day. Weather was great, route-finding was great, etc etc. I feel very lucky to get out there and experience such things.

Did we try to make it harder? On occasion we'd take the harder route if it looked like more fun, but the East Ridge isn't too bad. The south face coming down that chimney is the most dangerous part, I'd say. It's rated 5.0 I think - not sure if I buy that, but I'm terrible at judging such things.

When I used to jeep, we always said we took the WPL, or worst possible line. I try to incorporate that attitude with climbing as well.

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#17742 - 08/23/11 08:26 PM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: ]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Great report..... and, nope, not hiking with you :-) And, I did notice that your buddy flies across the e-ledges and even takes a small hop at one point. Hmmmmm, I think I crossed them on my butt.
The rocks....I love that part.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

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twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#17749 - 08/24/11 07:40 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: quillansculpture]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
QS - Some time, you and I need to the E-Ledges together -- on our feet.

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#17751 - 08/24/11 08:01 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: quillansculpture]
Burchey
Unregistered


Originally Posted By: quillansculpture
Great report..... and, nope, not hiking with you :-) And, I did notice that your buddy flies across the e-ledges and even takes a small hop at one point. Hmmmmm, I think I crossed them on my butt.
The rocks....I love that part.


No love on the hiking? It's the hat, isn't it? It's the hat. E-ledges not that bad, unless you've got a major fear of heights. I do fine on them, but I got sketched out about 40 feet up that crack we climbed for no good reason.

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#17755 - 08/24/11 08:50 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: quillansculpture]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Joe, if you're going to do the MR soon, you're going to have to be comfortable walking across the E-Ledges. The last 400 ft of the MR is much harder and scarier.

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#17757 - 08/24/11 09:00 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: 2600fromatari]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
That's why I thought CaT, Burchey and you were going to hold my hands on the way up!!!! Am I mistaken? Oh wait, I'm not hiking with Burchey.....have you seen his hat? And, if hiking isn't hard enough, he carries 50 lb boulders with him.....

After my late start hike in 100 degree weather in So Cal yesterday, straight up some God-Awful mountain in Corona....and I mean straight up (two steps forward, one step back) I really wondered about my MR attempt. Still nearly a month to go. I do know I'm not going DOWN the MR.

I am not real concerned about being able to climb the rocks, not even the exposure. I just want to feel well when I get to that part. I know the last 1.5 miles to the summit on the main trail can be a bit taxing, especially if you have a slight headache or nausea. I've been lucky so far going up Whitney, but I'm one of those guys who HAS to worry about something.

And Burchey.... I loved the videos..... you guys are nuts, in a "good" way.
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#17758 - 08/24/11 09:08 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: quillansculpture]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
I think one of the things people leave out about the MR is the slog. Some folks think it's a scramble/climb all the way from the Mountaineer's Chute. Once you're about halfway up, get ready for a mind numbing slog on very loose talus like what you just described. Two steps up, one step back. Try to stay on the granite to the left as much as possible to avoid this. I suppose the slog up to the East Ridge of Russell will be worse, but we'll see. After the that slog, you'll look forward to the hard granite at the final 400. grin

EDIT: Since I've already thread jacked Burchey's post enough, might as well ask you this, and I'm sure other board members may be interested. Have you considered doing a bronze sculpture of Whitney/the needles? I'd buy one if the price is right. Can't seem to find anything similar online.


Edited by 2600fromatari (08/24/11 09:11 AM)

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#17795 - 08/26/11 05:43 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: 2600fromatari]
Burchey
Unregistered


Q, glad you liked the videos. I actually cranked down the crazy if you can believe it. BTW, that rock was definitely more than 50 pounds. It was AT LEAST 51 pounds.

Atari, I saw another report from a guy who went back to the East Ridge after bailing earlier in the year - he notated a route slightly to the east of the initial scree climb I did...claimed it was much more solid, might be a better idea.

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#17842 - 08/26/11 02:46 PM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: ]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Dude, I think I'm more afraid of the talus/scree than the actual climb/scramble. I was absolutely miserable with my head hung on the Mountaineer's Chute.

I was actually thinking of going up next week, but I'm heading out of town this weekend for work-related stuff and will be on my ass the whole week. Probably would still be able to make it up Russell, but would be drained and miserable.

Just afraid Oct will bring bad weather and I won't be able to do Russell this year. It would be interesting to try it next year with well consolidated snow... laugh

A friend also wants to do the 9 Peaks next week which would be interesting too...

Saw your post about the Palisades on another forum. Good luck there. Man, you're on a roll.


Edited by 2600fromatari (08/26/11 02:46 PM)

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#17897 - 08/29/11 06:05 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: 2600fromatari]
Burchey
Unregistered


Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari

Just afraid Oct will bring bad weather and I won't be able to do Russell this year. It would be interesting to try it next year with well consolidated snow... laugh

A friend also wants to do the 9 Peaks next week which would be interesting too...

Saw your post about the Palisades on another forum. Good luck there. Man, you're on a roll.


Catching Russell before the new snow would most likely be the ticket - just heading up the MMWT in 1-2 feet of new snow was such a pain ( didn't summit ). I'm not sure I'd want to be on the exposed Russell scramble with a bunch of fresh on it. It's all about timing.

Yep - T-bolt to Sill traverse this weekend, should be a treat. Heading in from South Lake, camping just over the Thunderbolt pass, then back down the south side of Sill and over the pass back to South Lake. Weather permitting, of course.

And because I'm in a great mood this morning - Rosa Acosta:
[img]http://iamthelife.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/rosa-acosta-stretch.jpg?w=560&h=373[/img]

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#17898 - 08/29/11 06:57 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: ]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Burchey..... Your pics are better than mine.

but isn't that supposed to be in the "Hiking Buddy" thread?
_________________________
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"

www.quillansculpturegallery.com
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#17901 - 08/29/11 01:33 PM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: quillansculpture]
Burchey
Unregistered


She's not a hiker. Trust me.

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#17931 - 08/30/11 05:44 AM Re: 8/20-21 Mt Russell [Re: ]
Burchey
Unregistered


I need to correct my error: Gigamike noticed that I actually came down the south face - right side. I checked it out, and he's right. That downclimb at the top seemed easier than 5.0, and now I know why. Looks like somebody needs to work on route recognition. Hi-five!

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