Home | Scree | Back Issues

Scree for August, 1996

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This is the EScree - the Electronic version of the Scree newsletter from
the Peak Climbing Section of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club.
It should be viewed or printed with a fixed-pitch font such as Courier.
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     This publication may not be posted on any public news group.
                     August, 1996  Vol. 30, No. 8
    Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 8/25/96.
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Next meeting (PCS meetings are the second tuesday of each month)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:    Tuesday, August 13
Time:    7:30 pm
Program: It's a Mystery to the Editor!

Location: The home of Marj Ottenberg and Bob
Wallace: From I-280 take De Anza (Saratoga-
Sunnyvale Road) toward Saratoga. Turn right at Pierce
Road and go 0.3 miles. When Pierce bends left, go right
onto Foothill Lane (between giant trees). It's the fourth
house on the left, with the Winter Solstice Festival (aka
"Christmas") lights and a circular driveway. Bring a
sweater, and since there isn't much street parking,
please carpool. Lost? Call 408-867-4576

(scanned map is on the PCS Web Site, see the PostScript version of EScree)


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PCS Financial Report
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is the second quarter financial report for the Peak
Climbing Section.

- Jim Ramaker, PCS Treasurer

Loma Prieta Chapter -- Peak Climbing
Section
Quarterly Financial Report 4/1/96 - 7/1/96

Checkbook balance 4/01/96                    $1522

Expenses
   Print & mail Apr  newsletter      139
   Print & mail May  newsletter      200
   Print & mail June newsletter       99
   June slide show                    20
   Total expenses 4/01-7/01                    458

Income
   Apr  newsletter subscriptions     190
   May  newsletter subscriptions     108
   June newsletter subscriptions     180
   Total income 4/01-7/01                      478

Checkbook balance 7/01/96                    $1542


Editor's Note: It appears that even with reduced subscription fees
and frequent 5-sheet issues of Scree, we are still running a small
surplus in income. The Scree will return to 4 sheets when and if the
budget requires it (as per the Treasurer's request), or when we run
out of material (unlikely given the recent proliferation of writers
waiting in the queue to be published).


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Madcap Marmots
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This morning on the Environment Show on the radio, there was
a piece on marmots, specifically those at Mineral King in
Sequoia National Park. They were talking about their propensity
to enter into the motor area of a car from underneath and
proceed to eat the various hoses and other parts of a car.

They have been able to ascertain that it is mostly young females
who do this when they are pregnant. Consistently, they prefer
older cars and particularly those that have been near an ocean.
Apparently they are looking for salt and other minerals and there
is more of a buildup on older cars.

Also, the marmots, after breaking the radiator hose and spilling
the anti-freeze on the ground, have been observed getting
together for happy hour to lap up the antifreeze off the ground.
What would kill other animals seems to only give marmots an
ethanol high because they have such tough systems. GET
THIS....they said their systems were so tough that it takes more
sedative to put a marmot under than it does a BEAR!!!

That is one tough little cookie!

- Drusha L. Mayhue , or if you have
access to another email account (yours or a friend's) you can send a
message to  with your mailing address so they can
send you a disk.

- Steve Eckert


*** Avocet Answer & Thanks

So many people replied to my Avocet question (both on and off
the list), that I thought it would be more efficient to say thanks
to everyone via a broadcast rather than reply individually! Other
people have experienced the same flakiness that I have. The
battery was the culprit in all cases except possibly one, which
could have been due to taking the watch from a cold ski slope
into a hot spa very quickly. Given that this is a common
problem, and that many of us have Avocets, I thought that I'd
reprint the replacement procedure.

I used a #0 Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws on the
back cover. The battery is a lithium type "CR-2032". I found a
replacement at my local Radio Shack for $2.79. I then replaced
the battery and pressed the reset button. After this is done, you
need to calibrate the barometer part by either setting it to a
known elevation or a known sea level barometric pressure (you
also need to reset the clock, date, alarm, altitude, etc.). As far as
I can tell, this calibration effects the barometer part only, not the
altitude part. As I only use the barometer part for barometric
changes, not absolute pressure, it is IMHO not imperative that
this gets calibrated to the utmost precision. Someone can correct
me if I'm wrong.

I also heard horror stories of dealing with Avocet. Their price for
battery replacement has gone up from $5 to $10. Plus, it takes
weeks for the thing to come back. I'd recommend the above
procedure, or take it to a local watch repair shop. They can do it
for you on the spot, except for the calibration part. Once again,
thanks to everyone who replied.

- Tom Randel 


*** Orizaba and/or Itza - Request for Partners

I am not a PCS member, but have climbed with many of the
members this summer. I would like to recruit partners for a trip
to Mexico City. I hope to travel to Mexico City during the first
two weeks in November, and climb Orizaba and/or Itza. I plan a
9-day trip, scheduled in such a way as to consume one week's
vacation from work. Please call 408-749-2707 for info.

- John Zazzara


*** Omega Pacific Inc. Biner Recall

"Omega Pacific has discovered that some Omega Pacific Standard
Symmetrical Non-Locking "D" carabiners with Lot #'s OG, OH and
OI may not have been properly riveted at the hinge end of the gate.
These carabiners were manufactured in October and November 1995
prior to Omega Pacific's move to its new facility.

"In the interest of safety, if you purchased ANY Omega Pacific
Standard Symmetrical Non-Locking "D" after September 1,
1995, please inspect the rivet at the pivot end of the gate by
pushing in the rivet. If there is noticeable movement,
IMMEDIATELY RETURN the carabiner to Omega Pacific for
replacement at the following address:

Omega Pacific Inc., PO Box 1780, Airway Heights, WA 99001

"You may also return a "suspect" carabiner for inspection. Upon
receipt, Omega Pacific will inspect the carabiner for the above
condition. If it exists, we will replace the carabiner. If it does
not, we will return your carabiner. It is Omega Pacific's quality
control process to individually inspect all our carabiners and we
apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause.

"However, Omega Pacific strongly recommends that you always
inspect ALL of your gear for structural and functional defects
prior to each use. If you have any questions, please contact
Omega Pacific at (509) 244-0949."

- Cose Verde , from rec.climbing


*** Svea Mating Season

I am still using a Svea after 20 years. Best thing about it is its
multi-function capability. On a June canoe trip into Algonquin
Park (Northern Ontario), we arrived at our campsite and started
the Svea to boil water for tea. The Svea makes a rhythmic
"Whump"... "Whump"... "Whump" sound until the tank heats
up. One of my companions noticed that a similar "Whump"...
"Whump"... "Whump" sound was emanating from several points
of the compass in the underbrush around us. We were
surrounded by six or seven ruffed-grouse in the bushes that were
talking to, and advancing on, the Svea. Apparently it was mating
season.

- SJ Estey 


*** Wanted: Suggestions for 1-Week Sierra Tour

I am interested in suggestions for doing a one week peak
climbing tour in the Sierras at the end of August. The level
should include up to scrambling with only occasional need for a
rope. I still have to get permits so if this rules out the most
popular routes, keep that in mind. I was thinking of possibilities
including starting from near Tioga pass or further south. We will
probably have to return to the start point but if you know of any
exceptional one way trips requiring two cars that might also
work. Thanks very much,

- John Hossack 


*** Fighting Fire With Fire

In May, Valentin Grimaldo, 40, who was bitten by a poisonous
coral snake near Encino, Tex., survived by biting the snake's
head off, slitting its body lengthwise, and using the skin for a
tourniquet until help arrived. [McAllen Monitor, 5-11-96]


*** Non-Native Plant Eradication

As an NPS Resource Management Volunteer (Yosemite National
Park) and a Sierra Club/Loma Prieta member, I'm recruiting
volunteers for National Park Service in Yosemite to do non-native
plant eradication (primarily bull thistle & mullein). The season
begins late June and ends in early September. You can volunteer for
one to several days at a time, weekdays and some weekends. Work
parties are led by me and one other NPS volunteer. Participants are
provided entrance to Yosemite & shared camping space for the time
they are volunteering. Participants are on their own for meals,
showers, camping gear, etc. Volunteers must be in very good
physical condition, and for some (not all) of the work sites must be
experienced cross-country hikers (day hikes only, no backpacking). If
you are interested in having more info about this opportunity to help
improve Yosemite's ecological integrity, send email to
 or send an SASE to: Georgia Stigall-Volunteers,
17287 Skyline Blvd Box 102, Woodside, CA 94062.

- Georgia Stigall


*** Aldo Leopold, from "A Sand County Almanac"

"At daybreak, I am the sole owner of all the acres I can walk over. It
is not only boundaries that disappear, but also the thought of being
bounded. Expanses unknown to deed or map are known to every
dawn, and solitude, supposed no longer to exist in my county,
extends on every hand as far as the dew can reach."

- submitted by Butch Suits


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Official (PCS) Trips
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PCS trips must be submitted through the Scheduler (see
back cover for details). Trips not submitted to the
Scheduler will be listed as PRIVATE, without recourse.


*** Red and White
Peaks:    Red and White (12,850')    class 2-3
Dates:    August 17-18    Sat-Sun
Leader:    Chris MacIntosh    415-325-7841 chrism@CLBooks.com

A pleasant hike in to camp at scenic McGee Lakes, and an even
more scenic and enjoyable climb of this peak will make for a good
2 day weekend. Room for 8. Send $3 (permit fee) and your
climbing/backpacking resume (if not known to leader) to confirm
your place: Box 802, Menlo Park, CA 94026.


*** Royce & Merriam With Roger & Bob
Peaks: Royce Peak (13,253') Merriam (13,077')    class 2
Maps:    Mt. Abbot & Mt. Tom 15' topos
Dates:    Aug 24-25    Sat-Sun
Leader:    Roger Crawley    H: 415-321-8602
Co-Leader:    Bob Suzuki    W: 510-657-7555 (>8pm) H: 408-259-0772

We will be combining our separately permitted climbs,
starting from the Pine Creek Pass trailhead near Bishop,
so we hope to assemble a fun, lively group of participants.
We climb 4000' to the top - about 11,200' - and camp. On
Sunday we climb the southeast ridge to the summit of
Royce. Climbing Merriam Peak will be an available option
for Sunday. Permits for 14.


*** Marion Bury
Peak:    Marion 12,207'    class 2
Dates:    Aug 31 - Sep 2    Sat-Mon
Leader:    Chris Yager    408-243-3026

A real butt-kicker to get this in three days. Involves 5600'
gain to the pass, then 10 miles to the lake. If we have time
after Marion, we'll do some other peaks in the area.


*** Deerhorn
Peak:    Deerhorn 13265'    class 3
Dates:    Aug 31 - Sep 2
Leader:    Peter Maxwell     408-737-9770
Co-leader:     Cecil Magliocco    408-358-1168

We will hike in over Kearsage Pass, to beautiful Vidette
Meadow, from where we'll go cross country up Vidette
Creek until we find a good camping site nearer Deerhorn.
Secor's guide states "this fine-looking peak has some
classic routes, none of which are trivial".

>From camp we will climb the Northeast Buttress, which
leads to the lower summit, traverse to the saddle between
the two peaks (which involves some fairly exposed moves)
and then find a way up to the higher summit. This should
be great Class 3 climbing, but is not for the faint-of-heart
because of the exposure. There will be a $3 permit fee
and a $10 appearance bond, refundable at the trailhead.

The leader will be out of town until August 13 - interested
people phoning before that data can leave a message.


*** Bird Song Day Hike
Peak:    Vogelsang (11,400')    class 2
Date:    Sep 13    Sat
Maps:    Tuolomne Meadows 15' quad Vogelsang Peak 7.5' quad
Leader:    Aaron Schuman    (no RSVP)

We'll hike on trail to Tuolomne Pass (10000'), and climb to
the summit. 18 miles round trip. The Bird Song and
Conservation of Energy Day Hikes require no RSVP.
Campers at the PCS Tuolomne Meadows Group Camp
and other hikers just meet at the Tuolomne Campground
group site ready to hike at 7:00 a.m.


*** Conservation of Energy Day Hike
Peak:    Mount Gibbs (12,800')    class 2
Date:    Sep 14    Sun
Map:    Mono Craters 15' quad
Leader:    Aaron Schuman    (no RSVP)

>From Dana Meadows (9600'), we'll hike on trail to Mono Pass
(10600'), The Bird Song and Conservation of Energy Day Hikes
require no RSVP. Campers at the PCS Tuolomne Meadows
Group Camp and other hikers just meet for a carpool to the
trailhead from the Tuolomne Campground group site at 7:00 a.m.

Note: Gibbs proposed three laws of thermodynamics
    1. Conservation of Energy
    2. Increasing Entropy
    3. Unattainable Absolute Zero
This trip name may now mean something even to the readers
who slept through physics class in pursuit of Law #3.


*** Hiske and ?
Peaks:    Mt Fiske 13,524', Mt Huxley 13,117'    class 2-3
Dates:    Sep 14-15    Sat-Sun
Leader:    Chris Yager    408-243-3026

Approach via Haeckle-Wallace Pass or Echo Col, traverse
and descend when necessary.


*** Muriel Peak
Peak:    Muriel (12,942'), Goethe (13,240')    class 3
Dates:    Sept 14-16    Sat-Mon
Leader:    Roger Crawley    415-321-8602
Co-Leader:    Bill Kirkpatrick

This is the Glacier Divide between Humphrey's Basin and
Darwin Canyon. From the North Lake trailhead we go up
2000' over Piute Pass and camp at Muriel Lake (11,336').
Sunday we take the class 2 knapsack pass up through the
keyhole (12,560') then up the southeast ridge to the summit of
Muriel Peak. Next we drop down to Alpine Col (12,320') and
climb the class 3 NE ridge on Mount Goethe. Permit for 8.


*** Annual Mt Clark Pilgrimage
Peak:    Mt Clark (11,522'), Quartzite (10,440')    class 3
Map:    Merced Peak 15' topo
Date:    Sep 21    Sat
Leader:    Steve Eckert    415-508-0500 eckert@netcom.com

This is a 30-mile day hike with 8000' of gain and loss.
Storkman used to do this each year on his birthday, and has
asked me to pass on the route to those who are interested. It
is a one-way loop trip from Happy Isle in Yosemite Valley,
ascending through Little Yosemite and returning by Starr King.
The hiking is mostly trail or class 2, but the summit is both
challenging (may be skipped if you choose) and stunning.
Fast pace with few breaks, starting before dawn. We may be
able to get a campsite in Yosemite for Fri and Sat. Co-listed
with Day Hiking Section - come defend the honor of the PCS!


*** Langley
Peak:    Mt Langley (14,000')    class 2
Trailhead:    Cottonwood Lakes, near Lone Pine
Dates:    Oct 12-14    Sat-Mon
Contact:    George Van Gorden    408-779-2320

Beautiful area, the yellowing aspens, the meadow grass
not so verdant and riotous, the frenzy of the long summer
nights abating, a good time of the year. The trailhead is at
10,000' and the trail into Cottonwood Lakes is very good,
making this probalby the easiest fourteener in the state.
We will hike into our camp on Sat and climb the mountain
on Sun. It is possible to get back to your car and drive
back on Sun night, though you would get home rather late.


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Shasta: Response To Article
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Editor's Note: This article is related to the report filed by Bob
Gross last month. Responses or clarifications to articles will
normally be printed if they are not argumentative.

I'd like to comment on the article in the July Scree regarding the
'20th Annual Mt. Shasta Climb/Ski'. There was reference to 'a
nasty accident' wherein 'two innocent walkers' were knocked off
their feet. As one of those 'innocent walkers', I can comment
further. Dana and I had taken two relatively inexperienced
climbers with us for the Shasta climb. They both had had some
ice-ax practice, but by the time we reached the top of Red
Banks, it was clear that at least one (Kathy, a physician) was not
up to the climb. As Dana went on with Nancy to the summit, I
descended with Kathy. The slope was icy, but Kathy had
managed to get down the steepest part and appeared to be doing
fairly well.

At that point, a man slid past out of control, missing us by only a
few feet. Only a few minutes later we saw another man (the son
of the first) also sliding out of control, right at us. As we tried to
get out of his way, Kathy tripped and I had my legs whipped out
from under me. Despite a chest sling, Kathy lost her ax before
being able to effect an arrest. I managed to stop within about 25-
30 feet.

I proceeded down the slope, picking up gear from all three
sliders. (I could see that Kathy was being attended to.) All three
had lost their ice axes, along with miscellaneous other gear.
Kathy had slid the farthest, probably about 1000 feet, and had
come to rest close to a woman Forest Ranger. Kathy had
scrapped considerable skin off one arm (hence the blood referred
to in the article) and suffered considerable bruising, including
possible fractures of one elbow and ankle.

After some bandaging by the Ranger and some on-site recovery,
I assisted Kathy to Helen Lake in small increments. At Helen
Lake, Kathy rested until Dana and Nancy had returned - about
the time weather was beginning to turn nasty. Because of the
injuries, we decided to descend as soon as possible. The woman
Ranger volunteered to assist in dragging Kathy's pack as far as
the Sierra Club hut. It was still a slow (wet) descent, reaching
the cars just before dark.

We were met by Kathy's husband (also a doctor), who drove
Katy back to the Bay area that night, for immediate x-raying and
evaluation in the morning. On our return to the Bay area the
next day, Kathy had been evaluated and it was determined that
no bones were broken, and it was unlikely she would need a
skin graft (one of our early concerns). She was back to work in a
week and is now anxious to get back to the mountains (with a
little more preparation).

The main lesson to be learned is that Shasta (or any steep snow
mountain) can be dangerous to anyone without excellent skills
with an ice ax. An arrest on steep, fast ice, takes almost
instinctive reactions, which come only from lots of practice. Be
sure of the skill level of people you agree to take on a climb. We
tend to underestimate Shasta, because it has such a long run-out,
but a long tumbling fall can still be potentially serious.

- Bill Isherwood


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Stalwart 7 Successfully Summit
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

North Palisade is, according to Secor, the peak to climb in the
High Sierra, and on the July 4 weekend seven of us set out to do
it by the classic route - the U-notch. With 007 people, we had a
license to kill all thoughts of failure. The "magnificent seven"
were Debbie Benham, Brian Boyle, David Harris, Kelly Maas,
Peter Maxwell (organizer), Paul Scheidt and Joe Stephens.

Due to some people waiting at the wrong trailhead, we didn't
start hiking until 9:15 am. Progress was further slowed due to
Paul's suffering the aftereffects of eating bad food the day
before. Voracious mosquitoes were everywhere, requiring
copious amounts of bug juice.

Second Lake was as far as we got for lunch, and we didn't arrive
at Sam Mack Meadow until sufficiently late in the afternoon that
it didn't seem worthwhile trying to go higher. "Leader's
privilege" meant nothing on this trip. After having set up my
bivvy bag in what I thought was a very nice location, Kelly
shamed me into moving by using the argument that I'd claimed
one of the few tent sites. Suitably humbled, I found a spot
nestled among the rocks, but neither of us was aware of the
palatial ballroom that Joe found a short distance away. We were
above the worst of the mosquitoes, but there were still enough
around to require bug juice to repel them.

Friday morning saw us reasonably efficient, in that we were up
at 6 am and left camp at 7:30. From the meadow at 11040' we
hiked up to 12200', where we made camp on snow on the flat
top of the moraine about 50' up from the little lake where the
Palisade Glacier terminates. Were it not for the snow we would
have had a hard time trying to find flat spaces for the three tents,
since the ground was basically rocks. This was a campsite with a
view! We were surrounded by the Palisades, starting from
Gayley on the left and ending with Agassiz and Robinson on the
right. The luxury was added to by discovering a large pool of
water by a boulder in the middle of camp. This avoided the
necessity of having to melt snow.

We arrived around 9:30 am, and noted that already there was a
party of four climbing up the U-notch. More on this later. After
setting up camp, David, Kelly and Paul went off to climb Sill,
Joe (who claimed he was out of peak bagging mode now) and
Brian stayed at camp, and Debbie and I went out for a "stroll" to
the ridge between Gayley and Temple Crag.

In the Sill group, David appeared to have been shot out of a
cannon as Paul and Kelly lagged behind. At Glacier Notch they
met a gal named Kelly, whose friends were off climbing
Polemonium. The softening snow made the ascent of Sill's
northern snow field a real trudge, but Paul was miraculously
rejuvenated by the nearness to the summit. The traverse to Sill's
west ridge was the usual dicey affair, which was class 3 except
for one move that was proclaimed class 4. A short scramble then
put them on the summit at 1:00. One amusing register entry by
Reinhold Hardman told of obtaining the summit via a Tyrolean
Traverse from Mt. Alice. His elapsed time from the trailhead
was 1:38:43. David dropped the register down a crack, then
went in head first, up to his knees, to fish it out. Further register
reading indicated that this stunt had been performed previously!

By mid-afternoon those of us at camp were starting to wonder
why it was that no-one who went up the U-notch ever came
back. There was the original party of four we saw, and two more
guys who had come through our camp around 10 am. Eventually
these two did show up and turned up back at our camp around 5
pm. It turns out they were day hiking North Pal, having started
from the carpark at 6:30 am! They didn't have any ropes or
equipment with them, either. The other four finally appeared
around 8 pm, but didn't make it to our campsite until 11:15 pm!
They were shining their lights everywhere and talking, "Oh,
people are camped here".

Next morning we were up at 5 am, in temperatures just cold
enough to put a thin layer of ice on my bivvy sac. We eventually
left camp around 6:20 am, making the 1000' climb to the
bergschrund by 7:30. We were lucky to be able to step over it at
the far right hand side (one large step up onto a snow bank), so
one potentially really challenging task was easily accomplished.
>From there to the top of the couloir took us until 8:45, which wasn't
too bad. Much of this was in the shade, which was perfect for
energetic climbing, and it kept the snow in pristine, hard condition,
perfect for cramponing. We kept to the right hand side as there was
quite a lot of rockfall evidence on the left - some larger boulders had
fallen down, slid down the snow and leapt the bergschrund. Just
before quitting the snow for rock we encountered some ice, but it
wasn't enough to cause any problems. The final scramble up very
loose rock was definitely a concern, and it was just as well that we
had spread out a bit by then.

At this point, apparently most climbers descend the other side a little
to do the easier Clyde variation, but we were intent on doing the
classic chimney variation, which goes up two pitches of a 5.4 crack
(Roper calls this class 4, but it's definitely not). With seven of us
climbing, teamwork was essential, and we set up two ropes, one for
each pitch. These enabled people to be climbing in parallel and
really shortened the time required. Kelly led up the first pitch and
then belayed up Joe and Paul. Joe stayed to belay the rest up the first
pitch while Paul led up the second pitch, then belayed people up
there. We finished this grand exercise at 11:45 and were then faced
with exciting class 3 ridge scrambling to reach the summit by 12:30,
just in time for lunch.

After leaving the summit at 1:30, the descent was pretty quick,
rappelling down each pitch. Everyone but I had figure-8
descenders, and my method of pitons crossed over a carabiner
was met with amazement and polite scoffing. I had to explain
that when abseiling (one doesn't rappel in Australia) down
canyons into pools of water, one doesn't want to have to
disconnect the descender from the harness in order to unclip
from the rope - one slip and the descender disappears into the
murky depths. Once over the bergschrund it was possible to
glissade down the rest of the steep snow, which was in perfect
condition. It was then an easy downhill walk back to camp,
where the last of us arrived at 6:30.

Next morning, Joe was packed and ready to leave at 6:30 am,
the time the rest of us were waking up. David left before the rest
of us, accompanied by another person who had shared our
campsite with us. He agreed to carry both ropes for us on the
condition that we have lunch in Bishop regardless of the hour.

True to our promise, we all joined together for lunch at Sizzler,
followed by the most dangerous challenge - the drive home .
During the course of conversation it came out that Paul, like
myself, brews beer, so for much of the time we were exchanging
experiences, talking from one end of the table to the other.

- Peter Maxwell


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Unofficial (Private) Trips
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Private trips may be submitted directly to the Scree Editor,
but are not insured, sponsored, or supervised by the Sierra
Club. They are listed here because they may be of interest to
PCS members, not because they are endorsed by the PCS.


*** Western Divide Peaks
Peaks:    Table, Thunder, Jordan, etc.    13000+, class 3
Dates:    Aug 3-11 or Aug 10-18    Sat-Sun (week)
Contact:    Chris Yager    408-243-3026

Entry via Shepherd Pass, hook around the south side of
Table Mtn. Ice axe, crampons, rope required.


*** Darwin and Mendel
Peaks: Darwin (13831) Mendel (13710)     snow/rock, class 3- 4
Maps:    Mt. Goddard 15' topo, Mt. Darwin 7.5' topo
Dates:    Aug 16-18    Fri-Sun
Contact:    Bob Suzuki    W: 510-657-7555 (>8pm) H: 408-259-0772
Co-Contact:     Charles Schafer    W: 408-324-6003 H: 408-354-1545

This weekend will begin on Friday with a hike over Lamark
Col and into upper Darwin Canyon. Saturday we'll ascend
the Darwin Glacier and West Ridge route , traverse the
summit plateau and finally climb the class 4 pinnacle of
this mountain that Secor calls "the monarch of the
Evolution region." An optional Sunday climb of Mt. Mendel
will require an early start. Permit for 8.


*** Dana Day Hike
Peak:    Dana Couloir    technical snow
Date:    Sept 14    Sat
Contact:    George Van Gorden    408-779-2320

A long day's climb. Hard snow and possible ice. The
glacial basin is spectacular and as we near the top of hte
couloir the views of Mono Lake make the effort worthwhile.
We will put in protection: ice axe, crampons, and harness
required. A few ice screws could be handy. We should be
back to the cars by dark.

Call to sign up after August 21, and before 9pm.


*** Whorl Mountain
Peak:    Whorl Mtn (12,033')    class 4
Map:    Matterhorn peak 15' topo
Dates:    Sept 21-22    Sat-Sun
Contact:    Bob Suzuki    W: 510-657-7555 (>8pm) H: 408-259-0772
Co-Contact:    Debbie Bulger    H: 408-457-1036

Here's another opportunity for a challenging climb of this
picturesque peak in northeastern Yosemite. We'll begin
Saturday from Twin Lakes, hike over Horse Creek Pass and
setup camp just south of the pass. An early start Sunday will
allow us time to search for one of the class 4 chutes up
Whorl's glacial-carved east flank. A harness, rappel device
and prior experience with roped climbing will be required to
join this private outing. Limited to 8 climbers.


*** Toulumne Meadows Carcamp
Trip:    Car Camp in Toulumne Meadows
Dates:    Sept 14-15    Sat-Sun
Contact:    Cecil Magliocco    408-358-1168 cecilm@ix.netcom.com

Enjoy the meadows after Labor Day. Bring the family
along as we have a group campsite reservation. This
carcamp is coordinated with Aaron Schuman's Yosemite
climbs on the same weekend. A $5 non-refundable
reservation deposit is requested.


*** Tenaya Canyon Ascent
Trip:    Tenaya Canyon    class 3-4, maybe 5
Dates:    Oct 12-13    Sat-Sun
Contact:    David Harris    415-497-5571 harrisd@leland.stanford.edu
Co-Contact:    Bob Suzuki    510-657-7555 bsuzuki@aol.com

According to Secor, "This adventurous cross-country route
should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers;
many tourists are rescued from this canyon each year."
We will ascend Tenaya Canyon from Mirror Lake to
Tenaya Lake. Finding the optimal route is non-trivial, so
we will bring ropes and you should be a comfortable class
5 climber in the event we resort to brute force.


*** Yosemite Valley Carcamp
Trip:    Car Camp in Yosemite Valley
Dates:    Oct 12-13    Sat-Sun
Contact:    Cecil Magliocco    408-358-1168 cecilm@ix.netcom.com

Enjoy this fall in the valley. A group campsite is reserved
so non-climbers are welcome (of all ages). Co-leader
wanted to lead one dayhike. A $5 non-refundable
reservation deposit is requested.


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Palisades Report
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Weather was almost perfect in the Palisades over the holiday
weekend. Almost too warm! The sun was so hot on top of Mt
Gayley (13,500+) that David Erskine and I sought shade under
boulders to cool off. It must have been close to 80 degrees. On
some nights, snowfields around 12,000 feet did not freeze.
Mosquitoes were in abundance.

I recommend the third-class ridge from Glacier Notch highly. It's
a wonderful staircase of solid blocks just right of the ridgecrest,
with more exciting variations available on the crest itself. The
view of the Palisades from this outlier peak is incredible.
Bergshrunds were showing on the glacier, but I gathered from
other climbers that they were not difficult to cross. To get to the
Palisades Glacier, we used the big gully from 3rd Lake up
beside the north faces of Temple Crag and Gayley--scenic and
definitely a fast descent compared to Sam Mack Meadow.

Dave and I also climbed Moon Goddess arete on Temple Crag.
It's a spectacular climb with lots of exposure and sections of
great rock mixed with the occasional loose block. About 14
pitches, most about 5.6. We think we found the elusive traverse
around the Ibrium tower--the crux was a few moves of 5.7-5.8.

- Butch Suits


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Shasta: The Ridge From Hell
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Solo trip done on April 15th 96. (The title reference is to a PCS
trip report in the June '96 Scree). Standing on the edge of
Shasta's Sargents Ridge at about 11000 feet I remembered the
emailed trip report & Phyllis' words: ("laying down, toes digging
into the snow, winds over 80 MPH... it was the ridge from hell")
as the wind starting picking up to 40-50 MPH and was not
slowing the higher I got.

I fastened my ice-axe strap more securely to my wrist as I was
getting a little fearful about loosing it down the 45 degree slope
and making up my mind to turn around and descend as clearly
the wind, today as well owned this hellaciously windy ridge.
Thoughts of many debates as to whether or not to fasten the ice strap
to one's wrist crossed through my mind as well - at this point I knew
what was correct - as in my mountaineering courses - always tie in to
the ice axe! If you lose it "up here" one is in serious jeopardy! In
avalanche areas maybe not as you want to get rid of everything if you
are caught in one. (But I debate that also - if I am buried a pack may
come in handy as needed air space?)

Putting my gloves on after tightening my crampons and getting
water, I dropped a glove and tried to catch it and then proceeded
to do one of those funny balance dances with arms flailing in
circles, and the winds did not help one bit. Even in crampons,
Newton will not have any of his laws broken, and zip with the
next large gust of wind I headed face first in a in-glorious swan
dive down the fall-line of the slope towards the cliff 100 feet
away, my ice axe, still securely fastened to my wrist at this time,
did a 360 degree cartwheel next to my head as I fell, apparently
in time to the previous flailing of my arms.... I heard it
whooossh by my ear... and then .... whammp- it slammed pick
first 3" deep into the snow and ice!!

I then cartwheeled around hanging from it. Hanging, next to apparent
oblivion, from my ice axe strap, the ONLY thing saving me from
going over the edge. I guess you could say my ice-axe did a real, A+
"self-arrest". (yes, I did somehow catch that damn glove even in the
wind...) I got back into control & climbed up my ice-axe shaft and
then continued my descent to try another summit route up upon very
rubbery and shaky legs. I traversed and descended into the Gully
where- yes! the wind was just a breeze.

I think I will bronze that ice axe and put it over my fireplace.
Since then I have been very vertigo-ish and probably just plain
scared as hell. So this weekend (25-26th May 96) I went to the
Alpine Skills Institute of Truckee, Ca. for a refresher course in
rope work, high altitude juggling, balancing acts, and other
nominal circus stunts one can do on narrow ridges.

Their cure? Cure??!! Several class 4 vertical climb scrambles
and a short low class 5 top-rope climb!! Plus 4 longish pitches
up the 50 degree incline of the snow/ice side of Donner Peak!
Plus 30-traverses, kick-stepping up + down on a 45 deg slope to
practice (atone??) for my "lovely" slide down Shasta! Then- an
unroped summitting to "top" the trip off!

I think now without a doubt the way to go on any snow/ice over
30 degrees with exposure is to wear a harness and tie into the
ice-axe with a web strap. As once tied into the harness it is very
easy to change hands as needed without removing the strap-
especially useful in exposed windy areas- as one does their pied-
a-plat/piolet-ancre's/piolet-ramasse up the slope.

- Rich Calliger


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Diamond Head
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I climbed Diamond Head, the high point of a volcanic crater in
Hawaii, on Tuesday June 11th. After spending the morning
snorkeling, I convinced the tour driver to drop me at the crater
instead of at my hotel. The ascent from the crater floor was a
grueling 15 minutes and nearly 500 feet of elevation gain. The
guidebooks warn of 99 steps on the trail, a number exceeding
the number of switchbacks on the Whitney Trail.

As the entrance to the crater is on the east side and my hotel was
on the beach on the west side, I decided to attempt a cross-
country descent of western face instead of retracing my steps
down the trail. Ducking under a "Warning: Dangerous Cliffs"
railing at the top, I followed a narrow use trail around the crater
rim. The cliffs were nearly vertical and would have required a
75 foot rappel; as I left my rope at home I traversed along a class
2-3 route atop the cliffs in a clockwise direction. After about
half a mile, I found a class 3 descent of the Direct West Buttress
that was safe to do in sandals.

>From the base of the buttress, I worked my way back
counterclockwise on a narrow trail. Access to the street was blocked
by many houses, so I had to follow the trail, dodging cactus and other
sharp plants, until I finally reached a brush-choked dry stream bed
which led out through a back yard to the street. From the street, I
completed an epic 2.5 mile deathmarch back to my hotel, slowed by
the loose sand and scree on Waikiki beach and by the crowds of
scantily clad sunbathers I had to pass.

- David Harris


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mt Conness
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Over a 2 day weekend (13/14th July 1996), Scott Kreider,
Thomas Vu and I (Arun Mahajan) attempted Mt Conness in
Yosemite (12590 ft) by the class-2 route from the Young Lakes.

After about six and half hours of hiking from the Dog Lake
trailhead in Touloumne, we were at the lake (10500+ ft)
described in Secor. To get to this place, we had to hike an hour
and half north of the upper young lake. We decided to camp as
high as we could but still couldn't get rid of the mosquitoes. It
looked like rain and all the peaks around had clouds hanging
over them, so we decided to do Conness the next day. This lake
is just a collection of ponds with grassy islands in between.
There was nobody else there except us three. We put the food in
bear-containers but there were no bear visitations.

We set out on the use trail towards Conness and came to the
base of the summit block in two hours after leaving base camp.
After some careful climbing over the short exposed knife edge
we were at a small but steep snowfield, but it was soon
negotiated and we were at the top, 30 minutes after. There were
lots of entries in the register as expected, but we saw no one
else. We did see some people trying to traverse the glacier in the
distance to the east. We were back at base camp at noon and to
the cars at 5 pm.

If anyone goes there, get LOTS of bug repellent. An axe would
be useful on the snowfield near the summit, but I felt that one
could get by with kicking steps.

- Arun Mahajan


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Climbers in the Mist
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wherever you go, whatever peak you climb, it's clear to me that
mother nature rules! A storm front had moved in on Mt. Rainier
when we arrived and moved out when we left. While we did not
summit, visions of headwalls, icefalls, seracs, and deep
crevasses linger in my mind.

Our group included: Kelly Maas, Paul Ward-Dolkas, Will Hirst,
and myself, Debbie Benham. Greg McDonnell and his son,
Sean, joined us for the hike up to Camp Muir. At a first sighting
of Rainier from above, I was awestruck with its girth and
massive glaciation. At last ready on Sunday, we headed up to
Camp Muir, a sheltered plateau at 10,000' and basecamp to the
'tourist route' of the Ingraham Glacier. It was quite a sight to see
groups of at least 25 following the Rainier Mountaineering
Guide.

Kelly was the first to Camp Muir and saved us a spot at the
public hut which saved us the work of putting up tents. As we
were preparing dinner, the National Park Ranger came in to get
our names and numbers, as well as tell us the weather forecast -
bleak - "Storm coming in. You may want to wait it out." We
checked at midnight (clear); at 1:30am (windy); and again at
3:20am (howling). I decided to wait. We rolled out of our
sleeping bags about 8 am, and looked outside. It was cold, and
bright with wind blowing clouds up and down the glacier. After
some discussion, we decided to rope up, head up and see what
we could see.

Paul led the way up the Ingraham Glacier direct route. It was
fairly straight-forward as the Rainier Mountaineering Guides
had flagged and pounded the trail. As such, however, it was
'dicey' in spots, especially when you had to walk up and over a
gapping crevasse. This was my first time on a roped team and I
found I had to pay attention to the rope, watch where I put my
crampon-booted feet, and, simultaneously, look at the beauty
around me. What a time - exciting, scary and wonderful. At
12,760', we stopped between and above Disappointment Cleaver
and Gibraltar Rock. Tired, with more and more snow coming
down, we headed back to camp.

On our descent, Tuesday, we awoke to a crystal clear morning!
We saw spindrift on the high ridges above and socked-in, cloud
cover below us. Mt. Adams rose above the clouds and we could
have walked to his summit on that billowy carpet! At 9,000', we
hit white-out conditions. With Will as our prow, we took a
bearing and steered our way to the trailhead at Paradise.

A "thank you" to all in our group for your experience and
knowledge of glacier travel, and, for a wonderful trip!

- Debbie Benham (6/21/96)


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Palmer balm(i)er
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trip report of the unofficial PCS trip to Palmer Mt (11250 ft)
and Sphinx's Crest (11265 ft) on the balmy weekend of 8/9th
June 1996. Trip participants: Siamak Navid (leader), Jim
Schollard, Dennis Hiipakka, Nancy Fitzsimmons, David Lou,
Shailesh Chutani and Arun Mahajan.

We started off from the ranger station at road's end beyond
Cedar Grove in the King's Canyon National Park. The ranger
warned us of snow above 8500 ft, so we took axes. Some of us
had ski-poles, but we did not take crampons. We were to find
out later that the snow line was at about 10000.

Within four miles of gentle switchbacks, we came to the Bubbs
Creek junction where the river was in spate. There, we took the
trail to Avalanche Pass. After seemingly endless switchbacks,
and then a couple of interesting stream crossings, we were at
10000 ft. At that point, we decided to back down to 9500 feet to
camp on the banks of a stream. It was 5 pm then. It had taken us
8 hrs to do a little less than 11 miles and about 5000 ft of gain.
The next day, starting at 7.30 am, we headed up to the pass. The
trail kind of gives up at this point. There, we took a vote. With
the time at hand and by accounting for the time to hike out, we
figured that we should be back at camp at 1 pm. Siamak,
Shailesh and Jim decided to head towards Sphinx Crest. They
had never done it before and wanted to find the route to it.
David, Nancy, Dennis and I decided to head east for the more
obvious Palmer Mt.

Avalanche Pass to Palmer Mt : At this point onwards, there was
snow and it was hard enough to climb on. We gained altitude
quickly and soon were on the ridge leading to the summit. After
going around one more rocky hump, we came to the summit
block. We scrambled up the small class-3 section and got to the
summit. The summit has a couple of solar panels and wires run
out to a small wooden hut which is locked. We had great views
all around. The last entry in the small summit register (pieces of
paper stuffed into a rusty canister) was from 1993 and the entry
before that was in 1989. We headed down by the boulders
instead of the snow, which was getting softer as the day wore
on. We were back at camp at 12.30 (3 hrs to summit, 2 to get
back). The other group came back at 1 pm after having
successfully found the route to Sphinx Crest. They said that it
was not as hard as they expected, but they were all strong and
fast hikers, and I think they were just being modest! Here is the
insert from Siamak Navid describing their part:

Avalanche Pass to Sphinx Crest: Once you get to Avalanche Pass,
the lower summit of Sphinx Crest is to your SE and about 0.5 miles
away. The higher summit is not visible from the pass. We decided to
aim for the saddle between the two high points and then stay on the
crest to the top. While we were climbing we did look for the other
group that was on Palmer, but we never saw them.

Starting from the pass, it took us about 2.5 hr to get to the high
point of the Sphinx Crest (11500'). The terrain above tree line
was mostly class-2 (boulder fields with some snow). At the top
we found a register (glass jar) placed by SPS in mid-eighties
with only 3 entries. The last entry in the register was in 1989.
Having a clear day, we could see from the Palisades to the
Kaweahs. Our view towards Mt Whitney area, however, was
blocked by what we thought was Mt Brewer and its environs.
Since our maps did not cover that area, we were not completely
sure what we were looking at.

We headed out at 1.30. The steep switchbacks seemed even
more hard, the packs even more heavy and the distance even
longer, but we still made it back to the car at 6.40 pm in fine
spirits. Some of us even had some fine spirits in a cooler at the
trailhead. Over a salt-laden dinner at the Grant Grove Village
we mused on why so few people climbed peaks as nice as these,
and why these peaks don't make it to the SPS list. While the
answers to these musings were not forthcoming, not one of us
was displeased at having done them.

- Arun Mahajan


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE BACK PAGE
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scree is the monthly journal of the Peak Climbing
Section of the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter.

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Elected Officials
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Chair:
    Charles Schafer / charles.schafer@octel.com
    408-354-1545 home, 408-324-6003 work
    115 Spring Street, Los Gatos CA 95032-6229

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
    Roger Crawley
    415-321-8602 home
    761 Nash Avenue, Menlo Park CA 94025-2719

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
    Jim Ramaker / ramaker@vnet.ibm.com
    408-224-8553 home, 408-463-4873 work,
    188 Sunwood Meadows Place, San Jose CA 95119-1350

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Appointed Positions
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Scree Editor, Email Broadcast Operator:
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    415-508-0500 home/work, 415-508-0501 fax
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PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
    Aaron Schuman / schuman@sgi.com
    415-933-1901, http://reality.sgi.com/csp/pcs/index.html
    223 Horizon Avenue, Mountain View CA 94043-4718

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Hardcopy subscriptions are $10/year, plus a requested donation of $2/year
to cover operating expenses. Subscription applications and checks payable
to "PCS" should be mailed to the Treasurer so they arrive before the last
Tuesday of the expiration month.
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If you are on the PCS email broadcast, you have a free EScree subscription.
For broadcast info, send Email to  with the one-line
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form to the Treasurer to become voting PCS members at no charge, and are
encouraged to donate $2/year to the PCS.
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Rock Climbing Classifications

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.
    Class 4: Requires rope belays.
    Class 5: Technical rock climbing.

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In Upcoming Issues:
(if you sent something that is not here, please send it again)
    Trip Reports: Ojos del Salado, Aconcagua
    Trip Reports: Shasta, Williamson, Tyndall
    Trip Reports: Blackcap, Sill, Onion Valley
    World's 60 Highest Mountains
    Bear Damage in the Eastern Sierra
NOTE: Reports over 1 page long will be shortened by the Editor!

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Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 8/25/96.
Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.
This publication may not be posted on any public news group.
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"Vy can't ve chust climb?" - John Salathe
(End of August 1996 EScree)