Mount Russell is one of the California 14er's. The summit is 14,088' above sea level, but sitting just to the north of Mount Whitney, Mount Russell gets much less attention. There are multiple technical rock climbing routes to the summit, and one classic 3rd class ridge, that most climbers use for a descent, but actually makes for an awesome alpine scramble in its own rite. In my opinion this route embodies the ideals of an FKT to the fullest. It starts at a classic trail head, the Whitney Portal. It climbs a 14er, climbing over 5,800' in the process. To top it off, this route has one of the most airy 3rd class ridge lines in the high sierra to reach the west (highest) summit. I mean this route could be a mega classic some day.
The route starts at the "scales" at the Whitney Portal. About a mile up the trail take the turn off for the north fork of Lone Pine Creek. Head up through the E-ledges to Lower Boy Scout Lake. From there head up the boulder field and some slabs to Upper Boy Scout Lake. Just before the lake you can head north up a steep scree slope. At the top of the slope about 1,500' above UBSL you reach a plateau and you can finally see Mount Russell and the East Ridge. Take the most direct line to the low point of the ridge and head up. You reach the East Summit first, but have to traverse the knife edge ridge over to the west summit to officially tag Mount Russell! Now reverse your route back to the trail head at the Whitney Portal 5 miles and 5,800' below.
|Brannon Forrester, Kiana Ramli||5h 38m 11s|
|Liz Gill, Tony Chang||7h 29m 32s|