After talking with Doug Robinson and getting his account of the first ascent of the southwest face of Mt. Whitney via Lost (AAJ 2007), Urmas Franosch and I decided to take a look. Being a local guide has its advantages, and we sent our equipment in with a pack-supported trip in early September 2012. This allowed us to hike in over the Whitney-Russell Col with just daypacks, meeting our gear at Guitar Lake.
The southwest face is a complex array of arêtes and ridges that only get more confusing from below. Doug had already got the best line, so we climbed the next best one to the east. We soloed the majority of the route, finishing on the summit plateau, and called our route Found (1,200’, 5.9).
The following day we headed to the Arctic Lake Wall and climbed a prominent 5.10 arête on the main wall, left of where we believe the Rowell and Nettle routes to be. We then sent the majority of our gear out with another pack-supported trip. On the hike back over the Whitney-Russell Col, we added a direct start to Left Arête (Cleary-Fuller, 1984) on the southeast face of Mt. Russell, via a perfect straight-in crack (5.10b), ending a classic four-day Sierra excursion.
– SP Parker