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February, 2001        Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club Vol. 35 No. 2

World Wide Web Address: http://www.sierraclub.org/chapters/lomaprieta/pcs

Next General Meeting

Date:              Tuesday, February 13
Time:              8:00 PM

Program:        Denali traverse, West Buttress to Wonder Lake, A Slide show by Gary Chambers

In June, 1995 Gary Chambers on a guided trip made a less-traveled traverse of Denali ascending the West Buttress route to the summit and descending to Wonder Lake.

Location         Western Mountaineering
                        2344 El Camino Real
                        Santa Clara, CA

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. Limited parking in back.


Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 2/25/2001 Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

Advance Trip Planning Meeting

Date:              Thursday, February 22, 2001
Time:              8:00 PM
Place:             Home of Arun Mahajan, arun@tollbridgetech.com
Contact:         Nancy Fitzsimmons  408-957-9683, Pkclimber@aol.com

Requests for backcountry permits for the Inyo National Forest will begin being accepted on March 1.  They can be mailed or faxed and will be handled on a first-come-first-served basis.  Trips for the entire summer should be planned now so please come to this meeting and bring your ideas for official and unofficial trips. If you can't make the meeting please email me with your trips.

Arun has kindly offered to host this meeting at his home.

Directions From 101:

1. Take the Oregon Expressway exit in Palo Alto.
2. Go west, through a few lights. After Bryant is the Alma exit. It is a sharp  right. If you miss it, you will go under an overpass.
3. After taking the exit, follow the exit road till it meets Alma.
4. Go north (right turn) on Alma for a few blocks passing roads like California, Santa Rita, Rinconada, Seale. These roads are on the right. The CalTrain tracks are on the left of Alma.
5. After Seale is Tennyson. My townhouse is in a 4-plex, 1745 Alma, the second unit from the road. It is north of Tennyson but south of the next road, Lowell. Off street parking on Tennyson or Lowell, there is none in the complex for guests, I am afraid.

Directions From 280:

1. Take the Page Mill Road exit in Palo Alto.
2. Drive east on Page Mill, go through El Camino
3. Alma (north) is a sharp right turn within half a mile of  El Camino.
4. Follow the directions mentioned in 4 above.

• Nancy Fitzsimmons

2001 Mountaineering Committee

Announcing the PCS Mountaineering Committee for 2001.

Kelly Maas (chair)
Charles Schafer
Bob Suzuki

Here's to a prosperous and safe climbing season in 2001.

• Kelly Maas

PCS Harassment Committee Report


        NOVEMBER 6, 2000
        NOVEMBER 22, 2000


        NOVEMBER 6, 2000

The chair of the Peak Climbing Section (PCS) of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club created a committee (Committee) composed of three current PCS members acting as volunteers, to consider an allegation of harassment made by PCS member and Publicity Chair Steve Eckert (Eckert) against members Rich Calliger (Calliger) and Tony Cruz (Cruz).  The Committee has no chair; the members are Mike McDermitt, Jim Ramaker, and Aaron Schuman. The basic evidence of the alleged harassment is summarized on a Web page prepared by Eckert, (Allegations Web page, http://www.climber.org/eckert/allegations/) that includes links to allegedly harassing e-mails (statements) sent by Rich Calliger and/or Tony Cruz.  The Committee members individually reviewed the material on the Allegations Web page and then convened via teleconference on 10/08/00

to consider the allegations. The committee took the following approach:

  1. Were the statements actually made by Calliger or Cruz?
  2. Do the statements constitute harassment?
  3. If harassment is found, what if any actions should the Committee recommend to the PCS?

1. Were the statements actually made by Calliger or Cruz?

It was agreed that the e-mails on the Allegations Web page appear to be genuine, and that no evidence to the contrary was noted.  Therefore the Committee's discussion proceeded based on the assumption that the e-mails  apparently sent by Calliger were in fact sent by Calliger, and the e-mails apparently sent by Cruz were in fact sent by Cruz.

2. Do the statements constitute harassment?

We considered these criteria for harassment:

    i.  Statements that are untrue and damaging
    ii. The author can be considered to have known that the statements are untrue and damaging
    iii.The statements must be widely disseminated (i.e., not just a private e-mail from one party to another with few or no cc's); provided that
  B. Statements that involve derogatory references can be considered harassment if they also meet the A.iii standard above, and
  C. Frequent statements over a long period of time adding up to a large number of statements can be considered harassment, if they also meet the A.iii standard.

It was agreed that some of the e-mails from Calliger and Cruz are legitimate topics for discussion, involving policy and/or technical issues. The PCS chair did not authorize this committee to address such issues, so the committee did not consider them further.

The Committee agreed that the body of e-mail sent by Calliger includes several statements that meet the harassment standard.  These include:

  A. Reference to family members in a derogatory fashion (e-mail dated 9/03/99)
  B. Direct insult using off-color language (9/09/99)
  C. A statement that Eckert forged voice mail or e-mail (12/17/99)

The Committee agreed that these statements constituted harassment (the Committee does not claim that this is a complete list of statements that could be considered harassment). In addition, the Committee counted a total of 39 e-mails, many of which, taken alone, would not necessarily constitute harassment, but taken together, demonstrated a pattern that the Committee agreed also constituted harassment.

The Committee did not find any statements from Cruz that constituted harassment, whether viewed individually or taken as a whole. On 12/15/99, Cruz sent a large number of off-topic posts to climber.org e-mail discussion lists complaining about the management of the lists. Cruz apologized afterwards for issuing this "spam" e-mail. In the following months, Cruz sent several e-mails along the same lines, strident in tone, but not rising to the level of harassment.  Eckert doesn't report any confrontational contact with Cruz since 4/20/00.

3. If harassment is found, what steps should the PCS take in response?

Disciplinary action is left to the elected officers of the PCS and to the PCS membership as a whole, in accordance with the PCS bylaws and the policies of the Sierra Club.  This committee can only recommend a course of action, which the PCS is free to ignore, modify, or implement.  Options considered by the Committee included no action, reprimand, warning, suspension from the PCS for a period of time, and permanent expulsion from the PCS.

The Committee recommends to the elected officers and members of the PCS that Calliger be suspended from the PCS e-mail lists for a period of one year, after which he be allowed to request reinstatement.

The Committee recommends that Cruz be permitted to subscribe to PCS e-mail lists, provided that he does not:

  A. Post messages from Calliger, nor
  B. Break list rules by doing such things as posting spam or making abusive personal attacks
Mike McDermitt
Jim Ramaker
Aaron Schuman



After sending out our report, we received several responses from Calliger, Cruz, and Eckert, which are appended below.  These responses questioned the purpose and legitimacy of the Committee, so we decided to summarize their complaints and respond to them briefly below.

1. From Calliger and Cruz -- We never considered any evidence from them, and heard only Eckert's side of the story.  We never interviewed them and never asked them for evidence.

   Our response: We spent the vast majority of our time reading and discussing e-mails from Calliger and Cruz.  Some of these were in our own files and some were on Eckert's Allegations Web page. The fact that copies of the e-mails were on Eckert's Web page does not make them evidence from Eckert. The reason we didn't do interviews is that we had plenty of evidence from the e-mails to decide the question of harassment, and we decided that personal interviews would mean more complication and delay.

2. From Cruz -- Separating out the harassment charge and giving it to our committee was a tactic by the PCS to brand Calliger and Cruz as "bad guys," avoid the real issue (moving the server), and silence other critics.  Calliger brought up a related point -- it's not valid to consider the harassment issue separate from the server issue.

   Our response: The instructions from the PCS Chair to the Committee were to decide whether actions by Calliger and Cruz constituted harassment, and to leave the server issue to a separate investigation by the Chapter. We encourage Calliger and Cruz to go to the Chapter if they have complaints about how the investigation was divided up.

3. From Eckert -- Our investigation was "backwards" -- we should have investigated each of the charges by Calliger and Cruz against Eckert as detailed on Eckert's allegations page, (with Calliger and Cruz as accusers and Eckert presumed innocent). Instead, we got it backwards by investigating Eckert's charge that Calliger and Cruz harassed him (with Eckert as accuser and Calliger and Cruz presumed innocent).

   Our response: To repeat our previous response, the Committee was told to decide whether actions by Calliger and Cruz constituted harassment, and to leave the server issue to a separate investigation by the Chapter.  To investigate the many charges by Calliger and Cruz against Eckert (for example, that Eckert committed theft, violated copyrights,etc.) would require delving into the separate issue of moving the server, which is being investigated by the Chapter.

• Mike McDermitt
• Jim Ramaker
• Aaron Schuman

Ice Climbing Anyone

I am keeping a list of people interested in ice climbing so that trips, etc can be organized.  We are also using california-tech@climber.org.

We have been mostly going to Lee Vining and Ouray, CO.  Some Tahoe.  If you have access to these areas and are interested let me know.

• Rick Booth, rwbooth@home.com

Western States Climbers List

Greetings Fellow Climbers,

A group of wandering climbers have put together yet another list of notable peaks to climb.  We've named it the Western States Climbers (WSC) peak list. It currently covers California, Nevada and parts of Oregon.  We used the inactive Peak and Gorge Section Peak lists as a starting point. The list currently includes peaks from the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, the Coastal ranges, the Eastern Desert ranges, and the Nevada ranges.

Our purpose is to promote climbing peaks from the Sierra Nevada, to the rest of California, and the Western United States by providing information to climbers. We would like this list to evolve into a database that can provide the reader with detailed information concerning history, access, and routes to promote greater interest and visitation to the more remote mountains of the west.

To accomplish this we need your input to help us to create and maintain this information.

We invite your comments, questions and your input in helping us to accomplish this goal.

Please visit the WSC site at: http://www.climber.org/wsc/

Let us know what you think of this list and the site.

We've also created a new e-mail list supported at climber.org to discuss WSC formation and management issues:  http://www.climber.org/lists/wsc.info.txt

We welcome you to join this mailing list and become part of the team to expand our horizons beyond the more visited peaks and help define which peaks and ranges can provide us with wonderful and scenic hiking and mountaineering experiences.

Happy Trails,

• John Bees and John Sarna

Scree Input Wanted

The Scree is your newsletter. You, the PCS member, determine its content. In the past I have used your trip reports and trip announcements as material for this newsletter. Also I have summarized gear discussions from the email broadcast lists.

We need to have those of you who are leaders lead official PCS trips. Also we need more of you to become leaders.

If there is anything that any of you specifically want in the Scree, please send it to me.

• Bob Bynum, Scree Editor

Gear Review

The Iron Mountain Works Mountain Hut

Fast and light. The plan was to cover ground quickly, efficiently, and with a minimum of fuss. With a rope, light rack, and plenty of cross-country terrain and elevation to cover, I knew we'd have to leave behind the usual backcountry luxuries.

          "We'll take bivy sacks", I announced.

My partner looked at me the way she always does when I say something dim-witted. After some discussion I finally agreed to at least put the tent in the car, "just in case."

We awoke to rain near Tioga Pass and headed down Hwy 395 towards some of the blackest clouds I'd ever seen. I sheepishly confessed that although I'd packed the tent body, somehow I'd forgotten the fly. My partner turned and gave me that look again. Between the two of us we owned five tents, but we stopped in Bishop anyways and rented another one for the long weekend. It was a good decision. Several times on the hike in we pulled the seam-taped fly over us to hide from the rain and hail that would have otherwise soaked us. And as soon as we made camp the wind picked up and it began raining furiously, without pause until early the next morning.

The tent we rented that weekend was the 2-person, 3-season Iron Mountain Works Mountain Hut. It's a free standing model that sets up quickly with two crossing aluminum poles. The resulting rectangular floor is long and wide, with plenty of extra room for your gear. The steep walls and high roof combine to create the sort of elbow room needed to sit up and comfortably play cards.

But the big bonus with this tent is that it comes with two doors (on the long sides) each with it's own full-size vestibule. In a storm, your partner can cook in one vestibule while you pop out through the other door to give nature a call. Also, the dual vestibules make setting up camp in the rain a piece of cake: just quickly pitch the tent, toss your packs into your personal vestibules, and then pile into the warm, dry, roomy interior to unload and organize your gear. All of this comes in a tent that weighs just a hair over five pounds and costs a scant $180.

Iron Mountain Works makes tents, sleeping bags, and other backpacking gear for a group of independent retailers, so you won't find these at REI. Wilson's in Bishop has them in stock now (Jan 2001) and Sunrise Mountain Sports expects them in the Spring. But I wouldn't count on finding one in late summer. The tents are shipped once a year and they sell out.

The only downside to the tent is that the vestibules tend to sag -- we figured out ways to prop up whichever one we cooked in. And because of the loose fitting fly and mosquito netting windows, it probably isn't the best choice for snow camping or extremely windy conditions. Durability is an unknown, but we'll let you know how ours works out -- we bought one (that's six, if you're counting) after our experience with the rental. It has since stood up well through an eight day trip in which it rained (or snowed) much of the time.

I still like the idea of sleeping out in a bivy sack. But when the weather looks wet, carrying the extra pound or so per person that this tent requires is small change when you consider that it buys you a private entrance into a well designed, spacious refuge. Frankly, it's getting harder for me to convince my partner that a slightly lighter load is worth lying around in a wet sack all afternoon.

2-man, 3-season
2 doors (with vestibules)
Peak Height: 47"
Interior Dimensions: 84" x 55"
Weight: 5.1 lbs

• Jim Curl

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)

Contact:          Chris MacIntosh, cmaci@attglobal.net,
                         650-325-7841, or
                         Tom Wolf, twolf@snaptrack.com

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 Trips

PCS trips must be submitted through the Scheduler (see back cover for details). Trips not received from the Scheduler will be listed as PRIVATE, without recourse.

Pyramid Peak

Peak:            Pyramid Peak, Class 2, 9,983'
Date:             February 17-18, Saturday-Sunday
Leader:        Palmer Dyal, H: 650-941-5321, pdyal@msn.com
Topo:            Pyramid Peak 7.5'

This trip was originally scheduled in January but got postponed due to avalanche danger and bad weather.

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

We will have time to build snow caves on the first day and view the marvelous glaciated scenery of the whole Tahoe basin from the peak on the second day. There will be a choice of returning on Sunday or Monday depending on the weather, etc.  This will be a good trip for beginning climbers.

Mt Sizer

Peak:            Mt Sizer class-1 (3,216 ft. - 980 meters)
Dates:          March 4th (Sunday)
Leaders:      Ron Karpel, ronny@karpel.org (H)650-594-0211
                      Nancy Fitzsimmons, Pkclimber@aol.com (H)408-957-9681

March 4 Mt Sizer, Henry Coe- Sun. This is a wonderful loop with great vistas from the ridge. It will be 15+ miles and over 3000 ft of gain. Carpool 7:30am at Cubberly High in Palo Alto (Middlefield & Montrose), or 7:45 at the Park&Ride on Cottle & 85, or at Meet at Henry Coe Park Headquarters, 8:30am.  Heavy rain cancels. This trip is co-listed with the Day Hikers.

Trip Reports

November Visit to San Pedro Martir

November 17-19, 2000

We weren't able to bag El Picacho del Diablo due to snow and ice conditions above 6,000' at San Pedro Martir, but I'd like to relate some of our experiences for the Sage.  Our group consisted of me, Ken Barr, Ted Caragozian and Linda Roman.  Ken and Linda were driving.  After our hike, Linda remained in Baja for a kayaking trip over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Leaving San Diego around 8am, we drove to the border, bought Mexican Insurance and got our tourist cards.  (Linda said she had actually been stopped and asked to show her tourist card on an earlier trip.  When she showed the inspector her card, he seemed quite surprised that someone actually had one.)  Ken, Ted and I didn't realize you needed proof of citizenship (passport, or birth certificate and drivers license) and so had to visit a notary and get an Affidavit of Citizenship ($10).  To get a tourist card you have to pull over near the secondary inspection area immediately after crossing the border, enter a room with "INM" over the door, fill out a form, go to a bank window about three doors to the right, pay your fee (now $19 or 170 pesos), then return to the first room and have your paperworked stamped.

The drive to the park was uneventful.  The toll road has three 20 peso toll stops ($2.10 each).  We had lunch in Santo Tomas.  We filled up at the last Pemex station, about a mile before the turn-off to the park.  When we started seeing snow on the ground and ice on the dirt road around 6,000', we knew our chances for the peak were poor.  We stopped at the park entrance station, but the man there told us to drive in, the snow wasn't too bad, and that we didn't have to pay anything.  We camped along the side road to Blue Bottle and spent a cold night there, maybe twenty degrees. 

In the morning we drove through the camping area at the end of the road and past the "Restricted Area/Hikers Only" signs, but after a quarter mile we encountered a chain across the road.  We returned to the camping area and parked.  We hiked the road to the shack, about four miles, and found four Mexicans preparing to climb the peak via Pinnacle Ridge.  We had seen them drive by earlier and chatted with them a while.  Three were from Tijuana and one from Mexicali.  I thought maybe they had a key for the chain, but it turns out they were able to lift up the chain and drive their large SUV under it!

We had trouble following the ducked trail to Blue Bottle Saddle.  The snow on the north-facing slopes was a problem and we reached the saddle about 1:00.  The views were spectacular. In addition to The Peak, we could see San Martin Island near San Quintin in the Pacific and just barely see the Sea of Cortez.  The four Mexicans, having reconsidered their Pinnacle Ridge plans, were also at the Blue Bottle Saddle and planned to spend the night there before returning.

We left the saddle at 2:00 and returned via the more direct Vallecitos route.  We managed to get off trail only on one stretch and arrived at the cars at about 5:15.  Hoping for a warmer night, we decided to drive to about 4,000' and look for a camp spot.  As we started our drive out in the dark, we were stopped by a ranger who had us sign a register book and charged us $8 (70 pesos) for each vehicle.  He said next time make sure we found him before entering the park.  The night was still cold, maybe thirty degrees, at the camp spot we found at 3,000'.

In the morning we said goodbye to Linda and headed back up the highway.  We had to pass through an immigration checkpoint near Maneadero.  The inspector looked over our packs and gear and checked out the driver's seat area quite closely, but he didn't ask for our tourist cards.  Total distance from San Diego to the trailhead was about 250 miles.

In conclusion, I'd say heed the warning in the Peak Guide to avoid this peak after October, although the Veterans Day storm the previous Friday may have been the real culprit.  I had done the peak twice previously with Carl Johnson, but having to find the route without an experienced leader is not the same thing.  We had a GPS, but keeping a close eye on the map is still the most important thing.  Linda's knowledge of Spanish was very helpful, especially with the ranger.  All in all, it was still a good hike and a learning experience for our group.  Next time we will succeed!

• John Strauch


Dec 16-17, 2000,

The weather on Saturday was awesome - calm, clear sky and sun shine.

It was snowing few days in a row before the weekend and we got some fresh snow to deal with. We were first climbers after snowfall so it took us about four hours to get to Lake Helen were we camped.

There were 2-7 feet of snow at this area. After setting up camp and lunch some of us went for a sunset stroll on ridge behind our camp.

Night was slightly windy but pretty warm. Sunday morning began with strong wind gusts and we saw snow being blown away from the ridge on

Lassen although sky was almost clear. We hoped that wind will die once sun comes out as it did on Saturday. We headed to upper parking lot at 6:30 AM. As we were getting higher wind blew stronger and some of us began to doubt success of our mission. I decided to ascend first few slopes which were somehow protected by trees. When we came closer to the ridge it became obvious that wind isn't going anywhere any time soon. Only three of us decided to keep on climbing ridge which was pretty much covered with snow. Wind was very strong all the way up to small saddle before the last slop. We took a long rest in that calm area  enjoying sun shine and preparing ourselves for the final most windy part of ascend.

There were many bare spots on last slope. We summit at 9:50 AM, wind was very  strong here and we spend only five minutes on the summit enjoying great visibility and trying to stand straight. We wore snowshoes all the time, crampons were not necessary. We came back to our camp at noon and found that wind is now blowing permanently there trying to blow away Fi and our tent. We rapidly broke off camp and headed home.

Participants: Stephane and Kirsten Mouradian, Fi Verplanke, HeatherKirkby, Martin Braden, Maxym Ribalov, Maxym Runov.

Summitting Lassen were Martin, Maxym and Maxym.

• Maxym Runov

Death Valley Country in December

December 24-31, 2000

Kingston Peak, 7336'; Brown Peak, 4947'; Smith Mtn, 5913', Red Mtn, 5261'

When Richard Stover and I woke in the predawn, December 26, the condensation on the windows of our camper shell was frozen. We were camped at approximately 5000 feet at the Kingston Peak trailhead east of Tecopa Hot Springs. Christmas Eve we had camped in the desert outside Barstow and had quickly run up Opal Mountain in the morning before continuing on to Kingston Peak, highpoint of the Kingston Range. To begin the climb we drove about a half mile on a 4WD road to the weather station. Kingston is a worthy objective. The 2-mile hike up the wash is fairly straightforward, however, once we attained the ridge, the fun began. The DPS directions and the map direct the climber to "follow the ridge line . . . keeping to the left when difficulties arise." (A classic DPS understatement) "Ridge" is too general a word to describe the route on Kingston. More accurate is "jiggedy-jaggedy, roller coaster." Several times I found myself questioning whether I was going up or down this peak. I also found myself marveling at the unexpectedly beautiful pinyon pine and juniper forest and the sparkling display of mineral crystals. After the climb, I was told there is a spectacular stand of white fir, but I didn't note it.

Only about four parties had climbed Kingston in 2000. After we descended, we took a beeline to Tecopa Hot Springs. The next day was spent in leisurely enjoyment of some of the geologic/historic wonders near Shoshone: A 6-foot deep deposit of volcanic ash from approximately 20 million years ago and the Resting Spring Pass volcanic tuff glass layer formation. Although I had been to Shoshone many times, I had never seen the dug-out homes that miners and later Great Depression refugees had created in the ash deposit. Our guide was the wonderful book, "Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley," by Sharp and Glazner.

Then, on to Greenwater Valley to climb Brown Peak and Smith Mountain. Brown Peak is named after State Senator Charles Brown who as the teenage sheriff of Greenwater successfully subdued desperado "Slim," an attention-starved juvenile delinquent who later found success and money by opening a health spa for well-to-do folks back east. (Read all about it on the menu of the Crowbar Cafe in Shoshone).

One could equally name Brown Peak "Chocolate Parfait Peak" for the delicious-looking layers of chocolate and vanilla rock which make up the western-facing shoulder. Brown also has sparkling mineral chunks (volcanic vesicles) and a fun (easy) rib to ascend on the way to the summit. The climb took us longer than the 4-5 hour estimate, but hey, we stop and look at stuff. It is about 6 1/2 miles and 2000 feet elevation gain. It was extremely windy on top, and we were thankful for the shelters others had built.

The next day, December 29, we climbed Smith. Of the three peaks it was the easiest both in navigation and difficulty. The register boasted of climbers who had powered up in record times, e.g. "51 minutes from the trailhead." Not my game. Of special interest were the recent entries by a party of grandchildren of Borax Smith, owner of the Lila C borax mine, after whom the mountain is named. The view from the top is spectacular. One can look down into Death Valley itself and imagine the challenges facing early visitors who had 4 oxen drives rather than 4WDs and homespun rather than polartech.

We camped that night at the abandoned Greenwater town site and played archeologist the next morning puzzling out the daily life of its inhabitants by the discarded debris of a hurried move. Where had the saloon been where Charlie Brown captured Slim? Were the boards we found part of the cemetery entrance? After the mining didn't play out, the townsfolk moved on taking the wooden buildings with them. We also visited nearby petroglyphs, day hiked and generally explored.

On the way home we stopped to climb Red Mountain outside the town of the same name. I have passed that mountain for 15 years, and finally decided I had to make time to climb it. An easy hike, it offered many treasures including the remnants of a propane?-powered searchlight on the summit, rock graffiti from the turn of the century, the vacant shell of a desert tortoise and a pair of golden eagles circling the summit. Eight unhurried days, five peaks, history, geology and fun. A great way to end the year 2000.

• Debbie Bulger


January 5, 2001

The Colorado Mountain Club's High Altitude Mountaineering Section enjoyed another successful climb of Kilimanjaro earlier this month. Starting up the mountain on New Year's Day, we did the Machame Route to the Shira Plateau; then traversed along the Southern Circuit to Barranco Hut; up the Barranco Wall; and then onto the new trail that runs up to Barafu Hut at 15,000'. 10  of 14 persons in our Group persons gained the summit on Jan. 5  with another person going back up later in the month and  summiting.

As always, the Marangu Hotel did an outstanding job of  outfitting our group. Unfortunately, they couldn't do anything about the weather. The Fall "short rains" hung on this year well into January, which is supposed to be a "dry" season. We had  rain each day on the mountain, and heavy wet snow between  Shira & Barranco Huts. There was fresh snowfall high up on  the mountain, but not in any great quantity.

Machame Route is now one way uphill, and climbing parties in this area are directed to descend the Mweka Route past Mweka  Hut down to the gate of the same name. Below Mweka Hut, the mud was incredibly bad. I advised our group beforehand of the "perils" of the "technical mud" on the Machame Route, but the "Mweka mud" surpassed even Machame's offerings.

Footgear, gaiters, and other gear such as tents took a real pounding from the rain and mud. But, we got back to the Hotel in time to get some drying out done on the 6th before leaving on our 4 day safari to Ngorongoro, Serengeti, & Lake Manyara.

I won't comment at length regarding the safari except to say we saw everything, including 6 black rhino in the Crater. The rains were letting up, but we retained overcast skies most of the time which helped with the heat.

A new addition to this year's outing was a trek on Mt. Kenya, which HAMS hadn't offered before. We did a climb of Mt. Meru two years ago, but this is still in Tanzania. Half the group left for the USA on the 12th; with 1 going to Zanzibar and meeting us  later in Nairobi; one staying behind to reclimb Kili (he was sick on the 5th); and 5 of us taking the Davanu Shuttle for the all day drive to Nairobi.

On the 13th, 3 of us took transport up to the Mt. Kenya area, and began a five day, four night trek into the heart of the massif on the Sirimon Route. Our first day was overcast, but no rain. The remaining four days were crystal clear, to partly cloudy in the afternoon. For those who have never been to Mt. Kenya, it

is incredibly spectacular; sorta makes the much higher Kili look  like "chump change."

Day three of the trek took us over Pt. Lenana, the 3rd highest  peak on the massif at 16,355'. The twin high summits, Batian & Nelion, both break 17,000' and are technical climbs. Lenana's north side offers good trail most of the way, with a little Class 2 scrambling here and there, and only minimal exposure, until the summit block is gained. A low Class 3 crack chimney about 8 ft. high gives access to the small summit plateau. If one falls here, there is a gentle slope of about 15 mtrs. to stop before one then goes over a small cliff and bounces down onto the Lewis Glacier. Views from the top of Lenana are great, and the ridge descending down to the Austrian Hut area is easier than the north side approach.

From the Austrian Hut, we were now on the Naro Moru Route which took us to McKinder's Station (a bunkhouse); Met Station (cabins with Syke's monkeys for entertainment); and then out  the Naro Moru gate on Day 5 and adjournment to the Naro Moru River Lodge for showers and some fine dining.We returned to Nairobi on the 18th and a return to Denver on the 19th/20th. The  infamous "vertical bog" below McKinder was nothing to us vets of the Kili mud. Actually, with all the grass tussocks in place, one can avoid the most muddy places, and stay relatively dry.

If all goes according to plan, we will offer this outing again in January, 2003. The next outing will open for signups around March 1, 2002 if all approvals fall into place, and this writer's knees continue to hold up (since I've been the trip leader). Those persons desiring more info about our vendors (Marangu Hotel; Lion's Safari Intl.(Arusha); Lets Go Travel & Safaris (Nairobi)) can contact me privately.

• Steve Bonowski

Junipero Serra

January 14, 2001

Participants: Ron Karpel and Arun Mahajan, leaders. Rick Booth, Dee Booth, Ted Raczek, Noriko Sekikawa, Alex Sapoznikov, Joan Marshall, George Van Gorden, Maxym Runov, Diane Medrano, Debbie Benham, Heather Kirby, Karen Christie, Andy Marica, Dan Abernathy, Maxym B, Richard, Janet and Rachel Vassar, Dimitri Nechayev, Mary Chen, Sally Collins, Moe Khodayan and Nancy Fitzsimmons.

What a fantastic turnout! We had twenty five enthusiastic day hikers who liked to bag peaks and peak baggers who liked to day hike. We caravaned from Morgan Hill to the town of Greenfield to pick up adventure passes. Some did and some did not, following their personal principles about the beneficiaries of the emolument.

By ten am, all signed in and introduced, led by the sprightly ten year old, Rachel Vassar, we started hiking on the moist and soggy trail, the snow clad Junipero Serra peak inviting us to it's top, a lone cloud obscuring it's very summit. Periodic bursts of sunlight from between the gathering clouds made for fantastic scenery as we gained altitude and it was at about 3600 feet that we first spotted patchy snow on the ground. As we approached the final saddle it was snow all the way. The summit of Junipero Serra with it's distinctive fire tower was now clearly visible. The snow hanging on the branches of the pine trees and the low brush was so much that it seemed that we were on a hike in Tahoe. The higher peaks of the range, including Cone Peak, were all snowbound near their summits. In some places along the trail, the low trees, burdened by the weight of the snow, stooped down, making a low canopy over our heads and we had to bend low, sometimes even to our knees to get by.  The atmosphere, what with the white trees and the clouds, had a positively gothic feel to it.

The summit area was completely covered with deep snow, maybe even a  foot or so more and the decrepit and usually ghastly looking fire tower was fully shrouded with a layer of hardened icy snow. A rare treat indeed! We all had summitted a little before two pm. The cool winds and the clouds and the snow on the ground made us depart just a little past two pm, with only the Vassars adventerous enough to explore the rest of the summit area. On the way down, we could evidence signs of a quick thaw, the snow was getting softer and a lot of  it had fallen down from the low trees.

By about 4.30pm, we were all back at the cars. It was a pleasure to go up this beautiful peak with such a good group and to bear witness to the extraordinary amounts of snow at the top of a mountain that is within a short distance from the Bay Area.

We looked back towards the peak. The lone cloud, which had temporarily departed, as if permitting us to climb, was now back and the cold bite had returned to the air. It was time for us to return and let solitude creep back to the peak that was once hailed by Pimkolam but now bears the name of the venerable padre.

• Arun Mahajan

Junipero Serra Logistics:

For those so inclined, an Adventure Pass, one per car, may be had for $5. I am told that if found to be without one, the amount of the permit could be mailed in, within a 14 day period (thanks, Dana).

One of the places to get this permit is the El Camino Liquor Store at the junction of El Camino and Elm in the town of Greenfield.

Take the northern-most exit for Greenfield from Highway 101.
Turn right at the exit. You are on El Camino.
Keep driving till you cross Elm.
The liquor store is on the right hand side.
Their number is 831-674-2818 and they open at 6am (haarumph!).

• 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.

Koip Peak

Peak:        Koip Peak, class 1, 12962'
Dates:      Feb 2-5, 2001 (Fri-Mon)
Maps:       Mono Craters 15' or Koip Peak & June Lake 7.5'
Leaders:  Aaron Schuman, Steve Eckert
Contact:   aaron@climber.org, eckert@climber.org
Details:    http://sj.znet.com/~cynthiam/koip.html

Snowshoe or cross country ski on a deep bed of snow across terrain that is just broken slate in the summertime.  Make a four day snow camping adventure out of a peak that is an August day slog. 

Our ascent from June Lake Loop will give us unending views of the Aeolian Buttes in their mysterious winter form, and glimpses of the sublime Mono Lake. 

Depending on the conditions, we may also attempt other peaks, choosing among Kuna (13002), Parker (12850), Wood (12720), Donohue (12023) and  Blacktop (12720).

If time permits, we may finish the trip on Sunday.  Full winter regalia is required, including ice axe and crampons.  This is a private trip,  not sponsored by the Sierra Club.

Mt. Hoffman

Peak:            Mt. Hoffmann, 10,500
Date:             Feb. 17-19, 2001
Leader:        George Van Gorden, 408 779 2320, gvangord@mhu.k12.ca.us
Co-Leader:  Adrienne Van Gorden, avangorden@sccs.santacruz.k12.ca.us

We will take the Snow Creek trail out of the valley and try to get up to 7500 feet on Sat.  Sunday we will climb the mountain on snowshoes using axes and crampons if necessary, and after the climb we will return to our camp and time permitting back to the cars.

Burst Rock

Peak:            Burst Rock, 9,161 ft.
Date              Feb. 23-24
Leader:        Cecil Anison cecilann@earthlink.net
Co-Leader:  Kai Wiedman (650)347-5234 (call to sign up)

Come join us on this beginner/intermediate overnight ski adventure.  The route to Burst Rock follows a ridge with fine views and plenty of bowls to practice our turns.  As a bonus, we will be able to ski a long, gentle downhill run at Dodge Ridge right back to our cars.  Also, with a trailhead this close to the Bay Area, we will be able to leave on Saturday morning!!


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.

Peaks in Denali National Park

Peaks:          Peaks in Denali NP north of the main Alaska Range
Date              April 15-18
Contact:       George Van Gorden    408 779 2320, gvangord@mhu.k12.ca.us

We will meet in Anchorage on April 15 and head north.  We will camp in Denali NP and climb minor peaks during fromApril 16-18.  These peaks are 4000 and 5000 feet, snow of course, and we will probably need crampons.  The weather should be good, though snow is possible.  If we get sun, the days should get into the thirties or even forties.  The park will be very empty and we should get some good views of Mckinley.

The days are long with light to at least eleven PM.

Sierra Emblem Challenge

Peaks:          10 Emblem Peaks in 10 Days
Date:             August 2001
Contact:       Bob Burd, snwbord@hotmail.com
                      Steve Keltie, dns306@cs.com

Info:               http://members.nbci.com/snwburd/emblem/

The Sierra Emblem Challenge is a series of dayhikes to the most impressive peaks in the Sierra Nevada. All of these hikes are very strenuous in both miles logged and vertical feet gained. Ten of 15 Emblem Peaks have been chosen for this 10-day event beginning Aug 4, 2001. The Challenge is open to anyone. This is a Wilderness experience, with serious risks that are each participant’s responsibility. No emergency services of any kind is available to those in trouble.

Elected Officials

     Dee Booth/ rdbooth@worldnet.att.net
     408-354-7291 home
     237 San Mateo Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
     Nancy Fitzsimmons / pkclimber@aol.com
     408-957-9683 home
     1025 Abbott Avenue, Milpitas, CA 95035

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
     Scott Kreider / pcs-treasurer@climber.org
     408-737-8709 home
     1007 S Wolfe Road #5, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Publicity Committee Positions

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

PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
     Jim Curl /pcs_webmaster@yahoo.com
     San Francisco, CA

Publicity Chair:
     Rick Booth / rwbooth@home.com
     408-354-7291 home
     237 San Mateo Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Scree is the monthly journal of the Peak Climbing Section of the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter.
Our official website is http://www.sierraclub.org/chapters/lomaprieta/pcs/

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 "listserv@lists.sierraclub.org", or send anything to "info@climber.org". 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 2/25/2001. Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

Peak Climbing Section, 789 Daffodil Way, San Jose CA 95117

"Vy can't ve chust climb?" - John Salathe                                              First Class Mail - Dated Material