Submitted By: Dobish on November 14, 2010
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As you drop off of the summit, you are on a large convex slope that is about 38°. This face is almost due East, so it tends to get sun pretty early. In the late spring, this slope can easily be corn by 9:30am at the top, so plan to be up there early. There are very few hazards on the top section, as there are no rocks or trees that are really poking through.
Depending on the size of the group, and your time frame, a lot of people will go back up and do multiple laps on the East Face from above the headwall, as this is where the most open terrain is. Once you get to the headwall, you need to keep a vigilant eye for the convexities and the sliding snow. These slopes measure at close to 45° and have been getting sun from the very first light. The tend to slide regularly, but as the snow gets heavier, they could probably do some damage. There are a few descent options to pick, that all wrap around the lake and back to the main gully.
There used to be an old mining cabin, that you can still see the remanants of just above the upper lake.
After the lakes, if you are done for the day, you should head to the right, so you can avoid the willows and connect back up with teh Crystal Lakes Road. You can take the road all the way back down to the trailhead if there is snow.[more]
Russell Peak is easily accessible with a little bit of a hike, but also can be extremely unstable due to a large cornice that forms at the top of the ridge. Attaining Russell Peak will give you access to a ridgeline that can get you to Oatmeal Bowl, No-Name Peak, Stanley Peak, and Moonlight Basin, with much more to explore from there.
There are high winds generally on Russell, and it is often wind scoured. There are some steeper chutes, as well as more open bowls, but be careful of rollovers and terrain traps.
How to Get There
Russell Peak is located on the west side of Berthoud Pass, along the ridge line from Lift Gully, where the old ski resort used to be. It is one of the most visible peaks from the parking lot, and is past the radio tower. It is located just north of No-Name Peak, and 2 peaks north of the prominent Stanley Peak.
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