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 May, 2002       Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club Vol. 36 No. 5

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

Next General Meeting

Date:               Tuesday, May 14

Time:              8:00 PM

Program:        Peru: Ausangate by Hal Tompkins

The slide show will consist of an attempt on the third highest mountain in Peru: Ausangate, and a subsequent trek into the Cordillera Vilcabamba finishing on the Inca Trail.

Location         Western Mountaineering
                        2344 El Camino Real, Santa Clara (between San Thomas and Los Padres)

Directions:     From 101: Exit at San Thomas Expressway, Go South to El Camino Real. Turn left and
                        Western Mountaineering will be immediately to your right. Limited parking back.

Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 5/26/2002  •  Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

Loma Prieta Chapter
Hike and Potluck Extravaganza

Date:               June 1, Saturday

Place:             Portola Redwoods State Park

Please join us for a Loma Prieta Chapter Hike and Potluck Extravaganza

At the Ramada Group Day Use Area. The Black Mountain Group will be hosting this event for LP Chapter members and friends. There will be hikes for all levels - short, medium, long. Hikes will end at approximately the same time (4:30 - 5:00pm) so that we can enjoy a meal and conversation together.  If you are not interested in hikes please come and enjoy the potluck. The Ramada Area is just past the campgrounds.

The Chapter will provide the fires to barbecue your favorite food and a program filled with surprises. Please bring your own plate, eating utensils, and a potluck dish to share. There will be a ranger led talk on the environmental concerns of Portola Redwoods State Park.

All hikes meet at Page Mill Park and Ride for carpooling into the park. Contact leader for more details:

Slate Creek/Tiptoe Falls 11am (6 miles 1500') Try out your skills and learn about the environmental impact of logging on this short hike with 2 three mile loops. Bring snack and water. Leader: Shirley Sampson 408/446-0914

Tarwater Loop 10am (8 miles 1500') Trek the Tarwater loop past old mill sites and its bubbling creek tar. Bring lunch and water. Leader Eric Wilner 408/744-1845, eric@gumbyware.com

Peter's Creek 9am (13 miles 2000') Visit Peter's Creek with its protected stands of old growth redwoods. Bring lunch and water. Leader: Clyde Lerner Clyde@itmcomputing.com

Butano Ridge 7:30am 3C (16+ miles, 3000') Follow Butano Ridge Trail to Big Basin where we'll loop around on the Skyline to the Sea Trail and back. Moderately fast paced hike. Leader: Debbie Benham 650/964-0558.

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, May 18 and Sunday, May 19  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, call Health Education Services, 650-321-6500, reserve a spot for Sat. or Sun., and authorize a $40 charge on your credit card—or promise to bring $40 in cash to class. Cancellations get partial refund if a substitute attends (you get to keep the Wilderness First Aid book). For more information, call 650-321-6500.

• Marg Ottenberg

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.

Yosemite Rock

Peak:            PCS Site for Yosemite Rock Climbing
Dates:          May 18th-19th, 2002
Maps:           Yosemite Valley if you must
Guide Books: Plenty to chose from
Leader:        Ron Karpel, ronny@karpel.org
Co-Leader:  Rick Booth, rwbooth@attbi.com

This is an official trip of the Sierra Club.  You must be a Sierra Club member to sign-up.

We have reserved two campsites in Yosemite Valley in order to organize a weekend of rock climbing.  You must have a partner, and one of you needs to be able to lead SAFELY the routes you are going to climb, while the other partner must be able to follow.  You also must use your own gear.  You must use a helmet.  We will encourage, but not require, people to climb in groups for safety and company sake.

I will be happy to keep a list of people who are looking for partners, but you will need to make the contact.

To sign-up, send a climbing resume (rock climbing), the name of your partner, and your Sierra Club member number to the above e-mail address or call Ron Karpel at 650-594-0211 at home.

Crag and Smith

Peaks:          Crag (9,480’), Smith (9,533’) Class 2
Dates:          May, 25-26
Map:              7.5 min Monache Mountain
Leader:        Stephane Mouradian, smouradian@hotmail.com (650) 551-0392
Co-leader:  TBD

Don’t feel like carrying snowshoes, crampons and ice axe but still want to get out there? Come join us! These 2 peaks can be climbed as 2 separate day hikes but instead, we will link them via a loop trail and an overnight backpack in the South Sierra Wilderness (while enjoying some of the longest days of the year.)  The trip starts at Kennedy Meadows and exits at  Fish creek Meadow where we will leave a car for a short shuttle.  Day 1 is 12.5 miles with  a 3500’ gain and day 2 is 12.5 miles with a 2000’gain.

This trip is suitable for beginners comfortable backpacking this mileage. 

This is an official Sierra Club trip which requires participants to sign a liability waiver.

From California to Nevada to California to Nevada to California

Peaks:          Boundary Peak, Nevada, 13143 ft, Class-2, Montgomery Peak, Ca, 13441 ft, Class-3
Dates:          June 1-2, 2002
Leaders:      Dee Booth, rdbooth@worldnet.att.net
                      Arun Mahajan, arun@tollbridgetech.com
                      650-327-8598 (home, between 9 and 10 pm)

This is an official Sierra Club/PCS trip.

Description: We drive from California to Nevada and then climb into California and  then back to Nevada and then drive back to California, all in a weekend too! We will attempt Boundary Peak,  the highest peak in Nevada and then the striking Montgomery Peak, in California, by crossing over the saddle between them, where these two states meet.

We will climb these peaks in a day, on Sunday. We will car-camp at the trailhead that is accessed by the Queen's Canyon Road for Saturday night. Be prepared for an early start on Sunday.

Thor, Thweetheart?

Date:             June 8-9, 2002
Goal:             Thor Peak (12300)
Difficulty:      class 2
Location:      eastern Sierra Nevada
Sponsor:      PCS
Leader:        Aaron Schuman (aaron@climber.org)

As you hike up the Whitney Trail, and you pass through a meadow called Bighorn Park, you look up in horror at the tremendous sheer southeast wall of Thor Peak.  Lucky for you, you decided to join me on the ascent, so we walk around to the back side of the mountain, and scoot up moderate scree and talus to the summit.  My permit limits us to 4 people.  It's early, so there will be plenty of snow and  slush.

Echo Peaks

Peak:            Echo Peaks (11,000 - 11,160+) class-3/4/ and maybe 5
Dates:          June 16th, 2002
Maps:           Tenaya Lake 7.5' or Tuolumne Mdws 15'
Leader:        Ron Karpel, ronny@karpel.org 650-594-0211
Co-Leader:  Jim Curl, jhcurl@pacbell.net 415-585-1380

This is a restricted trip of the Sierra Club. Participants must be experienced in class-3 and 4 climbing.

Late last season, a debate about identifying a few of the peaks lead me to make an unplanned day trip to the area, and to realize that the 9 Echo Peaks are an attractive day trip destination.

We will set ropes for peak #4 which is 4th class.  If we have enough skilled climbers, some of us may climb peak #9 which is rated 5.7.  The rest of the peaks are 3rd class.

Send your Sierra Club member number along with a climbing resume to the leaders.

Mt. Guyot and Cirque Peak

Peaks:          Mt. Guyot (cl. 2; 10,892) & Cirque Pk (cl. 1 - 2; 12,900)
Date:             Sat. June 28 - Mon. June 30, 2002
Leaders:      Charles Schafer c_g_schafer@yahoo.com, 408-354-1545
                      Bob Evans, robtwevans@email.msn.com, 408-998-2857

Sat. 14 miles from Horseshoe Mdw (9920) over Cottonwood Pass (11,120) to Rock Cr. (9520). Sun. AM bag Guyot (10,892, cl. 2); then camp on summit of Cirque  (cl. 1 - 2; 12,900), for the day about 10 miles and 6000 gain.  Why camp up there? Hopefully great sunset and sunrise views of Whitney (bring cameragear).  Mon. walk out.

Mt. Langley

Peak:            Mt. Langley (14,026 feet)   Class 2
Dates:          July 12-14, 2002
Map:              USGS Mt. Langley topo, 7.5'
Leader:        John Wilkinson  jfwilkinson@sbcglobal.net  (408) 947-0858

A leisurely trip to climb California's southernmost fourteener.  We'll drive down on Friday and do a short backpack in, camping probably at or near one of the Cottonwood Lakes.  Saturday we'll dayhike the peak via Old Army Pass, and hike out and drive home on Sunday.  This is suitable as a beginner's trip.  Most of the route is on trail or use trail.

Limited to 10 people.  There is a $5 charge for the permit, payable at or before the trailhead.  Contact John to sign up or for more information.

More details and carpool contact information will be sent out a week or so before the trip.

Kuna and Koip

Peak(s):       Kuna Peak 13,002', Class 2
                      Koip Peak 12,962', Class 2
Map(s):         Tuolumne Meadows Topo
Dates:          July 20-21 (Sat-Sun)
Leader(s):   Debbie Benham, 650/964-0558, deborah4@pacbell.net
                      Chris MacIntosh, 650/325-7841, cmaci@attglobal.net

Join us for a carcamp in lovely Tuolumne Meadows!  Saturday will be a long day as we summit Kuna and Koip Peaks with a total round trip of 16 mi. Sunday, maybe Mammoth Peak, depending on hikers' desires. Non-refundable fee of $4 holds your spot in Tuolumne Meadows Campground (Fri&Sat nights). Newcomers and Sierra Club members will be given preference and we're limiting total participants to 10. Contact Debbie Benham for further information.


Peak(s):       Tuolumne Peak, 10,845', Class 2
                      (optional) Ragged Peak  10,912', Class 2/3
Dates:          July 27-28 (Sat-Sun)
Maps:           Tuolumne Meadows
Leader(s):   Debbie Benham, 650/964-0558, deborah4@pacbell.net
                      Jim Ramaker, 408/463-4873, ramaker@vnet.ibm.com

Another beautiful weekend up at Tuolumne!  Saturday, we'll climb Tuolumne Peak. Then, on Sunday, an optional climb of Ragged Peak (class 3 summit knob!) for those so inclined. Non-refundable fee of $4 required to hold your spot in Tuolumne Meadows Campground (Fri&Sat nights).

Limit 10 hikers and newcomers/Sierra Club members given preference. Contact leaders for more information.


Peaks:          Minarets Mountaineering Classic, Ansel Adams Wilderness, California Trip #: 02154A
Dates:          July 26-August 4, 2002
Price:            $675; Dep: $100
Leaders:      Margi Waller & Anne Muzzini
Leaders:      Doug Mantle and Tina Bowman

SUMMARY: Experienced mountaineers will retrace the routes of the firstexplorers of the Minarets. On layover days we'll have opportunities to enjoy either technical (limit of six participants) or non-technical peak climbs. (Prior rock climbing experience is required for technical ascents.) A packer assist will lighten our loads and allow us to combine strenuous days with great food and a few creature comforts at night.


Gnarly Adventuring

Trip:              Gnarly Adventuring Above Yosemite Valley California Trip #: 02170A
Dates:          August 18-25, 2002
Price:            $615; Dep: $100
Leaders:      Bill Oliver & Will McWhinney

SUMMARY: John Muir came to Yosemite in 1868. He marveled at this wondrous place, exploring its canyons and climbing its peaks. We, too, will marvel, explore, and climb. First we spend four days among the pinnacles and domes of Tuolumne Meadows.  Then we backpack from the Valley to Little Yosemite Valley for a three-day finale. Ascents will include Cathedral Peak, Eichorn Pinnacle, Mt. Starr King, and Half Dome (cables). Rock climbing experience required only for optional summit blocks.  Non-climbers welcome for non-technical segments.


Ask Bôté Ánchouré

Mountaineering and climbing Q&A from the famous French Alpinist.

Bôté Ánchouré, noted alpinist, now fully recovered due to the effective treatment of Dr Jacque Beanstalque is back to his alpine climbing ways.  He recently spent a few days doing first ascents of the towers near Whitney, called the Whitney Spears, with his climbing friend, Christina AquaVelva.  He made the first ascent of the route "Hit me Baby, One more Time" (known rock fall danger), "Fat Juicy Navels" (lots of exposure) and "Oops, I did it Again" where the route was so scary that they had to make several pit stops along the way.  Christina, shaken up by this experience, has given up climbing in the High Sierra and now sings in the High C at Bar Mitzvahs.  Stirred but not shaken, Bôté, answers your questions.

Question #1  Hey, dude, it's us out here in Afghanistan again.  We have been bouldering on a bunch of the rocks here and gave up on tanks after Taliban Tony nearly got whacked heel hooking on the main gun of a T-72.  Some moron fired it and threw Tony right off the tank.  He's ok, though.  We have found a nice pile of rocks near town.  Since we don't have any crash pads we have been piling up camel doodoo at the bottom of the routes.  Works ok for soft landings but really stinks.  Worse than cat poo.  It's disgusting.  My dad sometimes makes me sleep out in the backyard with the chickens.  Anyway, my question is this: do you have any ideas as to what we can use for chalk?  I tried sneaking some flour from my mom's kitchen but it doesn't work and my mom gets mad at me.  Any suggestions would be way cool.  By the way, now that my girlfriend threw away her burqa she has become the Lisa Rands of Kabul!  She is kicking my butt on the boulder problems but the best thing is she now smells as bad as I do so she doesn't get mad at me anymore!

Kandehar Kenny

Kabul Klimbing Klub

Dear Kenny,

Well, I am glad you are doing well in Kabul.  Using chalk in your area is probably a bad idea.  I think it is a good light reflector so a laser designator might light up your bouldering area.  You may find a big crater there the next time you go out to climb!  I would try pine tree pitch or something like that.  Maybe juniper trees might work.  There are areas in the West which prohibit chalk so the climbers use resin which is a refined version of pine pitch.  Seems to work ok and is pretty sticky.  Should help on the dynos to slopers.


Question #2  I have been trying to get the tips off from my ski poles so that I could put different baskets on them. First, someone suggested the boiling water method, so I sat in a cauldron of boiling water with my pole.  I got scalded bad and my pole's rubber handles melted and the pole warped but the tip remained and I could not climb for six months.  Then I bought another pole and put in a bench vise and hit the vise with a hammer, as someone else had suggested.  The hammer broke, the vice came off the bench and fell on my leg and my pole broke.  I could not climb for three months due to the leg damage.  Then I bought another pole.  This time I used a spanner on it.  The spanner bent, the pole bent and my wrist got sprained but the tip is still on and I am out of climbing till my wrist heals.  I bought another pole.  I am still keen on getting my tip off but the little beggars don’t want to.  I have tried all the suggestions offered on the mailing list but nothing works.  Please help!

Pole Kat from Pole Plant Road.

Dear Tad Pole,

Even though you are a couple of poles away from being a complete basket case yourself, I think you are doing the economy good by buying so many poles.  Bôté uses different poles for trekking and skiing and does not muck with the engineering of the poles.  At the rate that you have gone through your poles, you could have just saved yourself the trouble and got one with a different basket.

Buy ten more sets of poles and then try the following:

1. Hold the pole tip between your teeth and get someone to pull hard from the other end.  The tip won't come off but you will get that much needed dental work.

2. Hit your pole tip with your ice axe. I don't know what this will do but it will be entertaining.

3. Grab the pole with a thigh-master and pull the pole. You will be needing another thigh-master after this.

4. During an electrical storm, go outside and hold up your pole.  It is possible that the electric jolt due to thousands of volts will loosen the tip.  It will also loosen a lot of other stuff in your body.

Also, unsubscribe from that mailing list.


Question #3  I have been climbing ice for several years with an old friend of mine.  Every time we go to climb something that requires leading we get into an argument as to who is going to lead what.  I start out asking him if he wants to lead the hard pitch and then I say I am going to do it and then he says "ok, I will do it".  What a pain.  On one climb, we were never able to figure out this and we both started to lead and we found this out when we were both about 20 meters from the ground!  Then one another climb, we kept this back and forth stuff 'you lead, no you lead' and by the time we had sorted it out, we had run out of daylight.  Do you have any suggestions as to how to get out of this cycle or should I just resign myself to dealing with an idiot?

Ron Karpel

Dear Ron,

I am surprised that he doesn't want to just lead all the hard stuff.  Usually old guys memories are so bad they have forgotten the terror of doing the leading and want to just jump right on things.  Next time this happens I would suggest you try and "reset his processor".  When the argument gets started grab your ice tool by the adze end and whack him behind the right ear with the handle of the ice tool.  That ought to knock some sense into him.  If that doesn't work you may in fact be dealing with an idiot.


Book Review:
Missing In The Minarets

On a recent trip to Yosemite I noticed a new book was being offered at the  visitor center called Missing in the Minarets. As I have always been  interested in anything involving Norman Clyde or Jules Eichorn, I immediately purchased the book. However, I was a little puzzled how the author, William Alsup, could take the relatively simple story of Peter Starr’s disappearance in the Minarets almost 70 years ago and make an entire book out of it. I was already familiar with the facts of the incident, and had already read the accounts written by Norman Clyde and Francis Farquhar. I was also familiar with the story from my interview with Jules Eichorn done a few years before he died. I was very curious to see what the author could add to what was already known about the Starr disappearance.

On reading the book I found that the author enhances the basic story of Starr’s disappearance with a good amount of background on the various personalities involved. Although I already knew most everything contained in the book about Clyde, Eichorn, and Farquhar, I did learn a few new things about Peter Starr, the Starr family, and Glen Dawson. However, much of the book is taken up with search trivia, and the author’s attempt to make more of a mystery out of the basic story. Alsup takes up many pages going over the issue of whether Starr climbed Clyde Minaret or not just prior to his fateful climb of Michael Minaret (it is known that he did climb it the year before).

He also devotes many pages to the mystery of whether Starr climbed Mt. Ritter on August 30, or August 31. Even for a devoted Sierra historian such as myself, I did not find this level of trivia particularly interesting.

For the most part the author’s attempt to make the basic story into an engaging mystery doesn’t work. For much of the book either the details he investigated, and then spends many pages describing are too trivial, or the reader eventually learns that there basically isn’t any mystery involved.

However, when the reader gets to the last chapter things change. Suddenly several exciting mysteries surface in the chapter describing a recent visit to Starr’s grave by Steve Roper (which Roper believed hadn’t been disturbed in over 50 years). Many aspects of the grave did not fit the description given by Eichorn and Clyde. Did they lie to protect Starr’s family? Also, what ever became of the knapsack, which to this day has never been found, that Starr was wearing when he died?

Someone who knows nothing of the Starr disappearance may interpret this book very differently. For myself, in addition to the additional information contained on various personalities, I found that the book provided a good glimpse of Sierra mountaineering circa 1930. The use of many historical photos adds to the feel of the book. I also found the footnotes, of which there are many, to be very interesting. I think the star of the book (no pun intended) is Peter Starr’s father, Walter Starr. An early explorer of the Sierra himself, Starr senior was drawn back into a more active role in the Sierra Club as a result of his son’s death. He played a very important role in the early career of Ansel Adams and Jules Eichorn. In addition to Starr’s Guide, he also was involved in getting several other important Sierra Club books published. One of these books, done with the help of Ansel Adams, was instrumental in creating Kings Canyon Park.

On a personal note, I was somewhat surprised that the author made no mention of my interview with Jules Eichorn. Instead, Alsup, who apparently only met with Jules briefly just prior to his death, relies heavily on an earlier interview done by a friend of the Eichorns that existed only on audiotape. To my knowledge, my interview with Jules Eichorn was the only comprehensive one done that was also later edited and printed.

• George Sinclair

Cecil and Kai Battle Blizzard, Get Married

March, 2002

It was a classic "up and over" adventure, just the way Kai likes them drama, exertion, courage, dealing with the unknown, and some, but not too much, suspense.

I left on Friday, March 15, with my son Joseph, 13, and daughter Joana, 8, as the radio was broadcasting an ominous weather report. We picked up Kai in Pleasanton as usual and continued on in my Honda. When we got close to Sacramento, black clouds were to our left, but with a rainbow in front, we considered it a good omen. We drove beside, but not in the rain.

Suddenly, at 8:30 p.m. near Kyburz, we came to a dead stop... and stayed there for two hours. The road was damp but it wasn't raining. Since we couldn't get the traffic report on the radio, we weren't sure what was going on. Groups of cars were coming the other way, so we figured the road was open. But after the second hour we realized that people were turning around miles ahead! Kai had had enough by this point. "This is ridiculous!" Although Joseph had promised to be pleasant for the weekend, he resorted to, "You know, this really sucks. Why can't you guys do this on a nice, sunny weekend? I want to go home to my cat." Joana and I secretly smiled at each other in the back seat, as she made an "X" with her fingers behind Joseph's back. We turned back.

The second good omen was that we got the last room in Placerville at the Carey House, a beautifully restored old hotel complete with an iron-gated elevator. When we woke up the next morning and looked outside, we were surprised that a blanket of snow covered the town and huge flakes were coming down fast. The storm arrived Friday night instead of Saturday night as predicted, and we guessed the worst was yet to come. Did we want to get stuck in Tahoe even if we could make it?

In the breakfast room, travelers (Kai called them Highway 50 refugees) were discussing their options. We learned that there had been spin-outs and cars in ditches the night before, and Highway 50 had been closed. Some dudes in beefy SUVs decided to go on, but many others turned back. I happened to strike up a conversation with a couple who lives in Zephyr Cove, where we were to be married at 2 p.m. They assured me that we'd get through. "The road rarely closes and there isn't that much snow yet. It'll just take ya longer than usual." Joana and I were convinced, but Joseph and Kai were not and hence reluctant to continue. But after some discussion, we decided to go on, chaining up in the hotel parking lot.

We rumbled onto 50, which was wet, and not snowy as the hotel clerk had said. Tuning in to the weather radio gave us the latest info -- chains required 34 miles ahead, so we pulled into a gas station and took them off. Some guys in a pickup truck were just putting their chains on, so Kai let them know that they weren't necessary. The pickup driver said "I'm telling ya man, they made me turn around just ahead." But we went on without chains. Sure enough, three miles ahead, there were chain control signs. Kai, cursing, put the chains back on, even though the road was still clear of snow and just wet.

The going was slow and Joseph's mood was disintegrating rapidly (remember, 13 years old). Chain control sergeants funneled traffic into one lane in several places. Finally, we reached Echo Summit and I was pretty sure we'd make it. But suddenly I realized that I didn't know when the county offices closed -- and we still needed a wedding license. I knew they opened at 9 a.m., but never checked on the closing time, because I thought we'd be in Tahoe on Saturday morning. After all of this effort, would we have to call off the wedding because of bureaucratic paperwork?

At 12:50 p.m., we pulled into the county office. No problema -- they were open until 8 p.m. But we still had to hustle, because our wedding was scheduled for 2 p.m. The plan was for a service at Zephyr Point, but the wind was cold. I called the minister to see if we could delay the service a bit and have the wedding at our cabin. His wife answered and told me that a delay wasn't possible. "He's doing the 1:00 wedding, you're the 2:00 and then he has a 3:00. "However, she did agree to call and tell him to come to the cabin instead. Would he make it to the new location?

At 1:40, we finally arrived at our cabin. Kai, Joana and I and hurriedly changed clothes while Joseph set up the audio -- his personal CD player with little speakers attached. Joana stuffed her basket with rose petals. Kai and I quickly assembled the tiers of the wedding cake and put the plastic bride and groom on top. Right at 2 p.m., the minister knocked on the door and we opened it as if we'd been ready for hours.

As Joseph started the music, Joana walked down the open stairway from the loft, scattering rose petals and taking her job very seriously. She's always wanted to be a flower girl. I followed. Joseph was the ring man and the witness. Kai and I said our vows near the hearth and the minister left after a few minutes (for his 3:00). The rest of us we ate wedding cake and drank sparkling apple cider. "Who wants to play Scrabble?" Why not? It was too cold and blustery outside for the kids. We'd planned to go to the new tubing hill at Heavenly, but the 12 hours of driving out of the last 24 left everyone ready to chill out. Later, we had a nice dinner at the Zephyr Cove Lodge. In the morning, we saw that the real storm had come in, so we headed home after breakfast. It took us nearly eight hours to drive home.

Some of you may remember that Kai and I first met in 1980 on a PCS trip to Death Valley -- one of Marge Ottenberg and Bob Wallace's Thanksgiving trips, complete with turkey roll, cranberry sauce, and dressing. The group climbed Nopah-Mopah peak and arrived back at the cars, flashlights in hand. Bill Rausch had the headlights on so we could hone in on the camp in the dark. We were really tired. Later at the campfire, two boisterous beer drinkers crashed our quiet little dinner party. I definitely knew they weren't my type. Turned out it was Kai and his friend Jim.

Nonetheless, Kai and I became friends after going on several climbing trips together with John Flinn, Butch Suits, and various other PCS stalwarts of the 1980s. Kai and I both liked alpine climbing -- the combination of altitude, steep snow, and technical rock. The many climbs we went on together included four different routes on Shasta -- Green Butte Ridge, Hotlum-Bolam ridge, Sergeants Ridge, and the classic Hotlum Glacier route.

Kai and I then became rock climbing partners, and went on many trips to Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, Tollhouse Rock, the Pinnacles, the Pie Shop, Lover's Leap, and even Red Rocks in Nevada. The Moon Goddess Arete on Temple Crag was memorable -- 14 pitches with some 5.8, and as Kai would say "hideous exposure."

I found Kai to be a very safe climber with an uncanny knack for finding the route. The boisterous side had quieted a bit. We stopped arguing over controversial topics such as "the school system in California," (my least favorite). We've been "together" as a couple for over five years now.

Joseph and Joana are crazy about Kai, and the four of us have gone on a number of adventurous family vacations -- Death Valley, Lava Tubes National Monument, Redwood National Park, Vancouver Island, and Alaska, although Joseph declares he's "not an outdoors kind of guy." Kai and I by ourselves have branched out to do some adventure backpacks along with our alpine climbs -- recent years have taken us to the Grand Canyon (twice), Escalante Canyon, Mt. Triumph in the North Cascades, Mt. Olympus, Arrow Peak, France, and we hope to go to the Sawtooths in Idaho for a delayed honeymoon.

So... to the PCS, "Thank you."

• Cecil Anison

Spanish Needle & Lamont Peak

March 30-31, 2002

Bob Evans, Charles Schafer, Ron Karpel and myself met at the Cottle Rd & Hwy 85 Park & Ride lot at Noon on Friday March 29, 2002. We decided to take two vehicles since none of us had a vehicle which could carry 4 adults plus camping gear. Ron and I departed first heading south towards Gilroy and Hwy 152. The day was beautiful - sunny and 70s with clear, blue skies. It took Ron and I approx. 7 hours to arrive at the Chimney Peak Recreation area where we planned to camp on BLM land. The drive through Bakersfield and Lake Isabella was pleasant. When we arrived at the campground we met up with with Roy Randall from Los Angeles who was joining us for the trip. He had already started a campfire and we joined him at his campsite. Bob and Charles arrived a bit later but decided to camp further away at the same campgrounds. After preparing our campsite, tents, etc...we finalized the next day's plans. We would start for Spanish Needle at 8:00AM expecting a 10-hour day and hoping to be back before dark. It wasn't meant to be as I'll explain.

We (leader Charles Schafer, Bob Evans, Ron Karpel, Roy Randall of the SPS, and myself) began Sat morning with a truck ride to our Spanish Needle starting point. (The unsigned dirt road heading south down into Lamont Meadow, from a point about 100 yards west of the signed and wide junction of the Canebrake Road and the Long Valley Road). We drove past a No Trespassing sign (1/4 mi. from the junction; the sign sits on an unlocked barb wire gate, a change from prior reports of double locked gates). We continued on a 4-wheel drive road, fording a stream, until after about 1.5 miles we reached a point where overgrown brush stopped us. If this brush were cleared, we could have driven about another 3/4 mile.

Bob Evans lead us down a marked trail which continued for a mile or two (I wasn't counting so it could be more or less). Eventually the terrain grew steeper and we aimed for a saddle where the Pacific Crest Trail passes . Bob loves to bushwack so that's what we did. A wild (at least free range) turkey soon joined us and followed us as we bushwacked up the steep slopes. I was slapped in the face by tree branches countless times, with one branch cutting my right eyelid - no blood spilled. The turkey was amazing - it followed us the entire way up the slope to the saddle and then followed us a bit down the PCT. Though Easter Sunday was the next day the turkey seemed to have no fear of us.

We finally reached the saddle after what seemed to be endless bushwacking. The dreaded traverses awaited us. We dropped about 200 feet below the saddle and crossed about five sets of rocky gullies and brushy ribs. The best point to start the traverse is at the far right (south west) end of the saddle. There are numerous snow fields along the way. The snow was soft and easy to kick steps in. However, the soft snow also made footing treacherous in spots. Axes weren't going to be much use to stop a slide - our hands and legs would work better. Above the snow slope is the crest (cl. 2-3), which we followed about 100 yards to a notch. From there, we had the choice of the exposed and wet class three ledge or to the right (southwest) a class 4 gully. Charles led up the gully with his rope and protection. He worked by a lower boulder which was covered with ice and established an anchor at a flat area near the top. From there, it was a short scramble (about 20 feet) to the summit. I was next. I had not used rope before so Ron helped me tie in. I then started up the path that Charles had blazed. It wasn't long before I reached Charles - it was fun goung up the rock knowing I had rope to protect me from a fall. Roy and Bob then followed and all of us headed for the summit. It was past 3:00PM at that point. At the summit we found the register and noted that Doug Mantle had summited two weeks earlier - his sixth summit of Spanish Needle. Some guys just can't get enough!! The five of us didn't linger on the summit too long, but we did take some photos and enjoyed the view. The Sierra crest with many 14ers were visible to the east. The Owens Valley looked very dry (what a surprise). As the sun began to sink lower we decided to head down. The plan was for us to rappel down to where we had started the technical climbing.

Since I didn't have experience rappeling Charles suggested that I be lowered down. Ron was doing the honors. He helped me tie in and then asked me to lean over the edge and put all my weight on the rope. I was hesitant at first but I did it and it felt exhilarating. I dropped down over the edge with Ron letting out rope. It was really fun!! I reached the bottom and took myself off belay.

Roy was next and he also was lowered down. Bob and Ron followed, leaving Charles behind. Bob rappelled. Ron downclimbled, on belay from above, placing additional protection. Charles followed on belay from below, leaving one large runner at the last point of protection. Ron then put in additional protection so Charles could be belayed from below as he made his way down. At the bottom we packed up and head for the traverses.

By this time the sun was sinking fast. We thought we might have a chance to reach the PCT before dark but we soon realized that wasn't going to happen. Things were moving slower than we anticipated. Four of us brought along headlamps, with Charles taking batteries from his GPS for his lamp. For a while we travered across the gullies in fading light but it soon became dark. The headlamps were turned on and we carefully continued the traverses. Ron lead the way and did a great job finding paths across the rocky terrain in the dark. We stayed close and followed the lights.

For some of the snow fields we decided to wear crampons. The snow wasn't frozen but it was firm enough for the crampons to hold and give us more stability coming down. Heck, since we brought the gear we may as well use it! Just about the time the moon rose over the desert to the east we made it to the saddle and PCT - it was 9:00PM. The moon was reddish in color and quite beautiful. Ron had brought along lots of camera gear so he set up his tripod and lenses and snapped some photos of the rising moon. We took a short break at the saddle.

Lucky for us we weren't going to bushwack back down from the saddle. We found a more pleasant route across more rocky gullies. Stepping carefully in the dark we made our way down the steep slopes and to relatively flat ground below. We hiked the remaining distance under soft moonlight and arrived at the point where we left the truck - it was 11:00PM. We were happy campers! I didn't bother with cooking hot food when I arrived back at camp - instead I drank lots of liquids and ate snacks. I hit the hay at 12:30. We decided that we would start for Lamont Peak at 9:00AM Sunday.

On Sunday we departed at 9:00AM as planned. We broke camp and loaded up the vehicles and headed for the Lamont Peak Trail. The trail becomes very steep almost immediately...and dusty too. We huffed and puffed our way up – telling ourselves it was like hiking Mission Peak in Fremont.

The day was warm and shade was little to be had. The trail peters out in spots, but cairns along the way provided the correct path which we followed. The last bit before the summit is rocky and requires hauling ourselves over sizeable rocks which we did. At the summit we enjoyed the warm weather and relaxed, not in any hurry. The views from Lamont are similar to Spanish Needle, though the Sierra crest is blocked by some ridgelines since we are a few hundred feet lower.

We began our way down from the summit the way we came up. At some point we lost our way and couldn't locate the trail. We decided to traverse a bit and found ourselves dropping lower and lower.

We realized that we probably were below the trail so Bob and Roy went in different directions to scout. It wasn't long before Roy announced that he had found the trail higher up on the ridge. Bob had worked his way there as well. The rest of us joined them and we raced down the trail to the trailhead. We arrived there at 3:00PM. After cleaning up and changing clothes we head for home.

Ron and I decided to take I5, reaching it from 99 via Lerdo Rd. Bob and Charles decided to take 99 to 152. Lerdo Rd is a good choice to connect with I5. It's not congested like 58 and there are few traffic lights. I5 was slow in pockets due to holiday traffic and people hauling farming equipment.

After driving 7 hours Ron and I arrived at the Park & Ride. Within moments Bob and Charles arrived. It was 10:00PM - a very reasonable time for PCS trips.

The trip was successful on all accounts. We all summited both peaks, I got some experience with rope, and I was able to get a good night's sleep before going to work the next day. We all had a good time and look forward to more adventures in the Sierra.

• Tony Stegman, astegman@telis.org

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.

Tom and Basin

Peak:            Mt Tom (13,652'), Basin Mtn (13,181')
Date:             May 11-12 (Sat-Sun)
Difficulty:      class 2, ice axe, crampons
Map:              Mount Tom topo
Contact:       Bob Suzuki, SuzukiR@sd-star.com
Co-contact:  Jim Ramaker, ramaker@vnet.ibm.com

This will be a strenuous weekend climb of two 13,000' mountains (Mt. Tom is the large mountain seen when driving NW out of Bishop). We'll have 6k' of gain the first day. Ice axe and crampons needed for Sunday.

Mt Shasta

Peak:            Mt. Shasta (14,162)
Date:             May 25-27
Contact:       George Van Gorden    gvangord@paradise.mhu.k12.ca.us

We will climb the mountain by one of the east side routes, either Clear Creek or the Wintun ridge depending upon access .  Both of these routes are relatively easy and shouldn't be nearly as crowded as the Avalanche Gulch route. Crampon and ice ax experience are necessary.    Sat. night in a camp at about 10000 feet, climb the mountain on Sunday and return to our cars either Sunday evening or Monday morning, This is not a beginners trip and Sunday will be a long day.

Colosseum & Baxter

Peak:            Colosseum Mtn (12,451'), Mt Baxter (13,136')
Date:             May 25-27 (Sat-Mon)
Difficulty:      class 3, ice axe, crampons
Maps:           Aberdeen, Kearsarge Peak topos
Contact:       Bob Suzuki, SuzukiR@sd-star.com

Another strenuous outing, a rough first day will get us to base camp at Sawmill Lake. Ice axe, crampons and snowshoes needed for climbing.

The Kaweahs Area

Peaks:          Eisen, Lippincott, Lion Rock, the Kaweahs, Picket Guard, and others
Dates:          6/29 - 7/7 (Sat-Sun)
Difficulty:      class 1-4
Maps:           Mineral King, Triple Divide Peak, and Mt Kaweah topos
Co-contacts:   Jim Ramaker, ramaker@vnet.ibm.com, Bob Suzuki, SuzukiR@sd-star.com

Starting from Mineral King (marmots!) we'll try to pack to Big Arroyo the first day. There'll be a lot of accessible peaks to keep us busy for the week! We'll collect names of interested climbers and decide on participants by the end of April. Class 3-4 , ice axe, crampons and rope experience required, harness and helmet for Black Kaweah.

Matterhorn and Whorl

Peaks:          Matterhorn, Whorl, Class 3-4
Dates:          July 4-7
Leader:        Chris Kramar, ckramar@urgrad.rochester.edu 510-796-6651

Join us for a climb up to the Materhorn Peak and Whorl Mountain area just north of Yosemite NP. We will drive up Wednesday night and make the hike in on Thursday. From there, we will attempt Matterhorn and Whorl over the next few days. There still could be a lot of snow and ice at Whorl this time of year, so it might require use of ice axe, crampons, harness and ropes. You must have prior experience in the proper use of any equipment you wish to use. I have an 8-person permit. To sign up, send name, address, contact info including email,   and check for $3 (for permit fee) to, Chris Kramar, 4302 Ribera St. Fremont, CA 94536.

Elected Officials

     Ron Karpel / ronny@karpel.org
     650-594-0211 home
     903 Avon Street, Belmont, CA 94002

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
     Scott Kreider / pcs-scheduler@climber.org
     408-737-8709 home
     1007 S Wolfe Road #5, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
     Arun Mahajan / pcs-treasurer@climber.org
     650-327-8598 home
     1745 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Publicity Committee Positions

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

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

Publicity Chair:
     Rick Booth / rwbooth@attbi.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://lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/pcs/

Subscriptions and Email List Info

Hard copy subscriptions are $13. 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 5/26/2002  •  Meetings are the 2nd 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