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Scree for December, 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.
                  December, 1998  Vol. 32, No. 12
     Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 12/27/98. 

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

Date:	Tuesday, December 8
Time:	7:00 PM
Program: Party and Slide Show! 

Bring ten of your most exciting, embarrassing, or 
"hideous exposure" slides to show at the party

Someone may kick you out if you show up empty 
handed or try to get by "on the cheap" with a liter of 
Coca Cola r ! Bring your "best" potluck dish. If you 
need a suggestion for what to bring, follow this guide 
based on the initial letter of your last name:
	-- A-F: Desserts
	-- G-L: Snacks, Appetizers, Salads
	-- M-R: Drinks
	-- S-Z: Main course

NOTE: Names have been re-arranged for 1999 to 
avoid picking on the same people!

Dress Code: Black Tie and Balaclava Optional

Check the Web for any last-minute changes and 
late breaking news. (Hey, it could happen!)

Location: The world famous. "Cafe Iris" on the 
Silicon Graphics Campus.

To get to Silicon Graphics, take the Shoreline 
Blvd. exit from US-101 in Mountain View. From 
either the northbound or southbound directions, 
make a right exit, then turn left at the top of the 
ramp, heading north through the industrial park 
1.3 miles from the top of the ramp, there'll be the 
unmistakable Shoreline Amphitheater on your 
left -a giant two poled white tent Another 
landmark at the same corner is the charming red 
abstract sculpture on your right.

Turn right at that corner, onto Stierlin Court. 
You're on the SGI campus. Park anywhere that 
isn't a fire lane, a handicapped space, or a 
loading dock.

Building 5 (with Cafe Iris) is the fourth building 
on the right.

There's a gif map to the Cafe Iris on the Web at:
(and a color image in the PDF EScree)

PCS Trip Leaders Wanted

Becoming a PCS trip leader is easier than you probably think.  
The main requirement is climbing knowledge and experience.  
Here's what you need to do to become a PCS trip leader:

1.	Join the PCS and the Sierra Club if you haven't already.

2.	Take a Red Cross-approved first aid class and obtain a Red 
Cross first aid card.

3.	Fill out the "Application for PCS Leadership" below.

4.	Submit your completed application to the chair of the PCS 
Mountaineering Committee.

	Mountaineering Committee:
	Ron  Karpel
	650 594-0211 home
	903 Avon Street, Belmont, CA 94002

Application for PCS Leadership

Name:	__________________________________________

Address:	_________________________________________

Phone numbers:	___________________________________

Sierra Club Number:	________________________________

Are you over age 18?    Yes___    No___

Are you a PCS member?   Yes___    No___

What class of climb are you applying to lead?

Class 1___   Class 2___   Class 3___   Class 4___   Class 5___

Are you also applying to lead winter climbing trips? 

Attach photocopy of your Red Cross first aid card.

Please answer the two questions below in order to verify that you 
have satisfied the requirements for leading the class of climb that 
you have checked.  These requirements are listed following the 

1. Summarize your climbing skills, navigational skills, and any 
other information related to your mountaineering knowledge 
and experience.

2. List the major peaks you have climbed.  For each one, include 
the class of the climb, the name of the leader (if a PCS 
climb), and whether you led the climb.

I hereby apply for leadership with the Sierra Club Loma Prieta 
chapter-Peak Climbing Section.

Signature	_______________________________________

Date	___________________________________________

When using a public campground, a tub 
placed on your picnic table will keep the 
campsites on either side vacant.

Requirements for PCS Leadership

Class One (walking on trail):

1. At least eighteen years of age.  PCS and Sierra Club member

2. Red Cross Multimedia First Aid or approved equivalent. 
Mountain Medicine course conducted by Red Cross and 
Sierra Club may be substituted at alternate renewal periods.

Class Two (walking cross-country; using hands for balance):

1. Qualifications for class one

2. Minimum two years mountain experience

3. Demonstrated navigational ability

4.	Demonstrated sound judgment, mountaineering competence, 
and leadership ability on two class two or harder PCS trips or 

Class Three (use of hands for balance while climbing):

1. Qualifications for class two

2.	Recent experience with roped climbing, including belaying, 
rappelling, knot tying, and/or anchor setting

3.	Recent experience with ice ax, crampons, self-arrest, and/or 
ice-ax belay

4.	Demonstrated sound judgment, mountaineering competence, 
and leadership ability on two class three or harder PCS trips 
or equivalent

Class Four (use of rope for belays):

1. Qualifications for class three

2.	Knowledgeable and experienced in roped climbing (including 
belaying, rappelling, knot tying, and anchor setting) ice ax use 
(including self-arrest and ice-ax belay), and use of crampons.

3.	Demonstrated sound judgment, mountaineering competence, 
and leadership ability on two class four or harder PCS trips or 

Class Five (technical rock climbing):

1. Qualifications for class four

2. Led at least three routes equal to or harder than climb to be led

3.	Knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of rope 
management and handling.  Proficient with anchor setting, 
placing of protection for safety, belaying, and rappelling.

4.	Demonstrated sound judgment, mountaineering competence, 
and leadership ability on two class five PCS trips or 

Winter Trips

1. Qualifications for class of climb to be led

2. Two seasons of winter mountaineering, including extensive 
snow camping

3. Proficiency with skis or snow shows, ice ax, crampons, and ice 
ax belays

4. Substantial navigational experience, including white-out and 
storm conditions

5. Advanced first aid preferred, with an understanding of 
hypothermia, frostbite, and pulmonary edema

6. Avalanche course

7. Demonstrated leadership on one PCS winter trip as co-leader

For Mt. Whitney

Appearing as a puncture in your precipitous pores,
I disappear.
Without seeing me
(And that is holy)
You send a wind that still
Crystallizing the blood in my fingertips,
Thank you for having me as a witness,
Not a spectacle.

	-- Adrienne Van Gorden

Editor's Note: The above poem was written on the October 24, 
1998 ascent of Mt. Whitney. Adrienne Van Gorden is the 
daughter of PCS chair George Van Gorden

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.

*** Chalone Peak
Peak:	Chalone Peak, Class 1
Date:	Sunday, December 13, 1998
Leader:	Roger Crawley  650-321-8602, 

Meet on Sunday morning at the Hyatt House Hotel at North First 
Street, SanJose -Take the 1st Street exit from Highway 101 - the 
Hyatt is at 1st St and101. I'll be there at 7 am having pancakes 
in the coffee shop and we'llleave the parking lot at 8 am.  The 
drive is 2 hours to the East entrance tothe Pinnacles on the road 
passed Hollister.  Flashlights are mandatorybecause the trail 
goes through some dark caves.  After a full day we'll stop at the 
micro brewery in Hollister and dinner on the return to San Jose.

*** Out In the Freel World
Peak:	Freel Peak; class 2, winter conditions
Dates:	Dec 12-13, (Sat, Sun)
Map:	Freel Peak 15 min.
Leader: 	Kelly Maas     H 408-279-2054
	W 408-944-2078, maas@idt.com
Co-Leader:	Aaron Schuman  H 650-968-9184
	W 650-943-7532
Details:	http://sj.znet.com/~cynthiam/freel.html

Snowshoe from the outskirts of the town of South Lake Tahoe  to 
the 10881' summit of Freel Peak, the highest point in the Tahoe 
Basin.  Saturday we'll backpack close to the mountain and set up 
our snow camp; Sunday we'll climb to the top for  a view of the 
lake and the forest painted white.  

*** Treasure of the Serra Padre
Peak:	Junipero Serra Peak, 5862 ft, Class 1
Date:	Sunday, January 10 1999.
Maps:	Junipero Serra 7.5'
Leaders:	Arun V. Mahajan , 
	(h) 650-327-8598
	Ron Karpel 
	(w)510771-3231, (h)650-594-0211

The native Americans called it Pimkolam Peak, it has also been 
called Santa Lucia Peak, and now goes by the name Junipero 
Serra after the venerable padre. At 5862 ft, it is the highest peak 
in the Santa Lucia Coast Range. It is also the high point of 
Monterey County and the highest peak that you can get to in the 
Bay Area.

Join us as we take an enjoyable and mildly strenuous (6 miles and 
3900 ft gain, one way) tramp to this peak. There is trail all the way 
to the top. Carpool suggestions from Bay Area: Meet at the Carl's 
Jr. that is at the Dunne Avenue exit on 101 in Morgan Hill at 7 am 
on Sunday, January 10. We will carpool from there. Non Bay Area 
People: Contact the leader for directions to the trailhead.

*** Tam Times Two
Peak:	Mt. Tam (east peak and west peak), class 2
Date:	Saturday, January 30
Leader: 	Steve Eckert  650-508-0500
Co-Leader:	Jeff Fisher 

This has become a classic hike for the leader... including redwood 
groves, lunch on the beach, and a loop route that includes both 
East and West peak of Mt Tamalpias (that big lump north of the 
Golden Gate). You might not think there is class 2 on this well-
trailed peak, but we guarantee you'll use your hands without 
leaving named trails. Short days require a fast pace. Send email or 
call for meeting time and lace, and be prepared to convince us you 
can do 20+ miles and 5000+ feet of gain/loss "in good style".

Mt Silliman Kids Trip 
August 28-31 1998
A graphically enhanced version at

Starting from Rowel Meadow trailhead, we took 2 1/2 days of 
backpacking to get to the top of Silliman Pass. One could get here 
from Lodgepole in less then a day (9 mile, 4000 ft climb). But we 
took our time enjoying the Sierra.

From Silliman Pass we followed the ridge towards the summit of 
Mount Silliman. About a mile later Silliman lakes came into 
view. We dropped from the ridge, hiked by the lakes and up 
through the drainage to the saddle between Mount Silliman and 
the picklet to it's west. Mount Silliman is protected by a 
formidable cliff on its north and east sides. There is only one way 
to get to the top. It is a narrow couloir cutting through the cliff. 
The couloir is visible only once you have reached top of the 

In spite of the hot sun, there was lots of snow in the area, 
ruminant of last winter's Al Nino. The slope of the couloir was 
about 30 degree, and the snow was hard, but it didn't look too 
difficult. Still we didn't have ice axes or crampons, and we were 
not about to use them anyway. Without the ice gear there was no 
way to continue.

It is worth noting that the west side of the ridge looks doable. We 
didn't have enough time to try it though.

Once back at Silliman Pass, we set our eyes on Twins Peak. Just 
1/4 of a mile from the pass, and it looked like a reasonable class 
2. We though it would be an easy consolation prize. But a closer 
look revealed no easy way up. We finally were able to follow the 
ridge line to the top. It was a reasonable but airy class-3 friction 

Participants: Ahmad & Nolan Zandi, Dennis & Matt Rosman, 
Ron & Ethan

-- Ron Karpel

Taking It Easy On The Silver Divide

September 18, 19, 20, 1998

A boat cruise on Lake Edison, a 4-hour hike in with only 2500' 
elevation gain, a camp fire each night, 2500' to the summit, solid 
rock, crystal clear weather:  what a combination for a relaxing 
trip.  So it was for the extended weekend of September 18, 19 
and 20 where the destination peak was Izaac Walton (12077').  
Participants were John and Chris Kerr, Larry Hester, Elmer 
Martin and Peter Maxwell (organizer).  Not all PCS trips are 
death marches and this one definitely fell into the alternative 

Larry and I arrived at Edison Lake around 8 pm on Thursday 
night.  The Kaiser Pass road at night is not much fun so to calm 
our shattered nerves we went to the resort and drank beer sitting 
by the large fire they had on the outdoor patio.  We also obtained 
a wilderness permit there, a service they offer since the High 
Sierra ranger station was closed for the season "due to budget 
cuts" (so the sign there said).  Suitably refreshed, we camped the 
night at a very nice flat area near some trailhead parking, a short 
distance beyond the campground.  Elmer, on the other hand, 
made our drive look tame, since he drove all the way from LA 
after work, arriving about 2 am.

Not wishing to walk any further than necessary, we took the ferry 
across the lake, a journey which takes about 20 minutes and costs 
$15 return, or $8 one way.  They also offer custom pickups, at 
$45 minimum or $10 per person.  Since the only afternoon ferry 
is at 4:45 pm, we took advantage of this service and arranged for 
a 1:30 pm pickup on the Sunday, figuring we didn't have much 
distance to do.

Although I'd brought breakfast with me, Larry convinced me to 
enjoy the resort cooked breakfast, which was definitely nicer than 
cereal and banana.  The ferry didn't leave until 9 am so we had 
plenty of time to sit back.  It carries 15 people, but there were so 
many there that it had to make two trips.

We had expected a quiet off-season, but the place was packed, at 
least around the resort.  I guess many people were making up for 
the late start to summer. The air was still chilly (it had been right 
on freezing when we woke up) and although it was warm sitting 
around at lake's edge, on the ferry it became really cold with the 
wind, so we were huddled in our parkas.

The hike up to Mott Lake was delightful, and largely in the shade 
of trees. In hot weather this would be a really pleasant trail to be 
on to climb the 2500' or so up to the lake.  At several spots there 
were cascades and portions of the creek we were following 
(North Fork of Mono Creek) flowed over broad sheets of granite, 
making for very nice water breaks and lunch.

Arriving at the lake, the competition began to find the best 
campsite.  My original suggestion of "why not down by the lake" 
was voted down as being too damp and likely to have bugs.  The 
site discovered by Larry was the one we used, up on a bench 
above the lake, sheltered by trees and with a million dollar view 
of the lake and surrounds.  Elmer still thought his site was better, 
however, and to prove his point he put his tent there.  This is not 
as antisocial as it sounds, because he used it only for sleeping.  
On the contrary, it was his idea to have a campfire, the rest of us 
being too used to stoves for the idea to occur.  Amazingly enough, 
even at 10000' there was ample wood for a fire and it didn't take 
us long at all to gather enough for an inferno, had we wished to 
have one.  Quite apart from the enjoyment of huddling around a 
fire, it also served to discourage the mosquitoes, of which there 
were sufficient to be annoying.  This was amazing for September, 
but more or less par for the course this year, El Nino having 
delayed everything by a month.

Alpine starts were forbidden on this trip, and the summit day saw 
a relaxing 8:15 am departure.  We pushed up the steep slopes 
immediately behind the lake, but in retrospect it would have been 
better to have simply followed the creek, which we did on the 
descent.  The peak is well hidden and didn't become obvious until 
we'd climbed the bench to Bighorn Lake, at which point the 
saddle to the northwest of the lake, referred to in Secor, was very 
evident. Unlike much of the climbing in the area, which is 
notorious for loose rock, the northeast ridge, leading up from this 
saddle, was excellent rock, offering great class 3 climbing.  Route 
finding posed some fun challenges, and Larry's comment on 
arriving at the summit was "That was some gnarly class 3".  On 
the summit, the air was so clear that we could see the coast range 
off in the distance.  There was a splendid view of the Mono 
Recesses and, a little further off, Abbott, Mills, Dade and Gabb.

On the way down to Bighorn Lake we made a slight detour and 
climbed up to check out Rohn Pass, which is the route over the 
Divide to Tulley Hole.  The north side of the pass still had quite a 
bit of snow which was steep enough and hard enough to make ice 
axes extremely useful if one wished to cross over the pass, even 
in the middle of the day.  An early morning crossing probably 
would have required crampons also.  Tricky as it might have 
been, it was nothing compared to the snow on the other side of 
the saddle mentioned earlier.  This was really ugly, with a vast 
amount of snow still remaining, very steep at the top with no way 
of avoiding it.  Anybody wanting to cross over here would be in 
for a nasty surprise.

With plenty of time at our disposal we relaxed at the shores of 
Bighorn Lake, soaking up the sun and enjoying the greenery.  The 
shores had beautiful fine sand and the whole setting lulled the 
mind into a peaceful dreamlike state. We'd come for peace, and 
we'd found it!

The evening was a rerun of the previous one, although there was 
more wind so the bug problem was less.  It died down overnight 
and the temperature dropped enough to form ice throughout my 
water bottle.  As we hiked out we passed through one of the most 
sudden temperature changes I've ever experienced.  In the last 10' 
or so dropping down to lake level the temperature dropped 
dramatically, and the grass surrounding the lake was covered in 
frost.  We were extremely grateful for having slept above this 
cold air trap, which was not at all evident from looking at the 
local topography.  Another reason I was glad I was overruled 
about camping there.

The hike out was only 3 hours, which left us with plenty of time 
to have lunch at the jetty before the ferry arrived at 1:30.  There 
was quite a wind, and the air was sufficiently cold that sitting in 
the sun was pleasant but in the shade meant putting on a parka.  
Parkas were definitely required on the boat ride back as we were 
headed into the wind and speed of the boat added to it.

There were only 7 of us going back and the operator asked us to 
spread out to even the load.  Elmer tried to do the decent thing 
and moved forward, but it meant there were too many up front, 
with the result the bow was too low and the next reasonable wave 
(whipped up by the wind) broke over the boat and gave Chris a 
most unwelcome shower.

Coming out on a Sunday meant there was much more traffic and I 
was amazed at the number of large trucks on the Kaiser Pass 
road, some towing large boats.

We must have come across at least 10 between Edison and 
Huntington Lakes.  To their credit, every driver pulled over and 
let us pass them - I wish slow drivers on many other highways 
were as courteous.

-- Peter Maxwell

North Peak Left Couloir

September 27, 1998

John Zazzara and I set up to climb the left couloir on North Peak. 
We hiked in from Saddlebag Lake trailhead Saturday afternoon 
and camped by Cascade Lake.

Sunday morning was foggy but dry. We climbed the 1000 ft slope 
west of the lake to the base of the couloir. There is an excellent 
view of all 3 couloir from this point.

We roped up at the base of the left couloir (the steepest of the 3) 
and John start leading. First half pitch was relatively easy and 
required no protections. The ice was brittle in places and require 
careful planting of the ice tools before proceeding with the next 
step. Following this relatively easy pitch came 5 full length 
pitches with ice angle 45 to 50 degree. Conditions vary from solid 
water ice to partially consolidated snow. We used ice screws, 
snow pickets and rock protections at different places. The climb 
was enjoyable and protected, but also relentless and technical. I 
was wearing relatively soft boots and having difficulty front 
pointing. I used a technique of frontpointing with 1 foot and 
sidepointing with the other to let my feet rest from time to time. I 
am sure those boots would not do on anything steeper then that 
couloir. John lead the first 4 pitches, then I lead the 5 and last full 
pitch which was mostly on softer and slippery snow. I carefully 
kicked each step in the snow to get a good perch. I was also low 
on protections. I used the only picket I had about half way up, and 
slings though some rocks to setup a belay point at the top.

At one point one of John's ice tools flew out of his hand. It slid 
right next to me and down until it disappeared out of site at the 
bottom of the couloir. I had to resist the instinct of trying to reach 
for the tool with my hand, too many sharp edges on these tools. 
John was able to downclimb with one tool to me and then rappel 
all the way down to the bottom of the couloir to retrieve his tool. 
Next time we will use gloves with better grip. Also carrying a 
third tool may be a good idea.

The descent took us on the loose scree slope on the other side of 
the ridge. Then following the ridge proper to a relatively low 
angel snow field that allowed us to get back to our camp. The 
climb took 5-6 hours, not including the hike in and out.

-- Ron Karpel

Everest: The Premiere!

Tuesday, October 27, 1998, 8:00 PM

This was the night! The night that I had been looking forward to 
for over two years. This was  the grand opening of the Hackworth 
IMAX dome Theater and the premiere of the film "Everest" in 
the brand new Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.  As a 
PCS member, an IMAX movie fan, an enthusiast for anything 
technological, and a staunch supporter of The Tech Museum of 
Innovation, this was a number of my passions rolled into one 
climactic event. When you go to see "Everest" you will be in awe!

For the past seven years, I have been a volunteer at The Tech 
Museum in its old prototype museum . All of us have followed 
the evolution of The new Tech Museum and wondered what form 
it would finally take. It was quite exciting to learn that it would 
include an IMAX theater. Cirrus Logic founder and CEO Mike 
Hackworth donated $1,000,000 to construct the theater which 
bears his name. I have followed the construction of the building 
closely ever since. I was there for the ground breaking ceremony 
on June 11, 1996 when Hewlett-Packard's Bill Hewlett dug the 
first shovel of dirt and then again for the "Topping Off The Tech" 
ceremony on July 23, 1997 when we celebrated the installation of 
the last steel beam. 

At that time, the building was just a skeleton of steel beams, but 
you could clearly see the outline of the IMAX theater. A steel 
ring, that looked like a hula hoop tilted at an angle, outlined the 
location of the seating area. During the past six months, some of 
us have taken hard hat tours of the building as it neared 
completion. As a volunteer I have been in the building to help set 
up  and  beta test exhibits. While in the building during these 
occasions, I always took a sneak peak at the theater to monitor its 
progress. First there were just concrete steps where the seats 
would be installed. Then piece by piece, I observed the hanging 
of the perforated aluminum dome-shaped screen. Next the 
carpeting was installed and finally the seats.

Opening the new museum with "Everest" seemed out of the 
question.  Many of us had heard about "Everest" and had seen 
several PBS shows about the making of this movie, but we had 
also heard that it was the most expensive of all of the IMAX 
films. Also the film was playing in other IMAX theaters after its 
premiere at the Boston Museum of Science in March. At that 
point I thought that I would need to see it in another city or wait a 
few years. Upon hearing that The Tech would open with 
"Everest" I became ecstatic. This was a masterpiece of booking 
on the part of The Tech Museum's staff!

Gretchen and I  pulled up in front of the Tech at around 6:00 PM. 
With its mango paint and azure blue Mexican tile work, The Tech 
looked magnificent. Just a few days earlier construction crews 
had been sandblasting the sidewalk . It really went down to the 
wire. On display in front of the museum were an adult Yak and 
its calf. The premiere and celebration were scheduled to run until 
10:00 PM with screenings at 6:30, 8:00, and 10:00 PM. We had 
made reservations for the 8:00 PM show.

Shortly before 8:00 PM we queued up for the show. Gretchen and 
I were first in line. It was all open seating. In any other showing, I 
will not be particular where I sit because all IMAX theater seats 
are good. For the premiere however, I had to sit in row G, seat 15. 
When the doors opened, I went for it and there was the 
inscription, "Robert Bynum gives this seat to all IMAX fans". 
This was my small contribution to the Capital Campaign. I will 
admit this was a bit of a splurge, but you only get to build a 
museum once.

I felt like a Muslim who had made a pilgrimage to Mecca, a Jew 
who was praying at the Wailing Wall, or a devout Catholic  
attending mass at the Vatican. With its turquoise side lighted 
screen, the IMAX theater has the aura of a cathedral. With its 
hemispheric dome screen it is somewhat like a planetarium. 
Music from "Everest" played in the background.

Before the movie Tech President Peter Giles introduced Ed 
Viesturs and Araceli Segarra. They showed us the actual camera 
that was used for the filming. It is specially designed and 
weighed 40 lbs. The film canister weighs 7 pounds and lasts for 
90 seconds.

Numerous Silicon Valley dignitaries were present. Intel founder 
Gordon Moore and Adobe Systems founder John Warnock, and 
their respective families sat in the row in front of me. At the 
previous 6:00 PM show, Joan and Mike Hackworth had dedicated 
the theater. Many elected representatives were also present.

Shortly after 8:00 PM, the show started. With sounds of a 
symphony orchestra tuning up, the turquoise lighting dimmed and 
changed to sunset orange and red before completely going dark.  
At this point, the 7 channel, 44 speaker, 14,000 watt sound 
system roared to life with a demonstration  that lit up the 
catwalks behind the screen and showed in very dramatic fashion 
the location of each of the seven speaker banks. Next came an 
opening sequence that looks like stars in the sky rotating 
overhead. Then came a sequence that looks like the travel 
through time scene in "2001 A Space Odyssey" ending with "The 
Tech" logo. Next we saw a preview of "The Living Sea" which is 
The Tech's next feature in April.

Now that we were all in the mood, "Everest" began. I will not 
spoil it for by describing every scene. I can not  convey to  you the 
experience of "Everest" or any IMAX film with words. It is like 
verbally describing the taste  of chocolate without actually eating 
it. All I can say is that it was truly awesome. You will leave the 
theater a different person and you will want to see this film again. 
Just to give you a taste, I will describe some of the scenes. 

In the opening scene, Jamling Tenzing Norgay narrates while we 
see the inside of a Buddhist Temple, Everest, and Norgay 
practicing self arrest. I actually had thoughts of reaching for my 
ice ax!  We are then introduced to climbers Ed Viesturs and 
Araceli Segarra with their own narratives. Ed Viesturs is shown 
mountain biking with his wife in Zion National Park. An aerial 
shot makes you feel like you are about to fall down a cliff. Lots of 
oooohs from the audience. We  then see Araceli Segarra hanging 
from a rope as she climbs a rock off of Baha California. She is an 
accomplished rock climber and is the first Spanish woman to 
climb Mt. Everest. In this scene we are given the feeling of 
sliding down the rope along a cliff to the ocean.

On the actual climb of Everest there are scenes of the ice 
climbing on the Khumba Ice Fall, crossing the crevasses with 
ladders, and of course great panoramas from the peak. Also the 
film documents the tragedy of the other climbers who were killed 
and shows what looks like a re-enactment of the climbers getting 
caught in the storm. Ed describes how the tragedy affected 
everyone. They almost turned back. On the actual peak, we see 
two of the climbers coming up the Hillary Step to the summit 
with Makalu in the background.

I could go on describing the movie. You will just have to see it for 
yourself. During the movie I whispered to Gretchen, "You have 
done Mt. Hoffman. How would you like to climb Everest". Her 
response was, "I just did".

I also had three additional tickets for a private showing two days 
later on Thursday night October 29. I wanted to see the movie 
again and I just had to share it with other  PCSers. I called 
several people. Many had other plans or I couldn't reach them . 
Finally I reached Aaron Schuman and he said he could go. You 
will need to get Aaron's true feelings from him, but he was quiet 
after the show. He said that he was blown away and was 

When you see this film at The Tech, I want you  to know that it 
took an extraordinary amount of effort to make this film and to 
open the museum on time. After the disaster that killed eight 
climbers, the film crew was very demoralized and almost turned 
back. Opening the museum also took a tremendous amount of 
effort and cooperation amount many different parties. Although 
The Tech raised $96 million for its construction, it was not easy 
in the early years. This has been a dream since 1977. During the 
recession several years ago, it was difficult to raise money and a 
new museum was in doubt. Once under construction, the museum 
fell three months behind due to foundation problems. This was 
made up with massive amounts of overtime.

I really encourage all of you to see this great film. It is 
breathtaking, spectacular, and has dramatic uplifting music. It is 
really great that a that a good movie can be made without 
glorifying drug use, teenage sex, and violence. It will play at The 
Tech through April. Come and enjoy the show!

-- Bob Bynum, Scree Editor

Aaron Schuman Adds:

Everest was an astonishing work of cinematography. I've never 
seen a mountaineering picture like it. The detail and depth of the 
image and the quality of contrast made the film remarkably 
lifelike.  I expect to see Everest again, and I recommend it for  
everybody who loves mountains.

-- Aaron Schuman

Disaster Peak

November 1, 1998. 10047 feet

On this cold wintry Sunday in the late fall, the four of us, Ron 
Karpel, Stephen Meier, Scott Kreider and I, Arun Mahajan took a 
walk to the top of Disaster Peak in the Carson Iceberg 

The trailhead is accessed by the Clark Fork Road that is 18 miles 
east of Strawberry on Highway 108. The start of the trail is a 
short distance before this road's end and is on the left, about 9 
miles from the turnoff.

It was raining and cold as we started hiking at 9.30 am. The trail 
is good and we remained on it till we passed a big meadow and 
then a smaller meadow, following the directions in Pete 
Yamagata's Northern Sierra Guide. There is a faint trail that was 
a little hard to find that takes of on the right, after the small 
meadow but before a marked trail junction and before two large 
rocks. The trail was still hard to find due to the rain and the fog 
but it got much better later on but then got obscured again and 
seemed to dead end into a cliff-side but it was visible faintly as it 
went up steeply on the right and the mud was very slick there, 
needing us to use ski poles for support. As we went up further, 
the trail improved again but visibility was very poor. The rain had 
stopped but the clouds persisted. At around the 8800' contour we 
headed up left, cross-country, on the sage covered hillside. We 
got intermittent hail and a few small flurries and the snow cover 
was continuous once we topped onto the southwest ridge of the 
peak. An occasional break in the clouds showed us the snow 
covered summit. The frost on the pines and the calf-deep snow on 
the ground gave it all the feel of a winter climb. Ron put on his 
snowshoes but the rest of us plodded on the ridge in the snow. 
The summit hump is a steep talus slope. We summitted at 1.30 
pm. We could not see the register due to the snow and it was cold 
and windy and we stayed there for no more than 10 minutes 
before staggering down to the plateau for lunch. Now the weather 
improved and we had a pleasant walk out and we were back at 
the car at 4.30 pm making it a 7 hour day in all.

The summit is very pretty and makes for a good spring or fall 
trip. If the amount of snow on this peak is any indicator, then we 
are in for an early winter.

Pete Yamagata's guide and some SPS trip reports have a lot more 
detail on this trail and there are other route options as well, but 
our route seemed to be the shortest, albeit steeper.

-- Arun Mahajan

Ice Climbing in Lee Vining Canyon

November 15, 1998

Sunday morning we met John at the Nicely's Cafe in Lee Vining.  
Our plan was to go in to climb the frozen water fall in Lee 
Vining.  If there is no ice, plan "B" was skiing on the gated 
highway 120.

The night before we sleep near June Lake, and the temperature 
was a balmy 33 degree.  I couldn't imagine any ice forming 
anywhere except in a refrigerator.  To top it, there was no snow 
anywhere around Lee Vining. We quickly devised plan "C".  We 
will hike up highway 120 and peer into the water fall through my 
hi power binoculars. Then we proceed and climb or snowshoe 
mount Gaylor.

We started trudging along 120. Bob and John lead and Nancy and 
I trailed behind.  3 1/2 miles and 1500 feet later, just before we 
hit camp-9, we got the first view of the falls. There was ice.  A 
closer inspection with my binoculars convinced us that they are 
climbable.  We returned to the cars, and drove into the PG&E 
power plants parking area.  Got all our gear together and hiked 
the boulder covered canyon towards the ice. Have you ever gone 
bolder hopping in plastic boots with 4" of snow over the 

It was 2 PM when we got to the base of the ice.  I guess calling 
them waterfalls is a bit of exaggeration.  The water simply flows 
over the rocks, and when it gets cold enough, it freezes.  The 
sources for the water is primarily a leak in the PG&E aqueduct 
that supplies water to the power station.  More water comes from 
melting snow up above the canyon. More water comes from 
melting snow up above the canyon. The area is immediately 
below camp-9.

We followed exiting foot steps in the snow to the top of the falls, 
and setup our top rope.  Now it was time to climb, and it was 
already 3 PM.

I went first. I climbed about 50 ft before my calf muscle started 
aching. On my second climb I tightened my shoe laces and had no 
problem. I quickly return down and we all took turns at the ice

Our pitch was around 120 ft tall, but because of poor ice coverage 
we could only climb about ft. I went first. I climbed about 50 ft 
before my calf muscle started aching. On my second climb I 
tightened my shoelaces and had no problem. I quickly return 
down and we all took turns at the ice. John was able to climb 
almost to the top going left, but he had to stop when the rope put 
him into a pendulum situation. I tried to go straight up, but the 
ice was too thin in places, and my ice tools were hitting the rock. 
Bob, who was ice climbing for the first time did an excellent job, 
and he was wearing relatively soft lather boots.

Soon the threat of darkness drove us back down and to the cars. 
We didn't want to cross the boulder field in the dark. John says 
that usually the snow covers all the boulders and one can 
snowshoe all the way without problems.

Participants: Bob Suzuki, John Zazzara, Nancy Fitzsimmons, and 

-- Ron Karpel

Death Valley Trip

November 15-23, 1998.

This could be subtitled "The Hardley Boys" after the Hardy Boys, 
but more on that later.

Since I was scheduled to go to Comdex in Las Vegas I decided on 
a driving trip though Death Valley to see the Leonid Meteors 
Monday and Tuesday (nice- but not the awesome display that is 
was in Asia) away from city lights and at some decent elevation 
above sea level. A little more on the meteor showers: The 
persistence of the meteors was amazing, some lasting to the count 
of four to six seconds.  The intensity was awesome with some 
clearly lighting up the horizon!  However, the anticipated 
frequency of 10-15 per minute never materialized...more of the 
order of 5-6 per minute. But still enjoyable and made the long  
seven hour drive very worthwhile.

Stopping at the Wild Rose campground (free) Sunday I did 
Telescope as first a night climb on Monday morning early at 1 
AM, Nov. 16, 1998, from Mahogany flats trail-head to view the 
meteor shower from a higher vantage point.  (I camped at 
Wildrose at 4100 since it would be warmer and less windy at this 
time of year rather than at 8100 feet; unfortunately a "bad" 
decision' but more on that later.

The skys were perfectly clear and temps were a crisp 30 deg F by 
3 AM. (I went to bed at 5 PM and arose at midnight each night to 
see the show). Daytime temps were a perfect t-shirt and shorts 
day at about 70 deg F. and clear.

I reascended Telescope the next day (2hrs 45 min- snow free 
other than 1-2" of frozen snow/ice that was never an impediment) 
Since the next day was clear and I was near  I ascended Bennet 
and Rogers; and then Wildrose on day 3. I carried only a water 
bottle and a power bar each day running up most of the way as 
the trails were quite easy in the snow free conditions.

During the meteor viewing on the second night I dozed from my 
stargazing vantage point n a peaklet overlooking Wildrose 
campground and was awoken (I was the only party there for 3 
days) by voices saying something about a pipe bomb.  A few 
minutes later I was rattled and totally scared beyond belief as a 
huge explosion went off beneath the cliff I was sitting on...a 
fireball erupted in front of me as I was diving for cover and then 
the shock wave hit and I was rattled slightly. Being half-asleep as 
I recounted to the authorities a little later I am sure it seemed 
worse than it was...I was not thankfully cut, bleeding or injured 
from the explosion other than psychologically, so I counted my 
lucky stars there! I shouted down and they said they were trying 
to light a camp-fire and the charcoal lighter-fluid went off/blew-

Almost simultaneously the Ranger's lights went on about 1/2 mile 
away from the campground and in a few minutes he appeared and 
took charge of interrogating  and citing the two individuals I later 
learned were from LA.  He also confiscated a "lot" of flash 
powder, pipe fittings, and several bottle of chemicals. He made 
extensive use of his nightvision goggles after the incident to 
observe the individuals after the citation. (It carries a mandatory 
court appearance.) He could not legally search their vehicle other 
than what was in plain view!

After calming down in about 2 hours I kept a leery eye on my 
nefarious campground partners until they finally fell asleep at 4 
AM.  I took to my sleeping bag exhausted and jittery.  I awoke 2 
hrs later, disbanded camp and moved on to deeper into the 

But coming back to the subtitle, these guys hardly had the sense 
to look around to see if the campground was occupied, they 
hardly had the brains to see that there were vehicles (Ranger and 
civilian) in  plain view; and they hardly had the common sense to 
do their nasties in a public (Federal!) national park, which carries 
stricter laws about firearms and explosives than the state 
apparently.  (I spoke at length with the park Ranger the next 
morning). Finally, with over 10,000 square miles of desert these 
clowns could have popped off there explosives anywhere else 
with complete impunity.  Talk about the need for punishment...or 
where were they when the brains were being passed out...and this 
right after the news report of the little boy getting stabbed at the 
rest-stop or campground(??) over the weekend.

It is much safer to hike in and climb mountains!!  I have decided 
this car-base camp stuff is just too dangerous for me!!!

Telescope without the snow and the  bombs-bursting-in-air is a 
class 1 "walk-up" (as well as Rogers, Bennet and Wildrose).

I spent the days after Comdex at Furnace Creek exploring several 
canyons in the splendid 85 degree temps and lush 55 degree 

All-in-all a beautiful snow- and rain-free week interlude for 
November. There is talk of a very dry winter now re  "La Nina 
year"; but there will always be water for that amazingly green 
golf-course at Furnace creek that always overwhelms my senses 
everytime I see it.. Talk about conspicuous consumption!

By-the way- out of the three campgrounds at Furnace Creek 
(Sunset, Texas Springs and Furnace creek), Furnace is clearly the 
nicest with it being well-treed and somewhat larger spaces. (DV 
now being a National Park off-road biving is more strictly 
regulated.  But the rangers there seem to share a very intelligent 
"out-of-sight out-of-mind" philosophy.  So if you can drive/hike to 
somewhere where you can't be seen (officially now called a 
"view-pollutant") they will ignore your "obvious" camp intents.  
Very practical and enjoyable attitude.

-- Rich Calliger

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.

*** Shasta
Peaks:	Shasta (via Clear Creek), Class 3
Dates:	Dec 5/6
Contact:	Tony Cruz, Dennis Hiipakka

*** Mount Whitney
Peak:	Mount Whitney (14,494) Class 2-3, Ice Axe & crampons
Dates:	December 20-23 (Sun-Wed)
Contact:	George Van Gordon

This will be a three day trip up Mt. Whitney via Whitney 
Portal. We will drive up as far as we can and then park. 
Call leader for details.

*** Mt Davis
Peak:	Mt Davis (12311) Class 2 / snow
Dates:	28-30 December (Mon.-Wed)
Map:	Devils Postpile 15' quad
Contact:	Steve Eckert, eckert@netcom.com, 650-508-0500
Co-Contact: Craig Taylor, ctaylor@calicotech.com

Get rid of holiday calories, and prepare for New Year's hangovers 
with a trip to the high country! Starting at the June Lake area, we'll 
go past Thousand Island Lake to the saddle between Banner and 
Davis, then savor views of the backside of Lyell and Rodgers as 
we saunter up the summit plateau. Near the saddle ice axes may 
be required, but the terrain is reasonable elsewhere. Skis or 
snowshoes could work, but there are quite a few miles involved so 
skis are favored. Definitely a full three day trip. Shovel, avalanche 
beacon, experience are required.

*** Mt Baldy
Peaks: Mt. Baldy/Gorgonio
Dates:	Jan. 22, 23, 24
Contact:	Tony Cruz

Gear Comments

Occasionally we see discussions about gear on the PCS e-mail 
broadcast list. Since winter is coming up, I feel that it is 
beneficial to publish these two discussions on gaiters and ice ax 

*** Super Gaiters

Regarding uninsulated supergaitors, I've found Berghaus to be 
very well made and durable. They lasted 8-10 years of hard use 
(backcountry skiing) before the cordura started getting holes. I 
know ski in Black Diamonds, which I would rate slightly lower. 
With my setup, the BD's nylon tends to crease above the rand, 
which concentrates a lot of abrasion there from crusty snow. As a 
result, I wore a hole in those in only a 2-3 years.
-- Butch Suits

I enjoy the warmth and quality of my Wild Line's (Thinsulate 
insulated), though you may have a hard time finding them. I 
think American Alpine Institute in WA sells them. Made with 
5.10 rubber. Very warm.
-- Michael Gordon

*** Ice Ax Length

A long ice axe (80 cm and above) makes a nice walking stick.  
But that's not the main purpose of an ice axe.  A long ice axe is 
unwieldy on moderate slopes (say, 30 degrees) because you are 
constantly raising your arm high over your head to plant the axe.  
On steeper slopes, where an overhand swing is used to plant the 
axe, the long shaft becomes even more unwieldy, and you lose a 
lot of leverage.

A short axe (55 cm or below) is good on moderate and steeper 
slopes and particularly good when an overhand swing is required.  
On shallow slopes you may find it difficult to plant because it 
isn't long enough to reach the snow/ice unless you bend down or 
lean over.  It's also possible for the spike of a really short axe to 
jam into your body on a bumpy self-arrest.

Personally, I favor a 65 cm axe.  For shallow snow slopes I use 
my hiking poles, unless there is a danger of an uncontrolled slide, 
in which case the ice axe comes out.

-- Mark Wallace

For technical (frontpoint crampon) climbing, "hatchet" length is 
better than "axe" length. Swing with the wrist instead of the 
whole arm.

For general mountaineering (self arrest), I like to hold the head of 
the axe just ABOVE my collar bone and make sure the OTHER 
hand is right outside my hip as the axe crosses in front of my 
chest. Too many people size axes on overall height, but it's really 
the length of just your torso that matters. Mark's point about 
jabbing yourself is excellent - sometime things happen while 
arresting that you wouldn't expect. An axe too short to go all the 
way across your body can be hard and/or dangerous for arrests.

Anyone want to start the debate on wrist loops? (sorry I asked) If 
you use one, make sure you can get your hand all the way down 
to the point (opposite the head) when you need to arrest. 
Consider how you will discard the axe in a truly uncontrolled fall 
or avalanche - having it bouncing around on a leash can do some 
real damage.

-- Steve Eckert

Paul Wilson has strong opinions on the axe and its care and use.

Length Sizing:

1) Hold it in your hand and put the spike on your toe with a slight 
bend in your elbow. This would be fine for normal lower 48 
climbs excluding the Cascades where the slopes are gentile and 
all you need is self arrest security and ability to walk as with a 

2) For steeper angles including glacier travel get an axe several 
inches (say 3") shorter than the above.

You will trash the long axe long before the short one as it is much 
more useful and comfortable to use. Both lengths are long enough 
for safe and effective self arrest.

Both axes mentioned above can be rigged with a correct tether to 
allow chopping steps above and below without disconnecting the 
tether from your body.

3) Axes shorter than the  above are called ice tools and are used 
for near vertical climbing, and as mentioned below are very 
hazardous during a self arrest. And may not be effective at all. I 
cant imagine using a 55cm ice tool for self arrest as it is narrower 
than my chest. If you look at Fig 13-26 in Freedom you will see 
that the axe goes from one shoulder to the opposite waist during 
the self arrest. For me that would be around 70cm minimum.

My axes are 80 and 85cm. The tools I use are 50...cm, although I 
have used shorter ones.

Axes come in lengths of 53(rare) 58 (typical) to 80cm these days  
and usually come without a tether. Ice tools come in lengths from 
43 to 58cm with leashes sold separately and are designed for ice 
climbing not mountaineering.

Ice Axe Tether:

First let me say that I'll take the damage from the axe any time 
lest I be without the axe when I stop or lose it during the slide. 
My clothing testifies to this practice as there are many patches 
but the wounds have always been superficial. The axe is a 
primary life saving device and needs to be available. It is 
common to fall and have the axe jarred from your grip but you 
can recover if you have a tether. This damage is one of the 
hazards of doing demos for the students in my mountaineering 

Never use a wrist strap as it limits your ability to use the axe 
with either hand. Use a waist tether clipped to either the pack 
waist strap or your harness. The reason you need to use either 
hand is that you are constantly changing your traverse direction 
and the axe must always be in the up hill hand for at the ready for 
self arrest.

The rig I use is effective  and can be constructed as follows: 
Materials include 10 feet of 9/16" tubular webbing (finely woven 
is best), a broken bicycle spoke, Shoe Goo, 5 feet of 1/8" shock 
cord like the material inside your tent poles, electrical tape, & 
needle nose pliers.

Any how, you tie the web at the head under the adze with a re 
woven figure 8 knot. Tie an overhead knot with a loop at the end 
of the axe shaft making a generous loop so it will fit with your 
winter mitts and over mitts. Then tie a loop at the end of the 
tether with a smaller loop just big enough to for your largest 
waist strap plus a little. Locate this loop so you can swing the axe 
at full extent way above your head with the strap still attached at 
the waist when fully extended. Now you discover that the thing is 
so long it drags on the ground and catches your knee. The 
solution is to use the spoke and thread the shock cord thru the 
webbing and cinch it up. use the Shoe Goo to keep the elastic 
knot from coming untied. (I use some electrical tape to hold the 
knot in place until it cures). The shock cord does not pass thru 
the webbing knot as that would make the web knot less effective.

I tie the shock cord at the axe head and bypass the middle loop 
then tie it at the waist loop. Stretch the thing together until you 
can walk with out the thing hanging below your knee. Redo the 
stretch after the first use in the field to get it correct.

WARNING: Do not damage any webbing threads when inserting 
the shock cord inside the webbing. I used needle nose pliers to 
open a hole big enough to accept the spoke. The nut on the spoke 
holds the shock cord and the broken end must be filed smooth to 
avoid catching threads from the webbing.

The above is not likely to be the final answer as more and more 
of us make the rigging, but I have used this system for many 
years and it is common to see this rigging on the Nepal glaciers 
and else where. It sure is nice to know that your primary life 
saving device is safely within your grab at any time.

Try the tether you will like it.

Other Ice Axe Hints:

Make sure the pick has positive clearance per Freedom Fig 13-3 
(controversial ??) Use a file (not very effective) or a grinder being 
careful not to overheat the metal and screwup the heat treat.

 -- Sharpen the pick and adze to be effective on hard ice.

--- Tape the head of the axe with electricians splicing tape the an 
over wrap with low temp electrical tape for durability to prevent 
frostbite in the palm of your hand.

 -- Interesting subject for a device which need some careful 
thought before use.

-- Paul Wilson

Editor's Note: Paul Wilson is a member of the Colorado Mountain 
Club and lives in Colorado Paul teaches mountaineering classes.


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


Elected Officials

	George Van Gorden / gvangord@paradise.mhu.k12.ca.us
	830 Alkire Ave.
	Morgan Hill, CA  95037

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
	Ron Karpel / rkarpel@usa.net
	650 594-0211 home
	903 Avon Street, Belmont, CA 94002

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
	Dee Booth / rdbooth@worldnet.att.net
	408-354-7291 home
	237 San Mateo Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Appointed Positions

Scree Editor:
	Bob Bynum / rfbynum@aol.com
	510-659-1413 home
	761 Towhee Court, Fremont CA 94539-7421

PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
	Aaron Schuman / aaron_schuman@yahoo.com
	650-943-7532 	http://www.sierraclub.org/chapters/lomaprieta/pcs/
	223 Horizon Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043-4718

Publicity Chair
	Steve Eckert list_owner@juno.com 650-508-0500

Subscriptions and Email List Info

Hard copy subscriptions are $10. Subscription applications and checks 
payable to "PCS" should be mailed to the Treasurer so they arrive before 
the last Tuesday of the expiration month. If you are on the PCS email 
list (discussion version or lower-volume news version), you have a free 
EScree subscription. For broadcast info, send Email to 
 with the one-line message	
	INFO lomap-peak-climbing	
or contact a human at . EScree subscribers 
should send a subscription form to the Treasurer to become voting PCS 
members at no charge. All subscribers are requested to send a donation 
of $2/year to cover operating expenses other than printing the Scree. 
The Scree is on the PCS web site (as both plain text and Adobe 
Acrobat/PDF at:	 

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 12/27/98. 
Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

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