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Scree for November, 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.
                November, 1999	Vol. 33 No. 11
     Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 11/28/99 

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, November 9
Time:	8:00 PM
Program:	Climbing in Israel by Ron Karpel

This show is a collection of climbing, hiking, and 
rappelling trips from the 70s and 80s in Israel and the 
Sinai Desert.  Come see local climbing crags, hiking 
trails, scenery, and people. I promise it will be like no 
other show of Israel.  There will be no old buildings, 
no synagogues, churches, mosques or graves.  

Location:	Western Mountaineering, Santa Clara
(PDF version has a drawn map here)

Directions:	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.

Vote For PCS Officers

The PCS nominating committee offers the following slate of 
candidates for this year's election.

Chair:	 		To be nominated from the floor.
Vice Chair/Scheduler:	Dee Booth
Treasurer:		Bill Kirkpatrick.

You need to be present at the meeting to vote. Nominations will 
also be taken from the floor. We'll announce the new officers 
following the vote and they'll start immediately!

 -- PCS Nominating Committee (Nancy Fitzsimmons, Bob Suzuki, Arun Mahajan)

Congratulations Steve Eckert!

On Sunday, October 3, 1999, Steve Eckert and 29 other climbers 
ascended Kern Peak. This completed Steve's quest to climb all 
247 peaks recognized by the Sierra Peaks Section of the Sierra 
Club's Angeles Chapter. To climb all 247 of these summits is a 
monumental accomplishment.  Steve worked continuously for 
years on this project, and its completion was really a rite of 
passage for him.

-- Bob Bynum and Aaron Schuman

Farewell George Sinclair

Long time member of the PCS moves on.  George Sinclair, after 
being involved, off and on, with the PCS for over 25 years, is 
moving out of the area.  He lead his last trip for the PCS in late 
September to Mt. Clark.  George is a past PCS chairperson, and 
past chairperson of the Mountaineering Committee.

Bob and Gretchen

On Saturday October 2, 1999, Bob Bynum and Gretchen Luepke 
were married in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona. Bob has 
served the PCS for the past two years as the Scree editor. Due to 
wedding planning and the actual wedding, we have not made it 
out on any official PCS trips this year, but hope this will change 
in the future. However on the way home, we stopped in Lone 
Pine where I photographed Gretchen in her wedding dress with 
Mt Whitney in the background!

-- Bob Bynum, Scree Editor

Bill Oliver New Chair of the Mountaineering Oversight Committee

I am pleased to announce that Bill Oliver is the new chair of the 
Mountaineering Oversight Committee.  He has been acting in 
that role for some time without the benefit of an official 
announcement.  This is the official announcement.

Bill has already been working on new policies and procedures to 
help promote mountaineering outings in the Club while at the 
same time ensuring that our trips are safe and that our leaders are 

To introduce Bill to you, I attach below a short resume that Bill 
wrote about himself.

I hope that you will all welcome Bill into his position and work 
with him to make the Sierra Club mountaineering programs 

-- David Simon, Chair, Outdoor Activities Governance Committee

Bill Oliver Resume

Bill took the Angeles Chapter's (AC) ten-week Basic 
Mountaineering Training Course in 1984 - and he got hooked!  
He followed with the Advanced Course, and the next year he 
became an assistant leader and later an instructor.

 He's been most active with the AC climbing sections and has 
earned his "emblem" in all three: Sierra Peaks Section (SPS), 
Desert Peaks Section and Hundred Peaks Section.  He's also 
twice served as chair of the SPS - 1989 and 1991.

Bill has climbed the 14 California 14ers, as well as challenging 
summits throughout the West and high volcanoes in Mexico and 
Ecuador.  He eschews the term peak-bagger, however, preferring 
instead to repeat the gnarly ascents.  He has written many stories 
on the history of high Sierra mountaineering and of the Club's 
once prominent role in this activity.  Over the past few years, he 
has shifted his focus somewhat from the high Sierra to the grand, 
narrow and slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau country.

He is vice-chair of the AC Leadership Training Program, which 
currently has about 1500 "rated" leaders in the Chapter; he serves 
on the AC Safety Committee; and he is a group instructor and 
lecturer in the ten-week Wilderness Travel Course.  Bill also 
chairs the chapter's Outings Management Committee, which has 
oversight over all the AC outings and training.  He was also a 
member of the nine-person chapter Executive Committee - 1992-97.

Bill has represented the AC in the area of mountaineering 
oversight ever since the "insurance restoration" in 1994.  This 
past spring ('99) he succeeded

Cal French as chair of the Mountaineering Oversight Committee 
(MOC), a subcommittee of the Outdoor Activities Governance 
Committee.  He had also served in 1992 on the National ad hoc 
committee that helped develop the Group & Chapter Outings 

The MOC is focused on continuing the Club's record of safe 
mountaineering and mountaineering leadership training.  The 
committee is also strongly motivated to promote and expand this 
traditional Club activity more widely - a tradition that follows in 
the bootsteps of our founder, John Muir.

Letters to the Editor: Trip Attendance

The Scree is printing two letters to the editor. One is from George 
Sinclair and the other has comments from Debbie Benham. They 
are both long-term active leaders in the PCS. George's letter was 
originally sent to the e-mail broadcast list and Debbie's letter is 
in response. Before publishing George's letter, I sought advice 
from the other PCS officers and several former PCS officers. I 
was concerned that a letter like this would be divisive to our 
membership yet I didn't want to censor discussion on important 
issues. The general consensus was to publish.

I would also like to add my own comments. I have been active 
with the PCS since 1995 and I have been on a number of trips. 
On every trip that I have participated, the leaders and all of the 
participants have been very congenial. From my perspective, the 
PCS is a great organization with many fine leaders and 
knowledgeable climbers. 

-- Bob Bynum, Scree Editor

As a long time member of the PCS, and as someone who has lead 
a number of trips for the group in recent years, I wish to make the 
following observations:

1. Except for those trips that are lead by popular PCS leaders, 
most trips are poorly attended.

2. In many cases private, un-advertised trips are more heavily 
attended than those listed in Scree.

3. At times there are multiple trips listed for the same month to 
the same mountain, which can cause one trip to be poorly 

4. Sometimes a leader will initially encounter a great deal of 
interest for his/her trip, only to have most everyone drop out at 
the last minute.

5. With permit costs going up, it can begin to become financially 
burdensome for a leader to plan a trip where the level of 
participation is unknown.

The PCS exists because of volunteer leaders.  If there is little, or 
no interest in the trips a leader attempts to lead, then that leader 
will most likely cease leading trips and in the end the PCS will 
lose.  To improve things perhaps the PCS should have a leaner 
schedule, or perhaps people who only go with their friends should 
try doing a trip with others.

-- George Sinclair

Debbie Benham Adds:

I read George's letter with interest and would like to comment:

1) I have been leading and/or coleading trips for PCS for about 10 
years, and, with the exception of one trip, all trips have been full, 
and, usually have had a waiting list, whether an official Sierra 
Club trip, or, a privately listed trip in the 'Scree'.  For official 
trips, I have made a habit of leading trips for newcomers, and, on 
these trips specifically, I have welcomed those who are new to 
peak climbing with proper screening. For private trips, I have 
kept the group small, as these are generally a higher class of 
climb. With that reduced number (say 4 or 5), the trip number 
has been complete. 

With an unadvertised, private trip, I believe it is not really within 
the province of the Sierra Club to monitor these excursions. One 
of the benefits of belonging to the PCS is meeting others of like 
ability and character with the free will to go where you like, 
together, and climb. More to the point, however, would be to ask 
each leader, whether private or public trip, to support each others' 
efforts rather than to undermine. 

2) The one time I encountered a great deal of interest, then 
nothing, was to Mt Agassiz, four to five years ago. The trip was 
full with a waiting list of four or five people, then, two days 
before the start of the trip, most everyone dropped out.  I learned 
through that experience to ask for a deposit to secure a 
participants' spot on the climb with a full refund at the trailhead. 
Now, those who cancel, forfeit the deposit, and, I donate their 
share to the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter. It's worked out 
very well.

3)  I think more care should be taken to pace trips throughout the 
year, especially during the summer months. I'd like to see the 
PCS Trip Planning meetings better organized with more direction 
from the PCS Trip Scheduler.

4) Permit costs are on the rise and this is something I now take 
into consideration when advertising a trip in the 'Scree' , ie: how 
many to ask for on permit; am I willing to lose x amount of 
money if I don't get signups; should I use their deposit $ if they 
cancel to pay for the permit? et cetera.

5) Good competent leaders are hard to find. I agree with George 
that a more concerted effort is needed to encourage leaders to stay 
and to keep on leading. While climbing and backpacking in the 
wilderness is wonderful, leading a group of people into that 
wilderness does involve some organization, coordination, and 
judgement. I'd like to see discussed: what goes into leading a trip; 
a query as to why some have stopped leading; leader concerns on 
a trip; and participants' views of what they think leading is all 
about, specific to PCS and Sierra Club.

6) For the first time, this year, I had someone ask to be on a trip, 
then, in conversation, she mentioned that she had signed up for 
several other trips that same weekend. She hadn't yet made up 
her mind!! Some beginning climbers do not know what is 
involved in organizing a trip and they do not fully realize that 
PCS is not a commercially run venture. We're all volunteers.

-- Debbie Benham

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 20 and Sunday, November 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

Tumpline Article

R. J. Secor has requested that I make a note in this month's Scree 
that his article, which appeared in the October Scree, on The 
Tumpline first appeared in the Angeles Chapter's June 1999 issue 
of the Southern Sierran.

-- Bob Bynum, Scree Editor

Trip Planning 2000

We had a very enjoyable trip planing meeting for the winter 
season. Thanks to Bob Bynum and Aaron Schuman for 
participating.  Thanks to Arun Mahajan for an impeccable 
hospitality.  See if you can spot Arun PC's Y2K bug

If you like to propose additional trips, please email them to me.  
The web version of this message is in the PCS web page under 
"other trips"

Trips for Winter/Spring 1999 and 1900 planned at the trip 
planning meeting on the 26th of October 1999.

Nov 6/799 Crag (3), Smith (1),
Jan 16, 1900, Junipero Serra, Arun Mahajan, Ron Karpel
Jan 22, 1900, Full Moon hike to the Pinnacles, Aaron Schuman
February 6, Cone Peak, Ron Karpel, Arun Mahajan
March 12, 1900, Sunday, Tinker Knob, Winter, Aaron Schuman
March 25, Sunday, 1900, Roundtop, George , Arun
April 8-9, Sat, Sun, Spanish Needle (3) Sawtooth (2), Aaron
April 15/16, Saturday/Sunday, Training Trip,  Ron Karpel

-- Ron Karpel, Vice-Chair and Scheduler

Jeri and John Flinn

In long term PCS member John Flinn's column in the San 
Francisco Examiner last week, he wrote that his wife requires a 
kidney transplant, and that he has volunteered to give her one of 
his.  Apparently, Jeri has been quite ill for sometime now.  The 
operation will be performed between now and the end of the year.

-- George Sinclair

Inyo Reservation System

Inyo National Forest has announced the new reservation system 
for next year. Price increased to $5 per person, reflecting actual 
costs. Mt Whitney zone permits will be $15 per person, to help 
with enhanced services that area.  The phone number for 
Wilderness Reservation Service is (888) 374-3773 or (760) 938-
1136. From April 1 - Sept 15th, they will be open seven days a 
week from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

Only 60% of the quota will be available by reservation, 40% will 
be available on day of entry (except Whitney Portal). All permits 
must be picked up in person. Mt Whitney permit applications 
should be submitted in February, other areas on March 1st. 
Reservations are available six months in advance until two days 
in advance. The Forest Service Region Five/Inyo National 
Forest/Virtual Visitor Center web site and Ranger Stations will 
have complete information and application form on November 

Inyo What's New Page, see Permits and Permit System 2000: 

Year 2000 permit information :

Mt. Whitney trail

-- Neal Robbins

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.

*** Death Valley/Telescope Peak
Peak:	Telescope Peak, Class 2 or 3D (DHS)
Date:	Nov 11-14
Leader:	Jeff Fisher, 408-739-1702, han1cannae@aol.com
Co-Leader	Needed for Mahogany

Two separate hikes one leaving from the floor of Death Valley at 
250 below sea level is a one way hike coming out at Mahogany 
flats. The second leaving  from Mahogany Flats at approx. 8,000 
ft. both going to the summit of Telescope Peak at 11,300 ft. Those 
hiking from Mahogany flats, will help in  shuttling those doing the 
longer hike. The hike from the valley floor is long and very 
strenuous, and those participating should be in excellent  
condition. E-Mail for more information or phone if no E-mail. 
Leader; Jeff Fisher 408-739-1702 

*** Avalanche Transceiver Practice
Dates:	Sat, Nov 20
Leader:		Butch Suits 408-616-0085, butch.suits@lmco.com>

Avalanche transceivers can potentially save the life of a skier 
buried in an avalanche. To use them effectively in an emergency,, 
you need to practice. Come and locate buried transceivers at San 
Gregorio Beach .

Peninsula. We will meet in the parking lot at the corner nearest the 
path to the beach at 10:00 a.m. and practice for 2-3 hours. Please 
let leader know you are coming--and bring your beacons if you 
have any. 

*** Junipero Serra Peak, 5862 ft, Class 1,
Date:	Sunday, January 16, 2000.
Maps:	Junipero Serra 7.5'
Leaders:	Arun V. Mahajan