Pleasant temperatures and a forecast for thundershowers greeted us at the start of the Labor Day weekend. Mt. Russell continues to be overshadowed by its much more popular neighbor Mt. Whitney to the south. We saw very few people on the entire trip. The forecast dictated an early start and efficient climbing to get up to the summit and down safely before any potential storm hit. We hiked up the North Fork Canyon and set up camp at Upper Boyscout Lake. After dinner we hit the sack early with our rucksacks packed in preparation for a planned early wake up. The ascent went well as we moved efficiently up the route. As we descended off the summit storm clouds moved in and we quickly descended off the East Ridge down the Southwest Chute to lower ground. The storm dropped hail for a short time as it blew through. We descended back to Upper Boyscout Lake, packed up camp, and returned to Whitney Portal where we enjoyed bacon cheeseburgers from the Whitney Portal Store.
Below are some highlights. The entire photo gallery is here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/Sierra-Trips/2009-Sierra-Trips/Mt-Russell-East-Ridge-Sept-09/9520818_8AxeF/1/639989408_vF2qH
The team at Whitney Portal saddled up and ready to climb
The Ebersbacher Ledges
Creek crossing below Upper Boyscout Lake
The team ready to begin the ascent long before daybreak at camp at Upper Boyscout Lake
The team pausing for a photo in the middle of the East Ridge with Lake Tuleinyo behind
The team negotiating some of the 3rd class moves on the East Ridge
The team taking time out for a quick summit photo before descending ahead of the oncoming storm
Benjamin Bauman had been up all of California’s 14ers except a couple in the Palisades. He wanted to finish climbing them all in 2009. We climbed Thunderbolt Peak via Southwest Chute #1 and traversed south across the range and climbed Starlight Peak and North Palisades Peak then descended west via the U Notch back to our camp in Palisade Basin. That left one remaining peak on Ben’s list: Polemonium Peak which was scheduled for October to be climbed via the U Notch Couloir from the east side approached by crossing the Palisade Glacier.
The entire photo gallery from the trip is here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/Sierra-Trips/2009-Sierra-Trips/Palisades-Traverse-Aug-30-Sep/9487697_c6B3Y/1/637000473_3VxbU
Thunderbolt Peak, Starlight, and North Palisade Peak from our camp in Palisade Basin
Ben on the final 3rd class section of Thunderbolt Peak
Ben climbing the final summit block on Thunderbolt Peak
Ben topped out on Thunderbolt Peak!
Looking south along the crest of the Palisades from the summit of Thunderbolt Peak. The "milk bottle" that makes up Starlight Peak is silhoutted against the skyline on the right.
Descending to the notch in between Thunderbolt Peak and Starlight
Traversing on the way to Starlight
The Milk Bottle
Kurt on top of the Milk Bottle
Ben on the traverse towards North Palisade Peak
Ben on the summit of North Palisade Peak