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Scree for October, 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.
                  October, 1998  Vol. 32, No. 10
     Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 10/25/98. 

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

Date:	Tuesday, October 13, 1998
Time:	8:00 PM
Program: "Triumph and Despair" - Alpine Climbing in Washington's North Cascades

See Kai and Cecil's climbing trip to the North 
Cascades, including climbs of Mt. Triumph, 
Liberty Bell, and rock climbing at the Peshastin 
Pinnacles.  With the big air sucking at her feet, 
watch Cecil walk the tightrope of the wickedly 
exposed Northeast Ridge of Mt. Triumph. 
Believing it to be much harder, see Kai try to 
avoid the crux crack until Cecil (slightly annoyed) 
reminded him that it was only 5.5!!

Location: Western Mountaineering, Santa Clara
 ((PDF version of EScree has a drawn map here)) 
2344 El Camino Real, Santa Clara (between 
San Thomas and Los Padres), parking in the rear.

>From 101: Exit at San Thomas Expressway, Go 
South to El Camino Real. Turn left and the 
Western Mountaineering will be immediately to 
your right.

Nominations Of Officers

A friendly note from the PCS Nominating Committee! If you are 
interested in becoming an officer, or you know of someone who 
may be interested, please let us know by October 24.

Contact any one of us for a full and complete description of each 
officers' duties, or, visit the PCS website

 to view a full 
description. Thank you! We are:

Jim Ramaker	408-463-4873, ramaker@VNET.IBM.COM
Bob Suzuki	510-657-7555, bobszk@bigfoot.com
Arun Mahajan	650-327-8598, arun@tollbridgetech.com

NOTE: As per the bylaws, the nominating committee is formally 
announced at the October meeting.

-- PCS Nominating Committee

Wilderness First Aid

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, 
November 14 and Sunday, November 15 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 choice of day, and 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 

-- Marg  Ottenberg

Check the washing instructions before purchasing any apparel to be worn 
camping.  Buy only those that read, "Beat on a rock in a stream."

1998 Advance Trip List

The trips listed below were proposed at the Peak Climbing Section 
winter trip planning meeting on Tuesday, September 22 at the 
home of the Trip Scheduler. This list is intended to prevent trip 
scheduling conflicts and to help you plan your winter climbing 

THESE TRIPS. The time to sign up is after the trip is formally 
announced in the Scree or on the PCS email broadcast with a full 
description and a designation as a private or as an official PCS trip.

If you are planning a trip, or if your plans for a trip on this list 
change, please contact the Trip Scheduler to keep this list up to date.

Thanks to all for coming and proposing trips. As you can see, the 
trip distribution is rather sparse with the inter-trip delay 
approaching a month at times. So, if you want to lead trips and 
would like to see them in the advance schedule, please contact me.

 -- Arun Mahajan, PCS Trip Scheduler

OCT          PEAKS                      CLASS      LEADERS
3/4          Humphreys                  4          ?
3/4          Independence, Kearsarge    3/1        Bob Suzuki, Ron Karpel
9/10/11      Tyndall                    2          ?
17/18        Rockhouse,Siretta,Taylor   2/1/2      Aaron Schuman
9/10/11      Marble Mnt                 ?          Kelly  Maas
10/11/12     Mineral King Region                   Steve Eckert
17/18        Clyde Minaret                         Steve Eckert, Jeff Fisher
23/24/25     Mt Whitney                            George Van Gorden

NOV          PEAKS                    CLASS        LEADERS
13/14/15     Telescope Peak                        Bill Kirkpatrick
21           Henry Coe State Park                  Bob Suzuki, Landa Robillard

DEC          PEAKS                    CLASS        LEADERS
12/13        Freel Peak                            Kelly Maas, Aaron Schuman
13           The Pinnacles                         Roger Crawley
19/20/21/22  Mt Whitney                            George Van Gorden
28/29/30     Mt Davis                              Steve Eckert, Craig Taylor

JAN          PEAKS                    CLASS        LEADERS
9            Cone Peak                             Ron Karpel
10           Junipero Serra Peak                   Ron Karpel, Arun Mahajan

FEB          PEAKS                    CLASS        LEADERS
13/14/15     Pyramid Peak                          Palmer Dyal
13/14/15     Any Mountain                          Aaron Schuman

MAR          PEAKS                    CLASS        LEADERS
14           Roundtop                              George Van Gordon, Arun Mahajan

APR          PEAKS                    CLASS        LEADERS
3/4/5(?)     Shasta                                George Van Gorden
16/17/18     Black Mountain, Diamond Peak          Steve Eckert, Aaron Schuman

MAY          PEAKS                    CLASS        LEADERS
29/30/31     Mt Shasta (via Bolam Glacier)         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.

Kearsarge and Independence
Peaks:	Kearsarge Peak (12,598')  class 1,
	Independence Peak (11,744')  class 3
Dates:	October 3-4, Sat-Sun
Map:	Kearsarge Peak 7.5"
Contacts:	Ron Karpel, ronny@luxsonor.com
	(W) 510-683-4668 X231, (H) 650-594-0211
	Bob Suzuki, bobszk@bigfoot.com
	(W) 510-657-7555, (H) 408-259-0772

Why think the peak climbing season has to end with summer? Try 
these 2 fall day hikes from the Onion Valley campground at 9,200', 
and enjoy the company of your fellow PCSers in the quieter 
eastern Sierra.

Marble Mountains
Peaks:	Kings Castle 7405', Black Marble Mtn ~7500', 	class 2
Dates:	Oct 9-11    Fri-Sun
Maps:	Marble Mountain Wilderness topo from Wilderness Press
Leader:	Kelly Maas  H(408) 279-2054, W(408) 944-
	2078, maas@idt.com, Co-Leader: wanted

This is a 2 1/2 day backpack and peak climb through the Marble 
Mountain Wilderness, the little brother to the north of the Trinity 
Alps. If that clue doesn't help to locate it, it's northwest of Mt. 
Shasta off Hwy 5.  The peaks aren't high and most of the trip is on 
trail (including the Pacific Crest Trail), but it should be a great new 
area to explore, with many pretty lakes, and mountains that don't 
look like the Sierra.  If we have time we can climb Boulder Pk 
which would put us at almost 8300 feet!

Rockhouse Jail
Peaks:	Rockhouse Peak, Taylor Dome, Sirretta Peak; class 2
Dates:	Oct 17-18, Sat-Sun 
Maps:	Lamont Peak and Kernville 15 min. 
Leader:	Aaron Schuman   H 650-968-9184
	W 650-943-7532, aaron_schuman@yahoo.com
Details:	http://sj.znet.com/~cynthiam/rockhouse.html

Car camp in the scenic Rockhouse Valley, in the Domelands 
Wilderness of the Sequoia National Forest.  Day hike to 
Rockhouse Peak (8383 feet), Taylor Dome (8802 feet), and 
Sirretta Peak (9977 feet).  Savor the experience; it might be our 
last snow-free trip of 1998.  

Mt. Whitney
Peak:	Mt. Whitney , class 1
Dates:	Oct. 23-25
Leader:	George Van Gorden   H  408 779 2320  before 9:00 PM

After permits, the good old easy trail although summit day 
(Sat.)from 10,300 ft. is rather long, but ah, the brisk Oct. air, 
intimations of winter if it hasn't already arrived, that last glorious 
ascent into the light before the dark descends make the 
mundanity of such a slovenly slog all worth it.

Death Valley In Summer

If I wanted to climb Telescope Peak in winter, I would have no 
trouble recruiting a few people to come along. But I had almost 
no luck convincing anybody to join Warren Storkman, my wife 
Joy and I on our planned trek in Death Valley this summer. 
Eventually, I did recruit a couple of gullible souls. Our trials and 
tribulations of that trip along with pictures and some funny 
comments can be found at


-- Dinesh Desai

Happy Campers Go With The Flo

September 4, 5, 6, 1998

Skies were partly cloudy as six weary travelers gathered at the 
Mineral King Ranger Station in the morning hours of Friday, 
September 4. There was Debbie Benham, trip leader; Scree 
Editor Bob Bynum; Desert Peak Survivor Brad Mayer; 
newcomers Don Hobler and Noriko Sekikawa; and your reporter, 
Phyllis Olrich. The night before, Debbie, Noriko, and I had found 
a first-class campground just west of Three Rivers called Horse 
Creek Campground on the shores of Lake Kaweah. The steep 
entrance fee ($14) was worth it as far as I was concerned due to 
the excellent shower facilities. We breakfasted at the quaint 
Noisy Waters Restaurant in Three Rivers, entertained by the 
activity surrounding a string of hummingbird feeders outside our 

In the interest of scouting out the local accommodations, Bob had 
treated himself to a cabin in Silver City, which he subsequently 
dubbed the  "Unibomber's Cabin," due to its many fine amenities, 
no doubt.

Following a lecture on minimum-impact backcountry travel and 
camping techniques, we headed for the trailhead for our last-
minute packing. After a short while a large group of young to 
middle-aged men arrived and began preparing their packs also; 
my curiosity was peaked. Turns out they were headed for 
Franklin Lakes also, to hold a somewhat unusual bachelor party. 
We vowed to arrive at the lake before them in order to nab the 
best campsite next to one of the three bearboxes that have been 
placed there.

The trail up to the lake is lovely and gradual, not like the barren, 
hot, exposed, steep slogs you see on the east side; several 
uneventful stream crossings accentuated our journey. From the 
7,800' trailhead at Mineral King, we climbed to about 10,000' to 
lower Franklin Lake. As we ascended into the mist, visibility 
lessened and raingear was unpacked. Moisture from a very 
unusual semitropical storm kept us cool. I hurried ahead, fearing 
the approaching bachelor party, and eventually spied a sign by the 
trail declaring "no camping within 100 feet of lake." But where 
was the lake? I looked down and all I could see was a white 
shroud covering what could possibly be a lake. As the others 
arrived, the fog began to lift and lo and behold, we saw our 
beautiful alpine lake and a perfect campsite about 100 yards 

We set up our tents and went down for what would become our 
traditional afternoon nap. The weather was very unstable and we 
weren't sure what the weekend would hold for us. Saturday 
morning dawned bright and promising however, so we all hit the 
trail by 7:30 am. There was only one problem. We could not see 
the top of Florence Peak, our destination; again, mist enveloped 
our goal.

The trail to 11,400' Franklin Pass featured more of the same 
gradual wide switchbacks. In no time, we sat resting atop the 
pass, admiring the top of the peak, which we could now see 
clearly. I have observed that PCS can turn any class 2 mountain 
into a class 3 climb and this trip proved no exception. We chose 
to cling to the ridgeline, its large granite rocks affording us ample 
opportunities to practice our bouldering and route finding skills. 
Everyone enjoyed the climb immensely; we reached the summit 
of 12,432' Florence Peak before 11:00 am. The view was 
stunning. Brad describes the weather as "less than perfect, even 
though it was at its 'most perfect' at the summit. There was no 
wind, but a huge bank of clouds, moving in an unusual northwest 
direction, was pouring over the Sierra crest about 50 miles to the 

We descended on a more southeasterly slope, which proved to be 
the true class 2 route. The distant roll of thunder forced us to 
abandon Debbie's original plan to descend to Silver Lake, catch 
the trail that approaches Farewell gap from the south, bag 
Vandever Mountain, descend into Farewell Canyon, then head 
back to camp on the same trail we had come in on the day before, 
completing a big loop. Instead we took the conservative route and 
headed back to camp. Our timing was perfect; we crawled into 
our bags just as the afternoon sprinkles hit.

Saturday evening provided an inspiring red-hued sunset as we all 
spontaneously gathered on a large granite slab overlooking the 
lake. Good conversation flowed and I must say we were more 
rowdy than the bachelor party camped behind the ledge above us; 
the peculiar scent of their "campfire" wafting by us was, no 
doubt, nothing more than a traditional herbal remedy for what 
they had assured us would be a hard night of high-altitude 

Brad was hot to try for Vandever the next morning, but the rest of 
us were fixated on brunch at the We Three Bakery in Three 
Rivers, a restaurant that had been recommended to us by a local 
camping nearby. Brad eventually succumbed to temptation and 
hiked out with us. Noriko stayed behind to enjoy another day in 
the mountains. I was very impressed by her determination. She 
just moved to the Bay Area from New York about two months ago 
and has already climbed Mt. Shasta! Florence was her first Sierra 
peak and I'm sure not her last.

Hiking out was a totally different experience than the hike in. We 
could see from whence we came! I could have been on a 
completely different trail, for all I knew. But clouds were 
gathering and I wouldn't be surprised if it did shower again that 

We Three Bakery did not disappoint -- breakfast is served all day. 
The five of us proved that we live to eat, not the other way 

All commended Debbie on her excellent planning and leadership 
skills. This was a glorious trip; it may sound trite, but everyone 
had a wonderful time. We laughed, we shared ourselves, we 
bonded, we experienced the awe-inspiring beauty of the 
wilderness, we bagged a peak.

-- Phyllis Olrich

Bob Bynum Adds: Silver City Resort & Thursday Evening Hike

This was my first PCS trip of the season and first trip to Mineral 
King. I wanted to spend Thursday night at as high an elevation as 
possible to acclimate. and I wanted to know where I would stay 
rather than take a hit or miss shot at finding a campground. 
Furthermore, I didn't want a long drive on the day of the trip. My 
first thought was to spend the night at the Cold Springs 
campground. After discovering this campground operates on a  
first come first serve basis, I decided to stay at the Silver City 
Resort which is about 2 miles from the trailhead and is at 6935 FT. 

Their accommodations consist of varying sizes of cabins which 
range from one double bed to a two bedroom, four bed, with 
kitchen. Also they have a store and restaurant. My cabin had one 
double bed, a sink, a wood stove, three oil lanterns, and no 
electricity. These cabins are rustic, yet comfortable. It was 
especially nice to have when a thunderstorm hit shortly after my 
3:40 PM arrival. After napping through the storm, I drove up to 
the trailhead for scouting purposes and then went for an evening 
hike on the Timber Gap trail. This lasted for about an hour and 
half when the rain started again. At this point I returned to Silver 
City, had dinner, and then went to bed to rest up for the next day's 
trip. For a future trip, we could rent a few of the large cabins and 
go on various day hikes.

-- Bob Bynum, Scree Editor

Warren Peace

September 12, 1998

"Well, Prince!"  We set out Saturday morning for the summit of 
Warren Mtn, just east of Tioga Pass.  We were ten hikers among 
the thirty campers at the third annual PCS Tuolomne Family 
Camp:  Scott Kreider, Marilyn Kreider, Mark Woolbright, Tony 
Stegman, Chris Cramer, Ahmed Zandi, Jeff West, Wade Larsen 
(with his 8 month old Chow-Aikido puppy Chloe), Bob Bynum, 
and me, trip leader Aaron Schuman.

We parked our cars at Camp 9K, crossed highway 120 and 
headed up Warren Creek.  (It's well known that the Forest Service 
has closed down Camp 9K, but it was  news to us that they have 
opened a pleasant, uncrowded, free, primitive walk-in 
campground right across the road alongside Warren Creek.)

We followed the muddy trail northwest up Warren Creek for 
about ten minutes, passed the first south flowing tributary, then 
turned north to make our way cross country towards the peak.  
For an hour we beat our way up a loose, sandy face, then crossed 
a bump and entered a shallow scree bowl. Continuing along a 
north compass bearing, we crossed the second south flowing year-
round tributary, up a sparsely wooded scree slope to timberline, 
and over the right flank of Peak 12160.  We didn't like the look of 
the ridge from this peaklet to our destination, so we dropped 
down 100 feet into the snow filled basin below the south slopes, 
then walked up to the 12327 foot summit of Warren Mountain.

The summit afforded us an unequaled view of Mono Lake, with a 
desert cloud bank reflected eerily off its saline waters.

We varied our descent route, going down the second drainage 
until we reached timberline, cutting east to the first drainage, and 
following it to the beginning of the Warren Creek trail.  We were 
slowed down by the rocky footing above high and dense willows 
below.  We spent 5-1/2 hours on the ascent and 3-1/2 on the 
descent.  Last year's PCS group made a considerably faster trip to 
Warren Mountain.  A couple of our trip-mates were learning how 
to keep their balance on scree, and needed some extra time.  We 
returned to camp in the daylight, so our slowness was really no 
problem.  Warren is actually a good mountain on which to 
practice scree surfing technique, because it's a short enough climb 
that the group can spend the time it needs but still not need 

Back at camp, we had a festive supper with much better fare than 
we usually encounter on PCS outings, and good campfire 
conversation about the President's troubles and the home run 

I must have worn everybody out in a big way on Saturday, 
because almost nobody wanted to follow through with the 
original Sunday plan of climbing Mt Gibbs.  Instead, a group of 
us took a much easier walk to Gaylor Peak.  We followed the lead 
of Jim Ramaker, who had led a group of five people to the same 
destination on Saturday.

Camp organizer Cecil Ann, her children Joseph and Johanna, Kai 
Weidman, Joan Marshall, her grown daughters Laura and Claire, 
Dennis and Judy Severson and their son Matthew, Jeff West, 
Tony Stegman and I lit out from Tioga Pass up 500 feet to the 
spectacular granite rimmed Gaylor Lakes.  Dennis and Judy 
rested at the lake with the young children, while the rest of us 
(Cecil Ann, Kai, Joan, Laura, Claire, Jeff, Tony and I) hiked east 
up the remaining 600 feet from the lakes trail to the 11004 foot 
summit of Gaylor Peak.  Kai wanted to make the trip into a 
traverse, so we continued eastward down into the basin, then 
sauntered back along a use trail to rejoin the younger generation 
at the lakeshore.  The whole leisurely outing took about 3-1/2 
hours, including a long lunch break, a perfect day and a perfect 
length hike for the younger set.

Larry Sokolsky led a party on a technical climb of Cathedral Peak 
on Sunday, Peter Maxwell and Anouchka Gaillard took their 
babies to Tuolomne Meadow, Chris read his novel beside Tenaya 
Lake, and I'm afraid I've lost track of everybody else's activities.  
That's the beauty of the Tuolomne family camp; everybody finds 
the level of challenge they want, and somebody to share it with 

-- Aaron Schuman

Mt Hoffman

September 19, 1998

Gretchen  Luepke summitted Mt. Hoffman after a 2 1/2 hour hike 
from Snow Flat. Although this peak is easy relative to other PCS 
climbs, it is a major accomplishment for Gretchen. Almost two 
years ago, she had hip replacement surgery and is slowly getting 
back in shape.

It was a perfect day for a peak climb. There wasn't a cloud in the 
sky, a very slight breeze, and a temperature of 70 degrees. The 
views were spectacular! I pointed other peaks that we PCSers 
have climbed.  On this hike a climber experiences all aspects of a 
typical PCS trip. Congratulations Gretchen!

-- Bob Bynum

Peak 12,123

This obscure peak was the subject of a posting by Tom Kenney 
several weeks ago.  It's located near Muriel Lake, just beyond 
Piute Pass.  

In late August my two older sons (ages 14 and 12) and I set up 
camp near Muriel Lake and day-hiked Peak 12,123.  The bottom 
line is that this is a great peak for kids.  The approach hike over 
Piute Pass is not arduous, and the peak itself is easy, enjoyable 
third class.

The climb takes you south from Muriel Lake over second class 
terrain to the base of a prow-like rock formation maybe 300 feet 
in elevation.  To the untrained eye, it looks difficult to climb, and 
my 14 year old son (Andrew) announced that he didn't think we 
would be able to climb it, so he was going to sit right where he 
was and wait for me and James (the 12 year old) to return after 
our climbing attempt failed.

Undaunted by this pessimism, James and I set off and soon made 
our way up diagonally upward-sloping ledges that required a few 
third class moves (but were mostly second class).  We gained the 
ridge and scrambled up to the summit.  Meanwhile, Andrew, 
seeing our success, set off on his own, climbed the ledges and 
joined us on the summit.  There were spectacular views of the 
Wahoo Lakes, Goethe Lake, Muriel Peak, Mt. Goethe and vast, 
open country to the northwest.

We descended the way we came and reached our camp about four 
hours after we started.  

Consider Peak 12,123 if you are ever taking kids up to the 
mountains and want to give them a taste of real mountain 

-- Mark Wallace

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 
snowshoe 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 you are interested.

New Bradley Hut Work Party
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.

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 Tyndall from Anvil Camp
Peaks:	Tyndall, 14,018'
Dates:	October 10, 11, 12
Maps:	Mt. Williamson 7.5
Contact:	Bill Kirkpatrick, W (408) 279-3450; H (408) 
293-2447, Wmkirk@earthlink.net

Tyndall is a class-2 peak, but we may need ice axes and 
crampons to get over Shepherd Pass.  

Mineral King Trip
Peaks:	Needham(12467), Sawtooth(12343), 
	Eisen(12160), Lippincott(12260) Class 2
Dates:	October 10-12 (Sat-Mon)
Contact:	Steve Eckert (eckert@netcom.com)
Co-Contact: WANTED

Help me finish off the Mineral King area peaks while the marmots 
are sated on the late-summer salt bush. (You don't want to be at 
this trailhead in June, trust me!) We'll dayhike over Sawtooth to 
pick up Needham on the way out, but the first objectives will be 
two peaks overlooking Big Arroyo and the famed Kaweah peaks. 
Lower altitude peaks go well with crisp fall air! Moderately difficult 
climbing: no rope or crampons will be needed if you take the 
longer route over Timber Gap, but those with ice axe and crampon 
skills will go over Glacier Pass so we can bag Needham. Everyone 
can climb Eisen and Lippincott without ice axes. You should be in 
good shape and prepared for packing cross country .

Clyde Minaret
Peak:  Clyde Minaret (12281') Class 3-4
Dates:  October 17-18 (Sat-Sun)
Contact:    Steve Eckert (eckert@netcom.com)
Co-Contact: Jeff Fisher  (han1cannae@aol.com

This will be a 2-day private fall trip, where shorter days mean we'll 
keep moving to avoid using headlamps. Not a beginner trip! 
Recent trip reports indicate it's more like class 3 than the class 4 
rating in the SPS list, but we'll take a rope and some pro anyway. 
Ice axe and crampons required for the approach.

Telescope Peak via Surprise Canyon

Peaks:	Telescope Peak 
Dates:	November 13, 14, 15
Maps:	Telescope Peak
Contact:	Bill Kirkpatrick, W (408) 279-3450; H (408) 
293-2447, Wmkirk@earthlink.net
Contact leader for more details.

Dana In Snow

September 26-27, 1998: Five of us journeyed to Tioga Pass last 
weekend to attempt the Dana Couloir. After a restful night at the 
campground by the road into Saddlebag Lake, trip leader George 
Van Gorden, George's friend Larry, Ted Raczek, and myself (Jim 
Ramaker) awoke Saturday morning to steadily falling snow and a 
beautiful winter landscape. As the euphoria of this unexpected 
scene wore off, we had breakfast and drove to Tioga Pass to meet 
Ron Karpel, who'd left home at 2 a.m. and driven up in the wee 
hours. Ron arrived right on schedule at 7:15, and the five of us 
stood around talking in the snowstorm. We discussed various 
options ranging from driving straight home to doing a low-
elevation dayhike or climb. Since George and Ron had brought 
lots of ice-climbing gear, we decided to at least hike over to the 
couloir and do a couple of practice pitches. We had no thought of 
summiting, as the blowing snow was bad enough at the pass and 
was sure to be worse up on the peak.

Larry decided to bail, and the other four of us geared up and 
started hiking. After about two hours of cross-country through the 
woods and over snow-covered boulders, we spotted a snow slope 
on the flank of Dana to our right and decided to do our practice 
climbing there, instead of in the actual couloir an hour further on. 
The angle was moderate -- less than 40 degrees -- but there was 
good quality ice underneath the new powder. George and Ron 
each had a rope, so they each climbed a pitch parallel to each 
other, placing a couple of screws and pickets along the way. Then 
they belayed Ted and me up, and we all downclimbed and pulled 
the gear. Screws and pickets both worked well, though placing 
pickets required a lot of pounding with an ice hammer.

Conditions got no better as the morning wore on -- light snow off 
and on, and lots of wind that occasionally blew sharp snow 
pellets into our eyes. We donned sunglasses to shield our eyes, 
though the day was too dark to require them. Visibility was only a 
few hundred feet at times, though occasionally the gloom lifted 
and we could see parts of the mountain above us. Down in the 
snow-dusted canyon below us, we were surprised to see a party of 
six backpackers heading up into the storm.

Around noon, we reclimbed the snowfield to get to a higher, 
steeper snowfield that we'd spotted during one of the breaks in 
the weather. Ron led a pitch up this snowfield, the rest of us 
followed on ascenders and then rapelled, and then Ron 
downclimbed. By the way, Ron and George are both pretty skilled 
with screws, pickets, and their new-age ice tools. (Ron mentioned 
that his 12-inch long plastic job from Charlet-Moser cost over 

As we took a lunch break and sorted gear, the storm showed no 
signs of letting up, so we decided to bail. George, Ron, and Ted 
had to be home that night, but I didn't, and I had a sudden 
inspiration to try for the summit. So I signed out from the trip and 
decided to try to get to the top of the ridge to our right. Though it 
was hard to orient oneself in the weather, my intuition told me 
the top of that ridge was probably the edge of the large plateau 
where the normal route up Dana goes. A 100-foot cliff that 
appeared to be class-3 (visible from the road by Tioga Lake) 
separated me from the top of the ridge.

First I traversed upward toward the bottom of the cliff, but ended 
up an icefield with nearly a foot of fresh powder on top of it. 
Doable, but not by me without a rope. I dropped down a few 
hundred feet and found a way to traverse over to the bottom of 
the cliff on snow-covered rocks. I worked my way up ledges and 
ramps covered with fluffy snow, and soon gained the top of the 
ridge. It was the plateau. It was almost 4 p.m. and I couldn't see 
the summit in the blowing snow, but I decided to go for it 
anyway. I know heading up a peak at 4 p.m. in a snowstorm is not 
standard procedure, but many years in the PCS have changed my 
opinion of what's reasonable. If I could summit by 5:30, I'd still 
have two hours of daylight for the 3000-foot descent. Also, it was 
all easy terrain that I'd been on before, and I was warm and dry, 
including my feet -- one benefit of dry powder snow.

For some reason, the climbing felt exhausting, I guess because of 
the snow and the occasional ice patches on the familiar boulders. 
(Or maybe I'm just getting old.) But the snow stopped after 
awhile and a window of blue sky opened up right above the 
summit, which boosted my spirits. I topped out at 5:15, and was 
rewarded with spectacular views of wild- looking snow-dusted 
peaks underneath huge roiling grey clouds that covered all of 
Yosemite. Even the east-side humps like Dunderberg and 
Excelsior looked impressive streaked with fresh snow under the 
forbidding grey skies. Mono Lake appeared, reflecting blue sky 
out toward Nevada. The wind picked up, swirling snow in my 
face, and I started down.

The wind stopped once I was off the summit, but it started 
snowing again, a steady fall of large snowflakes. As visibility 
declined, I took a compass bearing on the descent route. George 
had told me to do this, pointing out that the descent from Dana is 
not north as intuition might indicate, but almost due west (the 
Tioga Road here runs almost north-south). It was a wonderful 
experience to be descending a peak at dusk in a gentle, silent 
snowfall. Memories of walking in the snow in the winter as a boy 
back in New England drifted through my addled mind.

After a long trudge across the rocky plateau, I spotted some cairns 
and picked up the use trail, still mostly visible under the snow. I 
managed to stay on it all the way down the slope below the 
plateau, helped in no small part by the orange blazes painted on 
the rocks by the late Carl Sharsmith about 40 years ago. (For 
those who don't know of him, he was a Yosemite ranger and 
botanist for over 60 years.) Down the switchbacks into the forest, 
and finally over to my car at 7:15.

I spent another comfortable night in my car at the same 
campground, disturbed only by a mouse who'd snuck inside the 
car and kept scratching around in my cartons of gear. Attempts to 
hunt him down with a flashlight failed, so I resigned myself to 
sharing my refuge with my tiny companion, calling to him to keep 
the noise down when his scratching and scurrying got out of 

As I drove west, I entered a cloud bank and the temperature 
plummeted. Down in Yosemite Valley it was about 20 degrees 
colder than at Tioga Pass, 6000 feet above! The next cold front 
and set of snow flurries was on the way. It looks like summer and 
winter will be battling it out in the high country for a few more 
weeks before winter arrives for good.

Jim Ramaker

Center Basin Bear(s)

About two months ago Steve Eckert posted a Center Basin report 
(to Keith, Center and Bradley) about a trip that took place in mid 
July. Those of us on the trip encountered an unusually aggressive 
black bear. We actually had encounters on two nights, and it 
might have been two bears.

After Barbara's SPS list finish this weekend, we stopped at the 
Mt. Whitney ranger station in Lone Pine to look into getting a 
dayhike permit for Mt. Whitney in the next month or so. We 
chatted with the ranger at the counter for awhile, and we 
mentioned the aggressive bear we had encountered in Center 
Basin. She immediately handed us a special bear warning page 
that had been recently printed concerning areas around and 
including Center Basin titled "Bear Warning and Emergency 
Food Storage Restrictions!!" It included phrases such as, "Due to 
local uncharacteristic aggressive black bear behavior..." and "For 
your safety, sleep well away (100 yards if possible) from food 
canisters and boxes. Do not try to harass females with cubs or 
two adult bears travelling toegether. Several campers have been 
charged, scratched or bitten recently when they tried to defend 
food not stored in bear-proof boxes or canisters." The area of 
concern was "Bubbs Creek drainage upstream of Sphinx Creek..."

I'd say we got off pretty easy on the Center Basin trip, since we 
were not "charged, scratched or bitten", but the bear did not 
immediately back off from Steve standing up in front of it and 
yelling. It looks like the bear or bears have become even more 
aggressive since mid July. I don't see how this isn't going to come 
to a tragic ending for either the humans or bears, or both.

Dave Sholle

Mr Rodgers Neighborhood

The clouds built as we hiked from Clover Meadow, and the 
temperature dropped sharply around the McClure Lake junction. 
We donned rain gear and headed for Isberg Pass anyway. I threw 
in my trailhead tarp at the last minute, and wound up using it as 
both a poncho (over me and my pack) and rain fly (over my bivy 
bag). This was rain, not sprinkles! It lasted about 8 hours, until 
well after dark, with no complete breaks but also no thunder.

Day 2 dawned mostly cloudy, but we started for Forester around 
7:30 anyway. For a time it was sunlit dewey perfection (Erik 
waxed poetic about pixies gamboling amongst the flowers and 
trees), but as we neared the peak the clouds came and the 
temperature dropped again. The chute we chose was somewhat 
loose, and in the middle of a discussion about what to do if a rock 
slips the whole area around me moved... these were apparently 
stable rocks of 2 or 3 food diameters, but a couple of them went 
over the edge and broke up while I scrambled to stay on top and 
Mike scrambled out of the way.

We placed a new register and cannister on Foerster, then darted 
off to beat the weather. At the base of the chute, I signed off the 
SPS trip and headed north for Electra and Rodgers while the 
others headed back to camp. I think they made it before the rain 
hit. I went over the west shoulder of Foerster and down a boulder 
field into the Lyell Fork drainage, stopping at the 10000' lake due 
north of Foerster for a short nap in the sun. I awoke to raindrops 
and spent the next hour huddled under my tarp wondering if I 
should abort the trip. It rained about 15 minutes out of every hour 
the rest of the day, while I made my way up the drainage to the 
west face of Electra. The rock here is completely different than 
the Yosemite slabs/tundra where the pixies play: it's sharp dark 
slate that looks like the Chugach range where I grew up.

I camped at the 11000' lake NW of Electra, watching the peaks 
play hide and seek in the cotton candy clouds. The clouds won, 
and fog smothered the sound of my little stream just as it got 
dark. Dew ruled the night, but the clouds cleared a few hours 
before dawn. The morning of Day 3 I was walking as soon as I 
could see, lugging my pack up to the ridge just north of Electra 
(which is not in the guide books, but is a 12000' class 2 pass 
between the Lyell Fork of the Merced and the North Fork of the 
San Joaquin). From here it was a quick scramble to the summit of 
Electra, topping out at 7:30 am just as the sun was losing its 
battle with the clouds. There is a register box, but no register!

Dropping into the NE cirque from Electra, I traversed to the SE 
face of Rodgers but didn't like the snow and loose steep rock 
above them. Being alone and with monsoon clouds above me, I 
took a defensive route down to the drainage east of Rodgers with 
my full pack, then climbed the north side of the east ridge. Back 
at my pack, and with improving weather, I headed to the 10200' 
lakes SW of Davis. Could I get all three today? It was 2pm and I 
was less than a mile and only 2000' from the summit. Time to eat 
and scope out the route, but the now-familiar cold wind hit the 
back of my neck and curtains of rain pulled across the valley 
behind me. I ran. Actually I hiked on down to Hemlock Crossing 
in heavy bugs just as it got dark. This place has one of the most 
amazing (short) waterfall and diving pools in the Sierra.

Overnight a crazy plan formed: I would try dayhiking Iron Mtn 
from Hemlock Crossing instead of just hiking out. Leaving at first 
light on Day 4, I followed the trail across Iron Creek toward 
Corral Meadow but cut off at the second high point (about 8300') 
where I could head due east and bypass the west shoulder of Iron, 
which turned out to be a GREAT route, with open walking and 
occasional water. Be sure to stay on the vague ridge NORTH of 
Naked Lady Meadow for the easiest walking. I went past Straube 
Lk and back onto the trail just south of Alstot Lk.

>From Alstot the 15' map shows a trail heading up the south face 
of Iron, ending east of the peak. Imagine my surprise when I 
found the trail went all the way to a saddle! Imagine my 
FURTHER surprise when I found the trail went west of the peak, 
leaving me with close to a mile of ridgeline to run. It's not good 
footing after the saddle, but a good trail goes right over the saddle 
to a lake on the north side of the ridge. On the ridge I found a 
mine shaft which has been filled in but would serve as a great 
bivy site for 3 or 4 people.

On the summit of Iron Mtn around noon, the clouds headed my 
way and I headed back to Alstot Lake by dropping directly south 
of the summit. Much easier walking! It was raining by 4pm, but I 
sat it out under a tree and still made it back to Hemlock around 
6pm. The clouds did not clear, and I could see distant lightning 
starting, so I packed up after dinner and headed for the car at 
8pm. It didn't rain again until almost 9pm, but then it was 
continuous thunder and occasional showers all the way to the car 
at 2am (25 miles and over 6000' of gain for the day), continuing 
until I drove to lower elevation by around 4am.

The last 2 hours of hiking were biblical. Thunder and lightning, 
periods of cold wind interspersed with warm calm and the 
occasional shaft of moonlight poking through. Near the end it 
wasn't a shower, it wasn't driving rain like we had at Isberg Pass, 
it was time to build an ark - this was God's Vengeance On Man, 
and I alone was the target. I could not see the trail because there 
was so much rain that my headlamp glared back at me like high 
beams in the fog. I sat under a tree, which worked for about 2 
minutes until the branches were saturated. I sat under my tarp 
under a tree, which worked for about 10 minutes until the ground 
became saturated. I put on a sweater and gritted my teeth, falling 
asleep under the tarp only to wake when the noise abated half an 
hour later. I finished the hike in what would normally be 
considered hard rain, and drove to Oakhurst in fog and rain for 
breakfast. Four peaks in four days, with many incredibly varied 
drainages, and weather from dozing in the sun by a tarn to dozing 
in the rain under a tarp - tramping describes the trip better than 
climbing, but mountaineering is about overcoming obstacles 
(even the weather).

Steve Eckert 


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


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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 10/25/98.
Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

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