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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, 2000	Vol. 34 No. 11
     Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 11/26/2000 

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

The EScree is distributed to email lists as described on "the back page".

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

Date:		Tuesday, November 14
Time:		7:30 PM
Program:	Elections and
		"Teton and Wind River Alpine Rock Climbs", by Bruce Bousfield
Directions:	Peninsula Conservation Center 3921 East Bayshore Rd, Palo Alto, CA

>From 101: Exit at San Antonio Road, Go East to 
the first traffic light, Turn left and follow 
Bayshore Rd to the PCC on the corner of 
Corporation Way. A sign marking the PCC is out 
front. Park behind.

Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 
Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

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.

*** Annual Snow Camping Seminar
Class Dates:	Tuesday, February 27, 2001
	Thursday, March 1, 2001
	Tuesday, March 6, 2001.
Field Trip: 	mid-March (exact weekend TBD)
	Chris MacIntosh, cmaci@attglobal.net	650-325-7841
	Tom Wolf, twolf@snaptrack.com	 650-961-2682

Annual Snow Camping Seminar will be held later in the season than before.

This course prepares you for camping happily in the snow, and 
gives tips for day skiers or snowshoers caught out overnight. 
Participants must be experienced summer backpackers as this 
course will give you winter information and tips but doesn't teach 
basic backpacking.

Sign up details and form will appear in the February 2001 Loma Prietan.

PCS Election

The PCS Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the 
following roster of candidates for the posts of Chair, Vice Chair 
and Treasurer for the term starting in November 2000 and ending 
in October 2001.

The elections are to be held at the PCS November meeting. 
Nominations can be taken from the floor at the time of election.

Anyone who is a PCS and Sierra Club member may nominate at 
that time.

Chair:	Dee Booth

Vice Chair:	Nancy Fitzsimmons

Treasurer:	Scott Kreider

The newly elected team assumes office right away.

-- Debbie Benham, Bob Suzuki and Arun Mahajan, 
The PCS Nominating Committee

Winter Trip Planning Meeting

Date:		Thursday, November 9, 7:30 pm

Place: 	Western Moutaineering.
2344 El Camino Real
Santa Clara (between San 
Thomas and Los Padres).

Directions:	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.

If you cannot attend the meeting please e-mail your trip ideas to 
me and I will put them on the schedule.  If you can provide a first 
and second choice for dates it will make planning easier.

Hope to see you there.

-- Dee Booth, PCS Trip Scheduler

Christmas Party Location Needed

Over the past several years the Christmas party and meeting has 
been held at the SGI cafeteria which has been graciously 
arranged by John Wilkenson who was an SGI employee.  This has 
changed so I need suggestions as to another venue for the party 
location.  It will be hard to beat the nice SGI cafeteria!  Please e-
mail me with any ideas.

--Rick Booth, PCS Chair,rwbooth@home.com

Sarah Schuman

My mother, Sarah Schuman, died recently after a six week battle 
with her intestinal cancer.  She was an elegant, educated lady, a 
lover of the arts and of books, and that is how I shall always 
remember her. She leaves behind in this world my father (to 
whom she had been married since she was twenty years old), her 
brother and sister, her two sons (my older brother and me), and 
many other relatives and friends.  

Thank you for your help and support through this difficult time.  

-- Aaron Schuman

Above The Sea of Clouds - Sawtooth, Vandever, & Florence - September 2-4, 2000

It felt strange to leave the Bay Area for a climbing trip under 
cloudy skies and light rain, with the forecast calling for a 
snowstorm in the mountains that night followed by wind and 
clouds for the next few days. But there comes a point when the 
planning and packing for a climbing trip take on a certain 
momentum, and it becomes easier to just go through with the 
departure instead of canceling out. So the Friday evening of 
Labor Day weekend found six of us heading across the Central 
Valley to Mineral King: leader Bob Suzuki, Joan Marshall, Jeff 
West, Heather Kirby, Eddie Sudol, and your scribe Jim Ramaker. 
We got to the very nice Cold Springs campground at Mineral 
King at 10:30 p.m. and were surprised to find a couple of vacant 
sites on the holiday weekend and even more surprised to see stars 

After a sound sleep, we ate breakfast at the picnic table on a cold 
clear morning and hiked up the trail toward Crystal Lake and our 
first objective, Sawtooth Peak (12,343). After a break at the lake, 
we cross-countried over the saddle to the north and then did a 
sporty traverse across sloping slabs covered with fresh snow, and 
then upward along the gentle, snow-covered south ridge to the 

One member of the party came down with severe altitude 
sickness and could barely walk, let alone climb, so we gave up on 
our second objective of the day, Needham Mtn. (12,520+). 
Instead we relaxed on the summit and marveled at the vistas of 
snow-dusted peaks and the amazing sea of thick roiling clouds 
obliterating the Central Valley out to the west.  The cloud layer 
extended up to about 8000 feet and stayed around all weekend, 
but except for one brief period, skies overhead always remained 
clear. From the summit we had great views of the Kaweahs, the 
Whitney area, and more distant peaks such as Goddard and the 

At 3:30 p.m. we traversed slowly northwest toward Sawtooth 
Pass, then descended the unmaintained trail westward down 
Monarch Creek toward the cars. This trail is sketchy in the upper 
section and rocky and rough throughout, but it's a scenic and 
shorter alternative to the trails up to Monarch Lake and Crystal 
Lake. About 6 p.m., the sea of clouds finally rose up to the 9000-
foot level and engulfed us, and in minutes the visibility went 
from 100 miles down to about 100 feet. But no wind and no 
threat of rain -- just thick quiet fog. It was almost 8 p.m. before 
we all assembled back in camp and fired up the stoves.

On Sunday, the plan was for a mini two-day backpack southward 
to get Vandever (11,947) and Florence (12,432). The most 
efficient way to do this is to camp on the trail just north of 
Farewell Gap.  The ranger told us we wouldn't find any water or 
any flat camping spots in the upper reaches of Farewell Canyon, 
but we did -- a beautiful grassy bench next to a flowing side 
creek on the west side of the canyon about a mile north of 
Farewell Gap. After setting up camp and eating lunch, we 
continued up the trail to Farewell Gap. Farewell Canyon, with its 
vast meadowed hillsides, open stands of trees, and rounded 
metamorphic peaks, looks a great deal like Colorado, according 
to members of the party who've been there.

>From the Gap, we strolled up Vandever, an undistinguished scree 
hump that looks like Mt. Dana except a bit smaller. On her first 
PCS trip, Heather blew the group away by floating up the peak 
way ahead of everyone. She may be a bit of a sandbagger -- while 
it's true she'd never climbed in California before this trip, later in 
the weekend it came out that she's climbed in Alaska, gone to a 
climbing school in the Alaska Range, done lots of outdoor trips, 
and is one strong young woman.

Because we decided to do Vandever and Florence in two days 
instead of as a dayhike as some PCS stalwarts have done (that's 
you, Rich), we were able to relax on the summit for 1 1/2 hours. 
We lay down on the inviting scree and took nice long naps, or 
explored the tops of the steep, loose, dangerous gullies plunging 
down the west face.

Back in camp at 6 p.m., a cold wind came up and the sea of 
clouds rose up the Valley toward us, enveloping the trailhead and 
almost making it up to our camp at about 9700 feet. Bob had a 
queasy stomach and got so chilled from eating almost nothing all 
day that he was shivering inside his sleeping bag. Finally he was 
able to eat some hot soup and warm up.

Monday the objective was Florence, and this was the most 
interesting and beautiful of the three peaks. We quickly retraced 
our steps from Sunday up to Farewell Gap, then hiked down one 
switchback on the south side of the pass and began sidehilling 
across a loose scree slope toward Bullfrog Lakes. We were 
surprised to find no use trail here -- apparently most people drop 
down into the valley on the trail and reclimb the watercourse up 
to Bullfrog Lakes and Florence Peak. The sidehilling paid off -- 
in just 30 minutes we were at the lakes and wow, what a 
beautiful spot. Clean granite slabs and patches of grass surround 
the lake, with the inviting south face of Florence Peak rising 
above the far end of the lake.

After a break to get water and take photos in the clear morning 
light, we headed up slabs and easy talus toward the low point 
west of the summit. This was a mistake -- while the west ridge 
appears low-angle in profile, it consists of car and RV-sized 
blocks that create small dead-end cliffs and steep, awkward class-
3 clefts. Bob powered straight up the ridge, but the rest of us 
eventually dropped a couple of hundred feet down and to the 
right, then worked our way up sandy class 2-3 chutes and ledges. 
We got back to the summit ridge about 300 feet west of the 
summit, then followed it to the top.  The best way to climb the 
south face is to go past the left end of the cliff band near the 
bottom of the face, then wander up and right, avoiding various 
small cliffs and aiming about 300 feet left of the summit. If you 
wander around sufficiently, it's easy class 2-3 all the way.

We topped out at 11:30 and had even better views than the day 
before. Besides the giants of the southern and mid-Sierra, we 
could clearly see Ritter, Banner, Lyell, and the Clark range over 
100 air miles to the north. As an experiment, we tried a more 
direct route back to camp, going across the south slope of the 
reddish scree hump just west of Florence (Peak 12,146), then 
dropping down into a strange scree bowl devoid of vegetation 
with a tiny tarn shown on the 7.5 minute map at 11,300 feet. 
>From there we passed through a narrow snow-choked slot 
between two scree humps, emerged high on the southwest slopes 
of Farewell Canyon, and spotted our camp 1500 feet below. This 
route saved some distance and time compared to Farewell Gap 
and Bullfrog Lakes, but it did involve lots of slogging across 
sharp, shifting scree.  We got back to camp at 2, packed up, and 
hiked down to the cars very quickly in 1 1/2 hours. A delicious 
post-trip feast at the Pizza Factory in Three Rivers brought this 
trip to a close.

-- Jim Ramaker

It Ain't Over Until The Gale Sings! - September 2-4, 2000

Labor Day seems to bring rain in the Sierra - and 2000 was no 
different. Many people cancelled (too late for those on the wait 
list), but we had a stunning weekend with a whole drainage to 

The Chiquito Pass trailhead isn't in Yosemite, so permits are 
fairly easy to obtain even though it's only a 3 mile walk to the 
park boundary. See 


for GPScoordinates and written instructions. We picked up a 
permit taped to the door of the Visitor Center in Oakhurst, and 
followed my GPS to the turnoff at Globe Rock. Near the trailhead 
you can spread out and set up tents for primitive camping on flat 
ground in big trees... where it started raining around midnight 
and seldom let up until after dawn.

Our scheduled departure time came and went, with most of us 
huddled in our tent and a few restless souls going for short walks. 
Several people went home despite my pleas to wait another few 
hours. TOO BAD! The storm WAS over, the Gale DID Sing, and 
the rain quit as per the forecast. We slowly gained the confidence 
to pack and start up the trail. Not another drop fell the entire 
weekend, but the sun was hidden by low clouds until well into 
the afternoon. I introduced several people to Yosemite 
blueberries, which are normally stripped by the bears as soon as 
they are ripe.

Entering Yosemite at Chiquito Pass, we soon turned cross-country 
and followed the drainage to Spotted Lakes (hoping, as Warren 
suggested, to avoid any crowds at Chain Lakes). The drainage is 
poorly defined, and I think we swung a bit too far to the north, 
but beginners and old hands alike stuck together and enjoyed the 
scenery as we climbed up out of the forest onto slabs and more 
open slopes. The short hike in meant we had plenty of time to 
find a campsite, mill around, and still eat dinner before dark. The 
cliffs of Red Top formed a stunning backdrop as we gazed across 
Spotted Lake and decided this wasn't the right place to build a 
fire (fairly heavy impact for a place with no trail, and we didn't 
want to make it worse even thou there was a fire ring).

The next morning we tromped up the slope toward Sing Peak, 
passing through several patches of fresh snow from the previous 
day's storm. At the top (Rebecca's SECOND sierra peak!) much 
earlier than expected, most of the group decided to head for 
Madera while two people returned to camp to hang out with those 
who hadn't climbed at all. There is a register on Sing, but none on 
Madera. The views were great from both places, but I think I 
liked Madera better because it's at the end of a ridge.

Anyway, after a relaxing stay on Madera, we figured there was 
plenty of time to stroll over Red Top on our way back to camp. 
Quite a change in plans for a trip that anticipated only one peak 
that day! The traverse was excellent, and we made a complete 
loop out of the day by going right over the Top of Red and back to 
camp via the other shoulder. If you're in the area, the northeast 
ridge of Red Top is surprisingly interesting 3rd class... or you can 
keep about 100' down on the south side where it's 2nd class.

Happy hour, sunset, dinner, up just before dawn: Brian and Chris 
and I headed for Gale Peak while the others slept in. All but 
Rebecca would pack out before we returned, but we just 
COULDN'T leave that one peak unclimbed when the weather was 
great and we had only a short pack out.

It turns out that Gale is a harder climb than Sing by a good 
margin, but still 2nd class if you stay off the Gale/Sing ridge as 
long as possible. Another new register, a fond look north at 
Merced/Gray/Red/Clark, and we headed back down.

We took a slightly different route packing down, and it was 
almost like a different trip! Staying close to the (mostly dry) 
stream, we saw what would be stunning waterfalls in the spring 
and generally had an entirely new set of scenery. At one point we 
walked a couple hundred yards kneedeep in blueberry bushes 
(while the doubting followers whined about whether I knew 
where we were) coming back to the trail exactly where we had 
first considered leaving it on the way in. "Become one with 
themountains, and the mountains will show you the way!"

We were on two or three permits, so I'm afraid I don't have 
everyone's name. Here are the ones I remember (I'll update the 
web version of the report if Terry or someone with a better 
memory sends me the rest of the names) and I apologize in 
advance if I've forgotten anyone: Rebecca and Steve Eckert 
(leader), Scott Benson, Chris Franchuk, Terry Flood, Jeff George, 
Carol Horst, Carol and Gerhard Japp, Bruce Kocka, Brian Smith, 
Tony Stegman, Phyllis, Kurt?, JoAnne?, Mark?, and Nevada the 

Thanks to everyone who came, and remember to invite US on 
your next private trip!

-- Steve Eckert

Datum,North America 1983,GRS 80,0,-1.6E-7,0,0,0
RoutePoint,D,HWY99,  36.9746025876,-120.0748384940,,,
RoutePoint,D,HWY145, 36.9736732222,-120.0431797451,,,
RoutePoint,D,HWY41,  37.0103179728,-119.7939505183,,,
RoutePoint,D,OAKHST, 37.3310174880,-119.6554835393,,,SR 41
RoutePoint,D,YOSVIS, 37.3371799982,-119.6448099624,,,YOSEMITE VISITOR CENTER
RoutePoint,D,YOSFRK, 37.3671242458,-119.6301453663,,,HWY 41 - ROAD 222
RoutePoint,D,222274, 37.3392176702,-119.5859438399,,,ROAD 274
RoutePoint,D,274BEA, 37.3241112462,-119.5541569132,,,RD 274 - BEASORE RD
RoutePoint,D,CHILKT, 37.4150663876,-119.4949601340,,,CHILKOOT LAKE
RoutePoint,D,BEAMDW, 37.4445134270,-119.4719208991,,,BEASORE MEADOWS
RoutePoint,D,GLOBRK, 37.4883055380,-119.4185490964,,,GLOBE ROCK
RoutePoint,D,CHIQTH, 37.5096270578,-119.4180950858,,,CHIQUITO TRAILHEAD

Black Hawk Mountain - September 23-24, 2000 

Black Hawk Mountain felt lonely; we set out to give it our 
company.  Stefane Mouradiane, Kirsten Mouradiane, Barfin' Joan 
Marshall and I made up the whole party.  Saturday morning we 
headed up the trail from Kennedy Meadows, a few miles below 
Sonora Pass, and walked deep into the Emigrant Wilderness. It's 
a long trail, steep and switchbacked places, and dusty from heavy 
equine usage.  We passed high above Relief Reservoir, across 
Grouse Creek and up to Summit Creek.  We passed numerous 
mounted hunters, including one cheery party of four who all held 
their rifles in one hand and cans of beer in the other.

Deer hunting, we discovered, is permitted in the Emigrant during 
its season.

We entered the long, broad Lunch Meadow.  Stefane explained 
how his father was walking the famous Santiago de Compostela 
pilgrimage in France and Spain.  I observed that every pilgrimage 
is like a trek, and every trek is like a pilgrimage. We chatted 
about the spiritual intent of mountaineers.  Joan reminded herself 
to teach me, later on, that I am a mushy headed sentimentalist.

We camped at the head of the valley, near the location that Rob 
Langsdorf had suggested to us.  I pointed out the ridges around us 
that displayed the inverted topography for which the Sonora area 
is so renowned.

In the morning we ascended the peak.  From Lunch Meadow, 
there are an endless supply of plausible class two routes to the 
summit. We picked one we liked for the climb and another for the 
descent. We were on the summit at 8:00 a.m., taking our time and 
admiring the view.

Joan felt great on the mountaintop, and on the whole climb. Our 
moderate pace and her thorough hydration warded off the nausea 
that often plagues her.  We had made a two day weekend out of a 
trip that some people do as a day hike, and I'm glad of our trip 
plan.  There was plenty to do for two days.

On the way down, Joan and I did some bouldering on an 
attractive granite outcrop.

On the hike out, we saw a rider fall off his horse.  Did he drink  
one Budweiser too many?  Kirsten, an experienced nurse, helped 
the fallen cowboy back onto his feet, and worried about his 

Great scenery, good companionship, clear weather, lots of 
exercise and an early return ... a perfect weekend!

-- Aaron Schuman

List Finish on San Joaquin Mountain - September 30, 2000

San Joaquin Mountain(11, 601') is good for a list finish because 
it is easy (class one), has area suitable nearby for a large party 
and camping, and has superb scenery from its summit. On Sept. 
30, 2000, 24 climbing friends met at Minaret Summit near 
Mammoth Ski area. The weather was clear and warm. At 9:00 
a.m. we then proceeded to walk the six miles along the ridge 
from the parking area. This ridge area, along the Pacific Crest 
Trail well below, is one of the best in the Sierra for wildflowers -
- along the many streams and wet areas down there that drain out 
of the rock and meadows.

As we hiked along, fellow peak climbers reminisced and related 
long past and recent experiences as well as talked travel and 
current happenings. The aspens were displaying their fall colors: 
yellows through reds in the views below. We also basked in the 
spectacular vistas of the Minarets, Ritter and Banner and many 
lakes including Shadow, 1000 Island, Garnet, and Ediza. Lively 
discussions ensued among us, as we had much in common. Some 
of the people were there whom I climbed with more than 20 years 
ago, for example, I met Mary McMannes on a 20s and 30s 
Singles trip I led to Yosemite in the late 70s. And Don Sparks 
and I led a trip to Iron Mountain in July 1976.

I had been high up on top of the ridge twice before, when I took 
advantage of its skiability in the wintertime (starting from the 
Mammoth Ski Lodge), but both times a snowstorm defeated my 
attempts. I had considered other routes for the list finish, 
particularly from Deadman Creek to the east, but the ridge would 
be the simplest for a potentially large group. I apologize to those 
who may have missed the trip, because I did not announce the 
trip far in advance and to everybody as widely as I should have; it 
was not even an official SPS activity. But I had other conflicts in 
a busy summer for me.

As we stopped for each rest it was not easy to start again in 
distraction from the congenial conversations and world-class 
natural splendor and peace. As we got to Two Teats, less than a 
mile from the summit, we picked up one additional person who 
had somehow missed us. The group was now 25 people, and one 
dog, (belonging to Igor and Suzanne). We then spread out 
somewhat on the final steep summit slope, but we all waited 
close to the top for the final action.

At that spot I contemplated the significance of the moment, the 
realization of a multi-decade goal, completing the ever-sacred list 
of the 247 most significant peaks in the Sierra Nevada of 
California. I tried to relate my final hurdle of the mere 50 feet 
remaining to the hundreds of thousands of vertical feet and 
thousand-odd miles traveled in the 40 years I had been climbing 
Sierra peaks. I approached slowly, and as I finally stood at the 
summit I yelled out to the visual feast all around in celebration. 
In tradition, we hugged, kissed, photographed, shook hands, 
drank champagne, and ate goodies.

Adventurous and lively discussion continued to be shared by all 
as we sat there in the balmy shorts-and-sleeves weather. Bruce 
Trotter, a botanist, gave me a copy of the book he had prepared. I 
addition to this newest completor, there were four other list 
finishers including Barbara Sholle, Don Sparks, Steve Eckert, 
and Rich Gnagy. And others present very close to the finish with 
only a few peaks remaining -- Greg and Mirna Roach and Pat and 
Gerry Holleman. As we proceeded back many stopped at Two 
Teats and walked up the east Teat and/or climbed the short third 
class section for the west (lower) summit.

We got back to the cars at Minaret Summit around 4:30. David 
Underwood helped by driving the rough 4WD road back up the 
ridge for two miles to pick up one of our group who had a painful 
heel. Next we made a short drive to a nice spot I had selected, in 
the open "dispersed camping" area about three miles NW of 
Mammoth Town. It was a great spot for our group, with ample 
flat area, protected by trees yet still open to the sky, and with 
existing fire ring and plenty of wood. Those who needed to could 
make a ten minute detour to town for purchases. The tables we 
brought were set out and then loaded with the potluck delights 
for a feast. The scrumptious dishes included quesadillas, sushi, 
hummus/pita, Caesar and bean salads, couscous, wok chicken 
and veggies, BBQ chicken, and great cakes and cookies for 

Around the feast and campfire many more mountain moments 
and meetings were mentioned and reminisced upon. I had the 
(dirt) floor while I related some items I had compiled from my 
Sierra Peaks (spreadsheet) list and notes. They include:

First peak: Half Dome 1960 - trip with my uncle
Most unsuccessful: State - 3 tries to get
San Joaquin - 3 tries to get
Longest Day: Norman Clyde (unsuccessful) 23 hours
Bivuoacs: Henry, Sill, Norman Clyde
Worst bivvy: Sill - no sleep, couldn't got out of the wind and wet
Longest trip: John Muir Trail in 9 days with Whitney at end
Prettiest: Lake Ediza, View from Mt Goddard
Best Flowers: High trail from Agnew Meadows, Cliff Creek Mineral King
Coldest: Morgan South in winter - below zero at night
Wettest: Hilgard , Dunderberg, Emerald - I was completely soaked
Memorable: seeing the northern lights from Norman Clyde, 
electricity buzzing and later lightning on McAdie
Most dangerous (loose rock): Devils Crag, Temple Crag (Moon Goddess Arete)
Most frequent: Whitney 10 times
Second most - Williamson 5 times
Number soloed: 54
Number led or co-led: 104
Done more than once: 114
Most in one year: 40 new + 7 repeats - 1984
Most adventurous: Enchanted Gorge (1967), Williamson Creek to Williamson
Division Creek to Colosseum, Middle Fork Kings River Canyon
Easiest: Lamont
Most in one day: 4 - Joe Devel , Pickering, Newcomb, Chamberlin 1988
Most extreme trip: Palisades traverse - 5-14ers - T'bolt, Starlight, 
North Palisade, Polemonium, Sill
- light weight in 4 days/3 nights from trailhead
Unusual: cached some food near Taboose pass in 1983, recovered 
it in 1995 and it was mostly still good.

Organized Groups I did peaks with: UCLA Mountaineers ('65 - 
'68), Westwood Ski Club ('71 - '73), West LA Sierra Club, SF 
Valley Group, RCS, BMTC, SPS, PCS, SCMA, CMC

Animals: Cougar on way to Mt. Kennedy. Big horn sheep on 
Muir Trail - Rae Lakes

After my tales, the group listened intently while Dave German 
and Judy Rittenhouse told of their recent survival adventure 
where they spent 4 nights in snow caves with bad weather on Mr 
Ranier. Participants (all made it to the summit and party) not 
already mentioned include Paul Graff, Keith Martin, Barry 
Holchin and Karen, Murray Zichlinski, Cathy Reynolds, Bob 
Suzuki, Dave Sholle, and Bruno Geiger.

And the inevitable question - what next? Yes, I'll continue in the 
Sierras. Maybe not so intently but I want to still do technical 
climbs, and new and exploratory routes. Thanks to all those who 
accompanied me on the various trips over the years. And to John 
Muir and the others who kindled and keep alive the mountain 
and climbing spirit and wilderness ethic.

-- Ron Hudson

Mt. Ritter - September 30-October 1, 2000

For anyone who has read John Muir's account of the first ascent, 
or the accident report from the 1969 climb on which four Sierra 
Club climbers lost their lives, the north face of Mt. Ritter has a 
serious reputation. So it was with some determination that seven 
of us hiked in to attempt it on the morning of Saturday, 
September 30.  The group included David Harris (leader), plus 
his colleagues Cora Hussey, Roy Shea, and Alfred Kwok from the 
Claremont colleges in Pasadena, and Zander Brennen, Nicolai 
Sapounov, and myself (Jim Ramaker) from the Bay Area.

We left Agnew Meadows at 8:30, hiked down into the aspen-clad 
valley of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, then up the 
beautiful trail past Shadow Lake to Ediza Lake, where we arrived 
about noon.  Along the trail, we met a wild man from Belgium 
named Paul Wilms, and invited him to join our group. I later 
found out that Paul works for the same company I do in an office 
about 100 yards from mine.

On the hike in, we had discussed the possibility of attempting 
Ritter that afternoon, but after lunch, the group drifted into 
listlessness, setting up tents and taking naps.  Later on, most of 
the group took an easy hike south to Iceberg Lake at the foot of 
the Minarets, while I strolled north into one of my favorite places 
in the Sierras -- the wonderful alpine Valley between Ediza and 
the foot of Mt. Ritter.  While exploring the creek, meadows, and 
cliffs up there, I ran into a solo climber just down from the north 
face of Ritter, who gave me some tips about the route. I also ran 
into a young couple planning to bivy on the south face of Ritter 
with nothing more than fleece jackets and an old wool blanket.  
The "gentle wilderness" of the Sierras is often forgiving toward 
fools -- the low temperature that night was an amazingly warm 45 
degrees -- about 20 degrees warmer than you'd expect at 10,000 
feet at the end of September.

Our group of eight gathered back in camp around 5 p.m. for an 
early supper, and by 7 we were all in our sleeping bags.  Maybe 
one reason climbing trips are so enjoyable is that they sometimes 
let us revert to childhood -- we get to play all day and then go to 
sleep at 7 p.m.

But things were different on Sunday morning -- David had us up 
in pitch darkness at 5:30, and rolling by 6:30.  We strolled up the 
valley toward Ritter as dawn flamed the east faces of Banner, 
Ritter, and the Minarets, and by 8:30 we were at the cliffs leading 
up to the Banner-Ritter saddle. David and Nicolai zig-zagged up 
the rocks in the center of the cliff band, while the rest of us 
climbed the easy snow couloir at the right end, which was frozen 
neve but pitted with sun cups and no more than 35 degrees steep.

Gathering at the saddle, we realized that Alfred was suffering 
from altitude sickness and lagging behind, so we decided to split 
the group, with Paul, Zander, Nicolai, and I going ahead to scout 
the route.  David straightened out our confusion about the left- 
and right-hand gullies described in Secor -- the left-hand gully 
heads up from the highest snow of the North Ritter Glacier, while 
you enter the right-hand gully via a 30-foot long ledge leading 
right from about 100 feet below the highest snow.  The glacier 
leading up to the gullies was icy, but again pitted with suncups 
and no more than 35 degrees steep, so a self-arrest would've been 
pretty easy.

I led up the right-hand gully, which gave us fun class 2-3 
climbing on solid rock and rubble-covered ledges. With a bit of 
care, it was possible to climb without knocking anything down.  It 
was a warm, clear day with a light breeze, and except for Alfred's 
sickness, the climb was going great and proving much easier than 
expected.  At the top of the right-hand gully an arete leads left, 
and on the other side of it we were surprised to find a class-1 
scree terrace.  We strolled up that until it and the arete were 
blocked by a large tower.  I climbed past the tower to the left and 
came to the top of the classic north face route, with its class 3-4 
headwall and an ice-covered ramp leading up and left.

Paul checked to the right of the tower and found a broad class 2-3 
gully leading up to the apparent summit. Could this be it? He, 
Zander, Nicolai, and I scrambled up the gully and topped out at 
11:30, just 20 feet left (east) of the summit.  We were amazed at 
how easy the climb had been -- about 80% of the rock was really 
class 2, and there was not a single move I'd call exposed.  
Obviously, we went a different way from John Muir, 
approximately following the "Starr Variation" to the north face 
described in Secor.

David, Cora, Roy, and Alfred soon joined us on top, and we 
relaxed in the warm sun for the usual photos, snacks, and 
identification of distant peaks in the clear fall air.  After an hour 
or so, it was down the scree slope to the southeast and down the 
loose but easy gully onto the Southeast Glacier. Alfred was really 
suffering, and David, Cora, Roy, and Paul stayed back to help 
him out.  Zander, Nicolai, and I waited for them for an hour on 
the rock island in the middle of the southeast glacier, then talked 
to Cora and Roy and decided to hike out, figuring that Alfred 
would feel better as he descended.  Zander, Nicolai, and I had a 
nice hike out in the late afternoon, getting back to camp at 4 and 
out to the cars just after dark at 7:30.

Meanwhile the rest of the team was having a bit of an epic.  Cora 
took a short fall in the gully above the southeast glacier, bruising 
her hip so severely that she later started going into shock.  And 
Alfred continued feeling very unsteady.  David, Paul, and Roy 
rallied the team, and Cora, in a lot of pain, recovered enough to 
hike out carrying all of her gear. The five of them hiked out by 
headlamp and got to the cars at 10:30 p.m., then went to the 
hospital in Mammoth to have Cora looked at.  David, Cora, Roy, 
and Alfred finally got home to Pasadena at 5 a.m., just in time to 
start another work week.  Mt. Ritter treated us to a great climb in 
beautiful conditions, and to another lesson in mountaineering -- 
even when the summit is won and the descent seems easy, the 
unpredictable can happen and we need to be prepared.

-- Jim Ramaker

Ice Climb - North Peak (12242 ft), the north couloir. Class 4-5, ice. - October 1, 2000

Participants: Ron Karpel and Arun Mahajan. Ron Karpel was 
rightfully tired of North Peak. He had climbed both, the right and 
the left couloirs in years past but had not tagged the summit 
because he had run out of time, so with the summit goal in mind 
and doing it the way of the left couloir, we decided on doing it as 
a two day trip and so we hiked in the three or so miles from 
Saddlebag Lake to Cascade Lake in about two hours on late 
Saturday evening, just as darkness fell. Sunday, up before dawn 
and rolling by 6.30am, we climbed to the toe of the steep left 
couloir. By 8.30am we were ready to go and Ron soloed three 
fourths of the first pitch on the icy slope and belayed me up, 
having found a secure place on the right wall. I took the first 
pitch after that which was mostly neve and angled diagonally to 
the left wall needing to set up two screws on the way. Hard ice 
nearer the rock, but I made it to the rocks, almost running out the 
rope. Ron then took the next pitch and brought me up and I 
continued on, past him to a more secure spot, traversing some 
more horrible ice to the rocks on the left. I belayed him on the 
3rd pitch and he stayed on the centre of the couloir willingly 
going to the steeper and icier sections. After a while, he moved to 
the right wall at the point where there was a flake met by a band 
of lighter coloured rock. Ron also led the fourth pitch, staying on 
the steep right side (probably 50-deg), sometimes dropping into 
the gully between the ice and the rock, ending at a huge rock 
behind which he set up for belay. The area near this rock looks 
superficially as neve but underneath is hard ice and sometimes 
chunks of ice fracture off. I took the fifth pitch, staying to the 
centre and this was much clement and I did not have to front 
point and a little after noon we had topped off, enjoying the warm 
sun. Great ice climbing and then warm sunlight at the top, 
blessed California! From there we traversed on the rock staying 
below the top-off point for the right couloir. We were hailed by 
PCS-er, Tim Hult who had just topped off the right couloir. I 
gathered later on that Jim Curl and Dot Reilly, also of the PCS 
had climbed up the right couloir and the summit after Tim. 
Traversing on, we found a spot to dump ice gear and went 
straight up a gully to the ridge and then to the summit at about 
1.30 pm. Back down to get gear and then traverse behind and 
below the couloir to a plateau and then down a rock gully which 
soon turned into steep ice. The angle was easier than the main 
couloir that we had just climbed and we were in no mood to do 
technical stuff coming down. Ron down climbed with his tools 
and crampons. I asked for a rapel and very soon after that, we 
were back at camp(3.45 pm), packed and headed out to be at the 
cars at 6pm.

Some details from Ron: Excellent neve in the centre of the 
couloir, tools sink with ease and cramponing is good. Pickets go 
in with some effort. Hard ice on both the sides and sometimes in 
the centre. There is a lot of dinner plating and screws go in well 
but there is some fracturing. Lots of opportunities to set rock pro 
on both the sides. Cuoloir is 40 to 45 degrees with some 50-
degreespots. The top is somewhat melted out from his memory of 
it two years ago. There is no bergschrund.

-- Arun Mahajan

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. 

*** Argentina -  January 2001
Peaks:	A Seven Summit Mountain                 
Aconcaqua  6959 m
Contact: 	Warren Storkman, 650-493-895

*** Denali
Peak:	Denali, 20,320 ft.
Date:	May-June 2001
Contact: 	Tim Hult 408-970-0760,  Timdhult@aol.com

Looking for qualified partners for this major, no nonsense peak.  
Must have extensive experience in the following: high altitude 
climbing (18,000 ft +), excellent winter camping skills and 
equipment, proven ability to get along with partners on a multi-
week trip. Ice climbing and crevasse rescue will be taught if 
required. Prefer those with the ability to ski or willingness to learn 
how to ski with a pack on - need NOT be an expert!  Serious 
inquires only.

Leavett and Blackhawk

*** Leavitt - October 4, 2000

The short version:  I followed the PCT south from Sonora Pass to 
where it turned left under a snowbank below the south shoulder 
of Leavitt.  From there I followed the excellent use trail to the 

The ammo box register is in good shape with even an extra empty 
notebook.  In retrospect, Leavitt might have been a mistake.  It is 
one of the easiest SPS peaks and would have made a good list 
finisher, assuming I ever get near that point.

Drove down 3000 feet to the west and spent the night at 
Deadman CG near the Kennedy Meadow resort.  The 
campground was amazingly almost full.

*** Blackhawk - October 5, 2000

The previous day I got permission to park up by the store.  
Apparently this is always okay for day hikers.  Off bright and 
early following the trail up past Relief Reservoir.  The section 
between the two bridges is quite rocky and tedious.  Also, just 
after the first bridge, there is a sign "trail" pointing left.  Follow 
this, not unsigned right turn.

Further on, there is now a sign for the left turn to Kennedy Lake.  
Continue straight past the large green PG&E building.  Beyond 
the reservoir there is a "T" junction, now signed.  Take the left, 
reading "Lunch Meadow".  Going around the reservoir, Granite 
Mountain, with its lenticular shaped black summit and horizontal 
snow patch is visible.  Then near the far end of the reservoir, 
Blackhawk itself, comes into view briefly, with the same 

I had both the Steve Eckert and Mark Adrian writeups with me, 
to compensate for no map.  Steve mentions the "sandy meadow 
where the trail turns sharply east" which is supposed to be a mile 
or two beyond Saucer Meadow.

I am hiking along and hiking along and not finding Saucer 
Meadow and becoming concerned about the time.  Around a 
corner and there I am in the "sandy meadow", more of a sandy 
area.  Above the famous "class two defects" were visible.  I 
continued up the trail, as Mark had, maybe another 0.3 miles and 
started up the slabs.  These were easy and fun in my five-tennies, 
although I kept getting forced left by small headwalls.  I finally 
finished up the slabs going up thru a long square slot, maybe 8 
feet wide and 15 feet deep.  This deposited me in a flat sandy 
area just below the first subsidiary summit.  The flat sandy area 
continued south around the subsidiary summit and the true dark 
summit of BlackHawk came into view, surprisingly close.  Two 
more very easy square slots, some meadows and easy sand led to 
the summit.  90 minutes up from the trail.  I was on the summit 
30 seconds, only long enough to sign the register.  Saw the entry 
from Aaron's crew a few days before.

On the way down, I met the only person I saw all day, also 
coming in to do Blackhawk.

Round trip stats:  19 miles, 4600 feet ( 300 gained and lost 
around Relief Reservoir ), 10 hours 40 minutes.

At this moment in Mammoth Lakes it is clearing with four inches 
of new snow on the ground.

-- Eric Beck

Telescope Peak - October 28, 2000.

Susan Carlsson & I left LA at about 4AM. 

Hit the trail at Mahogany Flats at 8:40. 

Mostly clear skys with only a small cirrus cloud on the horizon. 

Susan led all but 100 feet of the 14 miles. 

During the first hour she tells how she isn't feeling energetic and 
I started wondering if I should have brought a second flashlight.

At the saddle south of Bennet peak the sky was covered with 

At 10000 feet we had lunch and Susan had a coughing spell that 
set us back about a half an hour.

I was thankful for the break as I was eating No-Doze like candy 
trying to keep up with her.

We arrived at the summit at 1:40.

Kern was already hidden by low clouds and now there were 
lenticular clouds forming up and down the Sierra.

After chatting with the only other six people on the trail that day 
we left. Without stopping except to look at the rocks, trees and 
birds we made it back at 4:25 with plenty of daylight.

Susan whipped that mountain into submission like it was a  lazy 

All night long the jet stream intermittently swept down  and tried 
to blow up off the ridge.

High of 42 Saturday and low of 38 that night.

Cruised back to LA through Death Valley visiting the geological 
spectacles there.

What a wonderful trip.

-- Ed Lulofs


Scree is the monthly journal of the Peak Climbing 
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Our mirror website is
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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 11/26/2000. 
Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

"Vy can't ve chust climb?" - John Salathe
First Class EMail - Dated Material as soon as it's published!