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Author Topic: Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett  (Read 4835 times)
androolus
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Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett
« on: 08/18/08, 10:38 AM »

Having failed to read recent trip reports, headed to the Russell glacier in hopes of skiing the Russell Headwall. Hmmm...apparently not.


Hiked in via knapsack pass. Many bugs. Stopped at the base of the Flett to get water...bugs were not too bad...near the stone wall camp thingee there. Upper Flett is still mostly snow with only one patch of ice...mild suncuppage. Headed to the Russell, which involved a carry. More ice on the Russell but continuous snow existed in various places. Upper Russell quite ugly so only went half way up. Good skiing on moderate suncups. Skinned up nice little steep off lateral moraine to say we skied some headwall kind of like thing.


 Then traversed the upper flett...and after another carry made it to the lower flett....Looked at the Flett headwall...and decided not...even though it is still all snow....well accept for the rocks.



Skied lower flett on unpleasant suncups...was able to link snow patches to within 1/4 mile of main trail.

Then a camper asked us if there was any snow up there. Should have replied, "Are then any bugs around here?" Alas I itch despite best efforts of 100% deet.

More photos
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Stugie
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Re: Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett
« Reply #1 on: 08/18/08, 07:21 PM »

I was also hoping to get the headwall this summer...guess not.  Great pics though, I love the northern side of Rainier.  IMHO, it is the best side.  Kyle and I hiked Mowich to Windy Gap and back on Saturday...we too failed at keeping the red bumps from magically appearing on our skin. Wink
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
wolfs
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Re: Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett
« Reply #2 on: 08/18/08, 10:19 PM »

The Russell is kind of an enigma. It is really hard to predict what kind of snow coverage you will find there. I've been there probably 5 years in a row anywhere from first week July to first week September and have seen a variety of conditions. Sometimes the bottom still has firn cover and the middle doesn't, sometimes (like this time) it is the middle that has it. What does seem to be consistent is that it is the upper area, from about 9K up, that melts first, and gets what Amar once called the "bombing range" look. Maybe is in snow-shadow of the steep part of the mountain up there or something. And the other thing that is usually the surface conditions are good (so long as there is any firn at all). This time there was a lot we skied where the firn was only an inch or two deep, so probably we got there just in time.
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scottb505
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Re: Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett
« Reply #3 on: 08/19/08, 08:28 AM »

I skied the upper portion 3 weeks ago - it was runnelled but actually skied OK in spite of it's nasty appearance. I came down on skier's right and, enjoying the turns, went past the carry over to the Flett and continued down to the terminal moraine.  Imho, there is really nice skiing below Echo rock - downside is that I had to hike back up so I could ski the Flett down to Cat Eye Lake.
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Jonathan_S.
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Re: Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett
« Reply #4 on: 08/21/08, 07:41 AM »

The Russell is kind of an enigma. It is really hard to predict what kind of snow coverage you will find there.

Fourth of July, 2004:  skied great snow all the way from Russell Headwall into Spray Park.  Great weather too.  Guess I got lucky on my only time there!  (Thanks again to Robie for taking me along that day.)
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Jon Garrison
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Re: Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett
« Reply #5 on: 08/21/08, 07:23 PM »

Fourth of July, 2004: ...)

My first/only time there was July 4, 2007. We also skied well down into the trees below Spray Park.

It was surreal- pre dawn early drive there with no traffic at all- Saw no one until after noon, but by the time we switched back to walking there were hikers and tourists starting to fill out the trail. The drive back was into a steadily increasing mass of people. By the time I got back to Seattle I was so shocked I hid in my apartment all night reading and listening to the fireworks.

That drive is SO much more, um, bombed out than any of Rainier's other entrances. Logging, fireworks shacks, car dealerships.
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Charles
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Re: Aug 16, 2008, Russell/Flett
« Reply #6 on: 08/22/08, 12:50 PM »

Great photos, androolus! I've been up there from late April through late August, and the coverage on the Russell looks very good for this time of year. It's nice to see Cat-eye Lake not looking muddy!
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