The hike up to Upper Boy Scout Lake is a good solid haul so once you get there why not do two peaks instead of one. Certainly Mt Whitney is the goal of many climbers but Mt. Russell is an often overlooked alternative. Mt. Russell is Mt. Whitney’s often forgotten neighbor to the north, and will offer a great view of where you were the day before. You’ll also see the highest-named lake in the country, Tulainyo Lake, straddling the border between Inyo and Tulare counties.

The two peaks have very different characters.
Whitney is a big solid mountain and while a straight-forward ascent you will find a lot of others along the way.

Mt Russell is a much more delicate peak with intricate ridges and a far more spectacular summit. Mt. Russell is ascended by very few people so you will probably have the top to yourself.  This is one of the most wonderful ridge routes to a summit in the Sierra. This route is certainly not hiking, but then the difficulties are not so great as to require technical climbing skills.

We think that this is an ideal pairing – like chips and salsa, gin and tonic, or pie and ice cream!


high-sierra-climbing-super-topo good-great-awesoeThe best guidebooks are Supertopo’s “High Sierra Climbing” by Chris McNamara and Peter Croft’s “The Good, The Great, and the Awesome”.

Get them from Maximus Press.

We highly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000′) just prior to the trip. Spending a night at Whitney Portal or the Cottonwood Campground would do the trick.

Return to Whitney Trips