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Ascent to Mount Russell-East Peak on 2017-03-19

Climber: Harvest Mondello

Date:Sunday, March 19, 2017
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Mount Russell - East Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:14042 ft / 4280 m
    Remaining Elevation:46 ft / 14 m (2% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

East Ridge Route. Alpine Grade I (40 degrees snow) & Class 3.

Party of two. (H (tf)).

This is the lower Russell peak - East summit, 44 feet lower than the true summit. Attempt on the true summit - West peak 14,086. Turned back due to unsafe climbing conditions.

Approach:

Whitney closure 6,450 to Upper Boyscout Lake 11,500.

Climb:

Traverse over avi territory above Upper Boyscout Lake. Be very aware of avalanche conditions here. Signs of two recent avlanches. Gain an upper bowl which is 40 degree snow. Follow the bowl up to a 40 degree couloir to the Russell-Corillon Saddle using the Rockwell Variation Route to gain the saddle.

Follow the North side of the ridge going between class 2 & class 3 rock with loose soft snow fields here and there. Dry tool & keep crampons on.

You can't see the true West summit on this route until you've gained the East summit.

History:

First ascent of Russell 1926 by Norman Clyde via the East Ridge Route.

Required gear:

Ice axe, crampons & helmet.

Why no true summit on our attempt?

A wise climber once told me "Climb one mountain at a time. Give it your best and go as far as you can. Don't divide your attention & affection between two mountains." I admit I was distracted on this climb and I'm responsible for my party not gaining the true summit.

Normally, I turn back for one of three reasons. Unsafe conditions, dangerous weather or climbing partner safety concerns. In this case we turned back because I left key gear behind for traversing the snowy ridge between the true summit. This was my error alone.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2542 ft / 774 m
    Grade/Class:AG II / Class 4
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2542 ft / 774 m
    Route:East Ridge
    Start Trailhead:11500 ft / 3505 m
Descent Statistics
    Route:East Ridge



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