Mount Russell West Face

Lone Pine, California

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The first technical route on Mt. Russell was done by none other than Fred Beckey, who climbed a moderate route on the slabby northeast face. A few weeks later, Yosemite veterans Galen Rowell and Chris Jones tackled the massive west face of the peak by following a prominent dihedral system in the center of the wall. Their difficult route now goes free at (IV 5.10d). Rowell is perhaps best known for his outstanding outdoor photography and incredible zeal for backcountry climbs. Jones is best known as the author of the classic Climbing in North America but also has put up many hard routes around the world, including the North Face of North Twin in the Canadian Rockies with George Lowe. Jones noted that the face had caught Rowell’s eye when looking at slides from a flight over the Sierra, “On reaching the peak many months later, we soon recognized the unmistakable face. On a cold day in June, we started up a crack system near the center of the face and were able to climb free except for ten direct aid pitons used on two overhanging sections. The rock is perfect throughout.”

Mount Russell: West Face Professional Review and Guide

"The first technical route on Mt. Russell was done by none other than Fred Beckey, who climbed a moderate route on the slabby northeast face. A few weeks later, Yosemite veterans Galen Rowell and Chris Jones tackled the massive west face of the peak by following a prominent dihedral system in the center of the wall. Their difficult route now goes free at (IV 5.10d). Rowell is perhaps best known for his outstanding outdoor photography and incredible zeal for backcountry climbs. Jones is best known as the author of the classic Climbing in North America but also has put up many hard routes around the world, including the North Face of North Twin in the Canadian Rockies with George Lowe. Jones noted that the face had caught Rowell’s eye when looking at slides from a flight over the Sierra, “On reaching the peak many months later, we soon recognized the unmistakable face. On a cold day in June, we started up a crack system near the center of the face and were able to climb free except for ten direct aid pitons used on two overhanging sections. The rock is perfect throughout.”"

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Lone Pine
Class: Class 5.9 and above
Local Contacts: Inyo National Forest; Sequoia National Park
Local Maps: USGS Mt. Whitney, Mt. Langley
Grade: Grade IV
Driving Directions: Directions to Mount Russell: West Face

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May 2018