Mt. Langley and Mt. Whitney 2007

Arctic Lake and Iceberg Lake

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

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The decision on what to do over the next two days was made in the morning.  It came from a thought I had early in the morning.  Part of me was trying to salvage the end of the original trip plan, and by heading up the Arctic Lake drainage that still had a chance.  We’d be able to look over the crest to the traverse that we had planned to get over to the Wallace Creek drainage.

Fairly easy cross-country travel over mostly talus, with a bit of grass and scree thrown in, got us to the head of the Arctic Lake drainage.  The low point on the crest here gave us a view of the traverse, but was not the best place to get to it (although it was probably doable).  A better spot is to the north a bit.  But we decided not to do it anyway, not because the traverse looked particularly bad, but because of the class 2-3 label put on the north side of Russell-Carillon Pass, which we would not be able to see until we reached the top of the pass.  The mountaineer’s route that we skipped yesterday also has 3 in its label.  So instead we went over class 2 Whitney-Russell Pass to get down to Iceberg Lake.  This is probably the only class 2 route to get to Iceberg Lake!  Also gave us a chance to chat with folks coming off of the mountaineer’s route.

Journal Entry:  Decided to head up the Arctic Lake canyon to see the original route for today.  Also got to see the west and north sides of Mt. Whitney from below.  Most of the route was over talus, with some grassy and sandy sections.  Reached the passes on the crest at the end of the valley.  The lowest one was the traverse route to Russell-Carillon Pass.  The part we could see wasn’t too bad, the unknown was the other side of R-C Pass.  So we decided not to do it in favor of crossing Whitney-Russell Pass to Iceberg Lake, where we are camped.  We’ll head back the same way toward Crabtree Meadow tomorrow.  Then it’s all on-trail back to the trailhead.


Morning reflections in Hitchcock Lakes

Grassy meadow on north shore of Arctic Lake


Mt. Russell and the upper reaches of the Arctic Lake drainage

North slope of Mt. Whitney towering over one of the lakes above

Arctic Lake


Sierra Crest at the head of Arctic Lake drainage

There is a selection of several passes here

Some lead to the Upper Boy Scout Lake drainage

Some lead to Iceberg Lake

Look over the crest toward Upper Boy Scout Lake


Iceberg Lake and Mt. Russell

Mt. Whitney towering over our “developed” campsite

Note the rock walls for wind protection

Mountaineer’s route goes up to the notch just to the right of

Mt. Whitney


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