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#102236 - 09/17/17 08:30 PM Mt. Russell Conditions
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 985
Loc: Bishop, CA
There's been some questions about conditions on Mt. Russell. The north facing side of the East Ridge has small pockets of snow but overall the route is in great shape. All the rock climbing routes are also good to go. Those routes are cold in the mornings post Labor Day so bring enough layers to stay warm and have a plan for keeping your hands warm but otherwise they're very climbable.

Mt. Russell's SW Face showing the Fishhook ArÍte, Mithral Dihedral, Star Trekkin', SW Chute, Western Front, and more.
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Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#102248 - 09/20/17 09:04 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Wallballer Offline
Member

Registered: 09/20/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Utah
Kurt you met my buddy Chris when you were on Whitney last week. We want to climb Russell but we heard you were using crampons on Whitney so we weren't sure what it was like on Russell. We were going to do the East Buttress and the Mithral Dihedral but I think we will punt on the Buttress because we don't want to bring snow gear. Maybe we'll do the Fishhook too. I was concerned about the approach and descent.

Thanks for taking the time to post your conditions report here for us (and maybe other people want to know too). Chris said it looked like you were too busy with your clients to exchange emails. Were you really carrying 2 packs?

We will be back in the Valley in October. We will be in Camp 4 if you want to come hang. We will start up El Cap Oct 9.

Any other advice you'd give a couple wall rats wanting to get in the alpine???

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#102252 - 09/22/17 02:39 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Wallballer]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 985
Loc: Bishop, CA
Originally Posted By: Wallballer
Any other advice you'd give a couple wall rats wanting to get in the alpine???

I actually ran into Chris late last month. He said you and another buddy were looking to do the routes you mentioned. Since it was difficult to exchange emails at the time I suggested posting here and everybody could access it that way. I was a little tardy in posting.

Conditions have changed from what I reported before. We just had a quick storm that moved through and coated the Sierra with a couple inches of snow. During the late summer/fall those routes on Russell are normally cold in the morning so unless you hit them during a particularly warm period you can expect to get cold hands at the start. The other option is to get a leisurely start and move quickly if you guys have your systems dialed and can climb quickly and efficiently. Now that there's a little snow you'll find conditions to be even more challenging. Maybe this will work to your advantage since it sounded like you guys were thinking about doing a wall on Baffin Island and visiting the Cirque of the Unclimbables. Great stuff.

Originally Posted By: Wallballer
Were you really carrying 2 packs?

Yeah she was pretty tired smile.
_________________________
Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#102254 - 09/22/17 09:08 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Wallballer Offline
Member

Registered: 09/20/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Utah
Yes we want to do Mescalito on El Cap in October then start training for the cold. We just got to the east side from Utah and things have definitely cooled down. We should have stayed in Red Rocks for a bit. The weather was sweet in Vegas. I guess training for the cold will start sooner than expected.

Is there anything else you'd recommend for training that might be closer and easier to access?

If we do go to Russell where would you recommend we camp? Upper boyscout lake or Iceburg lake? I assume we need to get permits for this?

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#102255 - 09/23/17 11:39 AM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Wallballer]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 985
Loc: Bishop, CA
Welcome to the Eastern Sierra! Mescalito looks great. How do you plan to protect the Bismark pitch?

The weather will most likely warm up over the next few days. There are several good weather forecasts. The two I use are Dennis Mattison's forecast and NOAA. Here are links:

NOAA Eastern Sierra Weather: this will give you the Eastern Sierra and there's a map where you can click to get a pinpointed forecast for anywhere.

Dennis Mattison's Forecast: Dennis is a meteorologist who has his own weather stations in the area. He's been pretty accurate for my purposes.

Originally Posted By: Wallballer
Is there anything else you'd recommend for training that might be closer and easier to access?

While you're in the area you should climb Cardinal Pinnacle. It's a short approach and there are several great routes on it. The granite is some of the best around. It's north facing and if you wait for temperatures to drop you'll get some great training. I saw another party once using it for training for Baffin Island smile.

Originally Posted By: Wallballer
If we do go to Russell where would you recommend we camp? Upper boyscout lake or Iceburg lake?

If you camp at Upper Boy Scout Lake you'll be lower in elevation so the nights will be slightly warmer. Your approaches will be longer which shouldn't be a problem since you don't want super early starts anyway. You could descend the East Ridge instead of the SW chute. Given the recent snow that route will be sketchy now though. It has a lot of down sloping slabs on it that'll be slick with the fresh snow.

Originally Posted By: Wallballer
I assume we need to get permits for this?

Yes you need permits. You can get them at the Interagency Visitor's Center just south of Lone Pine. If you go in a day or two before you want to enter you'll be able to get walk-in permits. There's not guarantee but it's rare people don't get them this time of year after a storm smile.
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Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#102259 - 09/24/17 03:25 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Wallballer Offline
Member

Registered: 09/20/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Utah
Kurt this is awesome! Thanks for all your information. I checked out Cardinal Pinacle. It looks rad. My buddy gets here soon and we're gonna make a plan. Its warming up this week so we might try Russell mid week. We might hit Mescalito earlier though. We're not sure. Btw, we'll protect the Bismark pitch with tube chocks we are borrowing.

We might hit you up for more beta if you don't mind smile. I wish all guides I have met were as helpful as you.

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#102261 - 09/24/17 08:06 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Wallballer]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 985
Loc: Bishop, CA
Happy to help. Let me know what more you need smile.
_________________________
Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#102262 - 09/24/17 08:35 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Wallballer Offline
Member

Registered: 09/20/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Utah
Btw I caught this blog post about Bishop. It looks like in the credits you contributed a lot to this article: https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/bishop-bound-a-climbers-bucket-list-road-trip

One more question since you seem to be the expert on Bishop. I need a good mechanic to work on my car. Do you have a recommendation?

Thanks man,

~Joe Waller

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#102263 - 09/24/17 10:06 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Wallballer]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 985
Loc: Bishop, CA
Yeah that was fun helping out with that blog post smile

Get in touch with Warren's Auto 760-873-8284. If your car is still running you can drive it to 156 Short St, Bishop CA 93514.
_________________________
Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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#102270 - 10/01/17 12:41 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Wallballer Offline
Member

Registered: 09/20/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Utah
Kurt, great recommendation on Warren's Auto. The rockfall in Yosemite is changing a lot climbing plans. I'm writing this from rainy Portland. The weather was great for Russell last week and not many people up there. Fishhook and Mithral are great routes. We'll be back later in October.

Hey my buddy saw another web site that looks like a carbon copy of this one. There was a Russell conditions post there too and it looks like a guy took a swipe at you. Just thought you would want to know in case you don't. Weird.

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#102281 - 10/12/17 01:34 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Kurt Wedberg]
Mescalito345 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 121
On October 19, I'm heading to Russell with some friends. I've done the East Ridge a couple of times, so I'm familiar with the route. Does anyone know if there is any ice or snow above 13000 feet?

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#102282 - 10/12/17 01:59 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Mescalito345]
Doug Sr Offline


Member

Registered: 12/16/02
Posts: 2341
Loc: Whitney
Still dry , we are way overdue for a storm so watch the webcam for coverage if we get a system.

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#102283 - 10/12/17 04:50 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Doug Sr]
Mescalito345 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 121
Thanks for the update, Doug. I was on the Whitney MR two weeks ago, and there was a lot of firm snow above Iceberg Lake. It was mostly snow left over from last winter. But I've heard that Russell is mostly dry.

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#102304 - 11/02/17 08:16 AM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Mescalito345]
Wallballer Offline
Member

Registered: 09/20/17
Posts: 6
Loc: Utah
Hey Kurt are you around Bishop now? We're coming in to town for the fall High Ball Classic! We want to meet you and thank you for all the beta in person.

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#102305 - 11/02/17 05:05 PM Re: Mt. Russell Conditions [Re: Wallballer]
Kurt Wedberg Offline


Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 985
Loc: Bishop, CA
Yeah I'm back. I was traveling in Africa and the country of Georgia this past month. I'm on So Cal giving slideshows at the moment but will be back on Saturday. We have a booth for the Craggin' Classic. Stop on by. It'd be great to see you guys!
_________________________
Kurt Wedberg
info@sierramountaineering.com
http://www.sierramountaineering.com

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