Its the boldest line, the one that catches the eye, that is where you want to be. The more classic a face is, the more you want it. The Standard Route on Mount Russell has both. Its an extraordinary traverse of a ridge that is a solid Class 3. Very little room for error. The entire mountain is what you see before you the South Face, very steep snow chutes, and the back side, or North Face is even steeper dome with glacial polish, dropping off. So the whole mountain is this super thin flake.
On the approach, the correct chute for the standard route can be hard to scout from the summit of Mount Whitney. Its more apparent when, if using the Rockwell variation, climbing the saddle out of Upper Boy Scout Lake, follow the cairns all the way to the chute with the large scree alluvial fan. The chute approach to the Russell-Carillon saddle is long, and its best to use the path most travelled. Lots of deposits happening from up above on the mountain, as its an active spring, so be light on your toes.
Climbing follows the East ridge, with very steep slippery dome on North Side along ridge. The whole mountain is basically a thin flute of rock. More Crest than mountain. Very little room for anything except exceptional climbing.
This East Ridge route goes as third class, a nearly half mile ridge traverse. Be comfortable with lots of exposure. Some parts require route-finding in order to stay out of trouble.
Looking back towards Mt. Carillon in distance and Lake Tulainyo.
Only half way through the climb! See how nice the rock is in foreground.
Ridge is everything from ledges and blocks, to vertical rock. None of it is glacier polished, so it is high quality high friction slab. Really easy to make a purchase on. The whole ridge itself itself can be climbed, with the exception of a few spots. I took a day to do this, and it was in the relatively dry 2016, so the photos don't show much snow. This could change during wetter years.