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Scree for March, 1996

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.
     This publication may not be posted on any public news group. 
                     March, 1996   Vol. 29, No. 3
         Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is 3/25/96.
Next meeting (PCS meetings are the second tuesday of each month)

Date: Tuesday 12 Mar 1996
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Western Mountaineering
Town & Country Village, San Jose

Program: Babes In The Wood

Think mountaineering is a macho sport? Think again! 
Come see a short and sweet slide presentation on the 
perils and pleasures of these (and other) bold and beautiful 

- Phyllis Olrich and Debbie Benham

Advance Schedule

Please do not contact the leaders to sign up for trips 
listed here. Most leaders will not accept signups until the 
trip is formally announced with OFFICIAL/PRIVATE TRIP designation
from the PCS Scheduler.

Contact Roger Crawley (the new PCS Scheduler - see back 
page) to add your trip to this list, or if the details are wrong!

Date		Destination			Leaders
	4-5	Smith and Crag (C3)	Bob Suzuki & Steve Eckert
	18-19	Mt. Tallac (Beginner trip)	Aaron Schuman
	25-27	Mt. Shasta (Hotlum/Bolam)	George Van Gorden
	25-27	Cherry Creek Canyon (Hike?)	Kate Ingvoldstad
	1-2	Navigation Field Trip	Noreen Ford & Debbie Benham
	8-9	Palmer	Siamak Navid
	15-16	Matterhorn Peak	Aaron Schuman
	16-19	Mt. Shasta (Hotlum Glacier Sun-Wed)	George Van Gorden
	21-23	Mt. Williamson	Phyllis Olrich
	29-30	Mt. Agassiz	Debbie Benham
	29-30	Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne	Charles Schafer
	30-7	Arrow Peak, etc.	Debbie Bulger
	4-7	Mt. Ansel Adams	Kai Wiedman
	4-7	North Pal (U-notch) or Gabb/Hilgard	Peter Maxwell
	4-7	Red & Black Kaweah	Paul Magliocco
	12-14	Mt. Winchell (C3)	Debbie Benham & Joe Coha
	13-14	Virginia & Twin Peaks (C3)	Jim Ramaker
	20-21	Mt. Julius Ceasar	Debbie Benham & Phyllis Olrich
	20-21	Gale, Sing	Warren Storkman
	27-28	Mts. Mills and Abbot (C3)	John Ingvoldstad
	27-4	Great Western Divide (C3)	Kelly Maas
	3-4	Mts. Morrrison & Laurel	Phyllis Olrich
	17-18	Mt. Russell	John Ingvoldstad
	17-19	Mts. Darwin & Mendel	Bob Suzuki & Charles Schafer
	22-25	Devils Crags & Wheel	Cecil and Paul Magliocco
	29-2	Thunder, Deerhorn, etc	Cecil Magliocco & David Ress
	31-2	North Pal (U-notch) or Gabb/Hilgard	Peter Maxwell
	31-2	Mokelumne River Canyon	John Ingvolstad
	31-2	Yosemite Valley Car Camp	Warren Storkman
	7-8	Tuolumne Meadows car camp	Cecil Magliocco & Aaron Schuman
	14-15	Dana Couloir (Ice)	George Van Gorden
	13-15	Mt. Clarence King	Charles Schafer
	20-22	Mt. Whitney Portal Area (TBD)	Debbie Benham
	20-22	Whorl Mtn. and Virginia Peak (C4)	Bob Suzuki and Debbie Bulger
	27-29	Vandever, Florence, Sawtooth	Aaron Schuman
	4-6	Madera & Red Top	Debbie Benham & Judith Dean
	12-13	Yosemite Valley car camp	Cecil Magliocco
	12-13	Tenaya Canyon (part of above trip)	David Harris & Bob Suzuki

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.

Ohlone Wilderness
Peak:	Rose Peak	Class 1 - 3,817'
Date:	Apr 6	Sat
Leader:	Vreni Rau	510-583-5578
Leader:	Cecil Magliocco	408-358-1168
Carpets of wildflowers are promised along the one-way 20 
mile hike from Livermore to Sunol. 4000+ feet of gain. Call 
leaders for meeting place and carpool information.

Will You Sing, Gale?
Peak:	Gale, Sing	Class 2
Dates:	Jul 20-21
Map:	Merced Peak 15 min Quad
Leader:	Warren Storkman	415-493-8959
We go over Chiquito Pass in Southern Yosemite Park. Call 
leader for more information.

Why Did I Quit Mountaineering?

1/6/96, high camp, 16,000 ft, Humbolt peak, Venezuela: It 
was just after four days of alpine style hell when I found 
myself standing on the summit. It was the greatest joy, the 
most intense rush, the justification for my efforts; or so I 
thought. There was something different this time. I was 
being hunted by fears and guilt; the fear of not being in 
control of my life, of being at the mercy of the conditions; 
the guilt of being part of such a selfish act: 

The summit did not feel the same. I saw the excitement in 
my partner eyes, I saw the summit rush going through his 
face. But such excitement could not be seen in my eyes; 
something had changed. I realized that every time I 
summited a peak, every time I took part on an expedition, 
It was only myself who would feel the pleasure of 
summiting; the rush that justified all the risks. But what 
about those affected by the risks but would never feel such 
rush? I was thinking about them this time. I could not stop 
thinking about the people that I would leave behind if 
something wrong were to happen. I saw the image of my 
wife and my daughter crying saying good bye, not 
knowing if I would come back; the images of every one 
who said take care and return alive! I never thought about 
them while in the summit, but they were there, praying for 
me. They were never part of my decision to climb, but 
were passively waiting for my return, waiting to hear me 
talk about a wonderful feeling that you can only 
experience on the summit, waiting to hear my voice which 
would end their distress. 

And after many years I quit mountaineering. There is so 
much more in my life than summits, so much more to 
fight for, so much more to love. And even though the 
mountains are there to be climbed, I'm no longer the one 
to do it. One day I did it to appreciate life, today I quit 
because I do. 

The joy of challenge remains with me every time I go rock 
climbing to any climbing area; where I'm in control of the 
degree of danger of every climb, where such danger is 
determined by my experience and ability to follow safety 
procedures and rules, where my style defines how 
dangerous the sport can be, where I feel safe! But such 
feeling of safety and security disappeared every time I 
come mountaineering, I feel at the mercy of the 
environment, I feel like a string puppet of nature. A 
Puppet that, against all common sense, is challenging its 

- Nestor Lopez
NOTE: Lopez' report was taken from the rec.climbing 
newsgroup, and is the second in a series of Scree articles 
intended to provoke thought on the backcountry. These 
articles are more emotional than the normal "got up 7am, 
summited noon" reports. The Editor neither agrees nor 
disagrees with the thoughts presented in this series, but 
would appreciate feedback on the concept.

Mt. Pilatus

"If you wish to extend your field of vision, cast your glance 
roundabout, and gaze off far and wide at everything, there is 
no lack of lookouts and crags on which you may seem to 
yourself to be already living with your head in the clouds. If, 
on the other hand, you should prefer to contract your vision, 
you will gaze on meadows and verdant forests, and even enter 
them; or to narrow it still more, you will examine dim valleys, 
shadowy rocks, and darksome caverns. In truth, nowhere else 
is such great variety found in such small compass as in the 
mountains, in which one may, in a single day, behold and 
enter upon the four seasons of the year-summer, autumn, 
spring, and winter. In addition, from the highest ridge of 
mountains, the whole dome of our sky will lie boldly open to 
your gaze, and the very rising and setting of the constellations 
you will easily behold without any hindrance, while you will 
observe the sun setting far later and likewise rising far 

Konrad von Gesner, Swiss naturalist, describing his 1555 
ascent. (Source: The Discoverers, a book by Daniel Boorstin)

The Request Page

*** Request for Ice Partners

For some time I've been looking for climbing partners to start 
some technical (or semi-technical) snow/ice climbing in the 
Sierra. I am in Colfax (on your way to Tahoe), but am certainly 
willing to drive from Shasta to Olancha to meet partners. I'm a 
class 3 climber now, but am tiring of "the slog" and ready to do 
some rope work. If anyone who knows the score is interested in 
hooking up with an eager belay slave, or if anyone wants to join 
me on the learning curve, give me a call at (916) 346-7279, or 
E-mail me. Would like to do some glacier work on Shasta in the 
spring, and would also like to just go out for a weekend to 
practice boot-ax belay, pro placement, etc. I have ice screws, 
pickets, etc.

- Christian

*** Request for Ranier Partners

I am interested in climbing Mt. Rainier following the 
'regular' route of Camp Muir to Ingraham Glacier from 
June 15-19th.

- Debbie Benham

*** He Sells Snowshoes by the Seashore

I have like-new 30" Tubbs snowshoes for sale or will 
consider trade for 25".

- Rich Calliger

*** Scree and Email Broadcast Archives (and other files) on the Web

Try these two URLs for a supplement to the normal PCS 
Web Pages - they contain many files like the SPS Peaks 
List and Ranger Station contact info, plus fuel names for 
countries around the world, Sierra Club ByLaws, and all 
messages that have gone out over several different email 
lists. These archives are available via FTP or the WWW:
And don't forget the more fully developed PCS Web Page

*** WANT   UTM   4   GPS

Does anyone have a data file that contains UTM 
coordinates for significant Sierra Peaks (e.g. those on SPS 
list or those in Secor's book)? Such a list would be very 
handy for peak climbers with GPS receivers. Please post 
the file or where it can be found. Thanks.

- Richard Vassar

NOTE: If this information is available, the Editor will be 
happy to merge it with the PCS's version of the SPS Peaks 
list, and include it in the online archives and the official 
PCS Binders.

*** Here's The Poop on Pieps

Tim Hult found a great price on Pieps avalanche 
transceivers in Colorado. He and I have already mail 
ordered ours. Here's the info from Tim: Wilderness Sports 
in Dillon Colorado is selling the Pieps 457 avalanche 
transceiver for $200. With Optifinder add approx $30. 
This is about the lowest cost you will find except those 
selling them at a loss. They do mail order at the cost of 
$5. Their address is:

	Wilderness Sports
	PO Box 131 Summit Place
	Dillon, CO 80435

- Butch Suits

*** Great Western and Kings-Kern Divide Climb-o-Rama Survey

A number of people expressed interest in this Jul 27 
through Aug 4 climb at the trip planning meeting, so I want 
to guage interest from the rest of the PCS. The highest 
priority (and most remote) peaks are Milestone, Table, 
Thunder and Midway. We'll fit in as many other climbs as 
we can, chosing from Genevra, Jordan, Ericsson, Stanford 
and Caltech. Tyndall is also a possibility. We'll make this 
as much a basecamp trip as possible, with a minimum of 
camp movements. The climbing is predominently class 3, 
though a couple peaks have class 4 summit blocks, and 
there are a couple of class 2 peaks. Participants must be 
able to lug 9 days of food and gear over Shepherd's Pass. 
Private or official is TBD. Contact me if you're interested.

- Kelly Maas

Madness takes its toll. 
Please have exact change. 

"Alaska without Denali" Slide Program Proposal

Perhaps the combination of
" slide shows about Denali, just Denali, and only Denali
" the inaccuracies of the TV series "Northern Exposure"
" my own experiences in Alaska
lead me to propose an idea which I considered at the 
December PCS potluck. With the nod from many people, I 
am assembling a small team of presenters on the subject 
of Alaska but without ascents of Mt. McKinley (a.k.a. 
Denali). Alaska is the largest state in the Union, yet we 
have numerous presentations on one geographic point.

Alaska is a huge state, and it's clearly home to many more 
mountains: Foracker and the rest of the Alaska Range, the 
Kachitna Spires, the Brooks Range and the Gates of the 
Arctic, and the sites of the mountain books by David 
Robert's *Mountain of My Fear* and *Debroah: A 
Wilderness Narrative.* Every year, on the Benson Hut 
work party trip, a woman from Santa Rosa named June 
spins very interesting tales hitchhiking airplane rides 
around Alaska (in real contrast to our drives). One Alaska 
guiding firm takes clients up unascended peaks for first 
ascents. Huge 8,000 ft. faces exist all over the place. 
Alaska is much more than one mountain.

The idea of this presentation differs from the usual PCS 
slide show. Rather than a single presenter covering the 
entire state of Alaska, we will have three or four 
presenters covering different areas of the State: the far 
North, the Pan Handle, where ever YOU want. That's the 
point: bring YOUR slides of Alaska; just don't bring 
Denali slides. The presentation style will have 3-4 people 
with 30-40 slides each on different areas, and if there is 
time, audience members are invited to show up to a dozen 
Alaska slides. Photos of Denali will be absolutely 
prohibited! Even as a back drop. No fair cheating!

This will be a two-projector presentation with a second 
projector having a map displayed in parallel to provide a 
context where the slide presentation is taking place. The 
emphasis is on geography rather than chronology, which 
I'll attempt to ring master.

Bring your best Alaska non-Denali slides: mountains, 
yeah, we will consider kayaking, culture, and other topics 
peripheral to mountains. Just show the diversity of the 
state. Don't delay, I expect to turn away at least 1-2 people 
(i.e., they will have to take pot luck). The location counts 
more than most topics.

The target is the September PCS slide show. We decided 
to do this to allow your newsletter editor (Steve) to go 
home and get his slides. So if you are interested: contact 
me for an audition and map fitting. Call Eugene Miya at 
415-961-6772 or email .

- E. Miya

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.

Roundtop Roundup
Peak:	Roundtop	snow/ice - 10,600'
Dates:	Mar 16-17	Sat-Sun
Contact:	George Van Gorden	408-779-2320
		(call before 9pm)
Meet at 11am Saturday at Carson Pass. Bring skis or 
snowshoes. We will camp at Winnumucca Lake. Ice axe 
and crampons required for last 200'.

Williamson, By George
Peak:	Mt Williamson	snow/ice - 14,375'
Dates:	April 19-21	Fri-Sun
Contact:	Tony Cruz	409-944-2003
It is my intent to climb Mt. Williamson, the second highest 
peak in the Sierra. This will be my second attempt via the 
George Creek route, which is technically easy but 
arduous. If the April 96 attempt fails, then I will try again 
later in Spring or early summer via Shepherd pass (the 
George Creek access is closed during most of the year). I 
am looking for a few good PCRers to join me for a 
"classic" of the Sierra. The terrain is rated class 2 but is 
very tough. Knowledge and use of ice axe and crampons 
will be required. The first day will involve hiking 10 miles 
from 6,000 plus feet to 11,200.

Last year 9 PCSers including myself attempted this climb 
in April or May. We made it to only a little over 9,000 feet 
on the first day, far short of our goal of 11K. The next day 
we were nearly blown off the mountain during a valiant 
summit attempt and suffered a white out. No one got close 
to the peak. In order to insure success this time, we need 
to start the George Creek at the crack of dawn. We need 
to camp high, around 11,000 feet and pitch our tents such 
that they will not be blown away, since they will be 
exposed wind. We will need to carry full winter gear, while 
packing as lightly as is prudent.

We should be careful to get out of an 
experience only the wisdom that is in it - 
and stop there; lest we be like the cat 
that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will 
never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, 
and that is well; but also she will never 
sit down on a cold one anymore.
- Mark Twain 

Being DeMuir

Larry Baugher and I left San Jose about 3 p.m. on Friday, 
Dec. 8 1995 and drove to Lone Pine the long way -- 5 to 
58 to 14 to 395. We stopped at the Lone Pine ranger 
station to get a self-issue permit and read about trail 
conditions. There was a notice warning climbers to 
beware of the mountaineer's route, recommending the use 
of an ice ax and warning about gravel on ice. We arrived 
at Whitney Portal (8,400 feet) a little before midnight.

Our hike up the Whitney trail began at 7:30 a.m. on 
Saturday. Right from the beginning, there were patches of 
fresh snow on the trail a fraction of an inch deep. There 
were a few large patches of ice on the trail that required 
care to cross. Mirror Lake was already frozen. In fact all 
the high lakes were at least mostly frozen. We arrived at 
the high camp (12,040 feet) near Consultation Lake in the 
early afternoon. We moved slowly because our heavy 
packs contained full winter and rock climbing gear.

At 7 a.m. on Sunday we began our climb of Mt. Muir. We 
had gotten several reports about this peak -- some people 
said it was a piece of cake and some said it was class four. 
We took no chances and carried slings, carabiners, 
harnesses and a 160 foot 11 mm rope, which proved to be 
too much gear! A few minutes from camp, we started our 
march up the seemingly endless switchbacks. One of my 
guide books says there are 95. A few minutes later we 
crossed the dynamited section found that the wire fence 
provided needed security since this entire section was 
covered with slippery ice.

A fraction of a mile beyond the trail crest, we spotted the 
cairn which marks the spot to begin the ascent of Muir. 
Muir appears as the tallest of the pinnacles en route to 
Whitney, making this cairn unnecessary. Most of the 
climb was a very short and easy class 2 scramble. The 
final hundred feet or so were more nearly vertical and 
required three difficult and exposed class 3 moves. On the 
way down, there was one move in which I needed Larry's 
help to mantle down and find the proper hold for my boot. 
It took us about an hour to make the climb from the trail 
and back. In order to insure an early return, we avoided 
the temptation to finish the trail, which ends on the top of 
Mt. Whitney.

After returning to camp, we quickly packed and hiked out, 
making it back to our van after dark. We slept at Whitney 
Portal and woke up early Monday morning to a light rain. 
The Sierras were covered with clouds by then and we were 
convinced that we had barely beaten out the winter 
storms. This was my second climb with Larry and our 
second successful ascent of a 14'er (last summer we 
climbed Split).

- Tony Cruz
North by North Peak

There are three spectacular couloirs on the northern side 
of North Peak. On the first weekend in October 1995, Bob 
Spies and I drove to Saddlebag Lake with the intention of 
climbing the standard, right-most couloir. We left the 
parking lot at 7:30 am on Saturday. On the hike in we met 
three guys who had just come off the mountain. They told 
us that we could easily third class the route.

We began climbing around noontime and sure enough, 
there was no need to rope up. The moderate angle - 60 
degrees - and consolidated snow made this climb a 
straightforward proposition. At the top of the couloir we 
left our day packs and scrambled up third class rock to the 
summit. We reached the summit at 2:30 pm.

The weather was beautiful and we could see for miles in 
every direction. After retrieving our packs we hiked down 
scree slopes on the south side of the mountain. We arrived 
back at the parking lot at 6 pm.

- Brian Boyle

Lazlo's Chinese Relativity Axiom: No 
matter how magnificent your triumphs or 
how tragic your defeats, approximately 
five billion Chinese could not care less. 

Issue of the Month Page

There have been several comments that the meetings were 
too much about business and too little about climbing, so 
the officers have tentatively endorsed this experiment in 
distributed democracy!

Each month, this page will raise issues of concern to the 
Officers, and give the Members a chance to voice their 
opinions. The results will be tallied and reported here the 
next month. It is hoped that this pre-meeting feedback can 
help us all think the issues through and either reach a 
consensus or at least prepare for a quick discussion.

Topics for this column will normally be selected by the 
PCS Chair, and the proponent of an idea will be asked to 
submit the writeup. Since we are trying to reach 
consensus, it is in the proponent's interest to present both 
sides of the issue, or to find someone else to write a 
counterpoint response.

This month's topics were selected and written up by the 
Editor (that's right, blame me) after discussion with the 
Officers. If you have suggestions for next month, please 
contact the Chair as shown on the back page.

INSTRUCTIONS: Answer the numbered 
questions, either on a copy of this 
page or via email, and send your 
response to the Editor as indicated on 
the back page. Please include your name 
so we know that you are a PCS Member. 
This is a survey, not a ballot!

*** Subscription Fees

We are currently spending around $9 per year per 
subscriber to produce the hardcopy version of the Scree. 
The subscription fees are $12. Escree subscribers pay no 
fees, because their version of the newsletter costs nothing 
to produce or distribute, while the hardcopy Scree must be 
printed, stapled, and mailed.

The PCS has held fund raisers in the past (for operating 
expenses and items such as the portable screen used at 
meetings), but it has also used subscription fees for 
purchases such as the slide projector last year. This year 
there have been no expenses other than producing the 
hardcopy version of the Scree, so our surplus is rising.

1. Should the PCS use subscription fees ONLY for printing 
the newsletter, and hold fund raisers or ask for additional 
donations for all other expenses?	Circle ONE:  YES / NO

2. Should the PCS print a better quality newsletter than 
the current Scree with photos and offset printing, or should 
we charge less for subscriptions and keep using a cheap 
printer like this issue? 	Circle ONE:  BETTER / CHEAPER

3. What kind of fund raisers would you suggest? (if any)


*** What are the goals of the PCS?

The last time I checked, we had Scree circulation of 170 
hardcopy and 180 email, with some overlap (but certainly 
less than 40% in my estimate). We've seen a genuine 
jump in newsletter circulation for the first time anyone can 
remember, and official membership in the PCS has risen 
by significant numbers also. There have been gradual 
changes in circulation before, but never 40% in the span 
of 6 months (from 200 to an estimated 280). It's possible 
that most of the people receiving the Scree have never 
been to a meeting, and we need to think about what we 
want to do with those new people and all that new energy.

Here is what one person had to say on the subject. You 
may disagree, but this is a starting point for discussion:

   "I would like the PCS to have more trips than it 
   does now. I would like there to be more trips in 
   spring and fall, more treks deep into the 
   backcountry, more variety in terrain, conditions, 
   and equipment. I would not like an increase in 
   number of trips to be offset by a reduction in the 
   size of parties. All of these transitions are equally 
   important: outsider -> member -> climber -> leader-
   > expert. The club will thrive only if we facilitate 
   every one of these transitions."

1. Should we measure success by the number of trips 
lead, or number of people who summit on those trips, or 
the number of subscribers, or the number of members? 
Enter your proposed measure of success here (does not 
need to be one of the choices above, be we don't want an 
essay answer to this question):


2. Regardless of your favorite measure of success, is 
"more" also "better"? Is there an ideal size for the PCS?

Circle ONE: The PCS should  SHRINK / STAY / GROW

3. Should we try to increase participation within our 
existing membership, or try to bring in new people?


4. Should we have a training program to advance existing 
members or to attract new and possibly unskilled people?


Publicity Committee Charter

A charter for the Publicity Committee will be submitted as 
a proposed operating rule at the next PCS meeting. The 
bylaws call for a vote at a meeting prior to publication of 
operating rules, so you must come to the March meeting if 
you want to get in on the first round of discussions. If 
approved for publication by the people at that meeting, it 
will be published in the April Scree and voted on at the 
April meeting.

- Editor

"Lick"-ity Split 

Well folks, the sight of all that white in the hills (4200') and 1 
hr away was just too much for a couple of us not to get in some 
serious training and check out the Sierra Cement Coming to The 
Bay Area. The plans we had been making for 2 days came 
together with an opportune blanketing of the east hills on 
Sunday morning, 2/25/96.

Loading up the heavy packs (40 lb.) for a fine 6 AM alpine start, 
we first headed to Grant Ranch just below Mt Hamilton/Lick 
observatory. Alas, the gendarmes were 5 miles down the road 
before Grant Ranch in force to warn us off. We attempted a 
cross-country round-about skirting maneuver but got caught as 
the foliage was not sufficient to hide us, and got sent out again 
with the police and cal-trans laughing and REALLY admiring 
our persistence... good humor was enjoyed however. (The road 
was "under repair" we were told as we got fleeting glimpses of 
miscreant snow just yards away!) Snow level was about 1200 
feet and later descended to 500'.

So, onward south we went, not to be deterred from our goal of 
frolicking in the white stuff so near yet so far! After a short drive 
we ended up at Henry Coe park, most of it high acreage (67000 
acres total) gleaming beautifully in the sunrise as if TONS of 
diamonds were scattered about_the pine trees boughs were 
perfectly draped and carpeted with an almost fluorescent 
covering of snow and ice- almost so perfect to bring a tear to my 

Most of the previous hour was spent creeping up the snow and 
black-ice (29F!) (we wondered "Why was this road not "under 
repair" as well"??!!) The creeping worked well as we debated 
whether or not to stop and put on chains, but we made it safely 
if not shakily to 2900' at the park/ranger hq. where every 
building (The circa 1800's buildings still stand/restored) and 
sign post and tall blades of grass blanketed in snow like 
something simultaneously out of Norman Rockwell and 
Grimm's fairy tales. It was a sight to behold as we strapped on 
our packs to summit up another few hundred feet.

We "bagged" 4 peaklets and several canyons for a total gain of 
5900' and 14 miles by the end of the day. We had a fantasy 
lunch with a rain-fly "tent" and sleeping bag arrangement while 
the hail and snow flew, sometimes heavily, for 40 minutes at 
noon. No serious wind more than 5-10 mph. The Madrones were 
especially glistening as the snow melted and their dark wood 
seemed to glow and become even more ethereal.

On the way back down we were met with more hail and snow 
though 7PM as the sun descended, the temp being then at 36F the 
road was more dry and much safer encountering only small 
remaining patches of black ice. All in all quite it was a refreshing 
and immensely enjoyable and seriously relaxing and different day in 
the SF bay!

- Rich Calliger

Palmer Dials Up Pyramid

On the weekend of 13/14th Jan 96, seven PCS'ers climbed 
Pyramid Peak (9983 ft) in the Desolation Wilderness in the 
western Sierra with Leader Palmer Dyal, Co-leader Chris Kramer, 
and trip members Aaron Schuman, Arun Mahajan, Scott Krieder, 
George Van Gordon, and Richard Verrow.

Most of us drove from the Bay Area in the wee hours of 
Saturday morning to meet at 9 am at the parking lot for the 
Horse Tail Falls on the north side of Hway 50 past Twin 
Bridges. Aaron and George were to go on George's trip to 
Roundtop the same weekend, but decided to join us instead. We 
started off at 9.15 am, there was almost no snow on the earlier 
portion of the trail, which was just as good. The terrain was 
rocky, but not slippery, and after a strenuous section, we hit a lot 
of brush. There we got our first snow, I figure it was about 7000 
ft elevation then. The sparse snow did not cover the dense 
manzanita brush cover (and some other unknown thorny brush 
type), so we had a hard time negotiating our way through it. We 
had great views of the Horsetail Falls to our right. Using his 
really fancy GPS, Palmer steered us in the right direction 
through the brush. We crossed a small forest, and then all the 
terrain was snow covered. It must have been 7500 ft then.

The snow was not really soft, so we could manage without snow-
shoes. We had initially planned to camp at the banks of a pond at 
about 8100 ft, but since trudging through the snow with heavy packs 
was hard business, we decided to camp a mile before that spot. 
Meanwhile Aaron and Palmer kept us all in thrall with their 
knowledge of the workings of the GPS, the general theory of 
relativity and other such weighty matters afflicting the world of 
physics till we reached our modified camp site.

This place was in a flattish section and in the trees, so we did have 
some protection from the wind. The snow was packed enough to 
obviate the need to make snow caves, so we just flattened the snow 
and pitched tents. Chris was brave enough to plan to sleep in his 
super-duper sleeping bag and not get a tent. It was about 3 pm then, 
we strolled around, Aaron and Chris made a small trip to a hill in the 
foreground. Pyramid Peak was in full view. The discussions on 
Relativity continued through dusk, but by 7 pm everybody was back 
in their tents and silence had softly surged back.

The next day we started for the summit in a severely-non-
Alpine-style, i.e at 8.20 am! George led the push. This time we 
were in snow shoes. We had a break a mile later after some 
steep climbing. We then started for the final ridge, but soon 
discovered that snowshoes were not enough. It was steep and 
hard, little icy in spots, so we switched to crampons. Ice axes 
were not really necessary, ski poles were enough. George and 
Rich got to the summit first and soon the rest made it. We had 
glorious views all around and we did the usual summit photo 
thing, but after about 30 mins or so, the cold winds drove us 
down. It had taken us 2 hrs and 40 mins to get to the summit 
from the camp site. It took us 1 hr 25 mins to get back to the 
tents. We packed up and started descending at 2 pm. We were 
apprehensive about the manzanita brush slowing us down, but 
despite that, we were back to the cars in just about 1.5 hrs, at 
3.30. 2 people went home directly, the rest gathered for a filling 
dinner at the Buttercup Pantry, a pleasantly non-fat-free name as 
any, in Placerville.

All in all, it was a very nice trip, especially for some of us who 
were being introduced to winter climbing and camping. We 
couldn't have had better weather, a better group, a better 
conversation  nor better leadership.

- Arun Mahajan

Permit Problems

NOTE: The Editor called the Mt Whitney ranger last 
week, and he indicated that the rules for issuing permits 
will not be finalized until sometime in March, with no 
permits being issued until sometime in April. You can 
send a SASE to PO Box 8 in Lone Pine if you want to be 
notified when they decide what they are doing. Please 
keep the Editor up to date as you get permits this year! 
Here is information I have received to date...

Also, Updated information regarding the Mt Whitney 
Special Zone permit is said to be available on the John 
Muir Trail Page at:
including a copy of a NPS memo from the Sequoia/Kings 
District Ranger to their visitor information desks.


Day hikers on the Whitney trial will need a permit if they 
are traveling beyond Lone Pine Lake. A new zone created 
around Mt. Whitney will require a special stamp which 
will be attached to the permits to allow hikers to enter it. 
Hikers travelling to the Whitney Zone can obtain the 
special stamp along with their wilderness permit 
regardless of their entry point even if theyare entering 
from another forest or National Park. 

For further information call the Mt. Whitney Ranger 
Station at (619)876-6200 M-F 8-4:30.


These are 50% reservable and 50% first-come, first-
served. Permits need to be picked up at established permit 
stations. Reservations can be made 24 weeks in advance 
and there is a $3 per person fee. To make a reservation by 
telephone, call (209)372-0740; or write "Wilderness 
Permit, Wilderness Permit Center, P.O. Box 545, 
Yosemite, CA 95389. 


Call (800) 436-7275, Destinet, for reservations. On Feb. 
15, reservations can be made through July 14. On March 
15, reservations can be made through Aug. 14, etc.


Beginning April 1, reservations can be made for all 
trailheads. There is a reservation fee (?) and quotas will be 
100% reservable. Unreserved permits will be available the 
day before and the day of a trip at designated Inyo 
National Forest offices. For complete information ASAP, 
send a SASE to "Wilderness Permit", Mt. Whitney 
Ranger Station, P.O. Box 8, Lone Pine, CA 93545.

- Cecil Magliocco

National Park Memo

NOTE: Below is some information taken from the 
rec.backcountry newsgroup, said to be from the JMT web 
page mentioned above. It LOOKS official... and there are 
email addresses, names, and phone numbers of rangers 
who are inviting your comment. Speak now or forever 
hold your peace.

Here is a copy of the NPS memo National Park Service 
Memo Regarding Mt Whitney Zone Permit. The following 
memo was distributed to the information desks in Sequoia 
Kings National Park. The memo is intended for NP 
employees to provide information to the public. This 
memo was provided by Robert Moore, The S/KNP 
Wilderness Coordinator.

- brick@ix.netcom.com

Date: January 24,1996
To:	Sequoia and Kings Canyon Info Desks
From: Sequoia District Ranger
Subject: Talking Points_Mt. Whitney

Attached is information about the Mt Whitney areas, signed 
by the superintendent. The intent is to identify a strategy to 
collect data, recognize resource impacts, and design a use 
system to mitigate the impact of very heavy visitation in the 
Mt Whitney area. This is a joint project between Sequoia and 
Kings Canyon National Park and the Inyo National Forest. 
To help you and the visitors understand where we are going, I 
have listed some "talking points" that will answer some of 
the questions visitors may have regarding the "Mt Whitney 
special use zone."

" Where is the Mt. Whitney Zone?
This is the roughly a 3 square mile area from just west of 
Whitney Portal to the summit of Mt Whitney and west to 
Timberline Lake near Crabtree.

This area is managed as wilderness to the east by the Inyo 
National Forest and to the west by Sequoia National Park

" What will this plan do?
This plan will cap use at current levels.

" When will this plan be implemented?
Summer, 1996

" Who will be required to have a special permit to hike to 
the summit of Mount Whitney?
Everyone. Backpackers must still obtain a wilderness 
permit. Entry into this zone will require a visa type stamp 
added to that permit. The big change is that day hikers in 
route to the summit of Mt Whitney will be required to 
have a permit. Day use around Whitney Portal and up to 
Lone Pine Lake, 2.5 mile beyond the Whitney Portal 
trailhead, will not require a permit.

" Where can we obtain a permit?
Wilderness permits for backpackers entering trails on the 
west side of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National parks 
will be issued at all of the existing stations. Permit for day 
users and backpackers entering from the east will be 
issued from a USFS contractor beginning April 1 1996.

" What about the backpacker on the PCT who is unsure 
of what specific date they will arrive to climb Mt 
Pacific Crest, John Muir, and High Sierra trail hikers will 
be able to secure a stamp from the issuing station when 
they obtain their backcountry permit that allow entry into 
the Whitney Zone. This stamp permits flexibility for these 
hikers in their entry date.

" Is this meant to decrease use?
No. It is meant to determine current use levels and hold 
use there. Use figures over the past years indicate a 
substantial increase in the number of day users. Today, an 
estimated 40,000 users enter this area annually.

There is already a ceiling on overnight backpacking 
permits. This for the first time will place a ceiling on day 
use at current levels.

" How will quotas be established?
Existing use will be counted and quotas will be based on 
past use.

" Will there be extra fees?
There will be a charge for permits issued from the Inyo 
National Forest.

There will be no charge for the stamp issued with the 
permit from trailheads on the west side of Sequoia and 
Kings Canyon National Parks.

" Will day permits be reservable?
Yes, through the Inyo National Forest contractor.

" What happens if someone enters the special use zone 
without a permit?
They would be cited for a violation of regulations the 
same as a backpacker without a permit.

" What about foreign traveler and those unfamiliar with 
the system?
Not everyone who wants to spontaneously include Mt 
Whitney as a side trip will be able to.

" Will use be reduced in the future?
We really don't know. We will continue to monitor 
impacts to resources and social conditions, our ability to 
manage and administer use, impacts to local communities 
and effects on other wilderness areas before making any 
decisions on decreasing or increasing use.

" I don't like this. How can I influence this decision, or 
appeal it?
This is an administrative decision make by the 
Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National 
Parks and the Forest Supervisor for Inyo National Forest. 
Since the landscape is not being altered nor are we 
making changes that will increase or decrease use this 
action is not subject to NEPA regulations or appeal. 
However the Park Superintendent and the forest 
Supervisor do want to know how the public feels about our 
management of the wilderness. It is our charge to be good 
stewards of these resources and serve the public.

" How can I help?
Ask visitors to practice a strong wilderness ethic: Leave 
No Trace. Camp on sites already impacted. Pack out all 
waste. Be respectful of others. Suggest that those entering 
the areas ascend Mt. Whitney in the shoulder seasons. 
Some days in July through September are extremely busy 
with 400 to 600 visitors on the trail per day.

Please pass my name on to wilderness users who may 
wish to discuss this further. We are looking for the best 
means of managing this wilderness area so feedback is 
appreciated. I will be unable to personally respond to great 
volumes of questions, but I will attempt to assimilate 
concerns and be proactive with solutions.

- Tom Tschohl, District Ranger
- Ralph Moore, Wilderness Coordinator
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Three River, CA 93271-9700


Civilization has so cluttered [the] 
elemental man-earth relation with 
gadgets and middlemen that awareness 
of it is growing dim. We fancy that 
industry supports us, forgetting what 
supports industry. Ability to see the 
cultural value of wilderness boils down, 
in the last analysis, to a question of 
intellectual humility. . . . It is only the 
scholar who understands why the raw 
wilderness gives definition and meaning 
to the human enterprise.
-Aldo Leopold

Elected Officials

	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, 415-324-2721 x470 work
	761 Nash Avenue, Menlo Park CA  94025

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

Appointed Positions

Scree & EScree Editor, Email Broadcast Operator:
	Steve Eckert / eckert@netcom.com
	415-508-0500 home/work, 415-508-0501 fax
	1814 Oak Knoll Drive, Belmont, CA 94002-1753

Mailing Labels and Change of Address:
	Paul Vlasveld / vlasveld@siecomp.com
	408-247-6472 home, 408-257-7910 x3613 work
	789 Daffodil Way, San Jose CA 95117-2304

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

Scree is the monthly journal of the Peak Climbing Section of 
the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter. Subscriptions are 
$12/year. Checks payable to "PCS" should be mailed to the 
Treasurer so they arrive before the last Tuesday of the expiration 
If you are on the PCS email broadcast, you have an EScree 
subscription. Send Email to  for 
additions/removals from the broadcast (the message is 
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FREE, but EScree-only subscribers must contact the Treasurer 
to become voting PCS members at no charge.

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

In Upcoming Issues:
	Publicity Committee Charter
	Backcountry Food Storage Box Locations (trip planner!)
	At Rest Above the Atacama (death on Ojos del Salado)
	Trip Reports: Mt. Paegun-dae, Virgin, Telescope, Russell
	World's 60 Highest Mountains
	Searching for Small Worlds to Conquer
	Going Light When Backpacking

Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is 3/25/96
Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.
This publication may not be posted on any public news group.
(End of March 1996 EScree)