ApproachThe best way to get to Mt Russell is to have a helicopter drop you off at Iceberg Lake, then hike to the base of the climb.
If you don't have a helicopter, then hike from Whitney Portal up the Mountaineers Route to Iceberg Lake. Once at Iceberg, hike around the left side of the lake and up over the Whitney Russell saddle. Once you are over the saddle, look for the huge dihedral on Russell. You can't miss it. Now, hike to the base of the cliff, right under the giant dihedral, and start climbing. If the Mithral Dihedral looks too easy, try the next dihedral over to the left (Bloody Corner), it's a LOT spicier.
Route DescriptionThe first pitch is about 180-200 feet long and is around 5.7. It's mostly blocky in the beginning, then a lot of crack climbing in a big dihedral. The second pitch is 5.8-5.9 and fun climbing in a dihedral with a bunch of cracks.
The third pitch is the where the real climbing starts. The BIG dihedral. The first ascentionists did the main dihedral in three pitches. The first dihedral pitch is continuous 5.9 hand cracks to a belay just below an off-width section. This pitch is only about 70-80 feet long. The second dihedral pitch is continuous 5.9-10a for about 120 feet. Set a belay once you see the angle kicking back a little bit and you have some horizontal grooves to stand on(semi-hanging belay). The third dihedral pitch goes up to a giant flake in the dihedral that you have to jam and lieback up. At this point, if you are anything like me, you will be pumped from 270 feet of steep hand jams and this flake will feel hard. I don't think it is any harder than 5.9-10a. At the top of the flake, go right, and there is a huge bench to set a comfortable belay. From the bench there is another 160 foot pitch of technical climbing, but at it's hardest it is maybe "tricky 5.6". Then climb 250-300 feet of mostly 3rd/4th class to the summit.
Once on the summit, traverse to a gully marked by some cairns. Down climb 4th class chimney into the main gully and walk down scree to the base. Or, if you have all your stuff, go down the class 3 east ridge to Upper Boyscout lake.
Essential GearFor gear we brought a single set of nuts. A double set of cams from green alien to red camalot. Triple yellow camalot, double 3", single 3.5" and single 4". A strong, confident 10+ leader could get away without a lot of the bigger cams.
We also brought a dozen slings/draws.
60 meter rope helps, but is not mandatory. The first two pitches can be broken up into three pitches pretty easily.
Bring warm clothes. In August, the sun doesn't hit the dihedral until around noon. It is cold. We started the climb at 10:30 am and only climbed the first two pitches in partial sun/shade. When we were climbing the main dihedral, it was in full sun, so it was warm.
Plan on it being cold and windy. You will be really lucky if it is warm,.
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