Fishhook Arete 5.9

 
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Mt. Russell


High Sierra, California USA


Trip Report
Fish Hook (Russell) and East Buttress (Whitney) photo TR
Friday June 15, 2012 2:27pm
Although my friend Max climbed a few peaks in Sierra, he has never done Russell. Since Russell is one of my favorite peaks in the Range of Light I wanted to make sure we climb it together, via Fish Hook Arete- a route that was also new to me. Since both of us love the scenery around Whitney we decided to avoid a day hike and spent a few days camping at Iceberg lake, which would allow us to climb East Buttress of Whitney as well.

Relaxing while reading the new Rock and Ice
Relaxing while reading the new Rock and Ice
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Since the forecast showed 20% chance of Thunderstorms we decided to wake up and hike in early. It was a great choice- it gave us time to relax in the sun and have our camp set up before the sky let the hail/snow rain down on us.

Am I looking in the mirror?
Am I looking in the mirror?
Credit: Vitaliy M.

On the next day we woke up after dawn and made sure to climb the route quick. It did not matter because there was not a cloud in the sky. When we got to the summit the temperatures seemed to be in the 60s with calm winds. A beautiful day indeed!

Not a bad place...
Not a bad place...
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Me leading 1st pitch
Me leading 1st pitch
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Rock quality of the route was perfect, but climbing not too sustained.

higher on 1st pitch. Photo by Max
higher on 1st pitch. Photo by Max
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Max following Pitch 1
Max following Pitch 1
Credit: Vitaliy M.

First pitch was probably my favorite pitch of the route due to great rock quality, sustained technical moves, and a cool mix of features to use. Reminded me of Charlotte dome in a way...

3rd pitch
3rd pitch
Credit: Vitaliy M.
'5.8 chimney' with minimal chimney moves : )
'5.8 chimney' with minimal chimney moves : )
Credit: Vitaliy M.


Max took the 2nd pitch high towards the difficulties and I was able to connect 3rd and 4th pitch into a long one. After that we did the short '5.8' down-climb and did the other half of the pitches, which for most part were fun- scrambling with short sections of mostly 5.7 climbing at most.

Gap after the short 5.8 downclimb
Gap after the short 5.8 downclimb
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Summit views towards Morgensen
Summit views towards Morgensen
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Us back at the col after Fish Hook
Us back at the col after Fish Hook
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Cool thing about Fish Hook arete is that it tops out on the summit of Mt. Russell. We enjoyed the views for about an hour on top. Met another STer, and headed back to camp.

Another sunrise...
Another sunrise...
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Nice camp spot!
Nice camp spot!
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Max somewhere on East Buttress
Max somewhere on East Buttress
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Max leading somewhere on East Buttress
Max leading somewhere on East Buttress
Credit: Vitaliy M.

On the next day we enjoyed another beautiful sunrise right from our tent and climbed East Buttress of Whitney. Unfortunately (or fortunately with this economy) we had to get back to work the next day, so a hike out was also in order.

peewee
peewee
Credit: Vitaliy M.
hahaha
hahaha
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Max on east buttress. 5.7 fingers as I understand...
Max on east buttress. 5.7 fingers as I understand...
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Us on the summit. I need new pants.
Us on the summit. I need new pants.
Credit: Vitaliy M.


East buttress turned out to be a cool and scenic climb. Rock quality was great till the last pitches that we simul climbed to the summit. I think with simul climbing we were able to do the route in long 6 pitches. Views from Whitney were fantastic, as always, but by that time my camera died. Fortunately we had Max's to take a summit shot of us.


Beta: No crampons or ice axe required to get down from Whitney or Russell. We did not bring them, and were happy with our choice. Running/approach shoes are sufficient.



  Trip Report Views: 4,167
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 15, 2012 - 03:01pm PT
Nice! Thanks for an excellent Tr and pictures.

John
jfailing

Trad climber
PDX, North Slope, The Open Road
  Jun 15, 2012 - 03:04pm PT
This is... how you say... TEH RADNISS!!!!1
Grampa

climber
from SoCal
  Jun 15, 2012 - 03:13pm PT
Nice!!!
rwedgee

Ice climber
canyon country,CA
  Jun 15, 2012 - 03:19pm PT
Thanks !!! Never gets old...
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Jun 15, 2012 - 03:29pm PT
Sigh. Jealous. Beautiful.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jun 15, 2012 - 03:39pm PT
Very cool T&R!..
ElGreco

Mountain climber
  Jun 15, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
Nice! How would you rate the Fishhook vs. Mithral?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Jun 15, 2012 - 04:44pm PT
Fishook looks fantastic from Whitney. Great pics on route. And yes the east buttress is a fun route. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for a moderate real climb on Whitney.

Thanks for the TR :) It's stuff like this that makes ST so great.
crack-a-holic

Trad climber
CA
  Jun 15, 2012 - 05:51pm PT
nice pics v
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jun 15, 2012 - 06:50pm PT
Nice. I have done the same, but reversed the routes. Great climbs. TFPU!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 15, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
Way to get after it! Wonderful photos as usual. Thanks Vitaliy. See you out there someday!
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
  Jun 15, 2012 - 08:38pm PT
Really excellent trip and report. I hope to be following in your footsteps, or at least close in July.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 17, 2012 - 11:12pm PT
Thanks vitality, you sure get around bro!!!!
WoHOOO!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 18, 2012 - 12:22am PT
Thank you guys!

How would you rate the Fishhook vs. Mithral?

Fish Hook is a lot less sustained. To be honest I would rate Mithral a 5.9 and Fishhook a 5.8. Crux pitches on Fish Hook are not sustained and are appropriate for confident valley 5.8 leaders IMO (if you can lead crux parts on Selangenella, Bishops Terrace and Braille Book you are for sure ready IMO). Both are very worth doing. My original plan was to stay for another day and do Mithral again, but had to work. So to be honest I would repeat both routes.
bergbryce

climber
East Bay, CA
  Jun 17, 2012 - 11:20pm PT
Awesome man. Fishhook is way high on my tick list.
Is it impossible to get permits this time of year now?
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Jun 18, 2012 - 12:17am PT
Man, That Fishhook route looks like great fun.
Glorious.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 18, 2012 - 12:18am PT
I have not done anything in Tahquitz. But I would say East buttress would not take you 13 pitches if you are confident with simul climbing parts, or going full rope length on mostly 5.6 and bellow climbing. It was not difficult. Just a fun day out. Hardest part was dealing with loose crap going down MR. : )

bergbryce email sent.
bit'er ol' guy

climber
the past
  Jun 18, 2012 - 02:22am PT


done it several times

but never used any Fish Hooks????

anyone want to by a few?
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 18, 2012 - 02:41am PT
That first pic is incredible, so beautiful. Amazing how much you get out, man - well done!

I've never been on Russell (hangs head in shame). Your TR has convinced me that it's got to be this summer, hell or high water.

Thanks for posting, as always! Where would I be without TRs?!!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 19, 2012 - 02:25am PT
is the simul comparable to the few hundred feet of class 4 going to
the top of Fairview? I would not be comfortable with some I spoke to
about doing this route if there is class 5 simul. I think they will
be ok with class 4 simul such as Fairview.

I have done regular route on Fairview, but it is very hard to compare. You can compare topos. Supertopo does a great job being accurate. You do not have to simul climb anything on East Buttress if you/your partner are not comfortable, we did just to get the climb done quicker (there were some clouds and we wanted to be off the summit by 1pm). If it is your first alpine climb and you are not sure if you are ready I would recommend to do East Face route instead, and see if it is easy or takes forever. East Face is not as sustained and has more 4th class terrain you can simul climb. With 2 5.7 crux bits and a very classic Fresh Air traverse. It is also included in '50 classic climbs of NA' book due to it's history and location. Both East Face and East Buttress are worthy of a trip.

Good Luck!

Your TR has convinced me that it's got to be this summer, hell or high water.

Le Bruce, Russell is an amazing peak, but a TR I will write next is A MUST do for you (I know you like cracks). If you do make it to Russell do both Mithril and Fish Hook if you can. Also heard Western Front is fun, and Star trekkin, but have not done those yet. Hopefully in the next few years...

P1 (crack) is five-star!
hell yes. so cool to climb stuff like that on a mountain...
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 19, 2012 - 08:19pm PT
Really nice stuff. I have to fight my impulse to be jealous and just try to enjoy you getting out there and getting it done, taking pictures of all kinds of places I'd like to be!

Thanks for sharing.
Les

Trad climber
Bahston
  Jun 20, 2012 - 01:13pm PT
Very nice! Can't wait to get back to the Sierra next summer (got some unfinished bizness in the Tetons this summer).
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
  Jun 20, 2012 - 01:47pm PT
Great trip report. Could you please comment on getting a camping permit for Iceberg Lake. Thanks.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 20, 2012 - 03:34pm PT
Could you please comment on getting a camping permit for Iceberg Lake.

I got mine reserved from recreation.gov. Permit is for North Form of Lone Pine Creek AND DOES NOT have anything to do with Whitney trail (there information out there that states one needs to participate in the lottery for Whitney trail, but with research I found it to be false). Although is still in Whitney ZONE and requires a permit for a day hike as well. There are also walk in permits available at the Ranger station, call them for info regarding those.

Good luck.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 20, 2012 - 07:20pm PT
Le Bruce, Russell is an amazing peak, but a TR I will write next is A MUST do for you (I know you like cracks). If you do make it to Russell do both Mithril and Fish Hook if you can. Also heard Western Front is fun, and Star trekkin, but have not done those yet. Hopefully in the next few years...

Get writing, compadre, get writing. I'm waiting here with baited breath, ha ha.
surfmonk

Trad climber
Los Angeles
  Jul 6, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
BES1'st said:
Thank's I have never seen the actual topo for East Butress and I
want to do it later this summer.
Then buy the SuperTopo High Sierra Climbing book here - http://www.supertopo.com/packs/highsierra.html
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Feb 4, 2013 - 06:44pm PT
Riley, no excuses bro! :)
Spanky

Social climber
boulder co
  Feb 4, 2013 - 10:57pm PT
Fishhook looks sweet it's definitely on my list. Bump for cool climbing content!
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Mt. Russell - Fishhook Arete 5.9 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from the summit of Whitney.
Photo: Chris McNamara
Other Routes on Mt. Russell
Mt. Russell - East Ridge 3rd class - High Sierra, California USA. Click for details.
East Ridge, 3rd class
Mt. Russell
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The route as seen from the summit of Whitney.
Mt. Russell - Mithral Dihedral 5.10b - High Sierra, California USA. Click for details.
Mithral Dihedral, 5.10b
Mt. Russell
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The route as seen from Mt. Whitney summit.
Mt. Russell - Star Trekin 5.10c - High Sierra, California USA. Click for details.
Star Trekin, 5.10c
Mt. Russell
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The route as seen from Mt. Whitney summit.