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Scree for February, 1999

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.
                  February, 1999	Vol. 33 No. 2
     Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 2/21/99 

This issue of Scree will be on the Official PCS Website at

Next general meeting (PCS meetings are the second tuesday of each month)
Date:	Tuesday, February 9
Time:	8:00 PM
Program:	Mont Blanc, The Matterhorn, Eiger

See slides on a trip Bob Suzuki, David Harris 
and Bruce Bousfield took to Switzerland last 
summer. They climbed Mont Blanc, the 
Matterhorn, and tried for a route on the Eiger 
(not the North face!) but got stopped by weather. 
However they still climbed two other mountains 
right next to the Eiger (Jungfrau and Monch).

Location:	Western Mountaineering, Santa Clara
(PDF version 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.

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, 
February 20 and Sunday, February 21 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

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.

*** Pyramid Peak
Peak:	Pyramid Peak, Class 2 - 9,983'
Date:	February 13/14/15      Saturday-Monday
Leader:	Palmer Dyal, H: 650-941-5321	pdyal@msn.com
Co-Leader:	Wanted
Topo:	Pyramid Peak 7.5'

This will be a moderately-paced 3 mile snowshoe trip to climb a 
relatively easy peak in the Desolation Wilderness area southwest 
of Lake Tahoe.  The elevation gain is about 1000' per mile and we 
plan to camp at tree line.

We will have time to build snow caves on the first day and view 
the marvelous glaciated scenery of the whole Tahoe basin from 
the peak on the second day.

There will be a choice of returning on Sunday or Monday 
depending on the weather, etc.  This will be a good trip for 
beginning climbers.

Anza Borrego Climb - December 1998

Ten miles north of Bridgeport, Pat Callery and I awoke after a 
restful night in the sagebrush to gray skies from horizon to 
horizon.  Throwing our wet sleeping bags in the car, we drove 
down to the familiar trailhead at Twin Lakes, where we were 
soon joined by Jim Curl, Dot Reilly, Milushe Kudnrnovska, and 
trip leader Kai Wiedman.  It was early Saturday morning on 
Memorial Day weekend and time for another one of Kai's assaults 
on the Sawtooth Ridge.

Borrego Palm Canyon is a magical place. It is an oasis in the 
desert. It is a swath of green among rocks and sand. Over 1000 
native fan palms (Washingtonia folifera) grace the canyon with 
their gray/green fronds. Beneath them water flows amid the 
welcome shade. Here also are surprises: deciduous sycamores and 
alders among the expected desert willow.

All this beauty is found at Anza Borrego State Park two hours 
east of San Diego. Between Christmas and New Year's Richard 
Stover, Patricia Crane, and I climbed 3960' Indianhead Peak the 
long way beginning the climb by hiking 2.5 miles up Borrego 
Palm Canyon.

There is an excellent trail for the first 1.5 miles, a fair use trail 
the next mile up the canyon. Then it's boulder hopping and 
cactus/agave dodging for the 1400' climb up the ridge to the 3200' 
saddle. From there it's a puzzle of boulder scrambling and route 
finding to the relatively flat summit which offers a spectacular 
view of California's Colorado desert, the Salton Sea on the 
eastern horizon, irrigated ag. land, irreverent development and 
the campground below.

We descended on the well traveled DPS direct route which turned 
out to have far fewer agave lying in wait than reported in the DPS 
guide. In all the climb took 11 hours since we had a few route 
finding delays in the canyon and a one hour detour caused by 
ascending the wrong side of the ridge heading toward the 3200' 
saddle. We carried 2 liters of water apiece and replenished one 
empty bottle each before we left the main canyon and our last 
water. By hike's end we had finished all 3 liters and were grateful 
for the water fountain at the trailhead.

Earlier that week we were joined by Jackie Stroud of Sacramento 
for our climbs of Jacumba and Sombrero. Jacumba (4512') is 
more of a hill climb at the end of a mogul-filled, high clearance 
dirt road. The view from the summit into the Carriso Gorge 
affords glimpses of the fabulous San Diego & Arizona Eastern 
Railroad. The only excitement came at the end of the hike when I 
stepped on a large boulder which rolled, throwing me into a 
yucca bayonet which deeply pierced my underarm. Either the 
yucca injects an anesthetic-like agent or the spine hit a nerve, 
because my arm felt numb after the incident. The initial pain was 

Sombrero (4229'), while not difficult, is quite satisfying, 
particularly the rock scrambling at the summit. On the desert 
floor at 800' the chuparosa was in bloom attracting numerous 
bees and hummingbirds. The desert lavender (my favorite) was 
starting to show bits of deep violet. Canyon wrens sang 
melodiously as we climbed. What a wonderful Christmas 

-- Debbie Bulger

A Snowshoe Field Test

To follow up on my request for opinions on snowshoes, I took two 
different pairs of snowshoes on the Freel Peak trip in mid 
December. For a true head-to-head test, I did all my snowshoeing 
that weekend with an MSR (Denali Lama) on one foot and an 
Atlas (smallest size mountaineering model) on the other.  I hiked 
both with and without a full pack.  This was my second time ever 
on showshoes.

My primary impression was that they were surprisingly similar in 
overall performance.  I didn't have to step differently with my two 
feet.  And when I was "skiing" down steep powdery sections, 
there was no performance difference between them.  Flotation 
was very similar.

There were some minor differences.  The MSR is noisier on 
crusty snow and is a bit more "klunky".  But when traversing a 
hardpacked slope, the MSR gripped much better due to it's full 
length rails. This was the biggest difference, and an important 
one in my mind. I didn't test the MSR add-on tails.

Caveat: I didn't test for durability, and I did not get to test in all 
possible snow conditions.

Many thanks to Dot and Nancy for making this test possible.

-- Kelly Maas

Davis in December - December 28, 1999

Mt Davis, at 12311', is a class 2 lump in the shadow of great 
peaks like Ritter/Banner, Lyell, etc. According to the register, it's 
mostly climbed in August and September. Apparently almost as 
many people from out of state make their way there as do the 
locals, which is quite surprising. After a busy December full of 
overeating and socializing, Craig Taylor, Hal Tompkins, and I 
headed up the Rush Creek trail (from the June Lake Loop) on 
12/28/98 for one last peak of the year and a bit of winter solitude. 
We saw no one once we lost sight of the road.

Craig had contacted an east-side guide who warned us there was 
no snow, and indeed we walked to Gem Lake at 9000' barely 
needing gaiters. On the other hand, the rest of our route was 
snowy enough to make skis or snowshoes useful (we had a mix). 
There was a lot of breakable windslab that made the skiing less 
than perfect but there was also a 2-mile flat run across Thousand 
Island Lake that made the snowshoers jealous. The snowpack 
was surprisingly heavy in the valleys given that all the ridges and 
faces were patchy to bare. Up high it's a great area for 
intermediate skiers, and there were lots of roped ice climbers 
near the road.

The first day, we chopped a hole in the ice near the outlet of 
Thousand Island for water, and made camp as darkness fell. 
Overnight it dipped to zero degrees, but the next day 
temperatures were in the 50s as we covered easy terrain to the 
peak in perfect weather. No significant wind, no clouds, no deep 
powder, no ice. We could have left all the heavy clothes and 
crampons and ice axes at home! We saw no evidence of any 
cornices, slumps, or avalanches on any slopes. It's a dry year.

We all summitted in thin shirts with no gloves, only a week after 
the winter solstice. The toughest part of the climb, other than the 
slog back across the lake, was the bare boulder field you have to 
traverse just north of North Glacier Pass - Hal bypassed it on the 
way down by skiing a chute down to Lake Catherine but it didn't 
really save time. (OK, I suppose hoisting the packs over those 
spiky gates on the Gem Lake spillway had objective danger, but 
we rated it no more than class 3 and we didn't rope up.)

Winter can be cruel, but [insert politically correct deity or deities 
here] arranged a very nice weather window for us. Clouds on the 
way out never turned into a storm, it was so warm that Gem Lake 
ice was groaning like whale song, and we had dry empty roads 
for driving home.

-- Steve Eckert


13-15 (Pres day weekend) Red Slate (ski/snowshoe)        Steve Eckert, Tim Hult
13-15 (Pres day weekend) Pyramid Peak                    Palmer Dyal
13-15 (Pres day weekend) Any Mountain                    Aaron Schuman

14 (Sunday)              Roundtop (winter day hike)      George Van Gordon, Arun Mahajan
21 (Sunday)              Mt Sizer (Henry Coe, day hike)  Nancy Fitzsimmons
26-28                    Death Valley Trip (Back Pack)   Bill Kirkpatrick, Nancy Fitzsimmons
2-4                      Sawtooth, Spanish, Rockhouse    Bob Suzuki, Rich Leiker
3-4                      Lassen, Brockoff                Ron Karpel
3-5                      Shasta                          George Van Gordon
16-18                    Black Mountain, Diamond Peak    Steve Eckert, Aaron Schuman
24-25                    Lassen                          George Van Gordon
24-25                    Yosemite Valley (class-3/4)     George Sinclair

1-2                      Shasta                          Ron Karpel
1-2                      Moser,Maggie,Taylor,Siretta     Bob Suzuki, Rich Leiker
8-9                      Mt Gorgonio                     George Van Gordon
15-16 (weather delays 1) Mt Tinemaha                     Steve Eckert
23 (Sunday)              Crevasse Rescue Practice        Kelly Mass
29-31 (Memorial Day)     Stanford and Morgan             Steve Eckert, Charles Schafer
29-31 (Memorial Day)     Shasta (via Bolam Glacier)      George Van Gordon
29-31 (Memorial Day)     Rainier                         Ron Karpel, Nancy Fitzsimmons

11-13                    Williamson                      Kelly Mass, Ron Karpel
19-20                    Goethe, Emerson                 Aaron Schuman
19-20                    Royce Pk and Merriam Pk         Steve Eckert
3                        Snake Dike (Half Dome)          Ron Karpel
3-5 (July 4th weekend)   Middle Pal                      Kelly Mass
3-5 (July 4th weekend)   Tower Peak                      Charles Schafer
3-11 (July 4th week)     Taboose Pass Climb-O-Rama       Steve Eckert, Bob Suzuki
17-18                    Matterhorn, Whorl               Ron Karpel
17-25                    North Kaweah                    Charles Schafer
23-26                    Finger Pk and Tunemah Pk        Steve Eckert, Erik Siering
24-25                    Conness                         Bob Suzuki, Bonnie
26-31                    Ritter, Banner                  Alan Ritter
30-August 2              Whitney, Russell                Ron Karpel, Nancy Fitzsimmons
31-August 1              Palisade Crest                  Peter Maxwell
31-August 1              Bear Creek Spire (Class-4)      Bob Suzuki, Jim Ramaker

early august             Whaleback,Glacier,Picket,etc    Steve Eckert (joining Secor's 2-week trip??)
7-14                     Fiske, Huxley, Black Giant...   Bob Suzuki, Charles Schafer
13-16                    Hilgard, Recess, Gabb           Steve Eckert
16 ... 20                TBD in Colorado                 Ron Karpel, George Van Gordon
21-22                    Red Slate (North Couloir)       Charles Schafer
28-29                    Winchell, Agassiz               Bob Suzuki, Nancy Fitzsimmons

3-6 (Labor Day)          Pettit, Piute, Volunteer        Steve Eckert
4-6 (Labor Day)          Middle Pal, Norma Clyde         Bob Suzuki, Rich Leiker
11-12                    Clarence King                   Aaron Schuman
17-18                    Needham and Sawtooth            Steve Eckert
17-19                    TBD                             Peter Maxwell
26                       Dana Couloir                    Ron Karpel

2-3                      Tuolumne Peak (car camp)        Debbie Benham
2-3                      Kern Peak                       Steve Eckert (SPS list finish)

Unofficial 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.

*** Red Slate
Peak:	Red Slate Mtn (13163) Class 2 / snow
Dates:	Feb 13-15 (Sat-Mon)
Map:	Mt Morrison 15' quad
Contact: Steve Eckert 
Co-Contact: Tim Hult 

Secor notes that this is the highest peak north of Mt Abbot, and 
calls it "a big pile of rubble" with "a swell view".  When it's covered 
with snow WHO CARES if it's a pile of rubble? The view still 

We'll probably go up Convict Creek, bypassing Lake Dorothy in 
favor of Lake Witsonahpah but McGee Creek is an option. From 
Convict, we can stay on or near a ridge for the steepest part (the 
approach to Gemini Pass on the west ridge of Red Slate). If 
conditions are perfect, this might be a two day trip, but I'm 
assuming three days with an early return on day 3. Skis or 
snowshoes could work. This is not a beginner's trip: shovel, 
avalanche beacon, experience required.

*** Mt. Reba
Peak:	Mt. Reba
Date:	March 6-7
Leader:	George Van Gorden, 408-779-2320, before 9PM

Mt. Reba is near Bear Valley ski area.  From the road the elevation 
gain is just over 1000 feet, but we will travel along a long ridge and 
the looking is good.  We will meet at the end of highway 4 on Sat. 
at 12:00.  We will ski or snowshoe in a short distance and make 
camp and then we can start having fun.  For those interested in 
skiing, this area provides some good intermediate terrain.

*** Telescope Peak via Surprise Canyon, 
Peaks:	Telescope Peak 
Dates:	March 26, 27, 28
Maps:	Telescope Peak
Contacts:	Bill Kirkpatrick, W (408) 279-3450;
	H (408) 293-2447, Wmkirk@earthlink.net
	Nancy Fitzsimmons, h 408-957-0983,
	w 408-495-1761, pkclimber@aol.com.

In this trip we will experience the western side of the Panamints. 
We will form up early on Friday, March 26, in Ballarat, motor up to 
Chris  Wicht Camp and park.  Then we backpack up Surprise 
Canyon on what's left of  a miner's road to Panamint City, which is 
what is left of a miner's camp.  On Saturday we will gain the ridge 
of the Panamints and climb to the top of Telescope.  Sunday we 
walk back to the cars.  This is likely to be a very demanding trip, 
with a total elevation gain of nearly 9,000 feet in two days.

*** Broad Peak Expedition!
Peak:	Broad Peak 26,400 ft
Dates:	June-July 1999
Contact:	Tom Masterson
	phone, fax (303) 499-6363
	address: 250 - 31st Street, Boulder, CO 80303

We are a Boulder based group seeking to add 3-4 more members 
to our June-July 1999 expedition to attempt the standard route on 
Broad Peak.

This is a non-commercial, non-guided, non-profit expedition! Price-
wise, it is a great deal: Land costs should be about $3800, plus 
airfare of 1200-1500. We want to put together a Colorado-based 
team, so that we can climb together this winter & spring, get to 
know each other and get used to climbing with each other. 
Experience climbing over 20,000 ft very helpful. For more 
information call Tom Masterson at 303 499-6363 or Mike Marsh at 
303 499 3395. 

*** Southern Sierra Day Hikes
Peaks: 	Spanish Needle,  7,851 ft
	Sawtooth Peak,   8,000 ft
	Rockhouse Peak,  8,383 ft
 Dates: 	April 2-4
 Contacts: 	Bob Suzuki  (408) 259-0772 (H)
	(510) 657-7555 (W)
	 Rich Leiker (510) 792-4816 (H) 
	(408) 453-4253 (W)  after 4pm

Shake off that winter rust for an early season trip into the southern 
Sierra.  We'll be climbing each peak as a day hike and car 
camping at night.

*** Mt Tinemaha
Peak:	Mt Tinemaha (12,561) Class 2 / snow
Dates:	May 15-16 (Sat-Sun) (weather may delay by a week)
Map:	Big Pine 15' topo
Contact: Steve Eckert 

Tired of every trip requiring lots of experience? Want to get out in 
the spring snow, but don't have a long resume? This is the trip 
you've been waiting for! We'll pack from about 6500 to about 
10500', a long day, starting on trail and probably finishing on snow.

It's not steep and I don't expect ice axes will be required. The peak 
itself probably WILL require an ice axe, but won't be hard climbing 
(Secor rates it Class 1 in the summer).

Only 2000' of gain on summit day leaves us some time to review 
ice axe and snow travel techniques, but THIS IS NOT A CLASS. 
I'll be happy to share what I know and to discuss what you know, 
and I'll even watch if you want to practice, but you should have 
taken a class or read Freedom of the Hills or had some experience 
with the axe before you come.

Sign up at your own risk. See required waiver at: 

If you've never climbed with me before you should check out 

*** Taboose: Climb-O-Rama '99
Peaks:	Wynne, Pinchot, Pyramid, Striped, Goodale, 
	Cardinal, Ruskin, Pinchot, Marion, State, 
	Prater, Observation
Dates:	July 3-11 (Sat-Sun, July 4th week)
Contacts:Steve Eckert  650-508-0500
	Bob Suzuki, bobszk@bigfoot.com

We're planning another Climb-O-Rama for peakbaggers who just 
can't live with only one peak per day. This year's trip features 
fewer campsites  (we hope to spend two nights in the same place 
several times) and more  seldom visited peaks (probably including 
some first ascents of the year) and  you get at least one peak 
every day, but the first one.

It's a 9 day trip but all the peaks except Observation fit into an 8 
day  schedule (spare day for weather!) with no day over 12 miles 
and only one day  over 5000'. You can skip a peak now and then 
to relax, or skip entire days  by leaving the group and joining us 
later. Send $10 (payable to Steve Eckert and refunded less permit 
fees if you show up at the trailhead) with any  requests you have 
for peaks we forgot (be prepared to lead or solo). Tell us  as much 
as you can about your skill and conditioning. We'll collect names 
and decide in a month or so about the exact schedule and trip 
roster. In addition, we'll need a signed copy of this liability waiver:  

*** Nepal  October 1999
Peak:	Chulu West
Date:	October 1999
Contact:	Warren Storkman
	4180 Mackay Drive
	Palo Alto, CA 94306
	Phone 650-493-8959
	FAX      650-493-8975

Climb or Trek, We'll combine both for the ultimate adventure.

The trekking peak is Chulu West  21,750 ft. (6630 m). Its rating 
classifies it  as moderate -difficult.  Chulu West is on the 
Annapurna circuit, north of the village of Braga. After the climb we 
pass over the Thorung La Pass (17,700 ft)

Our walk down to beautiful Muktinath brings us to a Hindu 
religious setting.  You'll see many older Indians from India who 
made this arduous journey.  Most of the older people consider this  
visit the fulfillment of their religious life.

Before reaching Jomson Airport There will be a side trip to 
Kagbeni, A village that lost its way in time. 

Its  a 19 day trek from Besisahar, return from Jomson
		Trekkers	Climbers
A)	Trek Cost	$1235	$1330
B)	Internal bus & Air	$180	$180
C)	Sherpa -walk-in 	$55	$55
	W/food, equip etc.
D)	Climbing Sherpa / Ins
	3 persons @ $27		$90
E)	Permit fee 
	10 persons @ $350		$35
	Total Cost	 $1470	 $1690

D and E could swing a little either way.
B could swing a little also.
Thai Air $1200 from San Francisco.
I'm only the facilitator,  you pay the provider.

*** The Coming Millennium Celebration
Peak:	Kilimanjaro 19,340  Uhuru Peak.  
Date:	Jan 12, 2000
Contact:	Warren Storkman
	4180 Mackay Drive
	Palo Alto, CA 94306
	Phone 650-493-8959
	FAX      650-493-8975

Visit Africa for a walk-up of one of the seven continental summits. 
We'll leave San  Francisco January 12th 2000 arriving in Arusha, 
Tanzania. This special package of 4 hotel nights plus 6 nights on 
the mountain is around $1000 1998 prices.  The prices should 
hold for 2000.

The standard package is for 2 hotel and 4 hut nights.
Why longer for us?  Jet lag and acclimatization . We are looking 
for better than the average success rate.  20% not good enough.  

K.L.M. Air looks attractive.  '98/'99  price $1240.00
San Francisco to Kilimanjaro Airport.  

We have 26 persons with a strong commitment.  Lets make it a 
century for the millennium.

*** Yosemite Valley Peak Climb
Peak:	Grizzly Peak, Sierra Point, Mt. Broderick, 
	Liberty Cap, and Eagle Peak. 
Date:	April 24-25
Contact: George Sinclair 650-941-2160; 

Spend the weekend climbing some "peaks" about Yosemite Valley, 
including Grizzly Peak, Sierra Point, Mt. Broderick, Liberty Cap, 
and Eagle Peak.  Some climbs will involve class 4 climbing.

Avenue Of The Volcanoes - Ice climbing on the Equator 

 During the period of December 19th thru January 12th I traveled 
to Quito to try some of the peaks that had tantalized me on my 
previous climbs in 1996. The plan was to team up with my friend 
and Guide from Bolivia, Yossi Brain. Yossi in addition to being 
the "Mainman" in La Paz, is also an accomplished journalist and 
author of the Bolivian Climbing Guide and Bolivian Trekking 
Guide (Try Chessler Books, buy two!). Yossi and I both had 
similar peak lists, with Yossi`s list came pressure from his 
publisher to get the routes documented for his forthcoming Guide 
to Ecuadorian Mountaineering. In a general sense my plan was to 
climb on technical routes only. Ecuador has a reputation for 
walkup climbing, and if you do what most folks do, bag 
Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, and the other commonly climbed peaks, 
that's what you'll get. However, there is a lot of difficult technical 
climbing available if you want it, and that was my plan for this 

I dug in at the Magic Bean in the center of Quito, and sorted out 
gear and shopped for food and fuel on the first day. For those who 
haven't been to Quito its worth pointing out that this section of 
town is hot and hoppin in a big way: Bars, Cyber Cafes, Dinner 
spots, Outfitters, Shops, and lots of climbers from all over the 
world. Its common to be on the side of some 18,000 ft peak in the 
morning and be back at your hotel room and in the discos by 
nightfall. All night Lavanderias allowed me to return from one 
peak, unpack, wash clothes, and be packed again for a morning 
departure to another peak. 

When I arrived in Quito Yossi was guiding one of the trade routes 
(Cotopaxi) for Safari Ecuador, so I took a jaunt off to Machachi 
the morning after my arrival to do an acclimitization peak. The 
new Electric trolley in Quito cranks up about 6am and I was on 
the way to Terminal Terrestie where the buses to Machachi (and 
everywhere else) depart. After a 2 Km hike I was in the foothills 
of El Corazon and promptly stopped by hacienda owners who 
firmly reminded me that they owned the immediate time zone 
and all the drainages therein. Sweet talk, extended chewing of 
the fat, and some promises not to torch the parjamo, bought my 
passage through. All that remained was 1000 meters of Ichigrass 
and 100 meters of class 3 rock. With zilch acclimitization time 
under my belt the last bits hurt more than they should of, so I 
bagged some sleep on the summit and returned to The Magic 
Bean. Yossi was there having just dropped off a note, asking 
"Where are you?". Not that I could possibly have the same 
question of him, being 6 foot tall with blond hair down to his 
arse, he can be seen from low earth orbit among the stout locals. 

Blending in is just not Yossi`s style anyway. We hooked up with 
Ray a teacher at the Collegio Americana and made some plans to 
hit the direct face of Illiniza Sur, an infrequently climbed route 
lately, consisting of 60-80 degree ice for half a dozen pitches. 
Somewhere in here I bagged another couple of peaks, Guagua 
Pichincha, and Padre Incantato using the same Electric trolley-to-
bus scam. An additional taxi to the town of Lloa was needed, 
along with traction encouragement for the driver (mas altura, mas 
altura!). I eventually did Guagua three times during this trip, 
being there once for an eruption of this fickle volcano. This peak 
was used as filler between larger peaks, and with 1000 meters of 
hiking from the village outskirts it served to keep the legs tight as 
well. The refugio on this peak makes a nice penthouse for any 
andinista wishing to avoid the inevitable debauchery of Quito 
night life. I kept myself pure and unsullied with these hikes to 
4800M, also a bit bored.

 The road to the Illinizas is probably worse than no road at all, 
but it offers a good prelude to the sandy 500m slogfest that leads 
to the Col. At 3am or so we started up the ancient and rocky 
black  ice of Illinza Sur`s Ruta Directo. This was Ice that was 
about as bad as it gets, and I mean bad as in not good. At some 
point in this climb I actually stopped swinging my picks all 
together, just sort of leaning on them for balance while I stuck my 
crampons with as much authority as I could muster. 

Belay stances were chopped and insured with screws, Yossi lead 
the way and actually enjoyed displacing his own body weight in 
dinner plates with each perch. Ray and I were standing less that 
two feet apart near the 80 degree crux, but Ray seemed to have 
some sort of magical magnetic power which attracted banquet 
sized platters of rotten ice. He must have been hit twenty times 
for each tiny bit that found me. I actually moved closer to him out 
of guilt, but Yossi`s target zone just shrunk. The trip off the 
summit was in a total fog, thru, under, around and into huge 
crevasses and down endless 45 degree slopes with just enough 
slimy snow to prevent facing downhill. I got a stiff neck from 
looking through my legs at where the hell I was going. Gapers on 
the adjoining walkup of Illinza Norte served as a gallery and were 
quite generous in their approval. Although I was later to take heat 
from local guides for the 10 hour time  span of the climb. This 
was, however a good start to the climbing, with only a week gone 
I had four acclimitization peaks of about 16,000 ft completed and 
one of the most technical climbs in the area under my belt.

Must have been another one of the filler trips to Guagua in here, 
then it was off to El Altar by way of Riobamba. Yossi had plans 
for several of the summits on El Altar, and we brought enough 
food at the Supermaxi to open our own at Campo Italiano. Campo 
Italiano proved to be too good for us, so we scrambled to a 
boulder field where we pitched our tent on terrain that might 
have been used for lunar landing exercises.

Part of Yossi`s scheme to get ever closer to the peaks we intended 
to do after El Obispo, which is the highest peak in the El Altar 
Massif. Obispo is also billed as the most difficult and technical 
major summit in Ecuador. El Obispo proved to be every bit as 
nasty and scary as it was said to be. 

Off at 2am for the summit we lost an amiable Ecuadorian doctor 
friend on the second pitch up the glacier. He looked up at the 
massive icewall from across the gentle lower glacier and said "No 
Way!". Ray, Yossi, and I made our way to the hidden and rather 
wonderful couloir which leads to the upper seracfalls. This 
couloir was really nice ice, the best of the whole trip, and at three 
pitches of 70 degrees plus was good enough to deserve us a round 
of Choco-chips and Banana Chifle at its top. From here 50 degree 
climbing of indiscriminate nature led to a huge serac wall,  
around which we found a narrow, steep and rotten gully which 
might have reminded me of a Scottish gully I once climbed, but it 
didn't because I've never been to Scotland. The rock on top of El 
Obispo is so lousy I actually used crampons to dig into the 5.7 
Lava/Mud/Crumbcake finale.

 Back at base camp our Ecuadorian Doctor friend had bowls of 
soup waiting so we kicked back, fattened up for Moncha Grande 
the next day while enjoying the scenery. This scenery was really 
spectacular, every bit as good as we were told it would be. Our 
camp sat above the snout of the large glacier beneath the Monkey 
Hippey and El Obispo massifs, and right out of this glaciers 
pointy bit a "Cascada" more than 500 meters long dropped down 
into a huge blue/green lake. Things took a turn for the worse, as a 
hard cold rain set in. From my sleeping bag I was encouraged 
when the noise from the rainfall ceased at about 10pm, when I 
went out for a leak at midnight I found that it hadn't stopped 
raining, just metamorphosed into snow. The morning dawned 
with 20 cm on the ground and more coming down... so much for 
Moncha Grande. We Burned our excess food and strapped on 60 
lb packs for the hike out.

 I inserted another jaunt up to Guagua Pichincha in this rest day, 
and shared the taxi to Lloa with a nice guy named Tyler from 
South Carolina. I was then poised for a spell of "normal" 
climbing up Cayambe and Chimborazo, in that order. Cayambe 
was a lot of fun, Cosme from Safari Ecuador was enlisted due to 
the fact that all other partners were either working, or had done 
that peak before. This turned out to be a good move, as a lot of 
snow had fallen here also, and a very thick fog set in making 
route finding, even for Cosme, a real challenge. We later bragged 
that we bagged all three summits on this peak, which we did, but 
the true story was that it took three tries climbing up, then down 
300 meters to the various summits to find the Cumbre Maxima at 
about 19,000 ft. Even though this was a non technical, "One Axe" 
peak, I felt good about making all three summits in pea soup fog 
and deep snow, other groups leaving the hut that day did not 

 That night it rained big time in Quito, enough to eliminate the 
possibility for bagging Chimborazo the next morning which had 
been my plan. Not to worry cuz at this time Yossi showed up with 
an offer to try a first ever summit of Antisana from the east side. 
This is one of the few firsts left in Ecuador and so I 
enthusiastically said yes despite the soggy and complex approach 
to the east of this most remote peak with its famously wild and 
active glaciers. On my past summit of Antisana I had been 
fascinated with the eastern side of the peak which was said to 
drop off like a rock to the jungle below, and contain the worlds 
largest equatorial glacier mass. 

After a major and soggy approach we arrived at 5000 meters on 
the east side just as the snow really started falling. The next 
morning we bashed our way up vertical serac walls and deep 
snows to a point still several hundred meters below the summit 
which was blocked by really colossal serac walls. These were not 
gonna yield to us in these conditions, in which several 
centimeters of snow was falling per hour. Back to the tent we 
slogged, our disappointment punctuated with numerous drops 
into the well disguised crevasses with which this glacier was so 
amply endowed. When we returned to our tent it was crushed to 
ankle level by the heavy snow that had fallen.

Yossi and I committed to try this route again next year  feeling 
that firsts such as these don't come easily and this one was worth 
a second try. I bagged another, and final, summit of Guagua 
Pichincha in here about now, which gave Yossi just enough time 
to concoct another scheme to bag Quillindana, known as the 
Matterhorn of Ecuador and said to consist of 5.7 rock of 
prodigious dimensions. Since all the glaciated peaks were 
hammered with major snows and blows, I said something 
intelligent like "OK" and we were off across the pajramo again 
thru some really impressive Haciendas to the base of 

 Quillindana was a most scenic peak, and offered the finest views 
of the "Avenida Volcan", it seemed like all the major peaks were 
visible from there, Sangay, El Altar, Cayambe, Chimborazo, 
Coxapaxi, The Illinizas, Corazon. It was neat looking at all these 
peaks that I had climbed, and a few that still remained. As we 
pulled into a camp at 4300 meters, the heavens opened up and it 
poured rain long and hard. The next morning we dashed 
enthusiastically for the main summit of Quillindana and realized 
after some time that 5.7 rock coated in snow and ice for that 
number of pitches was gonna be out of the question - it was of 
course raining/hailing again. We settled for the Ventanimilla 
summit of this peak. This one is really tops on my list for next 
year, the face looks like the Eigerwand, and from the Cotopaxi 
side was really intimidating.

 So this was the trip in a large nutshell, all in all something like 
11 summits in the 3 plus weeks, two misses, one on Antisana, 
and settling for the minor summit on Quillindana, but overall a 
good trip. It proved to me, what I had known, that despite 
Ecuador's reputation for non-technical climbing if you want 
technical climbing it is there in abundance, just don't follow 
everybody else around.

 I still have much to climb down there and cant wait to return to 
finish off more peaks. I will defiantly spend New Years 1999 
there, no town does these holidays like Quito, a great town in a 
location that's pure heaven for big mountain enthusiasts. 

-- John Zazzara

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mtn ( 8067 ) is the high point of the Buttermilk, and an 
obvious candidate for the WIMP ( Winter, Inyo, Mono, Peak )  
list.  Today was beautiful with the temperature in town pushing 
60.  Joe Kelsey, Toby, Lori and I decided that we should bag this 
noble peak before it got too snowy.   We drove up the Buttermilk 
road 1.5 miles past the cattleguard at the boulders turned left on a 
spur, drove .25 miles to a circle around a Pinyon and parked.  At 
this point we are about 1.5 miles NW of the peak.  Separating us 
from the peak was the 200 foot deep wash of McGee Creek.  We 
contoured west, upstream for a bit until we found an easy 
crossing.  At this point, we are west of the peak.  Easy sand 
slopes led up to the west shoulder and a series of rock towers.  
We were concerned about Toby's ability to negotiate these, so we 
dropped down to the south and found an easy sand route 
meandering up through some spectacular orange granite towers to 
the saddle west of the summit area. Scrambling through large 
blocks brought all of us to the summit expeditiously.  We had 
concerns about Toby's ability to handle this, but Joe reminded us 
that Toby had climbed Fremont Peak.  Beautiful on the summit, 
no wind, Joe ate lunch in a T shirt.  We descended the north slope 
directly from the saddle, covered with four inches of snow. 
Considering that this slope receives no sun this time of year, it 
was surprising how little snow there was.  A short walk nw, a 
drop into and out of the McGee Creek wash and we were back at 
the car. Round trip stats:  3 miles, 1000 feet, 2.5 hours.  Could be 
done faster by taking our descent route up.

-- Eric and Lori Beck


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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.
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