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Scree for August, 1998

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.
                    August, 1998  Vol. 32, No. 8
     Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 8/23/98.

Next general meeting (PCS meetings are the second tuesday of each month)

Date:   Tuesday, August 11, 1998
Time:   8:00 PM
Program: Treks in Patagonia

The program will be a slide show of separate
treks in Patagonia by Tim Hult, Kelly Maas,
Landa Robillard, and Roger Crawley. See the
sensational scenery of Towers del Paine and
Fitzroy National Parks in Chile and Argentina,
and Iguazu Falls.

Location: The North Face
 ((PDF version of EScree has a drawn map here))
217 Alma Street in Palo Alto, just north of the
CalTrain station go North and turn right into the
Town & Country

Navigation Class

Date:   Tuesday September 1, 7 to 10 PM
Place:  Peninsula Conversation Center, Palo Alto
Instructors:    Kelly Maas (408) 279-2054 maas@idt.com
        Ron Karpel

Navigation is one of those essential wilderness skills that too many
of us leave to the trip leader.  In this class we'll try to get everyone
proficient with the basics of map and compass.  I'm also planning
a (not yet scheduled) weekend navigation outing to the Sierra, for
which this class will be a prerequisite.  Please call if you want to
attend, so that we can get a head count in advance.

Expectations on Trips

Recently a prominent PCS member sent out an E-mail message
polling members on various issues that can come up during PCS
trips. These include carpool payment rates, payment of damage to
a vehicle on a trip, sharing and paying for expensive gear, arrival
time at the trailhead, where to eat on the way, and determining the
pace of the hike. These issues should be addressed by all of us
and we need to have guidelines. From my perspective, PCS trips
have all been positive experiences with congenial people.
However, on a trip or in a carpool, differences of opinion can arise.
If not handled properly, this can harm the camaraderie of the trip
and possibly spill over into the entire section. In a future issue of
the Scree, I will publish a list of these issues with various
members' opinions.

-- Bob Bynum, Scree Editor

Official (PCS) Trips

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

Mt. Irvine and others
Peaks   Mt. Irvine, Class 3
Trailhead:      Whitney Portal
Date:   August 7-9
Leader: Chris Kramar 510-796-6651

The first day we hike to Meysan Lake. There is a possibility of
climbing a peak on this day for those who are able. The second
day climbs of Le Conte, Irvine, Mallory and McAdie (TBD) are
possible. The third day we hike out.

Seven Gables
Peaks:  Seven Gables & more if time permits (Class 2)
Dates:  August 7 thru 9 Fri thru Sun
Maps:   Mt. Pinchot & Marion Peak  7.5
Leader: Charles Schafer (408) 324-6003 (w)

This trip is to a fairly remote section of the Sierra, but it is a west
side entry so it should be really scenic..  We will hike in from
Florence Lake on Friday and set up camp beside Seven Gables.
Saturday we will climb Seven Gables and traverse over to Gemini
if it doesn't look to be too painful.  Sunday we will hike out, with an
optional climb of Mt. Senger if time permits.

There will be plenty of snow yet so if ice axes and crampons are
required tis will not be an official trip. Advanced beginners are
welcome, but it will be a relatively strenuous trip so you will need
to be in pretty good shape.

Great Western Divide Backpack
Peak:   Milestone Mountain, 13,641', Class 3
Dates:  Aug. 15-22, 1998
Map:    Mt. Whitney
Leader: Roger Crawley  650 321 8602, rcrawl@earthlink.net

 From Cedar Grove in Sequoia Kings Canyon Nat'l Park we will
hike the Bubbs  Creek trail to our first camp at East Lake. Then
we will crawl over the  Kings Kern Divide via Millys Foot Pass.
The following days we will move down the line of 13,600'  peaks
that form the Great Western divide. My goal is to climb 3 or 4 of
em: Thunder Mtn, Table Mtn, Midway Mtn, and  Milestone Mtn.
They are all class 3 climbs.  Permit for 6 persons.

Rodgers Peak
Peak:   Rodgers Peak (12,978') Class 2/3
Dates:  Fri, Aug 21, thru Sun, Aug. 23
Leaders:        Debbie Bulger (408) 457-1036
        Debbie Benham (650) 964-0558

This striking peak on the eastern border of Yosemite should offer
spectacular views to both the east and west. After a long
backpack in (roughly 16 miles) from the June Lakes Loop, Rush
Creek trailhead,  we will set up base camp near Rodgers Lakes.
The exposed east ridge may be a challenge for strong
newcomers. We plan to stay together. Sunday we pack out and
drive home. Limited to 8.

MT. Whitney & Muir
Peaks:  Whitney & Muir, Class 3
Trailhead:      Whitney Portal
Date:   August 21-23
Leader: Chris Kramar 510-796-6651

This will be a loop trip. The first day we will travel to Iceberg Lake.
The next day we will take the Mountaineer's route to the top of
Whitney, then top off Mt. Muir as we proceed back to our second
night's camp via the walking trail. Third day we hike out.

Johnny Get Your Goat
Peak:   Goat Mountain; class 2-3, 12207'
Dates:  Aug 22-23, Sat-Sun
Maps:   Marion 15 min. or Marion & Sphinx 7.5 min.
Leader: Aaron Schuman  H 650-968-9184 W 650-943-7532
        Details:        http://sj.znet.com/~cynthiam/goat.html

Saturday, pack four steep miles up from Zumwalt Meadow (5035)
in Kings Canyon, along Copper Creek, to our campsite at Upper
Tent Meadow (8600). Sunday, hike two miles on trail to Granite
Pass (10347), then follow the ridge for two miles to the summit
(12207) of Goat Mountain.  Enjoy stunning views of the sculpted
stone of Cirque Crest and the unimaginable depths of Paradise
Valley.  This trip will be quite strenuous but only of moderate
technical difficulty.

Mt Silliman, Kids Trip
Peak:   Mt. Silliman (11,188), Class 2
Dates:  August 28-31 Friday - Monday
Map:    Triple Divide Peak 7.5 min.
Leader: Ron Karpel and contact
        (W)510-683-4668 X231; (H)650-594-0211
Co-Leader:      Dennis Rosman (H)650-595-8678

Grownup must be accompanied by children. This is primarily a
backpacking trip with emphasis of making is fun for kids.  We will
start at Sunset Meadow in Sequoia NP first night at Rowel
Meadow (short day), Second night at Ranger Lake, Third night at
Twin Lake. On the third day, the trail from Ranger Lake to Twin
Lake pass over Silliman Pass. We plan to drop our packs and
follow the ridge line to the summit. We will keep the summit as a
low priority goal and emphasize the hiking and having fun. We will
exit at Lodgepole . We will need to setup a car shuttle for this trip.

Florence Peak
Peaks:  Florence Peak (12,432'), Class 2
        Vandever Mountain (11,947'), Class 1
Dates:  Sept 4-6th, Fri-Sun (3 days)
Map:    Mineral King USGS 7.5 min
Leaders:        Debbie Benham   H 650-964-0558 (until 9 PM)
        Judith Dean     H 650-854-9288 (until 9 PM)

Join us for a lovely Labor Day stretch in beautiful Sequoia National
Park! We'll hike into Franklin Lakes our first day, then climb two,
very easy, non-technical peaks Saturday, then hike out and home
on Sunday. Especially invited are those new to peak bagging with
a bit of backpacking experience.

McDuffie, Black Giant, & Charybdis
Peaks:  McDuffie, Black Giant, & Charybdis   (Class 3)
Dates:  September 4 thru 7, Fri thru Mon
Maps:   North Palisade, Mt. Thompson,  Mt. Goddard      7.5'
Leader: Charles Schafer (408) 324-6003 (w) charles.schafer@octel.com

If you've ever climbed to the top of Bishop Pass, looked off into the
interior of the Sierra, and thought that those magnificent peaks on
the horizon looked awfully appealing; then this trip is for you.
Secor says the three peaks are easily day hiked from Helen Lake
(at Muir Pass), so I want to give them a try from just west of Black
Giant.  We will hike in over Bishop Pass on Friday and set up
camp near Black Giant. Saturday we will climb the three peaks (or
just two, if that's all we can do).  Sunday we will either climb
McDuffie (if we didn't get it on Sat.) or go for something else in the
neighborhood.  Monday we will hike out.

This should be a lot of fun, but it is a pretty ambitious trip so we
are looking for experienced class 3 climbers to join us.

Tuolomne Family Car Camp III
Peaks:  Warren, Gibbs; class 1
Dates:  Sep 12-13       Sat-Sun
Maps:   Mono Craters 15 min.
Leaders:        Cecil Ann       H 408-358-1168
        Aaron Schuman   H 650-968-9184
        W 650-943-7532
Details:        http://sj.znet.com/~cynthiam/warren.html

Bring your grandparents and your grandchildren to enjoy the pine
air and cathedral views of Yosemite's Tuolomne Meadows.  Hearty
adults and teens will enjoy the two day hikes, to Mt Warren (8
miles, from 9000 to 12327 feet) and Mt Gibbs (12 miles, up from
9600 to 12773 feet).  The Tuolomne Family Car  Camp, now in its
third year, has become a real PCS tradition!

Contact Cecil Ann, not Aaron, to reserve a spot at our group

Arrow Peak & Ruskin
Peaks:  Arrow Peak, Mt. Ruskin, and more if time permits, (Class 3)
Dates:  September 18 thru 21          Fri thru Mon
Maps:   Mt. Pinchot & Marion Peak  7.5'
Leader: Charles Schafer, (408) 324-6003 (w) charles.schafer@octel.com

This trip is to an area which is not as often visited as some other
Sierra locations, but not for lack of beauty or interesting mountains
to climb.  We will hike in over Taboose Pass on Friday and set up
camp near the headwaters of the South Fork of the Kings River.
Saturday we will climb Ruskin and perhaps try a traverse over to
Marion if it doesn't look to be too much of a killer.  Sunday we will
attack Arrow via a classic 3rd class route, and then possibly cross
over to Pyramid if time permits.  Monday we hike out.

Neither of the variations are required, and may not even be
attempted. But either way this should be a great trip. It is a pretty
ambitious undertaking, though, so we are looking for experienced
class 3 climbers to come along.  By the way, if this looks familiar it
is a repeat listing of a trip listed earlier in the year which didn't

Notes and Requests

Medic/First Aid Classes

To help trip leaders and would-be leaders get the required First
Aid certificate, the Chapter sponsors a First Aid class each
quarter, based on a nationally recognized first aid text, but with
added material and emphasis on wilderness situations with no
phone to dial 911. The next First Aid classes will be Saturday,
August 22 and Sunday, August 23 at the Peninsula Conservation
Center in Palo Alto (from Bayshore/Hwy. 101 at San Antonio,
turn toward the Bay; turn left at 1st stoplight, then right at
Corporation Way to park behind PCC). Class is 8:30 a.m. to 5:30
p.m. (1 hour for your bag lunch) and is limited to 12 people. To
sign up, send a check for $38 with a stamped, self-addressed
business-sized envelope to: Health Education Services, 200
Waverly, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Cancellations get partial refund
if a substitute attends (you get to keep the Wilderness First Aid
book). For more information, call 650-321-6500.

-- Marg  Ottenberg

Highlights of Climborama 98

This trip lasted nine full days, from Sat. 6/27 through Sun. 7/05.

Participants: Steve Eckert (leader), Bob Suzuki (Co-leader), Tim
Kutscha, Jim Ramaker, Aaron Schuman, Eddie Sudol, Craig Taylor.

The seven of us drove up in two cars.  At the parking lot at
Whitney Portal on the first night of the trip, four of us left our
food in one of our cars and slept on the ground nearby.  A bear
broke into a truck with a camper shell parked right next to our
car.  We slept through the attack and awoke the next morning to
find the parking lot covered with food debris, and were very
relieved to discover that it wasn't ours. Even though our other car
contained no food, the bear bent a window frame on it, stuck his
nose inside for a sniff, then departed.

The group as a whole climbed 17 peaks over nine days, with
individuals climbing anywhere from 9 to 15 peaks.  Here's the list
of peaks in the order we climbed them:
        Mt. Muir 14,015 Mt. Newcomb 13,422
        Mt. Hitchcock 13,186    Mt. Pickering 13,474
        Mt. Hale 13,494 Joe Devel Peak 13,327
        Mt. Young 13,176        Mt. McAdie 13,799
        Mt. Whitney 14,494      Mt. Irvine 13,780
        Mt. Carillon 13,517     Mt. Mallory 13,845
        Mt. Tunnabora 13,563    Mt. Muah 11,016
        Mt. Guyot 12,300        Thor Peak 12,306
        Mt. Chamberlain 13,169

"Winner" in the peak derby was Eddie Sudol with 15 ascents.
Eddie was the oldest person in the group (he turned 50 on the
first day of the trip), he has some of the worst gear in the PCS,
and while he's in good shape, he was far from being the best
conditioned among the seven of us.  So desire and inner drive
really count for a lot in climbing.

In addition to 10 days of food and fuel, we all carried snow shoes,
ski poles, crampons, and ice axes.  Packs at the beginning of the
trip averaged about 65 pounds.

We were on snow about 90% of the time -- rock hard in the
morning, and so soft in the afternoon that we often postholed up
to our knees.

We all carried snowshoes, but found them to be of limited value
on the steep or sloping terrain where we usually found ourselves.
Once I postholed WITH snowshoes, got my snowshoe caught
under a rock three feet down, and needed 15 minutes of hard
digging to free leg and then snowshoe.

Average camp was at 11,000 to 12,000 feet, often on a rock
"island" surrounded by snow next to a frozen lake.

Except for three lower peaks, summits ranged from 13,000 to
14,500 feet.  Total elevation gain hiking and climbing for the
week was around 30,000 feet.

Every one of the ten or so major lakes we passed was frozen solid
and covered with snow.  Temps at dawn averaged 25 degrees and
we often had to chop a hole in an icy lake to get water in the

On all nine days we had perfect cloudless weather (!!!).

Except for the first and last days when we were on the standard
trail up Mt. Whitney, we saw NO other people.  NONE!!!  This in
a state with 35,000,000 people and near the highest and most
popular big mountain in the 48 states.  The El Nino snowpack
had scared most people away from the Sierras until later in the

This trip demonstrated how vast the Sierras really are, once you
start poking around all of the peaks instead of just cruising
through on the Muir Trail.  All of our wanderings for the entire
nine days were contained on a single 7.5 minute map!!!
Remember, to cover all of the "climber's Sierra" from Tower Peak

This trip was definitely not easy.  On three separate days, 6 p.m.
found at least some of us above 13,000 feet, slogging upward on
soft snow in the hopes of bagging another peak, with a steep
potentially tricky descent still to come.  (So much for a prudent
"turn-around time.")  On all three days we bagged the peak and
got down to camp by dark.  But a couple times we barely made it,
even with the long days just after the summer solstice.  On the
other hand, we still had a margin of safety on those three
evenings.  The weather was calm, we were all experienced, and
those who were too tired to keep climbing had bailed out earlier.

Steve and Eddie climbed Carillon and Tunnabora the hard way.
These peaks are both class-2 boulder hops, but Steve and Eddie
made them interesting by starting from Guitar Lake west of Mt.
Whitney, crossing Whitney-Russell Pass, descending a steep
snowfield with a cliff below it, and traversing the shelf perched
above a cliff on the southeast side of Mt. Russell.  They bagged
both peaks and reversed their route, covering eight miles of
rugged cross country above 12,000 feet.

To top it off, they got back to camp at 4:30 p.m. with enough
energy to insist that everyone pack up camp and backpack over to
Crabtree Lakes that evening, so we'd be in position for the next
day's climb. (For a full description of Steve & Eddie's route, go to
the PCS Web site, page down to "Resources," and select "errata
to Secor."

On the same day, Craig Taylor and I climbed the west face of Mt.
Whitney.  This huge face is a maze of buttresses and gullies.
Two of the gullies appear to go all the way to the top and we took
the left-hand one.  Thanks to El Nino the gully was a fine
moderate snow climb, 2000 feet of easy cramponing and never
steeper than 30 degrees as it threaded its way up past huge rock
towers and walls.  From the top of the gully, 500 feet of
scrambling up sun-warmed class-2 boulders took us to the
summit plateau.  For the second time in three ascents, no one was
on the summit of Whitney when I arrived.

The most boring climb was Guyout Peak.  For the five of us who
did it, it was 12-mile day, most of it on the Pacific Crest Trail
with intermittent snow patches.  The peak itself was a low-angle
snow slog with occasional postholing.  The peak has four small
summit towers -- the third one we got to had the register, but
according to Steve's GPS, the fourth (northernmost) one is the
actual summit, so we climbed that one too.  (We sure didn't want
to come back and do the peak again, though in all fairness, it had
spectacular views of the vast wilderness around the Kaweahs and
the upper Kern River).  One of the high points of the day was
when Bob navigated back through the woods to our camp using
only map and compass (Steve had put his GPS away and there
were no useful landmarks visible.)  At 5 p.m. we came up over a small
a hill and walked right into the center of our camp. Way to go Bob.

The hardest and most interesting peak we climbed was definitely
Mt. McAdie (13,799), which is next to Arc Pass about 3 miles
southeast of Mt. Whitney.  McAdie consists of a north, south, and
middle peak. The north peak is the highest, but a direct assault
on it from Arc Pass is class 5 so a circuitous route was required.
We climbed some class 2-3 rock on the south peak, did a short
traverse toward the south on soft 60 degree snow (measured
angle), traversed an exposed snowy ridge over to the middle
peak, downclimbed a short icy step, traversed the middle peak,
then downclimbed 50 feet of nearly vertical class 3-4 rock to get
to the ridge between the middle and north peaks.  At that point,
just when it looked like the climbing was about to get harder, a
hidden ledge took us around onto the west face of the north peak,
and then enjoyable class-3 rock took us straight up to the summit.

We triggered a small, non-threatening, wet-snow avalanche on
McAdie. Over 4th of July, some skiers were nearly killed in an
avalanche near Tuolumne Meadows.  In a normal year in the
Sierras, avalanches are almost unheard of after May 1 because

After we got down from Mt. McAdie on the second-to-last day,
the group split up, with Steve heading off to dayhike Mt. Muah
and Tim, Aaron, and Craig hiking out.  That left Bob, Eddie, and
I to make a 3:30 p.m. start on Irvine and Mallory, neither of
which are trivial. Thanks to Bob's persistence, we summitted
Irvine at 5, did a long traverse across a soft snowfield, climbed
some steep mixed junk of soft snow and class-3 rock, and found
ourselves relaxing in the silence on the summit of Mallory at
6:30.  One of those golden days in the mountains, with great
climbing and great companions.

Even at the end of the trip on July 5th, it was basically still
winter in the high country.  We saw no bugs and almost no
wildflowers -- they were still yet to come.  Only after descending
from Thor Peak on July 5 did some of us see some green grass
and a snow-free meadow that suggested the beginning of spring.

I ate about 50 Energy Bars of various kinds (PowerBars, Stoker
bars, Think bars).  The others ridiculed me, but I only lost a few
pounds and had good energy right up thru the hike out on the
afternoon of the ninth day.  (Maybe the energy that day came
from thoughts of a shower and a meal in a restaurant.)

Most of us didn't wash our faces or clothes for nine days.  It was
too cold to do so in morning or evening, and we were usually way
up in the snow during the middle of the day.  Reverting to
savagery is fun, for awhile.  (Steve was the exception, carefully
shaving every day with his battery-powered razor.)

Because of the incredibly stable weather, Bob, Steve, and I slept
under the stars every night and were rewarded with spectacular
views of the Milky Way and many shooting stars.

Bob and Steve are nuts.  Even for the PCS, they give new
meaning to the word excess.  For them, utter exhaustion is a
virtue to be pursued and then used a springboard into ever deeper
exhaustion.  And they did an incredibly good job of leading this
trip.  Just to come up with a plan to climb so many peaks in nine
days is quite an accomplishment, but then to make it all happen
with no major mistakes or fiascoes is a bit unbelievable.  On to
Climborama 99!

-- Jim Ramaker

NOTE: Route details, GPS waypoints, and route maps (with and
without topo data) are at these URLs:


(soon to be on the PCS website also)

-- Steve Eckert

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.

Mount Ritter
Peak:   Mount Ritter (13,143) Class-2
Dates:  August 8-9
Maps:   Mt Ritter, Mammoth Mtn (E)
Leader: Ron Karpel rkarpel@usa.net
Co-Leader and Contact: Nancy Fitzsimmons
        (408) 957-9683

This is a private trip with ice axe and crampons. Previous
experience with ice axe and crampons are required. Saturday, we
will start from Agnew Meadows and hike to Ediza Lake. Sunday
we will climb Mount Ritter via the Southeast glacier route.

Bear Creek Spire & Mt. Abbot
Peaks:  Bear Creek Spire (13,720'+), Mt. Abbot (13,704'); class 3, 4
Dates:  Aug 15-16
Maps:   Mt. Abbot 15 min
Contact:        Bob Suzuki, w: 510-657-7555, h: 408-259-0772,
        Nancy Fitzsimmons, w: 408-764-1761, h: 408-957-9683,

This weekend we'll attempt two of Moynier and Fiddler's "100 Best
Climbs in the High Sierra." After an early Saturday morning
backpack into Treasure Lakes we'll tackle the class 4 northeast
ridge and summit block of Bear Creek Spire. Sunday's challenge
will include ascending the steep snow and loose rock of Abbot's
north couloir. Climbing harness, rappel device, helmet, ice axe and
crampons required. Only climbers with the requisite gear and
experience will be considered.

Editor's Note: Bob Suzuki has informed me that this trip is full.
however he is keeping a waiting list.

Return to The Palisades
Peaks:  Temple Crag (12,999'), Gayley (13,510'),
        Palisade Crest (13,520'); class 4
Dates:  August 21-23, Fri-Sun, 3 days
Maps:   Mt. Goddard 15 min.
Contacts:       Bob Suzuki, w: 510-657-7555,
        h (>8pm): 408-259-0772, bobszk@bigfoot.com
        Rich Leiker, w (>3pm): 408-453-4253,
        h (<2pm): 510-792-4816,
        (7/15-8/5 contact Rich Leiker)

One of the Sierra's highest and most rugged areas will be the
setting for these three climbs. From a basecamp at Elinore Lake
our routes will include the southeast face of Temple Crag, the
southwest ridge of Gayley, and the northwest ridge and class 4
summit pinnacle of the  Palisade Crest. Expect a late return to the BA.

Ten Days in Milestone Basin
Peaks:  Your choice
Dates:  Aug 29 - Sep 7
Map:    Mt. Whitney 15 min.
Contact:        Jim Curl, 415-585-1380, jimcurl@juno.com
Co-contact: Dot Reilly, der@gene.com

Join us for a fun trudge with huge packs over Shepherd Pass to
spend a long week in the Milestone Basin area.  The peak
climbing potential is vast and we currently have no set itinerary.
Climb along with us or on your own, but be self-sufficient.  This is
not a led trip.

South of Mono Divide
Peaks:  Hooper (12,349'), Senger (12,286'),
        Seven Gables (13,075'), Gemini (12,866'); class 1-4
Dates:  Sept 4-7, Fri-Mon, 4 days
Maps:   Mt. Abbot 15 min.
Contacts:       Bob Suzuki, Rich Leiker same info as "Return to The Palisades"
        (7/15-8/5 contact Rich Leiker)

If you can appreciate a typical PCS slog, this maybe the Labor
Day trip for you! Long miles, rock slabs, talus, scree and sand -
this trip should have it all! If you think you can stand the sweat and
the pain, please give us a call.

Dana Coulor
Peak:   Dana Coulor, Class 3 Snow
Date:   September 26, Saturday
Contact:        George Van Gordon, after August 20

Peak:   Mera Peak (21,200),
Date:   October 1998 (21 day trip)
Contact:        Warren Storkman
        4180 Mackay Drive
        Palo Alto, CA 94306

Trekking from Arun river through a seldom traveled route we
experience seeing villages and people not accustomed to
westerners.  Both climb or Trek is 21 days.  Cost $1880 - a non-
commercial private trip.

Mera Peak Climb (21,200 ft.) Mera is a non-technical peak and
one of the finest vantage points in the Khumbu.  This breathtaking
mountain panorama includes no less than five of the worlds
fourteen 18,000 meter peaks.

Kalapattar Trek (18,000 ft) looks down upon Everest Base Camp.

Work Parties

The following list of trips are work party trips for the
purpose of maintaining the Sierra Clubs huts. These are
listed separately from peak climbs and are considered to be
private trips.

Dick Simpson, a PCS leader, is organizing the following work
parties where the participants help to build backcountry ski and
snowshow huts. People of all skills are needed. Optional peak
climbs (class-1 and class-2)  are possible. Car camping nearby
(or a simple backpack in some cases).  Tools and supplies and
food will be provided.

Please contact Dick at 650-494-9272 or rsimpson@magellan.stanford.edu
if interested for any of the following.

New Bradley Hut Work Party
Dates:  August 23-29, Sun.-Sat
Dates:  September 12-13, Sat.-Sun.
Dates:  September 19-20, Sat.-Sun.
Dates:  September 26-27, Sat.-Sun.
Dates:  October 3-4, Sat.-Sun.
Dates:  October 10-11, Sat.-Sun.
Dates:  October 17-18, Sat.-Sun.
Dates:  October 24-25, Sat.-Sun.
Dates:  October 31 - November 1, Sat.-Sun.

Peter Grubb Hut Work Party
Dates:  September 26-27, Sat.-Sun.

Mt Lyell (13,114 ft),

July 3/4/5, 1998.

Over the Independence weekend, 5 PCS'ers took a tramp up to
Mt Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite at 13114 feet. This is a
brief description of the trip to highlight the conditions we found
in this El Nino year.

We got rolling from the ranger's kiosk in Tuoloumne Meadows at
about 9.15 am on Friday, the 3rd July. Due to the late opening of
the Tioga Road this year (just 2 days ago) there had been hardly
anybody going into the Lyell Canyon/Donahue Pass region this
year. The rangers were singularly uninformed about the whole
region vis-a-vis snow and they stared at us incredulously upon
hearing that Lyell was our destination.

So, we decided to take our chances by leaving snowshoes behind
but were otherwise prepared for early spring conditions and
carried ice axes, crampons, extra warm clothing and even a
couple of bear canisters between the five of us (Scott Kreider,
Stephan Meier, Rick and Dee Booth and myself, Arun Mahajan).
Turned out to be a wise choice.

The trail is long but even and goes thru spectacular country.
Tuoloumne never disappoints. We stayed on the right of the creek
on the PCT taking numerous breaks, enjoying the warm sun and
the sounds of the fast flowing creek. The trail was surprisingly
free of snow except occasional patches in the wooded parts. One
river crossing proved a little troublesome but there are fallen logs
and some careful balancing over them can get you across. About
7 or 8 miles in, the trail disappeared in the snow and starts to
climb quickly. We ran into 3 thru hikers of the PCT whose
footsteps we traced till we got to the footbridge shown on the
Vogelsang 7.5 min topo (9400 ft+). We headed up and right till
we came to a flat spot which was mostly snowbound but had
patches of bare ground showing and a slowing moving stream
barely visible. The weather continued to be warm as we cooked
dinner and stashed food away and planned the next day's route
before turning in for the night.

We started hiking at 7.15 am. The snow was hard and suncupped
and we put on crampons right away. We were aiming to top the
steep ridge plumb in front of us but to get there we had to do
some route finding thru the forest before it. Maclure Creek
crashes down here and the crossing is fairly hairy. Since it was
early morning, the snowbridges were firm but we were quite
anxious as we crossed them as it was never clear which one
would give. A lot of the stream is hidden under what looks like
dubious snow but everything that we walked on, held. We broke
thru the forest and climbed the first steep ridge and were greeted
by the alpine grandeur of a huge snow bowl ringed by Lyell and
Maclure and other surrogate peaks and ridges. The route finding
of Scott and Dee and Rick was on the mark to get us here.

There is plateau with 2 lakes but there were barely discernible as
we walked past them on the suncupped snow and then the steep
climb towards the Lyell-Maclure notch begins. Here we kept
switching leads, as breaking trail in the snow was hard work.
Below the north wall now, we decided to go straight up. We
aimed for the first chute to the right of the large band of cliffs and
that the snow was a little rotten in the section right between the
rocks,  where it was obviously melting fast.

There was only a very slight discoloration in the snow that might
have been the bergschrund but it was all covered up anyway.
Stephan took the lead in this steep section and we climbed
straight up, glad to have him kick steps for us. I thought that the
angle was comparable to that on Mt Hood above the bergschrund
on the Palmer Glacier, and this puts it to at least 35 or above. Be
very careful and cautious here. We took our time doing it and
after some anxious moments topped the ridge to get to the
summit plateau. Then it is a class-2/3 scramble to the summit of
Lyell. It was 1.45pm then. We were pleased to discover that we
were the first party on top this year.

We relaxed in the warm sun and cloudless skies for about 45
mins here. We had great views all around. The view of Ritter and
Banner is awesome from this vantage point. We looked over to
Maclure. It looked very hard due to all that steep snow that
covered the ridge that PCS parties of yore have suggested taking.

Harder still was the final snowfield with an unsafe runout right
near the summit. So, we decided to leave it for another day and
again we down climbed the steep wall that we had come up with
much caution, sometimes even switching to facing the wall as we
down climbed. Luckily for the most part the axes held firm but
they sank upto the hilt as we cautiously climbed the steepest
section. A couple of glissades and some tiresome walking on
suncups got us to the forest where again the route finding skills
of Scott and Dee and Rick and Stephan's GPS helped us find our
way back to camp. Crossing the stream here was quite hairy as
the snow was softer. By the time we got back to camp, it was
6.15. It had been a 11 hour day.

Sunday, we hiked out under perfect conditions and made it to the
cars in just about 5 and half hours and then pizza at 'The Two
Guys' place in Groveland before fighting with the home bound
traffic getting into the Bay area and yet another great PCS trip
drew to a close.

A note of caution: The snow conditions are changing very fast day
by day. The bergschrund on the Lyell Glacier may open up. The
snow wall (maybe there will be a chute when some of the snow
goes away) is steep on the north side, left of the Lyell-Maclure
saddle. The stream crossing after camp, will be harder as more
snow melts away, maybe it will be safer to cross it higher up.
There is some route finding needed in the forest where this
stream flows. Maclure will be doable when all that snow
goesaway, but right now it looked unsafe.

-- Arun Mahajan

Mt. Brewer Region

July 3-8, 1998

Rich Leiker, Maggie Hudson, Craig Clarence, Laurie Price, and
your loyal scribe, David Harris, made up the 1998 ABC
(Anarchist Brewer Climbers) crew. We spent a very enjoyable,
though unexpectedly exciting, week at East Lake in the heart of
Kings Canyon climbing whatever appeared interesting.

The crux of the trip was a crossing of Bubbs Creek during peak
snow melt with 200% of normal snowfall.  Entering from
Kearsarge Pass, Craig arrived a day early and was able to use a
tyrolean traverse set up by an exiting Outward Bound group.  The
rest of us managed a challenging roped crossing just upstream of
East Creek, followed by a tedious bushwack up the east side of
East Creek until the trail crossed over to our side.  Since the
cross-country was so unpleasant, we stayed on the trail on the
return and had to cross Bubbs below its roaring tributary.
Maggie describes her unfortunate adventure making the crossing
in the attached story.

Craig blew away all the rest of us with his climbing energy.
Before we arrived he soloed Jordan and Genevera, using a cam
and sling as aid since he could not find the easier 4th class route
to Jordan's summit. I spent a day chasing him up South Guard
and Brewer, climbing a pair of steep snowy couloirs, while Rich
and Maggie took a more reasonable pace up South Guard.  We
were the first party to sign in on South Guard this year, though
with the exceptional snow it would not be surprising if others had
made the summit and were unable to locate the register.  Maggie
and Rich showed up about an hour after us on South Guard,
having taken the longer but perhaps easier route up a poor trail to
Lake Reflection, bypassing a 30 foot tall cornice on Longley Pass
via a short 3rd class rock pitch to the right of the pass.  The third
day of climbing, Craig ran ahead while Rich and I made the
approach to North Guard.  North Guard was the most enjoyable
climb of the trip, featuring excellent 3rd class climbing to the
summit block, a 20 foot monolith which Norman Clyde had
described as leaning over the 500 foot east face at "an
embarrassing angle."  Secor and the 100 Classic book disagree
whether North Guard is class 3 or 4; we would be inclined to call
it challenging class 3 with a 4th class summit block since we
never wanted a rope except while scrambling onto the summit.
Craig had so much energy that he ran along the ridge and climbed
another peak which we had misidentified as Francis Farquhar
before returning to camp!

The region was particularly beautiful with so much water.  We
had to chop the Kearsarge Lake bear box out of a huge snow
drift.  Vidette Meadow is completely flooded; we were treated to
the sight of a baby deer walking across the meadow with her
mother on evening.  This snow would also explain the lack of
other people in the mountain:  there were very few vehicles
parked at Onion Valley, and we saw no other humans for three
days while on the far side of Bubbs Creek.

  -- David Harris

The Crossing of Bubbs Creek

Packing out after the trip we knew that we were in for a difficult
stream crossing.  And, sure enough, we got to the crossing point
to find the water level around waist high and the river raging.
David attempted to make the crossing, assisted by ski poles and
being belayed by Craig.  However, after just a couple of steps, he
concluded that it was not safe to attempt the crossing in this
manner.  Rich had already scouted downstream for a suitable
crossing point to no avail. So David began to search upstream,
where the crossing involved traversing many streams that merged
just above the trail crossing point.

David managed to get across, although I believe the crossings
were not without some hazard, and he soon appeared on the other
side of the stream.  David and Craig then began the process of
setting up a rope looped around suitable trees on either side of
the stream so that we could cross with the safety of being clipped
on to the rope.  David then crossed via the rope to test out the
method and got back to the group safely.

We then started the crossing for real, with backpacks.  Craig went
first and get across without incident.  I then ventured out into the
stream to begin my traverse.  The first problem I encountered was
that I could not reach the rope with the carabiner.  So we had to
quickly change the length of webbing that we were using so that I
could clip on.  This done, I clipped on to the rope and began to
cross, moving my hands slowly along the rope.  The force of the
water was incredible: far greater than I had imagined.  I was
approximately half way across when I was no longer able to
maintain my footing.  Up until this point I had maintained contact
with the bottom of the stream, although I was using my hands to
get across more than I was able to use my feet.

But, once in the middle of the stream, the force of the water was
just so great against my body that I could not maintain my grip on
the rope.  So I suddenly found myself with my head under water,
struggling to get above the surface to be able to breathe, still
attached to the rope via webbing and carabiner.  At this point I
believed that I was about to drown.

After what was probably seconds, but seemed a lot longer, my
backpack came off and zoomed off downstream and then I was
grabbed by Craig who had come to my rescue from the far side of
the stream.  I gasped for air only to hear Craig say something like
"Someone help, I can't hold her".  (This could be a misquote,
apologies if it's not accurate but my memory of the whole event is
probably somewhat warped!!).  Rich then jumped onto the rope
and quickly came to assist Craig in his rescue attempt.  At this
point, I was struggling to stay above water and Craig and Rich
were both hanging on to the rope by one arm, holding on to me
with the other.  Neither of them were clipped on to the rope so
they were both at great personal risk.  However, they quickly
managed to get the situation under control, I got my hands back
on the rope, and all three of us made it to the other side safely,
although somewhat stressed.

Craig then took off downstream to search for my backpack, which
he managed to retrieve from a swirling eddy, but had to cross the
stream again to do so (thanks Craig).  Meanwhile, Rich had to go
back across as his backpack was still on the other side of the
stream.  The remainder of the group then decided that they would
risk crossing the way that David had originally crossed, rather
than taking their backpacks across via the rope.

The group was soon united on the far side of the stream, although
everyone was a little shocked, and my backpack was now almost
impossible to carry due to the weight of all my wet gear.  So Rich and I
had to spend an hour and a half at the stream, drying out the entire
contents of my pack.  Luckily, the sun was out at full strength so I was
able to stay warm and things dried out fairly quickly.

The moral of the story: don't underestimate the power of the
water in the stream crossings this year.  I for one will not be
crossing any more streams unless I am able to wade across.  I
want my feet firmly in contact with the ground!

-- Maggie Hudson


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


Elected Officials

        Roger  Crawley / rcrawl@earthlink.net
        650-321-8602  home
        761 Nash Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
        Arun Mahajan / arun@tollbridgetech.com
        650 327-8598 home
        1745 Alma Street, Palo Alto, Ca 94301.

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
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        408-957-9683 home
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        510-659-1413 home
        761 Towhee Court, Fremont CA 94539-7421

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        223 Horizon Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043-4718

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Subscriptions and Email List Info

Hardcopy subscriptions are $10. Subscription applications and
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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, rope may be used.
        Class 4: Requires rope belays.
        Class 5: Technical rock climbing.

Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 8/23/98.
Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

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