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Newsletter of the Peak Climbing Section, Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter
February, 1995                                             Vol. 28, No. 2


Date:  Tuesday, Feb. 14
Time:  8 p.m.
Place: Western Mountaineering
       Town & Country
       Shopping Center,
       San Jose

Program: Visit the Khumbu Himal for a climb of Mera Peak 6476 
meters/21,247 feet.) This is the highest of the eighteen trekkers peaks in 
Nepal, and a place where you can get views of five 8000-meter peaks.  You 
have seen slides of Lukla, but probably have not seen slides of the Hinku 
valley.  Peaks, snow, and rivers are expected, but I'll throw in flowers 
at no xtra cost!  

(map of location in original)

Nepal's Mera Peak

NEPAL, sandwiched between India and China, is only half as large as 
Colorado by area, but being situated along the highest points of the 
Himalayan range, is twice as tall.  

The country is a mecca for mountain scenery, trekking and climbing.  Of 
the countless possibilities, the Nepal Mountineering Association has 
designated 104 expedition peaks and 18 "trekkers peaks." Mera Peak (6476 
meters/21,247 feet) is the highest of the trekkers peaks and has been a 
trek we've been considering for several years.  

Located in the Khumbu Himal, the peak offers spectacular mountain scenery, 
including views of five 8OOO- meter peaks.  This October, Dean Lancaster, 
Norm Henderson, Kris and John Wallack (Colorado Mountain Club members) 
joined up with Warren Storkman, Steve Eckert, Andy Skumanich and Elaine 
Holland (Peak Climbing Section members) to trek up the Hinku Valley and 
climb Mera.  

This was Warren's eighth trek in Nepal and so we used the Kathmandu-based 
company Nepal Mountaineering Himal Treks Ltd.  that he had used 
successfully in the past.  It turned out to be an excellent choice, as we 
had experienced climbing Sherpas as well as a great support team for the 
trek.  animals.  

After one heck of a long series of flights, we found ourselves in 
80-degree fall weather of Kathmandu.  We spent a couple days there while 
the trekking company arranged our trekking and climbing permits.  That 
gave us a chance to visit Bodnath, a Buddhist stupa, Pashupatinath, a 
Hindu temple on the holy Bagmati River, and the Durbar Square of 

The trek started with a 50-minute flight in a twin-engine Otter to the 
short gravel landing strip at Lukla.  This village, at 9200 feet, is the 
starting point for all the Everest area treks and has obviously prospered 
in the past few years.  It has all the new building and bustle that I 
imagine in the frontier towns of the old west.  Lukla lies high on the 
shoulder of the Dudh Kosi river valley, while Mera Peak is situated at the 
end of the Hinku valley, one drainage to the east of the Dudh Kosi.  
Rather than cross the l5,000-foot pass separating the two valleys 
immediately, we planned a side trip to Namche Bazaar, heart of the Sherpa 
culture, at 12,000 feet for acclimatization and views of Everest, Lhotse 
and Ama Dablam.  

After the four-day sojourn, we started again from Lukla but this time to 
the east to cross the Sebuk Danda (danda = ridge).  On the way up, we 
camped in a small clearing in the fir and rhododendron forest called 
Chutanga (11,300 feet).  Over the 15,OOO-foot Zatrwa La (la = pass), we 
camped above timberline on a on a relatively flat meadow called Tuli Karka 
14,436 feet).  Two days of hiking took us down through forested valley and 
back up above timberline again to Tangnag (14,291 feet).  This camp was 
surrounded by glaciated 20,000-foot peaks.  There were groups from 
Australia, Belgium, England and Canada.  

The Hinku valley was not quite the remote place described in O'Connor's 
1988 guide.  The next three days took us to Dig Karka, Kare, and finally 
to base camp at Mera La (17,800 feet).  This was a snow camp on a glacial 
shelf that had great views west to the Charpati Himal.  From Mera La we 
could see the Mera Glacier ramping up the 3600 feet to the summit.  

The glacier waIk up to high camp (19,000 feet) made for a short day and 
allowed us to enjoy the views and the warmth of the rocky campsite.  While 
the valley was covered in the daily cold gray fog, we sat in full sunlight 
on a patch of rock in a sea of glacier.  Our summit day was mild and 
clear.  The entire climb was on low angle snow/glacier.  The difficulty 
was in breathing, not in any technical climbing.  

We summited along with an Australian party and an English party.  It 
seemed almost like au alpine summit with the diverse groups and prayer 
flag-laden wands.  The views from the top were spectacular.  We could see 
Cho Oyu, Everest, I,hotse, Makalu and in the distance Kanchenjunga.  

The trek took us 20 days from Kathmandu to Kathmandn.  We had a couple of 
extra days built in to the 22- day plan to allow for bad weather, but 
didn't need the extra days.  Four of us used the extra time to visit the 
Chitwan Jungle after the trek.  

References: By far the best resource is The Trekking Peaks of Nepal by 
Bill O'Connor The best map of the area is Sorong/Hinku 1:5OOOO, Schneider 

- John Wallack
  reprinted from Thin Air, the newsletter of the (Colorado Mountain Club)

Yosemite to start charging for mail-in wilderness permits

Reserving a Yosemite National Park wilderness permit by mail will cost $3 
per person as of March 1, the park announced recently.  Obtaining a permit 
in person on a first-come first-served basis will remain free.  

To reserve a permit, write a letter postmarked March 1 or later (letters 
postmarked exactly March 1 have the best chance), stating the dates you 
plan to enter and exit the wilderness, the specific trailheads where you 
plan to start and end your trip, principal destination, number of people 
in group and number of stock or pack animals.  

Include a check for $3 per person made payable to the Yosemite 
Association.  Or you can include your credit card number and an expiration 


February 11
1,849 feet, Class 1
Leader Bob Suzuki (408) 259-0772

Enjoy a 17-mile loop in this beautiful East Bay State Park.  This will be 
co-listed with the Day Hikiug Section and is classified 4E (4-5000 feet 
elevation gain).  Heavy rain cancels.  Carpool time: 7 a.m.  Carpool
location: No host, at Cubberly High (Middlefield and Montrose) in Palo 
Alto.  Meeting time at trailhead: 8 a.m.  Trailhead location: Rock City, 
near South Gate.  

Feb. 18-20
9,983 feet, Class 2
Leader: Palmer Dyal (415) 604-6545 (w) (415) 941-5321 (h)
Co-leader: wanted

This will be a moderately paced, three-mile snowshoe trip to climb a 
relatively easy peak in the Desolation Wilderness area southwest of Lake 
Tahoe.  The elevation gain is about 1,000 feet per mile and we plan to 
camp at tree line.  By using three days we will have time to build snow 
caves and view the marvelous scenery.  This will be a good trip for 
beginning winter climbers.  

February 26
Leaders: Steve Eckert
(415) 508-0500
e-mail: eckert@netcom.com
Kelly Maas (408) 279-2054
e-mail: maas@idtinc.com.

The Killer Coe Hike rides again!  Join the Day Hiking and the Peak 
Climbing Sections for this fast and steep trip up Mt.  Sizer (3216 feet) 
and as many other steep hills as we can cram into one day.  Our scenic 
route includes rock hopping down a stream that may be full this year, but 
avoids The Narrows by climbing Mahoney Ridge.  Expect about a 4F trip (20 
miles, 6000 feet) with possible adjustments for weather.  Carp001 at 
Middlefield and Montrose in Palo Alto 7 a.m., or meet at the Henry Coe 
park headquarters at 8:15 a.m.  

March 5
Warren Storkman (415) 493-8959
Steve Eckert (415) 508-0500
c-mail: cckert@nctcom.com

Mt.  Hamilton (4213 feet), Copemicus Peak (4360 feet) and the high point 
of Grant Ranch (3000 feet).  Join the DayHiking and the Peak Climbing 
Sections for this permitted cross country route up peaks o n private land.  
As an entire loop, this trip is a SF (24 miles, 5200 feet), but those with 
less of an urge to bum calories can skip the northern loop and return to 
the cars after the high peaks.  Carpool at Middlefield and Montrose in 
Palo Alto 7: 15 a.m., or meet at the Grant Ranch parking fee booth at 8 

March 11-12
Leaders: Vreni and Greg Rau (510) 582-5578

On Saturday we'll ski in the vicinity of Grover Hot Springs, so bring your 
swimsuits!  On Sunday we'll attempt Markleevillc Peak or Red Lake Peak.  
This trip is for intermediate skiers.  Co-listed with the Bay Chapter Ski 
Touring section.  

Friday night, March 17 to Sunday, March 19
Leader: Bob Suzuki

This is the fourth annual skinny ski outing at the Apres Ski Lodge, Kings 
Beach, North Lake Tahoe.  You are also responsible for your own activities 
on Saturday and Sunday.  I plan on telemarking at Mt.  Rose.  Space is 
limited so sign-up now!!  Cost: $45 for two nights lodging, two breafasts, 
two lunches and one supper plus $10 extra/person/weekend for semiprivate 
room, if available.  Also $10 for non-members of the Sierra Club.  
Non-refundable unless someone replaces you.  One house chore required per 
weekend.  Send check made out to Ron Lingelbach wit: Self addressed 
stamped long envelope; home and work telephone; driver/rider status; # of 
passengers; time and place of departure to: 

Ron Lingelbach
1492 Pine Grove Way
San Jose Ca, 95129
408/253-8036 (h) at 9-10 p.m.
e-mail: linge@convex.com

Ahoy cybersurfers Sierra Club now on the Internet 

Want to debate the Sierra Club's grazing-rights policy but can't face 
another long meeting?  Too busy to compose a well-reasoned (and correctly 
spelled) letter to the Loma Prietan If you're on the Internet, there's 
hope.  Aaron Schuman calls your attention to a new Usenet group, 
alt.org.sierra-club.  It's a brand new unmoderated electronic forum 
devoted to discussion of issues concerning members of the Sierra Club.  
Happy cybersurfing.  


Apologies to anyone who ended up at the Pacific Mountaineer on the wrong 
night because of the editor's bonehead mistake in last month's Scree.  

Apologies, also, to George Van Gorden for leaving off the date of his 
Junipero Serra trip.  And to Noreen Ford for getting her phone number 
wrong in my own damn trip listing.  

Spring/summer planning meeting

It's time for all leaders and prospective leadors to get their summer 
trips planned and on the PCS trip schedule.  Permit applications must be 
postmarked March 1 for the best chance of obtaining permits.  

There will be a trip planning meeting as detailed below to establish a PCS 
summer trip schedule.  All leaders and prospective leaders are encouraged 
to attend.  Free pizza will be provided.  Bring your own beverages.  

Date: Tuesday, Feb 1 1995
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: The Magliocco's
15944 Longwood Drive
Los Gatos CA 95032
(408) 358-1168

Bring: List of trips you would like to lead. Your the 
own beverage. 

Directions: If heading south on Highway 17, exit at Lark Avenue and cross 
back over the freeway to Los Gatos Blvd.  If taking Highway 85, exit at 
Los Gatos Blvd/Bascom Ave.  and head south.  After passing Lark Ave while 
on Los Gaots Blvd., Los Gatos-Almaden Road is third traffic signal.  While 
on Los Gatos-Almaden Road, there will be a black 35 mile-per-hour sign 
with white numbers about 25 feet before you get to Longwood Drive.  When 
you see the sign, slow down quickly.  It is easy to drive right past the 
street.  Go about O.1 miles down Longwood Drive to get to the house.  

(a map of the location was in the original)

A journey to a galaxy far, far away

I PREFR THE outdoors.  That's the foundation on which my climbing 
interests are based.  Hence my lack of enthusiasm for climbing gyms.  
Friends have even gotten the impression that I thoroughly disapprove of 
gyms and would never go near one.  The truth is that I've been meaning to 
try one out-it's just been low on my priority list.  

Recently the opportunity presented itself.  When a major storm changed our 
ice climbing trip to a ski trip theu canceled it altogether, I had a 
choice: Either climb indoors or plant myself on my couch and watch the 
Niners slaughter some Bears.  My aversion to animal cruelty and my desire 
to explore strange new worlds and new civilizations led me to Planet 
Granite in Santa Clara.  My belay slave on this stormy afternoon would be 
the infamous Swedish climber, Tim Hult.  

Let me start by saying that the experience was positive.  Also, that I 
have no other climbing gym experiences against which to compare it.  The 
only requirement, beyond forkiug over $13 for the day, is to show that you 
can belay and tie in.  Sounds easy enough, but both Tim and I required 
modifications to our belaying techniques.  I wonder how many belayers are 
diligent about never taking their brake hand off the rope.  We took ours 
off each time we fed rope.  

As KOME played on the speak ers, we looked around.  The far corner houses 
some dumbbells, a rowing machine, and about five other weight machines 
Next to that is the bouldering area.  Except for one relatively vertical 
wall, it's all slightly to radically overhanging.  This is unfortunate 
since the gravity on Planet Granite is the same as back on Earth.  

Our first destination, since it occupied most of our field of view, was 
the roped climbing area.  We were pleased to find the area uncrowded, 
unlike most of Yosemite Valley.  And unlike Earth, the surface of Planet 
Granite is covered with waste rubber from a Teva factory.  After tripping 
over this stuff a few times we were eager for the security of vertical 
"rock." Security is indeed the case, as everything was set up for top 
roping when we were there - no lead climbing.  The ropes are in place and 
ready to go.  Just walk up, the climber ties in, the belayer clips in, and 
you're off.  Planet Granite uses the Grigri, which is a very nice nice 
belay device that I'd never used before.  It's idiot-proof, which made it 
perfect for us.  

The "rock," I'm pleased to report, appears to be state-of-the-art or close 
to it.  Not quite like on Earth, but better than we had expected.  At 
least the structures don't look like the angled plywood found at most 
gyms.  Some of the rock is up against the walls, but there are also 
several free-standing structures.  There's even an arch bridging two of 
them, as well as a couple of cracks.

We scanned the route descriptions at the base of each rock and found a 5.7 
for our warm-up.  Like most of the climbs we did, it was misrated.  They 
must use fuzzy logic to rate routes on Planet Granite.  Another 
observation is that the rock is more vertical than what I'm used to.  This 
meant that two hours of leisurely climbing left us so pumped that we 
couldn't hang onto much of anything.  Also, the climbs are much shorter 
than most climbs on Earth -- about 25 feet at most.  This made the easier 
climbs very boring, but was a good thing when we were struggling up 
something really heinous.  It was also a good match for our short 
attention spans.  

A unique aspect of climbing at this place is that one does not have much 
need for footwork.  Or climbing shoes, for that matter.  The same holds 
that our hands struggled to grasp made for bomber foot holds.  That's very 
different from most climbing I've done.  

In the end we had a lot of fun, and intend to return soon.  It's a great 
way to get or stay in shape if the weather back on Earth prevents you from 
getting out.  But once the rain stops and the days get longer, I'm headed 
outside again.  

One last warning.  If you haven't already gotten the message, it's this: 
Gym climbing is not the same as climbing on real rock.  Captain Kirk found 
this out while free-soloing in Yosemite.  Some of the physical aspects of 
the climbing are different, hut the most importaut differences are mental.  
On Grauite and other planets like it, almost nothing can go wrong There is 
no consequence to a fall.  The climber and belayer can always hear one 
another.  There is no rappelling, anchor setting, and no decision- making 
required.  There is no expo- sure.  Whether this is good or bad is a 
matter of personal taste.  What's important is that anyone who begins 
their climbing career in such a place should be as cautious as any 
neophyte when venturing onto real rock for the first several times.  Go 
with someone who's experienced on Earth rock, and be careful.  

- Kelly Maas


Private trips are not insured, sponsored or supervised by the Sierra club 
or the PCS.  They are listed here as a courtesy to the organizers because 
they may be of interest to PCS climbers.  

February 18-21
14,000 ft., Class 3 snow climb
Organizer George Van Gorden 408) 779-2320

Give yourself a winter vacation.  Get away from all the stress and hassle 
of work and family life and get into the stress and hassle and trepidation 
of winter climbing instead.  You'll be glad to get back to the office.  
This climb is a moderately serious undertaking and winter camping 
experience is required; some experience with ice axe and crampons is 
desirable.  Snowshoes will be necessary on the approach.  If the weather 
is too crazy, we will climb a lesser mountain in the area: Mt.  Inyo, east 
of Lone Pine, or Telescope Peak, west of Death Valley.  

February 18-20
14,162 ft. Class 3
Organizer: Tim Hult (408) 970-0760

This President's Weekend trip, to Shasta's Sargent's Ridge, is for 
experienced alpine climbers - not those who think it might be "fun" to 
"try" this landmark peak.  To qualify, you must have snow camping and 
snow/ice climbing skills, plus all the proper gear necessary to stay alive 
at -10 degrees in gale force winds at 14,000 feet.  We will be using snow 
shoes / skis to access the ridge, so proficiency with either of these is a 
must.  Participants should be flexible in their planning as the exact date 
will depend on snow conditions, group flexibility and the weather.  This 
climb is the perfect "warmup" for Denali or the Himalayas.  

March 5-6
Organizer: Eugene Miya (415) 961-6772 (w)

This is a skiing and snow camping trip to a significant but easily reached 
peak in the Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe.  It is being organized 
with the ski touring section.  Beginning snow campers welcome.  

March 18-19
14,162 ft, Class 3+
Green Butte Ridge
Organizer: Kai Wiedman (415) 347-5234

The symmetry of the Green Butte Ridge has attracted mountaineers for 
years.  It soars skyward to meet Sargents Ridge just below Thumb Rock.  
The Green Butte can be a quick and safe winter approach to the upper 
reaches of Sargents.  Come join us for this airy, challenging and scenic 
climb.  Participants should be in good condition, for our summit day will 
gain 4,700 feet.  


Warren Storkman and Steve Eckert will be doing Three Sisters
as a day hike, followed by Spanish
Mtn and Tehipite Dome as an
overnight backpack on May 19-21.
The Friday day hike is optional, but
visits a seldom-climbed area. All three
peaks are on the SPS list, and all are
Class 1 except a short portion of
Tehipite that is Class 3. Mark your
calendars and watch Scree for more


The Fourth of July Weekend is usually crowded, but this year Warren 
Storkman and Steve Eckert will be taking you to the most remote place in 
the Sierra: Over Hell-For-Sure Pass, across the Ionian Basin, down the 
Enchanted Gorge, over the Black Divide, and exiting over Bishop Pass.  
This one-way crossing goes past many desirable peaks, but if you don't 
have an entire week, join us for a three-day climb of Mt Goddard and you 
can make it back to work on Tuesday!  We will probably hire mules to ferry 
food up to Martha Lake, so pack weight will be less of a problem.  Mark 
your calendars and watch Scree for more information.  


WILL TRADE: Used black and purple pile pants (med.) for large size.  Also 
red "CB Thermotech" lined ski pants (size 32) for larger sized ski pants 
or for large breathable/water-proof type rain pants.  Jim Schollard, (408) 

FOR SALE: Moonstone Polaris Mummy Bag (0 degrees, 6-foot long, left 
zipper) polarguard fill.  Excellent condition!  Make offer.  Jim 
Schollard, (408) 4394708.  

PARTNER(S) WANTED: For African journey.  Photo safari/camping/climb 
Kilimanjaro.  Sometime this spring/ early summer.  Interested?  Phone Tim 
Hult (408) 970-0760 

FOR SALE: REI Mountain Hut tent.  Three-season dome with room for three 
adults.  Weight: 7.5 pounds.  Getting on in years but still has a few good 
seasons left.  Perfect for families.  $35.  John Flinn h: (415) 968-2050, 
w: (415) 777-8705.  e: jflirm@aol.com.  

FOR SALE: "New" Five Tennies, size 10, excellent condition.  Only worn for 
about three hours (when I discovered they were too small!).  Paid $80, 
will entertain any reasonable offer.  Jim Curl w: (408)452-6557, h: 


        Debbie Benham
        1722 Villa St. #2
        Mountain View, CA 94041
        (415) 964-0558 (h)

        Paul Magliocco
        15944 Longwood Dr.
        Los Gatos, CA 95032
        (408) 358- 1168 (h)
        e-mail: pmag@ix.netcom.com
        Phyllis Olrich
        750 Homer Ave.
        Palo Alto, CA 94301-2907
        (415) 322-0323 (h)
        (415) 7251.541 (w)
        e-mail: PhyjlisO@forsythe.stanford.edu

        John Flinn
        133 Promethean Way
        Mountain View, CA 94043
        (415) 968-2050 (h)
        (415) 777-8705 (w)
        e-mail: jnflinn@?aol.com

Scree is the monthly journal of the Peak Climbing Section of the Sierra 
Club.  Loma Prieta chapter.  Subscriptions are $10 per year.  Checks 
payable to the PCS, should be mailed to the treasurer, Phyllis Olrich.  To 
ensure an uninterrupted subscription, renewal checks must be received no 
later than the last Tuesday of the expiration month.  

For change of address, contact Paul Vlasveld 789 Daffodil Way, San Jose, 
CA 95117; (408) 247-6472 (h), (408) 257-7910 x3613(w) 

PCS meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month.  See Scree for 
location and program information.  

The following trip classifications are to assist you in choosing trips for which you
are qualified. No simple rating system can anticipate all possible conditions

        Class 1: Walking on a trail.
        Class 2: Walking cross-country, using hands for balance.
        Class 3: Requires use of hands for climbing. A rope may be used occasionally.
        Class 4: Requires rope belays.
        Class 5: Technical rock climbing.

Deadline for March issue: Wednesday, March 1

Peak Climbing Section
789 Daffodil Way
San Jose, CA 95217
First Class Mail

"Vy can't ve chust climb?" -- John Salathe