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North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Direct Russell Clliff

Mount Rainier, Direct Russell Cliff. On July 7 to 8 the first direct ascent of Russell Cliff was accomplished by Jim Springer, Dean Bentley, and me, all seasonal NPS rangers; with the support of Gordon Ball of Seattle. The route follows the 1960 Russell Cliff—Upper Curtis Ridge route, traversing across the broken Winthrop Glacier, then ascending to the base of the large, steep snow face (known alternately as the “Russell Bowl” or “Ball’s Wall”). From here, the route proceeds directly up the snow face to the three prominent rock bands which offer the only major difficulty. We ascended the points of weakness in each of the rock bands, using a picket and two flukes for protection. The rock on Russell Cliff, like all Mount Rainier rock, cannot be trusted; in addition, the snow between the bands was found to be very rotten, frequently giving way under foot pressure to reveal a thin coating of brittle water ice beneath. The snow ledges we traversed on the upper part of the route were about five to fifteen feet in width, and measured about 55°, with one short pitch of 65°. We named the route “Dalle-Molle’s Wet Daiber” after both John Dalle-Molle and Ome Daiber. 8 hours from Camp Schurman to summit. Grade II.

John L. Thompson, Unaffiliated