Mt. Russell East Ridge Conditions

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
no avatar

Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:02 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Mt. Russell East Ridge Conditions

by edge17 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:47 am

Anyone been up to Mt. Russell's east ridge lately? Curious what conditions look like.

I saw the thread about Mt. Whitney, looks like snow for a bit, but drier towards the top

no avatar

Posts: 10
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 8:06 pm
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: Mt. Russell East Ridge Conditions

by ska21 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:03 pm

I'm hoping for some beta too. I'm thinking about going up Saturday 4-4. I'm wondering how much snow/ice are on the ridge.

User Avatar
Kurt Wedberg

Posts: 294
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 7:17 am
Thanked: 23 times in 14 posts

Re: Mt. Russell East Ridge Conditions

by Kurt Wedberg » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:56 pm

A friend of mine just climbed Mt. Russell via the Fishhook Arete and descended the East Ridge. Most of the route is north facing. We've had a low snow year but the snow that has fallen is sticking around at the higher elevations. You'll see snow on the route. On the ridge proper it'll be dry but the north facing side will have snow. I'd bring crampons and an ice axe.

I don't have any pix from the trip they just did but the conditions sound very similar to a normal year in June. Here is a photo gallery of an early June trip. There is definitely less snow approaching the ridge now than there was on this June trip. On the ridge it'll look similar to these pix: Mt. Russell East Ridge June 5-6, 2010.

no avatar

Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:03 am
Thanked: 86 times in 71 posts

Re: Mt. Russell East Ridge Conditions

by willytinawin » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:05 am

Mt. Russell via the east ridge is a straightforward class 3 climb when it is dry. When I was new to mountaineering many years ago, before the internet when all we had was Roper's guide, I went to the east ridge around june 1st in a below average year, and boy did I get a surprise. The ledges and cracks were all filled in with icy snow, and one slip meant a 1500 foot drop, with little chance of an arrest. So I bagged Carillon and the other one north of Carillon (I forgot it's name). Basically, the snow and ice fill in the "easy" route (on the north side of the ridge just below the crest) and smooth it off (with a precipitous drop just below). It forces the climber directly onto the Arete which is not class 3. In sum, if the ridge is dry, then a class 3 route is easily found. If the ridge is snowy, plan on 4th class.

The following user would like to thank willytinawin for this post

User Avatar

Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:06 pm
Thanked: 14 times in 9 posts

Re: Mt. Russell East Ridge Conditions

by Bascuela » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:22 pm


I've done a warn June car-to-car trip of the East Ridge but now I'm taking a buddy up it. We're thinking last week of April and like everyone else knows the snow sticks on the northside. If anyone gives the approach/route a shot please speak! Thanks.

no avatar

Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:21 pm
Thanked: 6 times in 3 posts

Re: Mt. Russell East Ridge Conditions

by wargowsky » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:02 am

I did Carillon and the East Ridge of Russel today. There's still a good amount of snow on the north side of the ridge on Russel. On the way up I did a pretty good amount of 4th and 5th class climbing. About 20% of the climb was on snow. On the way back down I stayed lower on the north side and kept it mostly 3rd class and a good amount of traversing ledges on snow. Snow conditions were good and I didn't use crampons, though it would have been helpful. Most of the holds were dry/snow free enough. I only had to move snow out of cracks in a couple places to be comfortable climbing.

With that said, it's certainly not in summer conditions. You'll want to be very comfortable on snow cover rock and have good route finding skills. This is the first unroped climbing that I've done in a while, but it certainly held my attention. In these conditions, wouldn't take much to slip and take the short ride to the bottom of the ridge.

Great route, lots of exposure, amazing views. Have fun up there!

The following user would like to thank wargowsky for this post
Deb, hightinerary

Return to California


  • Related topics
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests