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Mt. Russell
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Bloody Corner  T 
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Mithril Dihedral 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 500', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Alan Bartlett & Alan Roberts, July 1976
Season: June-July
Page Views: 23,518
Submitted By: Chris Owen on Mar 6, 2006

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Fred Batliner on the final technical pitch.

Description 

Day 1 From Whitney Portal, hike up North Fork to camp at Iceberg Lake.

Day 2 Do climb.

Day 3 Hike back to Whitney Portal.

A magnificent climb on good rock, with excellent protection.

Scramble up to ledges.

P1 5.7 Follow cracks up to a ledge.

P2 5.7 Better rock leads up along a knobby crack to a ramp below the corner proper.

P3 5.9 A short pitch. Up the corner steeply to belay in a widening section.

P4 5.9 Up the steepest part of the corner until the angle relents.

P5 5.9 The corner presents one last obstacle, a steep lieback to exit right onto a ledge.

P6 Hundreds of feet of CL4 lead to one of the best summits anywhere.


Location 

Climbs the obvious huge dihedral left of Fishhook Arete. Descend south gully between West and East Peaks.


Protection 

Full rack. 70m rope, see comments below.



Photos of Mithril Dihedral Slideshow Add Photo
This summit will make most mortals quite giddy.
This summit will make most mortals quite giddy.
Route Beta. Top section is much  foreshortened.
BETA PHOTO: Route Beta. Top section is much foreshortened.
Tony Tennessee gets to grips with the meat of the route and starts up pitch 3
Tony Tennessee gets to grips with the meat of the ...
Climbers on Mithril, photo taken from Star Trekkin
Climbers on Mithril, photo taken from Star Trekkin
3rd pitch <br />
3rd pitch
Another shot of Fred on the last pitch.
Another shot of Fred on the last pitch.
Lakes below the east ridge descent
Lakes below the east ridge descent
Don't drop your partners yellow mastercam. <br /> <br />Or do.  Whatevah.
Don't drop your partners yellow mastercam.

Or do....
Following a pitch in the corner
Following a pitch in the corner
The Mithral Dihedral
The Mithral Dihedral
The weather's perfect and the gang's all here... <br /> <br />A 70m rope will get you all the way from the 4th class ledge to the dihedral corner. <br /> <br />Climbing the dihedral pitch in the sun is a way more pleasant experience than climbing it early in the morning when it's shady and the rock is cold.
BETA PHOTO: The weather's perfect and the gang's all here...

...
The dihedral looming above
The dihedral looming above
A very nice step across finish- reminiscent of the Red Dihedral's step across on the Hulk. <br /> <br />For us, this was 3rd pitch.
BETA PHOTO: A very nice step across finish- reminiscent of the...
3rd pitch
3rd pitch
Troutman following p3 of the Mithral Dihedral
Troutman following p3 of the Mithral Dihedral
Looking west from atop the corner
Looking west from atop the corner
Lakes to the west of Mt Russell
Lakes to the west of Mt Russell
29aug09, we did it like this.  Red line denotes our approach to 4th class ledge, three yellow dots show our belays, pitches.  Second belay station (at 2nd dot) out of view at base of dihedral corner. <br /> <br />Check out the distorting effect of the photo:  Second pitch (200') is actually almost as long as first pitch (215')!
BETA PHOTO: 29aug09, we did it like this. Red line denotes ou...
Comments on Mithril Dihedral Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 26, 2014
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Mar 6, 2006

A disclaimer on the beta photo. This is the way we decided to do the climb. It made more sense to us to make P3 a short pitch and get a belay in the chimney. Otherwise we would have had to do a hanging belay halfway up the big pitch. You may choose to do otherwise. CO.

By ttriche
From: Altadena, CA
Mar 14, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Putting the belay in the chimney makes the route a 5.9+; if you run it straight through to the ledge where the 4th class begins, the route is more like a 5.10-, according to Croft (and most others, including me).

Fantastic route, excellent rock, very clean. Triples of hand-sized pieces are not uncalled for, especially if you choose to do most of the corner as a rope-stretcher pitch. Great finish to the corner, too.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Mar 15, 2006

Hmmm, 5.9+ or 5.10-? Well I for one can't tell the difference between the two, especially at 14,000ft where they'd both feel like 5.11 to me....

By Murf
Sep 11, 2006

In general pretty sustained climbing. Regardless of length of pitches, I'd say 5.10- is fair as there's a ton of 5.9. With all the sillyness with pitch lengths, here is what I thought worked well.

Pitch 1 and 2 as described by Croft. If you start late enough both belays will be in the sun.
Pitch 3 - 175~180' belay on the first real ledge worth the name, *not* a hanging belay as such.
Pitch 4 - 100' finish the last part of the dihedral.
Pitch 5 - Carry on until rope drag bites real bad
Pitch 6 - 400+ feet of 4th class

As for triples in the 1.5" to 2.5" ( as described in Croft )... I feel that triples in say .4 to .75 Camalot with doubles in the 1 and 2 Camalot's would be more valuable. We also thought the dihedral was longer than 250', pehaps 275'?

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Oct 4, 2006

Thanks Murf -I did the route a long time ago, didn't have a 200 foot rope, a topo, and had a very basic rack (set of hexes, set of rocks and a few friends), so we weren't sure what to expect and were inclined to stop and belay where we could. Doing the route as you suggest would therefore involve only 2 pitches in the dihedral instead of 3 and is, without a doubt, worth considering.

By bbrock
From: Al
Dec 19, 2006

I thought this route was just OK, not as great as its made out to be. I saw that picture of the final layback on the exit move in a climbing magazine and said HOLY SHIT I've got to do this route. The rest of the climb is not quite as good as that picture looks. Oh well it's worth doing but I wouldn't go up there just to do this one route.

By philippe
Jun 22, 2007

Did this route yesterday, cold at the base at 7:30am. We climbed the first pitch about 160 to an obvious ledge below a wide section. 2nd pitch was 120 ft to a decent narrow stance at the start of the dihedral. 3rd pitch was full 200ft. to where the corner gets less steep, obvious from below, two decent ledge systems to belay from, we chose the higher one. From there it was about 100ft. to the end of the dihedral with one of the best 5.9 finishes anywhere, this pitch made the final pitch on 3rd pillar look like a pile. We camped at Upper Boyscout and took about 2 hours to reach the base of the route. Absolutely killer and a way better setting than Whitney, Russell is steep and remote, shame that the Mithril is only four long pitches....We descended the east ridge, a cool traverse all the way down to Upper Boyscout, straightforward but with great exposure.

By Anthony Anagnostou
From: nyc
Mar 8, 2008

awesome route. pristine granite, twin hand cracks in a corner with a view.

if i recall correctly, we belayed at the base of the dihedral proper. then one very long pitch (that i seem to recall almost finishing our 60m) to a great stance with good gear where the angle kicks back just a bit. not a hanging belay. then a shorter pitch over the upper crux and onto ledges above. that first long pitch in the dihedral is wonderful.

shame it isnt longer. but- it means you can afford to start late (and thereby climb in the sun).

i would stack things so you can go down the east ridge. i think its faster, infinitely more interesting, less chossy, etc. much better finish.

By Bill Kelly
From: Lake Tahoe
Sep 20, 2009

Agreed- if the dihedral is run through for 200+ feet, it's 5.10, if it's broken up into 100' pieces, it's 5.9.

Go for the 5.10, woohoo!

By Bonesaw
From: CA
Aug 10, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

IMO, the route is no harder than 5.9. While sustained in places and above 13,000 ft, the moves themselves are 5.9. Secor calls it 10b, Croft calls it 10a and McNamara gives it 10b, but those ratings seem a bit too hard for this route. There are some good rests along the way that make it totally managable. With that being said, it is one of the coolest routes I've ever been on. CALSSIC for sure!!!

By Mark P Thomas
From: Oakland
Jul 2, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I was very winded hopping on this route about 12 hrs after leaving sea level. Still, even with the thin-air-leading-with-pack pant-fest, I'd have to say the route honestly is 5.9 or 5.9+ by the hardest technical move. Hands-free or hands-less pant rests are there for nearly every few moves on the entire route if you know how to rest in a crack that is in a corner with face features. However, if you want to do the route clean and solid, you should be a 5.10 leader as the climbing is sustained and it . . . just . . . keeps . . . going! Great for every inch too.

I agree with the above statement that it is better to bring triples in the smaller sizes. I never managed to use 3 of the following Camalots (#1, #2, #3). I found a #4 handy here and there but probably not required. You can probably be just fine sewing up the climb with only doubles if you don't link any of P3, 4, or 5. Also, we used fewer cams in the gear anchors by using some tri-cams. We only placed one nut on the route and it was very optional.

By alexjamesmayers
From: hayward, ca
Sep 28, 2012

PLease make sure you are prepared to descend a sharp ridgeline and possibly in the dark. If you have to wait for the sun to warm up the rock, it can start your day off a bit late. Just know the topo of the descent to get back to camp. We got ledged out by assuming the wrong decent and had to hike back up and make another guess which was thankfully the right one.

By RAZORsharp
From: Carlsbad CA
Jun 26, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

First pitch to obvious ledge. 2nd pitch to a small sloping ramp, make sure you have good rope management here. 3rd pitch up the dihedral, past the chimney, to a small stance on the left face. 4th pitch finish up the dihedral, belay at any one of the large ledges above. Solo the last ~3-400ft of 4th class. some exposed and loose stuff, be weary. Descended the east ridge to upper boyscout. Rack: doubles in BD .75,1, 2, triples in orange Metolius TCU, doubles in red, yellow blue tcu. bring long slings for the first 2 pitches and the final placements of the dihedral so when you go over the ledges you wont have severe rope drag. WHAT A STELLAR CLIMB!