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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.
                  September, 2000	Vol. 34 No. 9
     Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 9/24/2000 

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, September 12
Time:		7:30 PM

Program:	"Climbing Mt Rainier: the Kautz Glacier Route"
		Ron Karpel, Joe Budman, and Maxym Runov..

Directions:	Peninsula Conservation Center 
3921 East Bayshore Rd, Palo Alto, CA

(PDF version has a drawn map here)

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.

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, 
Sept 23 and Sunday, Sept 24 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 $40 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. For more information, call 

-- Marg Ottenberg

Chapter Picnic

The Loma Prieta Chapter is having a picnic on Sunday, October 8 
in Alum Rock Park between 11:30 am and 4 pm. for Sierra Club 
members and their guests.  This is a great opportunity to meet 
Chapter officers, staff, leaders from other activity sections, 
conservation and political activists, and other Sierra Club 
members. Bring a friend and njoy a fall afternoon under the oaks 
in this historic park.  RSVP to John Wilkinson at (408) 947-0858 
or jwilkinsonca@earthlink.net.

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.

*** Mt. Goddard
Peak:	Mt. Goddard (13,568 ft.), East Ridge 
Rating:	Class 3
Dates:	Sat-Mon; September 2-4
Contacts:	Cecil Anison (cecilann@earthlink.net)
		Kai Wiedman (650)347-5234

Mt. Goddard is one of the dominant peaks of the High Sierra.  
This solitary giant's position west of the crest makes it visible from 
many points in the range. We will climb the more interesting East 
Ridge, first climbed by Walter Starr, Jr., who wrote the definitive 
guide to the John Muir trail.  You may recall that he died while 
attempting a solo climb of Michael Minaret and his body was later 
recovered by none other than Norman Clyde.  This climb entails a 
very demanding 40 mile round trip.

*** Kearsarge, University, & Independence
Peaks:		Kearsarge (12,618'), Independence (11,742'), University (13,589')
Class:   1-3
Dates:	September 15-17, Fri-Sun
Map:	Kearsarge Peak, Mt Williamson 7.5' topos
Contact:	Bob Suzuki, rsuzuki@dsptlg.com, bobszk@bigfoot.com, (W) 510-657-7555 x223, (H) 408-259-0772

Try these 3 late summer day hikes from the Onion Valley 
campground at 9200', and enjoy the company of your fellow 
PCSers in the quieter eastern Sierra. Co-organizer wanted.

*** Tenth Annual Yosemite Family Camp
Peaks:	To be determined (Looking for 	hike/climb leaders)
Dates:	September 23-24
Contact:	Cecil Anison (cecilann@earthlink.net)	(408)395-4525

The trip will be in Yosemite Valley this year and family members 
are welcome, as usual. Plan on lots of fun as we hike, climb, 
explore, and commune in this spectacular setting. Space is limited 
to three reserved campsites so be sure to sign up early.

Haeckle and Wallace - July 30, 2000

On Saturday, July 29, Dee and I headed up towards Echo Lake 
from Lake Sabrina.  The trail essentially goes to Hungry Packer 
Lake. On the flat open area just below Hungry Packer an 
unmarked use trail takes off to the left towards the Echo Lake 
drainage. We guessed this was our turn and headed off in that 
direction.  The use trail peters out pretty quickly so we put our 
packs down near Sailor Lake (formerly Drunken Sailor Lake) and 
decided to look around.  We ran into Charlie Rankin of the Bay 
Area Day Hikers who informed us that there was no camping 
near Echo Lake and that the Haeckle-Wallace environs could be 
accessed from Sailor Lake by going up the grey bumpy ridge that 
drops down to Sailor Lake. This ridge separates the Echo Lake 
drainage from the Hungry Packer Lake drainage.

We decided to camp at Sailor Lake and Dee went up the gray 
bumpy ridge to check it out and after a couple of hours came back 
with the info that the ridge would work out.  This looks like it 
saves a tedious chug up from Echo Lake on big tallus. Sunday we 
started out at 5:30 AM and headed up the ridge.  This ends on the 
tallus above Echo Lake. Climb up and right on the tallus to get 
into the drainage that comes from Wallace and Haeckle.  This 
passes a nice water outlet below a morraine.  Ascend the 
morraine above the outlet to a "depressed" tarn that is at the base 
of Haeckle.  There is some snow on the morraine which can be 
skirted on the right side by sidestepping on scree (ugh).

Once on the morraine above the "depressed" tarn there appears to 
be two possible ascents of Haeckle.  The first is to go past the 
tarn on the right and ascend the south face and then moving left 
towards the more broken area.  The other option is to go up and 
left to the Wallace-Haeckle Col and cruise the ridge.  Lacking 
Prozac, we decided to  avoid the "depressed" tarn and headed for 
the Col.  Near the Col we then  angled up and right to get on the 
ridge line.  This is followed from zero to 100 feet below the ridge 
line all the way across until it starts  to angle upwards.  The snow 
from the permanent snowfield did not reach the ridge line 
anywhere and was easily avoided.  The traverse itself is  class 2 
with one or two moderate class 3 moves thrown in.

Once the ridge is finished the route angles up in the chute that 
appears  to split Haeckle.  Follow this to about 15 feet from the 
top and look for a narrow chimney on the left. Go up this, step 
around the back, and go up a few moderate third class moves and 
there is the summit.  One hour to the summit from the Col.

We retreated back down the ridge and headed up towards 
Wallace.  We stayed on the big tallus until the top.  This looks 
like a much better way than the scree slog 100 feet to the left, 
however, there are a few hard fourth class moves near the top.  
These can be avoided by shifting further to the left sooner and 
getting in the scree.  The route down goes down the scree and 
gets back on the morraine.  Both peaks 10 hours round trip from 
Sailor Lake.

The south ridge route on Mt Haeckle is an outstanding moderate 
third class route.  Most of it is second class with some low third 
class thrown in.  In only one or two sections was there loose scree 
that caused some thought and concern.  The summit block area is 
fun moderate third class.  Most of the rock is typical Sierra 
rock...sorta loose, sorta solid.  The views from the summit are 
outstanding, especially of the dark, enormous mass of Mt 
Darwin.  When looking down from the ridge it appears that the 
ledges on the south face would work also, however, it looked like 
there was a lot of sand on them.  Mt Wallace is a pile of  junk.  It 
can be made a little more interesting by sticking closer to the 
north ridge.  Crampons were not needed on this trip. An ice axe 
was handy but not required. It appears that the camping at Echo 
Lake is nonexistent but that the intermediate area below Echo 
has some trees and  flat spots that would work if one should 
decide to pack in that far.

-- Rick and Dee Booth

Climborama 2000

The fifth annual PCS climborama took place in the Kearsarge 
Pass area during the first week of August. The main organizer of 
this year's trip, Bob Suzuki, was unable to go because of a foot 
injury, so Steve Eckert took over as leader and the party included 
Tim Hult, Aaron Schuman, Charles Schafer, Joe Budman, Linda 
Roman, Richard Carey, and your scribe Jim Ramaker. 

Steve, Joe, and I spent a pleasant night at Deadman Summit on 
Highway 395and then met Linda and Richard at the Onion Valley 
trailhead. (By the way, the name of the side road at Deadman 
Summit has been changed from "Glass Flow Road" to "Obsidian 
Dome Road.") The five of us hiked over Kearsarge Pass and 
down to Bubbs Creek, camping in the forest at a bear box across 
from East Vidette Peak (12,350), our first objective. On the hike 
in, Joe split off and bagged the first peak of the trip, Mt. Gould 
(13,005). After supper, Tim Hult strolled into camp, having left 
the trailhead later in the morning. The evening was very warm 
for being over10,000 feet, and the bugs were moderately bad.

Sunday, we tackled the east ridge of East Vidette, gaining the 
crest of  the ridge by circling around to the left (south) of a huge 
dome-like gendarme and then climbing a short airy class-3 
section.  After that we had a very pleasant hour of class 2-3 ridge 
running, and the top was ours by 10:30, three hours after leaving 
camp.  We descended by a more direct route down a scree gully 
on the north side of the east ridge. Footing in the gully was 
unpleasant, with loose scree on top of slabs and bedrock.

After a rest in camp, we cached the bulk of our food in the bear 
box and hiked cross-country to the west to circle around to 
Vidette Lakes. We  found a gorgeous camp at the lake closest to 
East Vidette Peak, and for the second day in a row, we had plenty 
of time to relax in camp in the evening. This was a welcome 
contrast to past climboramas, when we were often on the go until 
7 or 8 p.m.  Tim even had time to set up his fishing rod and catch 
four nice trout, which he then cooked and shared with those of us 
not yet asleep. Around this time, Aaron and Charles appeared, 
having hiked in a day after the rest of us.  So our group of eight 
was finally complete, just in time for Monday's attempt on 
Deerhorn (13,265), our first really interesting peak.

We got up at 5:30 am and at 7 started hiking up the beautiful 
alpine valley leading up to Deerhorn. Deerhorn is a twin peak, 
with northwest and southeast peaks separated by a steep snow 
couloir. The route goes up a buttress on the northwest peak, then 
crosses over a saddle to the slightly higher southeast peak. It's 
surprisingly easy if you go just the right way, but steep rock 
abounds if you get even slightly off route.

By 10 we were picking our way up a steep, loose, scree slope to 
gain the buttress. This was the hardest part of the climb, 
particularly with our large group, as we were continually sending 
down missiles and getting in each others' fall lines. The best way 
to climb this section, which Richard Carey discovered on the 
descent, is to start about 500 yards right of the toe of the buttress 
and traverse gradually up and left, aiming for a weakness in the 
cliffs with dark rock about 100 yards right of the toe. This route 
has the added advantage for a group of keeping people spread out 

Once we gained the buttress, the climbing got much better -- 
moderateclass-3 on solid slabs and boulders. We continued up the 
buttress for1000 feet or so until we were actually above the 
saddle, then traversed left over to it. From the sandy saddle, we 
circled around the summit tower to the right, cut back to the left 
across a second, higher saddle, and the circled back to the right 
up to the summit. From the first saddle, the route forms an "S" 
shaped pathway of class 2-3 climbing. Deviate from this route 
and you'll find big air. We summited at noon and relaxed in the 
warm, windless day -- at over 13,000 feet, it was actually too 
warm. Smoke from the fire at the southern end of the Sierras 
obscured the distant views, but we could still see plenty of 
inviting peaks.

The descent went smoothly, and by 2 we were relaxing in a small 
patch of grass in the boulder field below the peak. Aaron, Joe, 
Tim, and I then split off to climb West Vidette (12,560), a 
mundane scree slog with little to recommend it except an 
exposed, foot-wide summit ridge at the very top. (If you prefer, 
you can easily avoid this ridge and stay on scree.)  This second 
peak made for a long day, with the summit at 5:30and camp at 
7:30. We'd seen quite a few clouds during the day, and that night 
we had a light rain shower right at midnight, confirming that the 
weather was a bit weird.

Tuesday morning we all retraced our steps back to the bear box 
on Bubbs Creek, where we discovered our food had been 
attacked not by bears but by human thieves.  Fortunately they 
only skimmed off a few goodies such as energy bars and Steve's 
gourmet Costco muffins, and didn't take enough to affect our 
plans.  Aggravating nevertheless.

At this point we split up again -- Aaron and Charles to climb East 
Vidette, Tim and Linda to head up the Muir Trail and find a 
campsite for us all, and Steve, Richard, Joe, and I to tackle the 
west face of Center Peak (12,760). This was in keeping with 
Steve's new post-list-finish philosophy of climbing familiar peaks 
by new routes.

Access to the west face is barred by a 200' high, mile-long cliff 
across the bottom of the face. The guidebook says to take a chute 
100 yards right of the left edge of the face, but no such chute 
exists. After some debate, we headed for an apparent chute at 
least 500 yards from the left edge. This chute is almost invisible 
from the north on the Muir Trail, but very obvious from the 
south, and has a dark indentation on its right side. We climbed up 
the sandy chute, passing a class-3 section a few hundred feet up 
and gaining access to the huge scree terrace on the left side of the 
west face.

From here we traversed up and right toward the steep slabs and 
ribs on the right side of the west face.  I kept wanting to climb to 
the skyline and get our bearings, even though I suspected there 
was nothing up there, but a jagged ridge with big air on the other 
side. But Steve insisted that we keep traversing, and his route 
finding was the key to the climb.

The guidebook says to climb up and right, pass through a tunnel, 
and climb class-3 slabs to the summit. We traversed across a rib 
and thought we might be stumped when we saw only steep rock 
beyond, but then Joe casually mentioned that he'd seen a tunnel a 
few yards back. The tunnel was a vertical elevator shaft with a 
10-ton, car-sized block poised precariously over the top of it. 
Watermelon-sized blocks in the elevator shaft supplied the holds 
and appeared to hold up the 10-ton block, and most of them were 
loose. We climbed carefully up this threatening mess, and popped 
out of a hole at the top to gaze across a smooth class-4 slab. The 
slab was inclined at 50 degrees above a death fall, but it did have 
a nice 2" crack into which you could insert your boot tips, plus a 
hairline crack above it for your fingertips.  Led by Joe, all four of 
us soon crept across it, with a promise from Steve that we didn't 
have to comeback this way because there was an easy descent on 
the east slope. We had a lightweight rope, but no one asked for a 
belay. As on the day before, dark clouds were building to the 
south, but we heard no thunder.

After the ledge, fun class-3 climbing led to the top, which has a 
leaning summit pinnacle somewhat like Bear Creek Spire. After 
a short rest, we quickly descended the sand and scree on the east 
slope and came down into Center Basin, one of the prettiest 
alpine valleys in the Sierras.  Across-country trek past a couple of 
lakes and through the timberline forest north of Center Peak 
brought us back to our packs by 5:30 and to our camp further 
south on the Muir trail about 6:30.  Linda and Tim had found an 
impressive improved camp next to a creek at a bend in the Muir 
Trail, with even a massive homemade "bear box" constructed of 
logs and rocks. Charles and Aaron failed to show up in camp that 
evening, but we just figured they'd taken longer than expected to 
do East Vidette, which was indeed the case. (By the way, they 
also had a few goodies stolen out of the bear box the day after we 

Wednesday was the day for Stanford (13,963), the peak that 
everyone on the trip really wanted because it's a "deep peak" (far 
from the trailhead) with no easy routes. We woke at 5:30 and 
were rolling just after 6:30 on a cloudless Sierra morning.  With 
four days of acclimatization and a strong, experienced party, what 
could stop us? We climbed up some beautiful slabs past a lake to 
a plateau at about 12,000'and then noticed an amazing site -- a 
huge, thick bank of clouds rolling in rapidly from the southeast. 
Eight hours ahead of schedule and coming from the opposite 
direction from typical Sierra thunderstorms, this was not a good 
sign.  Clearly, we were in the path of one of those dreaded 
"tropical systems" that can bring bad weather to the Sierras for 
days. Were treated to camp, where a downpour between 8:30 and 
10 a.m. kept us tent bound.  Well, there are worse things than an 
early morning walk followed by a deep nap nestled in warm 
down with rain beating on the tent.....

Around 10 we looked out of the tents and saw blue sky and bright 
sun, which on Wall Street is known as a "sucker rally." Linda, 
Tim, Joe, and I decided to hike up to Forester Pass (13,200), and 
if the weather continued improving, try for Junction Peak 
(13,888). When we got to the pass, the weather was deteriorating 
again and we could see waves of clouds and rain blowing in from 
the south, with a few far-off booms of thunder. We huddled under 
overhangs to wait out the rain, conversing with the Muir Trail 
hikers trooping over the pass.  As had been the case all week, the 
air was unusually warm and winds were light, which made the 
storm basically quite mild.  This was good luck indeed for some 
of the hikers -- we saw some Boy Scouts from Ridgecrest dressed 
in nothing more than blue jeans, cotton t-shirts, and plastic 
laundry bags with a hole cut in the top for raingear.

Around 1 Tim and Linda bailed out, but Joe and I sat around, 
enjoying the scenery and waiting out the weather. At last around 
2:30, we took advantage of a partial clearing to at least check out 
the route over to Junction Peak. We quickly reached the sandy 
saddle between Ski Mountaineer's Peak and Junction, then 
climbed up about 50' and traversed into a wide scree gully. 50' up 
the gully we found a wide ledge that took us across a steep rib 
and into a second wide scree gully. Marking our crossing point, 
we climbed this gully for about 300' almost to the skyline, and 
found a second hidden ledge system that took us across another 
steep rib and into a third wide gully. Wandering up the left side 
of this gully on steep class-3 slabs brought us to the summit at 4 
p.m. By intuition and luck, we'd found a great route to the top 
that avoided lots of hard climbing both above and below it. The 
sky was ominously dark with occasional light drizzle, but no 
thunder and no wind.

After some hero photos, we retraced our route to Forester Pass 
and hiked happily down the Muir Trail to camp, where we 
arrived at 7 p.m. Aaron and Charles had shown up, while Tim 
and Linda had left the trip and headed for the cars. With renewed 
enthusiasm, the six of us remaining planned are match with 
Stanford on Thursday. But the weather mocked these plans --at 4 
a.m., an hour before our wake-up time, a spectacular lightning 
display woke us up, the huge flashes coming every 20 seconds or 
so and lighting up the entire basin we were camped in for a 
surreal instant Aaron got us up at 5:30 as the storm eased off, and 
a lengthy discussion ensued about what to do. We still had four 
days and a number of peaks left on our itinerary, but Steve and 
others felt the bad weather was going to hang on for days, so he 
decided to disband the trip and head home.

He, Aaron, and Charles headed for Kearsarge Pass and the cars; 
Richard set off solo for Mt. Bradley and University Pass; and Joe 
and I decided to head back to Center Basin and see if we could 
sneak up some more peaks between storms. After retracing our 
steps from Tuesday afternoon, we setup our tent at a wonderful 
spot above Golden Bear Lake. At 10 am, with clouds moving in, 
we set off up the valley toward Mt. Keith (13,977), the highest 
but also about the easiest peak on our itinerary. We climbed a 
rockslide of car-sized blocks up into the talus bowl northeast of 
the  peak, then climbed up to 13,000' and huddled under an 
overhanging rock as the storm closed in and light rain and hail 
came down. When lightning started, we moved out onto the talus 
slope, since an overhang or cave on a mountainside is one of the 
worst possible places to be in a lightning storm.

For almost three hours, we sat and talked, watching a hard-edged 
thundercloud move over our heads and billow up into a gigantic 
mushroom cloud.  After that came another bigger and darker 
thundercloud. Interestingly, most of the rain and lightning was at 
the trailing edge of these thunderclouds as they moved over us 
from the south. Around 3:30,with still no break in the occasional 
thunder, we gave up and decided toat least stroll over to the 
Sierra Crest and look down into Owens Valley before descending. 
Just then the lightning picked up its tempo to a strike every 20 
seconds or so, sometimes smashing into the peaks just above us.  
Walking over to the crest suddenly didn't seem like a good idea, 
and we hurried down into the talus bowl, involuntarily ducking 
our heads when the lightning flashed, and 3-4 seconds later, the 
thunder cracked and boomed. We got hailed on pretty good for 
awhile, and then the rain let up as we walked backed down 
Center Basin to camp and got inside our tent. Then at 5:30 the 
sky cut loose in a drenching downpour, the heaviest we'd seen 
yet. Once again I drifted off into a blissful rain sleep, hoping our 
tent would stay dry in this downpour that felt like it would go on 
all night.

But then at 7 came a sudden unfamiliar silence, and we poked 
our heads out of the tent to see an amazing sight -- a clear sky 
with just a few shreds of clouds scudding away, and on the 
nearby peaks of Center, Keith, Bradley, and University, every 
rock and pebble standing out distinctly in clear golden light. Even 
better, for the first time all week, the air felt like real mountain 
air -- cold and fresh. Could it be that the wet, tropical system 
dogging us all week had finally lost out to a mass of cold 
mountain air?  We went to sleep under sharp stars, hoping for the 

Friday dawned cloudless, and about 15 degrees colder than 
previous mornings.  We retraced our steps up Mt. Keith, and 
finally found the best way through the rockslide of car-sized 
blocks. Going up from Center Basin to the talus bowl northeast of 
Mt. Keith are three wide tiers of cliffs-- the bottom two dark and 
water stained, and the upper one light grey. If you climb past the 
left edge of the first two cliff bands, a hidden scree ledge leads 
right, under the third cliff band, and from there you can follow 
the watercourse up, saving much strenuous climbing up big 

We climbed past Thursday's high point at 9:30, then finally 
strolled across the sandy rock garden below the summit and up to 
the top at 10:30.Among the register entries was none other than 
Sir Edmund Hillary, from the mid-1980s. Views of nearby 
Williamson, Tyndall, and Junction were spectacular in the newly 
clear air. After a long rest and snack break, we descended back to 
Center Basin.

Instead of a short break in camp, my 23-year-old go-getter partner 
Joe suggested we head directly for Mt. Bradley (13,289), so 
around 1:30 we started up another tedious 1000' scree gully.  
From the top of the gully, the 50' high summit tower appears to 
be class 4/5 from all sides, but it has an amazing, 45-degree, 12" 
wide sand ramp hidden around the back. The register was an 
especially good one, extending from 1958 to the previous day, 
when Richard had left a greeting for Joe and me.  We slid and 
surfed our way down the scree gully and arrived back at our tent 
at 4:30, for a three-hour round trip. It was great to have a few 
hours free in the evening again -- Joe rested in the tent reading 
his hardcover novel and gazing at the scenery, while I explored 
the nearby creeks and the lakeshore, observing the rocks, flowers, 
mosses, and darting trout. That night was our first cold, dry, bug-
free night of the trip, so I celebrated by sleeping out under the 
Milky Way.

Saturday it was up and over University Pass (12,700).  The route 
to the pass goes up a long narrow scree gully that heads for the 
second low spot south of University Peak (13,632).  At 2/3 
height, it pinches down and is blocked by a chock stone, which 
we passed via a strenuous class-3 move(me) or class-2 slabs off 
to the right (Joe). We got to the pass at 9:30,dropped our packs, 
and headed left to University Peak with just water bottles in our 
pockets and jackets around our waists. The key to this route is to 
climb about 30' feet from the pass, then traverse for about1/4 
mile without gaining any more altitude until you can see the 
summit mass, which is marked by a bunch of thin slabs 
sandwiched together vertically near the top. (Gaining altitude 
sooner will take you up and down several false summits.) Most of 
this traverse is class-1 sand, with some easy class-3 going up to 
the summit, so it's a mystery why University is an SPS 
Mountaineer's Peak.

We topped out at 10:30 and talked to a solo climber with one of  
those alpine dogs that could climb anything up to moderate class-
3 without whimpering. After a break, Joe and I quickly traversed 
back to the pass and plunged down the steep slope to the east. 
This basin has some of the most savage cross-country terrain I've 
seen in the Sierras -- not talus or scree, but pure moraine -- 
everything from sand and mud to car-sized blocks, jumbled 
together on a steep, loose slope that looks like the aftermath of a 
thermonuclear bomb.

Going out, with a light pack and a week of acclimatization, it 
offers a doable alternative to the Kearsarge Pass trail.  Not 
counting the side trip to University Peak, we went from Center 
Basin to Onion Valley in 4hours, compared to 9 hours or so to go 
out on the trail. But going in, with a full pack and no 
acclimatization, I'd take the trail -- going up that steep loose crap 
with a heavy pack is not my idea of noble suffering.  Of course, 
thick, firm snow that covered up the moraine could change the 
equation completely.

Eventually, we got down out of the moraine and cross-countried 
down into the forest, picking up the trail at the outlet of Robinson 
Lake. We reached the car at 3, washed up, and headed for the 
Bishop Sizzler, as the last flame of the climborama flickered out 
for another year.

-- Jim Ramaker

Pao de Asucar - August 12, 2000

Pao de A‡£car (roughly pronounced pawn-de-ah-zoo-car) is the 
conspicuous pyramidal rock monolith that stands at the entrance 
of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. Along with the statue of 
Christ the Redeamer, it is THE symbol of Rio de Janeiro It owes 
its name to its resemblance to the shape of the sugar piles that 
were produced from sugar cane originally in the Azores and later 
in Brazil. Its English translation is Sugarloaf.

Gretchen and I spent two delightful weeks in Rio in August. She 
was attending the International Geological Congress and I tagged 
along to see Rio.

High on my list of things to do was to climb Sugarloaf. It is class 
2 most of the way with one 20-foot section that is class 3-4 
depending on who you talk to. 

We attended a geological field trip where we were given a 
detailed geological explanation of  the formation  of Sugarload 
and then we rode the cable car to the top. This gave us 
breathtaking views of the entire city and the surrounding area.

Most unfortunately it rained on the day I had scheduled to make 
the climb on foot and my guide said it would be unsafe. An actual 
climb will have to wait for a future trip.

-- Bob Bynum

Mt Russell-Fish Hook Arete - August 13, 2000

On Saturday, August 12, Dee and I chugged up to Iceberg Lake 
near the base of the technical routes on Mt Whitney and near the 
Whitney-Russell Col which is the access to the Fish Hook Arete 
on Mt Russell.  Iceberg Lake on the weekend is kind of like 
Everest Base Camp.  Tents and people  everywhere.  This chug is 
about 3.8 miles and 4200 feet of elevation gain so we started 
there.  It looked lower 5th class so we roped up and took off up 
the arete.  I kept to the left of the arete by about 15 to 30 feet and 
ran the rope out about 175 feet.  This was moderate 5th class. We 
were now committed to this route since it was difficult to 
downclimb to a lower route or climb up to the arete proper.  The 
next pitch went for another 175 feet and required some 5.9 
climbing.  The next two pitches were 100 feet each and maybe 
5.8.  I do not believe this is the route described by Moynier and 
Fiddler.  We arrived above the "Notch" described in Moynier and 
Fiddler and rappelled down into the notch on a rap point left by 
someone earlier.

The next pitch is a neat-o section that ascends the arete directly.  
It is rated 5.8+ but is probably only 5.7.  Big time fun, especially 
since it is in the sun!  Following that is "the Chimney" pitch 
which is about 5.7-5.8 or so and is mostly a pain.  The next 
section is where we lost it.  Supposedly it goes for two 5.5 
pitches and then one fourth class pitch on the right side of the 
arete.  We went up one 5.5ish pitch and then up some tough stuff 
that terminated on what looked like 5.9 finger locks....we 
dropped back down and continued around to the right.  This 
ended up with an escape on a grainy 5.6 or so hand cack that 
allowed access to the summit ridge.  This pitch was grainy 
(nobody goes there), somewhat poor pro, and somewhat runout.  
There was no fourth class pitch  in sight.  Once on the ridge, we 
were done and strolled up to the summit  and signed in.  Twelve 
hours from the bottom of the ridge to the summit.

Since the hour was late we packed up our stuff and headed for the 
East summit in order to look for the way down.  About 50 feet or 
so from the East summit itself, we started looking over the edge.  
There is a cairn there, not particularly obvious, but it is there (I 
nearly bashed my face on it looking over the edge...duh).  As 
obscure as it looks it is easy 4th/3rd class (thanks Arun).  
Dropping down here about 50 feet put us on the scree.  We raced 
the failing light to the bottom of the scree slope heading for a 
huge groove (trail) in the scree that goes left (east). We made it to 
the trail just as the sunlight disappeared.  From there we just 
cruised in the twilight/moonlight to the Whitney-Russell Col and 
dropped down there to Iceberg Lake.

The weather was perfect.  No clouds, no threatening weather, 
plenty of moonlight.  The wind was minimal.  This route has a 
reputation for being both windy and cold. In spite of the excellent 
weather, neither Dee nor I took our windblock 300 weight fleece 
jackets off all day.

Assessment:  I think we went up the opening pitches via the same 
route that Scott and Arun took and Jim and Dot used in 1998.  I 
think this is off route, if the route is defined in "100 Classics" by 
Moynier and Fiddler.  My guess is that in my haste I went past 
the escape to the left that would have allowed for easier access to 
the "notch".  The arete tilts a fair amount and once in the middle 
area it is difficult to  escape to the right, on to the arete itself, or 
to the left (downclimbing overhanging stuff...) in order to try and 
find the Moynier-Fiddler route.  This commits the climber(s) to 
some tough stuff.  If the pitch out of the notch is rated 5.8+ then 
the climbing in  here can get into the 5.9 zone, depending on 
which crack is chosen. This also forces the climber(s) to go above 
the notch and either downclimb or rap into the notch.  Time 

The pitches past the chimney pitch are not obvious (to me).  We 
went around to the right on what looked like the route (footprints 
in the sandy area) and then ended on a shelf which looked like 
hard climbing to get past the next gendarme.  We dropped back 
down and went around to the right.  This was loose, grainy, and 
had some poor pro.  We finally gained the summit ridge on a 
grainy 5.6 crack and then strolled over to the summit.  There was 
no 4th class pitch on the route we took.

Opinion:  This route gnawed away at my sense of humor all day.  
The opening pitches are stone cold, even without the wind.  It is 
not obvious  which way to go.  If the "crux" is the pitch out of the 
notch then these  pitches have some hard 5.9.  The pitches past 
the chimney are not obvious.  We ended up wandering around on 
5.5-5.6 with poor pro.  Only the pitch escaping the "notch" and 
the chimney pitch were right on the arete proper.  To me, this 
route is not very aesthetic.  It is not right  on the spectacular arete 
and wanders back and forth too much.  I do not recommend this 
route to a 5.8 climber.  Getting off route on the early pitches 
requires solid 5.9 skills (or aid) and getting off route on the top 
pitches requires running it out somewhat (5.6) over potentially 
dubious pro.

-- Rick and Dee Booth

A Quick Dash up Abbot - August 19th 2000

Saturday morning 7:30 AM, the 4 of us: Nancy Fitzsimmons, Ted 
Raczek, Arun Mahajan, and scribe Ron Karpel rolled into the 
Mosquito Flat trailhead to take a stab at the king of Mono 
Divide. We followed the trail to Ruby Lake and then started the 
long and sometimes frustrating boulder hopping process up the 
drainage to Mills Lake and beyond to the foot of Abbot Glacier. 
Nancy and I were suffering a bit from the altitude, but we figured 
that as long as we can keep with rocket ship Arun, we should 

The glacier starts with a relatively low angled slop, but later on 
in the couloir it seemed quite steep.  Arun declared that ice axe 
or crampons are not necessary, and started to walk up on the 
hardened snow.  "Maybe," he said, "I will stop later to take them 
out."  He never did.  Nancy took her ice axe out about half way 
up the glacier, and Ted used crampons and ice axe from about the 
same place.  I used crampons and ice axe from the beginning.

True, it was not necessary at first, but as the slop steepened later 
on, it was a big help.  In fact, I was able to catch up with Arun 
who was kicking steps at the head of the line, even though I took 
the time to put crampons on.  And it was particularly significant 
given that I was slower then Arun the entire day.

Exiting the couloir early we took the loose and slippery face on 
the right and carefully made our way on the broken blocks and 
loose sand to the ridge. We climbed in 2 tight groups with Arun 
and me first and Nancy and Ted following, which reduced the 
danger of dropping rocks and debris on each other.  As the many 
reports recommend, helmets are really important here.

There ware places we needed to move one person at a time.  
Once on the ridge the rock is solid.  We followed the ridge proper 
for about 100 yards and than had to drop to the right side for 
some fun class-3 climbing when the it became narrow and steep.  
The rock is solid, and the exposure is not too great.  Finally we 
climbed out to the sloppy plateau and made our way to the 
summit.  It was around 1 PM.  The views were spectacular, and 
there was not a cloud in the sky.

Our plan was to have dinner in Mammoth and find a place to 
crash for the night.  And having taken only 5 1/2 hours to summit 
left more time then we needed to get out.  This made for pleasant 
situation.  Often on PCS trips we are on a mad rush at the end of 
the day to get back to camp or the trailhead before turning into 
pumpkins (or more likely the sun goes down.)  But in this case 
we took our time -- spending 45 minutes on the summit, taking 
long breaks, and walking leisurely in between.  Still, I have to 
admit that I pretty much hit the wall on the way out slowing 
down at the end.  We got back to the car around 6 PM.

-- Ron Karpel

Royce Peak - August 27, 2000

As we stood on the summit of Royce Peak, we watched nearby 
Mount Humphreys raise its spiky head like an angry mountaineer 
with a bad haircut, while all around the tall thunderclouds rivaled 
Humphreys in rage and fierceness.  

We had left Pine Creek trailhead on Saturday morning; Phyllis 
Olrich, Alex Sapozhnikov, Joe Budman and I.  We hiked the long 
steep trail up to Pine Creek Pass, then tramped over to our camp 
at Middle Royce Lake just as the sky unleashed its fury.  It was a 
torrent.  We were washed away.  

At dawn on Sunday, we started up our mountains under 
threatening skies, filled with pessimism about being unable to 
reach our destinations.  But the weather held.  

We clambered up the slick, hard, suncupped snow slope to the 
gap between Royce Peak and Merriam Peak.  Ski poles served us 
better with ice axes on that surface.  We stowed gear and 
clambered up scree and easy talus to the summit of Royce.  

Still concerned about the weather, we hastened down to the gap 
and then climbed the shorter and rockier slope of Merriam.  

At the summit of Merriam, we began to feel more secure, so we 
lingered for a few minutes to marvel at the sight of the central 
Sierra crowned with cloud.  

We returned the way we came.  We descended our snow slope 
with a combination of standing glissade, mogul jumping, and 
painfully bouncing on our fannies.  We struck camp and made the 
long hike back to the trailhead, returning just as we ran out of 
daylight.  The rain finally returned, and we drove home on 
highway 395 with the windshield wipers beating.

-- Aaron Schuma

Discount Mountaineering Gear

The following sites offer mountaineering gear at a discount. 
These companies are listed for your information only. I have had 
good experiences with all of them but how you interact with them 
is up to you.

Y'all know this one.

Y'all probably know this one. Everything is discounted. If you 
need it this is a great company. Outstanding returns policy. I have 
bought several ropes from this place. 

Mostly retail but outstanding specials and sales. Spokane, 
Washington based, no CA sales tax and free shipping on orders 
over $50 (I believe).

Mostly retail but amazing discounts on certain massively 
expensive items like tents, sleeeping bags, etc. CA based and 
somewhat clunky returns policy.

-- Rick Booth

Rock Climbing Classes

I merged (stole, lifted, edited, plagiarized, whatever) a bunch of 
comments from a recent discussion on gear@climber.org about the
Yosemite Decimal System and updated 


It's been there all along, but the link to it was missing. It will 
soon be findable from the main Resource page. Enjoy!

-- Steve Eckert

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 

*** Trinity Chutes (or Dana Couloir)
Peak:	Mt. Dana (13,057 ft.) the hard way
Rating:	Class 4 - Ice
Dates:	Sun: September 10
Contacts:	Ron Karpel ronny@karpel.org

A private trip, not associated with the Sierra Club.  This is not a 
beginners trip, but I will consider people with no prior ice climbing 

Mount Dana's East face boasts 2 sets of steep Chutes -- the 
Dana Couloir on the left, and a steeper set of chutes (The Trinity 
Chutes) on the right.  We will attempt the right hand side chutes.  
Last time I was there (3 years ago) the top was very steep and 
had a short 90% section.  The Number of participants for this trip 
will depend on the number of capable leaders I can round up.

As for the name "Trinity Chutes." I once heard them referred to in 
that way, but I cannot verify this.  If you happen to have more 
information about the name of these chutes please let me know.  
Alternatively, If the Trinity Chutes seem to be out, I may opt to 
climb the Dana Couloir instead.

Requirements: I need to know you, or a good reference.  You need 
to know self arrest.  You need to know how to belay.  Each 
participants will need 2 ice tools (one can be a short ice axe with a 
proper leash), harness, belay device, rope, ice picket and the like.  
Oh yes, don't forget a helmet.

*** The Classic
Peak:	North Palisade (14,242') Class 4
Date:	September 16 - 18 (Sat thru Mon)
Maps:		USGS 71/2 "North Palisade" & "Mt.Thompson"
		Wilderness Press 15 "Mt. Goddard"
Contact:	Steve Eckert
Co-Contact:	Chris Franchuk (408) 526-0382, clif@dellnet.com

We'll follow Joseph LeConte's 1903 first assent route to the 
summit of what many mountaineers consider to be the "Classic 
High Sierra Peak."  Starting at South Lake we will follow the scenic 
trail up to Bishop Pass, continuing to Thunderbolt Pass and 
camping at upper Barrett Lake.  Sunday we will attempt the peak, 
followed with a (hopefully) triumphant march out on Monday.  A 
rope and harness is required and all participants must know their 
climbing limitations, turn back if uncomfortable with the climb and 
be OK with waiting/returning alone if necessary.  If interested 
contact Chris Franchuk.

*** Merriam and Royce
Peaks:	Merriam (13103') & Royce (13280'), Class 3
Date:	September 16-18
Contact:	Peter Maxwell (408) 737 9770

This trip is a more leisurely version of what is often done over a 
regular weekend.  With a whole day at our disposal, we should be 
able to bag both peaks without being too rushed.  There's still an 8 
mile hike in with 4300' elevation gain to get to camp so 
participants need to be in good shape and can walk at a 
reasonable pace.  The intended route comprises the east faces of 
both peaks, which are rated class 3.  However, it is possible that 
we'll take the snow slope leading to the saddle between the peaks.  
Participants need to be experienced in class 3 climbing since the 
plan involves downclimbing one of the faces.  They also need to 
be proficient with an ice axe and know how to use one for self 

*** Emigrant Wilderness Adventure
Peaks:	Black Hawk Mountain, class 2, 10348
Dates:	Sep 23-24, 2000 (Sat-Sun) 
Maps:	Tower Peak 15' or Emigrant Lake 7.5'
Leaders:	Aaron Schuman and Bob Suzuki
Contact:	aaron_schuman@yahoo.com or rsuzuki@dspt.com
Details:	http://sj.znet.com/~cynthiam/blackhawk.html

Let's backpack through the pine forests of the Emigrant 
Wilderness up to Black Hawk Mountain.  

Saturday, we'll start at Kennedy Meadow, at 6300 feet, near the 
top of Highway 108.  We'll hike past Relief Reservoir and up 
Summit Creek to near the headwaters of the Stanislaus 
Watershed.  Our campsite, just below Mosquito Pass, is at 9200 
feet, and about 9 miles walk from the trailhead.  Sunday, we'll 
scramble cross country, about one mile each way, to the 10348 
summit of Black Hawk Mountain, and backpack out.

*** Mt. Ritter
Peak:	Mt. Ritter (4006m, class 3)
Date:	Sept. 30-Oct. 1 (Sat-Sun)
Contact:	David Harris David_Harris@hmc.edu  909-607-3623

Enjoy post-Labor Day climbing on the foreboding North Face of 
Mt. Ritter.  On Saturday we'll pack in to the Ediza Lake area. On 
Sunday we'll scale the Ritter-Banner Saddle, then ascend John 
Muir's famous North Face route of Ritter.  A descent of the 
Southeast Glacier should round out our mountaineering adventure. 
Ice axe and comfort with exposed 3rd class climbing required.

For more information, see Muir's trip report:

*** Khumbu region of Nepal
Peak:	Island Peak or Mera Peak
Date:	Oct-Nov 2000
Contact: 	Tim Hult 408-970-0760,  Timdhult@aol.com

Four week trip into a spectacular and storied region of the 
Himalaya. These are "minimal" trekking peaks open to qualified 
class 3 peak baggers with snow experience.   Views of Everest 
and all those places you've heard about.  Experience and 
compatibility with groups on long "wilderness" trips a must.  

*** 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

Been there twice but unfortunately haven't done it yet as weather 
and sickness (the flu) have kept me off the summit. Third time a 
charm?  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.


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

Our mirror website is
and our official website is

Elected Officials

	Rick Booth / pcs-chair@climber.org
	408-354-7291 home
	237 San Mateo Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
	Dee Booth / pcs-scheduler@climber.org
	408-354-7291 home
	237 San Mateo Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
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	408-293-2447 home
	435 N. Second St. #217, San Jose CA 95112

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:
	Bob Bynum / pcs-editor@climber.org
	510-659-1413 home

PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
	Aaron Schuman / pcs-webmaster@climber.org
	650-943-7532 home
	223 Horizon Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043-4718

Publicity Chair:
	Steve Eckert / pcs-pub-chair@climber.org
	650-508-0500 home
	1814 Oak Knoll Drive, Belmont, CA 94002-1753

Subscriptions and Email List Info

Hard copy subscriptions are $10. Subscription applications and checks 
payable to "PCS" should be mailed to the Treasurer so they arrive before 
the last Tuesday of the expiration month. If you are on the official email 
list (lomap-pcs-announce@lists.sierraclub.org) or one of the email lists 
the PCS feeds (either the sierra-nevada@climber.org discussion list or 
the california-news@climber.org read-only list), you have a free EScree 
subscription. For email list details, send "info lomap-pcs-announce" to 
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EScree subscribers should send a subscription form to the Treasurer to 
become voting PCS members at no charge. The Scree is on the web as 
both plain text and fully formatted Adobe Acrobat/PDF.

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 9/24/2000.
Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

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