FKT: Christopher C Gorney - Mount Russell (CA) - 2020-08-21

Route variation
East Ridge up & down
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
7h 40m 6s
GPS track(s)

I drove over from Las Vegas to the Whitney Portal on a Thursday Night after work. Driving through Death Valley I experienced temperatures of 117' at 9pm in Stovepipe Wells, so Hot! I got to the portal around 11:30pm and crashed in the bed of my truck in open air. I left the Whitney Portal trail head just after 5 am still in the dark. I began to see the alpine glow as I ascended the E-ledges and had light by the time I got to Lower Boy Scout Lake. The route could bypass Upper Boy Scout Lake by heading up the slope before you get to it, but I was filming for my YouTube channel and wanted to get some footage of the lake and I wanted to refill my water supply. From there headed up the scree slope and finally gained the Mount Russell East Ridge. The scrambling on the ridge is fantastic and airy. The further up you go the more intense the exposure gets. There are two summits, but the west summit is the higher of the two, so you have to go all the way over there to officially tag Russell. The weather was absolutely perfect all day, one of the nicest and calmest days I've ever experienced in the high Sierra. I filmed quite a bit on the way, and even on the way down, which ate up a significant amount of time, but when I was moving I was trying to move fast, so I figured it was worth it to submit this as the FKT. I'm sure I could shave some time off if I wasn't filming, and I may go back and do just that, if I get the chance soon. All in all, this is one of the most exciting ridge lines I've ever scrambled and I am so glad to finally have it under my belt. Most of the ridge is 1st and 2nd class, with a few airy 3rd class moves, but it feels much more intense because of the exposure on both sides of the ridge. Mount Russell East Ridge!