Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

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Wandering Daisy
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Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:42 pm

Has anyone backpacked between Iceberg Lake and Arctic Lake? If so, was special gear needed? Crampons? Rope? What is the rating.








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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Jim F » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:34 pm

WD,

I have done it numerous times.

During the summer, no special equipment is needed. Lots of boulder hopping. Careful attention must be devoted to identifying Whitney Russell pass. Tons of fish hang out at the outlet of Arctic Lake. Some snow coverage makes things a bit more "interesting."

Jim

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:12 am

Thanks! I thought that was the case based on Google Earth. Last time I was at Arctic Lake I too saw the fish but did not have luck catching any, but then I did not fish much because I had little time. I hope to get back to Arctic Lake and spend some more time fishing and just thought going directly down to Boy Scout Lakes would be a good alternative to going back over Trail Crest. Have you tried fishing Boy Scout Lakes?

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Harlen » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:44 am

Wandering Daisy writes:
Has anyone backpacked between Iceberg Lake and Arctic Lake? If so, was special gear needed? Crampons? Rope? What is the rating.

On my Muir Crest wanders last August I crossed from Iceberg to the Arctic Lakes, and wrote:
Whitney-Russell Pass is dead easy. It is trailed-up by the number of climbers who go across it to reach the classic climbs on Mt Russell.
So not only will it be a piece of cake for you, but as a climber yourself, you might just meet old friends. Isn't "Fish-hook Arete" described by some as being the best climb, with the best rock in the Sierra?
I recall that the climber's trail continued on the Arctic Lakes side of the divide as well as on the east slope. I'll try to find a photo of it:

100_4229.jpg
This is nearing the top of Whitney-Russell Col from the east. You can't see them in this image, but there really are rough switch-backs.

100_4232 (1).JPG
This is the view from near the top of the western slope below W-R Col.

100_4236.JPG
A bit lower down, nearing Arctic Lakes.

100_4230.jpg
This, as you know, is the draw-- the southern wall of Mt Russell. Have you climbed on Russell Nancy?


Good luck WD.
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Last edited by Harlen on Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Jim F » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:59 am

WD,

I have not tried fishing in the Boy Scout Lakes.

In the Arctic Lake drainage, my daughter and I have fished (without success) the lake midway between Arctic Lake and Guitar Lake. Our favorite fishing spot in the vicinity is a bit to the southwest at Timberline Lake, especially in the marshy area just off the trail where it hugs the shore of the lake.

Jim

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:38 pm

Russel is one of the two 14'ers I have not climbed. If I ever do it I will go from Wallace Lake. Yes, I always wanted to do Fishhook Arete, but that opportunity has passed. I would be happy now just to get to the top the easiest route! I have done East Face and East Arete on Whitney, both really good routes/ and Mountaineers Route by default, because that is the descent from the other two routes.

The reason I asked this question is that I am contemplating Upper Kern, in Shepherd Pass and want several out options for permitting purposes. I want to get back to fish Arctic Lake, so it seemed logical to just go over and drop down to Boy Scout Lakes. Twice I have scored a Whitney Zone exit permit on a walk-in same-day permit. Seems that late season there are a lot of no-shows for these permits. Very annoying but with this years permit mess I need a lot of tricks in my pocket to get a stupid permit. Hope to do this September, after Labor Day- hope that everyone is vaccinated by then and some of the mess will resolve. (Getting my second COVID vaccination tomorrow :) )

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by davidsheridan » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:08 am

Harlen, great picture of the fishook arete! I wish i had the climbing skills for that route. I do plan to do Russel this summer from Upper boyscout, head up to the Col, the take the East Ridge. I know you did this ridge this summer on your epic Upper Kern trip....

Should I be worried about anything on the East Ridge? My wife and I dont mind exposure, so long as the footing is solid, and we expect to be in good shape.

Are there any big moves? .... We don't plan to bring a rope..... Navigation seems straightforward given the narrow ridge ....Any other things you think I should be concerned about the East Ridge?

@Wandering Daisy.... you mention Russel is one of two 14ers you haven't done . Which is the other? Also, if you dont mind sharing/bragging how many 14ers or 13ers do you think you have done. I know you spent a lot of time in the Wind arivers and Sierra, what about other ranges. No pressure to answer, i just want to live vicarously through you and Harlen 😂

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Silky Smooth » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:14 pm

Wandering Daisy I bet you still crush Mt. Russell, your such a badass. One of thees days I'll get up russell too, mithral looks soo pretty.

Thanks for the great shots Harlen!

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Jim F » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:20 pm

Hi All,

Since the topic of hiking from the Arctic Lake to the Boy Scout Lake drainage has now included getting to the top of Mt Russell, I might add that from my experience the two fit together wonderfully. When hiking from Arctic to the Boy Scouts, a not too difficult and short side trip (2-3 hours RT) will get one to the summit of Russell as follows:

Refer to Harlen's photo (which shows the route beautifully). From the base of the Fishhook, head up the scree to the right and stay on it as far as possible. About 80 feet below the East Ridge, the scree terminates. To the hiker's left is a third class chimney. The holds are great and there are multiple recesses which provide the oxygen-deprived climber a secure opportunity to take a break and assess his progress. Once on the East Ridge, a short easy scramble takes one to the summit. Return the same way to gather one's pack (fishing gear?) where it was left at the bottom of the Fishhook.

Also note that from the Arctic Lake drainage, the most direct Class 2 route to Upper Boy Scout Lake goes over Sakai Col. Although Sakai Col is more direct, I have not found it easier or faster than going over Whitney-Russell Col. Unlike the Whitney-Russell Col route, one bypasses Girl Scout Lake (another fishing possibility?) by taking Sakai Col.

Jim

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Re: Arctic Lake to Iceberg Lake- possible?

Post by Harlen » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:45 pm

davidsheridan wrote:
Should I be worried about anything on the East Ridge? My wife and I don't mind exposure, so long as the footing is solid, and we expect to be in good shape.
Are there any big moves? .... We don't plan to bring a rope..... Navigation seems straightforward given the narrow ridge ....Any other things you think I should be concerned about the East Ridge?
No David, no "big moves," and the ridge really is solid. The wonderfully exposed ridge crest is easily bypassed to the north-- climber's right. I'll re-submit the 2 photos that show this best. The first photo shows the extreme appearance from a distance, and then the second shot shows how easy it really is to make it safe. I think another important decision is how to reach the east ridge. If you come in as WD advises, via Wallace Creek, the route up to Carillon Pass is very nice going, but if you climb up from the south, above Boy Scout Lake you will encounter the most godawful deep sandy slope you have ever been in! People happily plow down it heels first, digging it ever deeper, but going up it is hell. How do you two plan to go?

100_4118.jpg
View west, from east of the true Carillon pass. Refer also to the photo from the same angle in commonloon's post about their climb of the East Ridge-- the photo captioned "Mt Russell from east, showing our route." Doesn't it look even scarier in his image?!


100_4146.jpg
By staying left of the ridge crest you can keep safe. Note that the gendarme in the upper right here is the same one seen in the upper left of the first shot, which makes it look so dicey, but as seen here, it's really not too bad.

Hey Jim F, Thanks for the description of "Sakai Pass," which we were curious about. I took another close-up of the south face of Russell, which really shows off the Mithral Dihedral route. I'll add it below.

south face Mt Russell100_4235.jpg
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Last edited by Harlen on Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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