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Mt Russell approach / descent
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By Kevin D.
From Palo Alto, CA
Jul 22, 2014
I have a couple questions on approaching and descending Russell:

(1) What's the fastest way down from Russell to Whitney Portal for a day trip? I've only done the descent by way of Iceberg Lake. I'm wondering if descending the E Ridge, then booking it down what looks to be a glorious scree ski all the way down to Lower Boy Scout, is the ticket, although I haven't been on the E Ridge or in/around Upper or Lower Boy Scout before. Info from anyone that has done both would be great.

(2) What's the fastest way from Whitney's summit to the base of Russell? IIRC, when I was descending the Mountaineer's Route, if I had continued straight instead of turning right the gully would take me to the base of Whitney without having to go over the pass, but I've never gone that way.

Thanks in advance for any input!

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By Jake T
From Prescott AZ
Jul 22, 2014
Hi Kevin

A friend and I climbed fishhook a few days ago and took the east ridge down. I haven't tried descending via iceberg but am certain the east ridge is faster. Your right on about the scree, we just about ran down it. Can't help with the second question though. Have fun man!

Edit: we took the scree field to upper boy scout, Not sure about getting all the way down to lower boy scout from the east ridge.

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By Kevin D.
From Palo Alto, CA
Jul 26, 2014
Thanks for the info Jake.

Others seconded your suggestion for the E Ridge descent. It turned out to be super quick. I agree that it's far preferable to going back over the pass and descending that way.

I got some feedback from someone who had tried a direct route from Whitney to Russell; he encountered 5th class slabs and didn't recommend it. I ended up doing the Mountaineer's Route descent, cutting over and contouring over to the Whitney-Russell pass as soon as was reasonable, and this worked out well.

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