You guys rock. Thanks for pushing for Cleaver Col.
I loved the route; absolutely loved it. Sweet, sweet solitude up that drainage. The little lake up top was still frozen solid, but there was plenty of runoff. There were a few snow fields en route, but nothing that wasn't easily bypassed across the boulders. I spent the night up by the lake, watched the stars, and went to sleep with the sound of the runoff coursing down over the slabs.
There was still a little snow in the col. I was moving at 6:30 am, and was worried the snow would be hard (I didn't bring an axe or crampons). I stayed far right against the sheer wall, and was able to delay crossing until the last possible moment; it was just soft enough to kick steps. So no problem there. You guys were right about how loose that area is though. Pretty messy stuff.
Anyway, got to the top of the col, somewhat higher than the low point, looked up to my left at Carillon, looked down, looked up again, thought about how I know nothing at all about a route from here to there, and said "what the hell," turned left, and climbed Carillon from the col. So the footage gain/loss issue of heading down to Tulainyo was a non-issue. The climb was a bracing, solid 3rd Class climb, and it was pretty neat summiting from the north east side.
From there on, the route was standard I suppose: traversed directly across to Russell's east ridge, climbed it, spent probably an hour on the summit (really beautiful day!), and slowly made my way back down the standard sand pile route.
Tulainyo is still more or less frozen solid. I didn't expect that.
So, thanks again you all for the push to do that route. It's a keeper. Might I also recommend Carillon from that col? Pretty neat warm-up to Russell.