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 July, 2003     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club Vol. 37 No. 7

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

Next General Meeting

Date:            Tuesday, July 8

Time:              6:00 PM

Program:  Annual BBQ and Gear Swap

Location       Serra Park in Sunnyvale

Directions:    From I-280, turn North on DeAnza Blvd. in Cupertino, then left on Homestead, then right on Hollenbeck. The park is on your left.

From I-85, turn East on Fremont, then South on Hollenbeck. The park is on your right.

Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Sunday 7/27/2003  •  Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

Development Director

The American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club, the country’s premier mountaineering association, seeks a development professional with general experience in corporate sponsorships, membership recruitment, appeal mailings, planned giving, and individual fundraising. Position reports to the Executive Director. Working closely with other staff of The American Alpine Club, the Development Director will develop and implement prospect identification and research, cultivation and solicitation, communications, and some administrative duties.

The successful candidate will have three to five years development experience, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, outstanding organizational abilities, and a strong commitment to a team environment. Proven ability to accomplish goals and take initiative is essential. Salary low $40,000’s.

The AAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Please e-mail cover letter, resume, references, and writing sample(s) to: <mailto:cshiman@americanalpineclub.org> cshiman@americanalpineclub.org.

Editor’s Note: This was submitted to me by Aaron Schuman

Personal Locator Beacons Licensed For Use in United States

Effective July 1, 2003, a type of device known as a “Personal Locator Beacon” (PLB) is legal for use in the United States. The PLB is a personal, land-based analogue of the “EPIRB” in use on marine vessels and the “ELT” used on aircraft. It is used to alert Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities in emergency situations and because it is a satellite-based system it can be used in remote areas where, for instance, cell phone service is not available. PLBs have been approved for use in Alaska since 1995 under a demonstration program, and have apparently been responsible for the rescue of over 250 persons. The tag line for the PLB system is that it “takes the search out of search and rescue”. This not only benefits the party in distress, but also SAR personnel will have a reduced burden and probably a safer one.

There are several manufacturers which will be offering the device for sale in the United States at an expected cost in the $300 to $500 range. It is also expected that PLBs will be available for rental use, as has been the case in Alaska. Hopefully places like REI, Sport Chalet, Marmot, etc. will carry them for rental and/or sale. Most models will weigh approximately one pound and be about the size of a large 35MM camera although some may be smaller/ lighter. Companies which manufacture and sell PLBs include Microwave Monolithics, Simi Valley, CA (www.micro-mono.com), ACR Electronics, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (www.acrelectronics.com) and Northern Airborne Technology, Pembroke, MA (www.nat-inc.com). A noncommercial website specializing in preparedness, www.equipped.com, has a good article on PLBs.

PLBs are designed to require two actions to activate the signal to avoid false alerts. There is a substantial penalty for intentional false alerts but there is nothing actually prohibiting the use of a PLB in non-backcountry emergencies, e.g. a flat tire. However since SAR personnel will be responding to all alerts, the NOAA encourages users to be aware of the responsibility that comes with owning a PLB. It practice, cost alone will probably limit wide ownership of PLBs and therefore also limit improper usage. Detailed technical requirements (e.g. five year service life) and lack of wide demand to produce scale economies may help keep the PLB cost from becoming competitive with cell phones any time soon.

The COSPAS/SARSAT Satellite System
When activated, a PLB sends out a signal (406.025MHz) which is picked up by satellites in the COSPAS/SARSAT system. COSPAS is an acronym for a Russian phrase meaning “space system for search and distress vessels.” SARSAT is an acronym for “search and rescue satellite aided tracking.” The COSPAS/SARSAT Satellite System includes two satellite systems, GEOSAR and LEOSAR.

The GEOSAR system consists of satellites in high geostationary orbit, as a result of which these satellites provide coverage of extremely large areas of the Earth. Since the GEOSAR satellites provide constant coverage, the PLB signal will usually be picked up by the satellite immediately. The GEOSAR satellite then transmits the signal to a ground station (described further below). An important optional feature of PLBs is the incorporation of GPS data. A PLB with this feature will be able to provide the GEOSAR satellite with GPS location data in its signal. Otherwise the only information transmitted is that an emergency has occurred and the unique code identifying the owner (which still gives important clues as to the location of the emergency if the owner has left an itinerary).

The LEOSAR system consists of four satellites in low-earth orbits circling the earth around the poles. As the Earth rotates the satellites are constantly covering a moving “footprint”. Together the four satellites provide complete Earth coverage within about an hour at mid-latitudes. The LEOSAR satellites are moving with respect to the Earth and they use a Doppler system to provide specific location information regarding the PLB signal. When a PLB is activated, within an hour its signal should be picked up by the LEOSAR satellite, which can then provide an estimate, no worse than 1-3 miles and usually better, of the PLB user’s location. This information is then immediately transmitted to a ground station or, if no ground station is then within reach of the LEOSAR satellite, the data is stored for automatic transmission when a station comes into reach. Note that the GEOSAR system is potentially subject to obstructions blocking a signal in which case the LEOSAR system with moving satellites should pick up the signal.

The USMCC and the AFRCC
In the United States, the various ground stations in the COSPAS/SARSAT system (there is one in Southern California so LEOSAR performance should be good!) relay PLB distress signals to the US Mission Control Center (USMCC) in Maryland operated by the NOAA. In general, all land-based distress signals are distributed by the USMCC to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Langley AFB in Virginia. The AFRCC has responsibility for all inland SAR in the United States. However the Air Force has apparently classified PLB signals as ‘missing person alerts’ which technically shifts responsibility for responding to PLB alerts from the AFRCC to local sheriffs and various state emergency management agencies. Nevertheless the AFRCC has agreed to act as the point of contact in relaying distress alerts from USMCC to the various state and local authorities with which it currently has notification arrangements.

PLBs and SAR
Once the appropriate SAR authorities have been notified, the actual search can begin. Every PLB must be registered with the NOAA. The registration is not done at point of sale but is the responsibility of the owner. The NOAA maintains the database and provides owner information to SAR authorities in an emergency. If the PLB owner intends to rent the unit, then the owner must provide a 24-hour contact with access to current rental user information. Finally, once the SAR mission is under way, the PLB also transmits a second signal at 121.5 MHz for use by SAR homing devices. This is particularly important for PLBs not equipped with or connected to a GPS, as it means that SAR personnel, once the LEOSAR system has provided a location within 1-3 miles or less, should be able to find the distressed party relatively quickly.

• Mike McDermitt

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.

Izaak Walton

Peak:            Mt. Izaak Walton (12,077')
Dates:          July 4-6 (Fri-Sun)
Difficulty:      Class 3, some snow travel
Map:             Graveyard Peak topo
Leader:        Bob Suzuki, SuzukiR@sd-star.com

This should be a relaxed and pleasant (except for mosquitoes) holiday weekend outing. We'll start with a boat ride (~$20 RT) across Lake Thomas Edison, followed by a backpack hike of 7 miles to the granite slabs above Mott Lake. The next morning we'll work through the challenges of the class 3 northeast ridge as we climb to the summit of Mt. Izaak Walton. We'll spend some time there enjoying the mosquito free alpine air. Hopefully, the late spring snow won't make an ice axe necesary. However, a bear canister will be advised.


Peak:            Brewer (13,570’) Class 2
Dates:          July 4-6
Difficulty:      Class 2
Map:             7.5 min Mt Brewer
Leader:        Stephane Mouradian smouradian@hotmail.com
Co-leader:   Nancy Fitzimmons pkclimber@aol.com

This 3 day trip will start from Road’s End in Kings Canyon National Park. On Day 1, we will hike in the King’s Canyon itself and follow Bubbs Creek to establish camp at east lake (11.5 miles, 4400’ of gain). On day 2, we will climb Brewer from the East ridge (2.8 miles, 4000’) and return to camp. Day 3 will be used to get back to Road’s End.

This trip is suitable for beginners with strong backpacking experience and “comfortable” with 8400’ of gain + mileage over 2 days.

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

Donner Cabin Trip

Peak:            Castle Peak, Donner, Judah
Dates:          July 19-20, 2003
Difficulty:      Class 2
Leader:        Chris MacIntosh, 650-325-7841 cmaci@attglobal.net
Co-leader:   Deborah Benham, 650-964-0558 deborah4@pacbell.net

Luxury for PCS'ers! Hot showers, electricity, coffee maker! Stay at South Bay Ski Club Lodge at Soda Springs. On Saturday we'll climb Castle Peak (9103') whose ramparts loom above I-80. On Sunday we'll try a selection of the easier peaks near Donner Pass, such as Mts. Donner and Judah. This weekend is suitable for beginners comfortable with offtrail scrambling and for those averse to camping. Limited to 8, besides leaders, although one week prior to the trip it may be possible to add a few non-climbing partners, if space is available at the lodge. Send check for $24 for 2 nights (lodging only, not food), payable to South Bay Ski Club, and your hiking/climbing resume if we haven't met you before, to Chris MacIntosh, P.O. Box 802, Menlo Park, CA 94026-0802. If over-subscribed, preference given to Sierra Club members.

Matterhorn Peak

Peak:            Matterhorn Peak
Dates:          August 1-3, 2003
Leader:       John Wilkinson, 408-947-0858 jfwilkinson@sbcglobal.net

A leisurely trip to this Northern Yosemite peak. We'll meet in Bridgeport for lunch on Friday, drive to Twin Lakes, and backpack in to a campsite somewhere on Horse Creek. Saturday we'll dayhike the peak, returning to the same campsite. Sunday we'll backpack out and drive home. This is a Class 2 peak and the trip is suitable for beginners. Limited to 5 people. Contact John to reserve a spot.

Tenaya Peak

Peak:            Tenaya Peak, class 2, 10,301'
Dates:          August 9-10, Sat-Sun
Difficulty:      Class 2
Leader:        Chris MacIntosh, 650-325-7841 cmaci@attglobal.net
Co-leader:   Deborah Benham, 650-964-0558 deborah4@pacbell.net

Join us for a backcountry stroll up the sloping side of Tenaya Peak! We've reserved two nights (Fri-Sat) at lovely Tuolumne Meadows campground with plans to climb Tenaya Peak on Saturday and 'pick-a-peak' on Sunday. A non-refundable fee of $8 will reserve your spot. PLEASE CONTACT DEBBIE TO SIGN UP. Must be comfortable hiking off-trail.


Peak:            Stanford (South, 13,963, Class 3)
Dates:          Fri. Aug 8 - Sun. Aug. 10, 2003
Leader:         Charles Schafer 408-354-1545, c_g_schafer@yahoo.com
Co-leader:     Bob Evans, robtwevans@msn.com, Week days: (408) 998-2857

Friday, 8/8: 11 mi. walk in from Onion Valley (9192), over Kearsage Pass (11,811), to camp along JMT in the vicinity of Center Peak (ca 10,800).

Saturday, 8/9: Climb Stanford (the southernmost of the two Standfords) by E. Face, cl. 3; possible side trip to Gregory's Monument, cl. 3). Sunday, 8/10: walk out.


Peaks:            Winchell (13,768, Class 3) & Gayley (13,510, Class 3)
Dates:            Fri. Aug. 22 to Mon Aug. 25, 2003
Difficulty:        Class 2-3
Leader:         Charles Schafer 408-354-1545, c_g_schafer@yahoo.com
Co-leader:     Bob Evans, robtwevans@msn.com, Week days: (408) 998-2857

Friday, 8/22: 9 mi. walk in from Big Pine Creek lot (7677), up the N. Fork trail to the vicinity of Sam Mack Meadow (10,600).

Saturday, 8/23: Climb Winchell (13,768) via E. Arete (cl. 3) and return to camp.

Sunday 8/24: Climb Gayley (13,510) via S.W. Ridge ("The Yellow Brick Road,"cl. 3).

Monday, 8/25: walk out.

Mt. Elbert-Colorado

During a recent family vacation to Colorado, I had an opportunity to hike up a couple of the state's Fourteeners, including the highest. Here is a report of my climb of the highest peak in Colorado.

Although Mt. Elbert is almost as high as Mt. Whitney, it seems like a much lower mountain. Mt. Elbert is located in the Sawatch Range near the headwaters of the Arkansas River. The mountains in this part of Colorado are not jagged, and do not contain any grand cliffs. However, the range does contain more 14,000-foot peaks than any other area of Colorado.

Professor Whitney actually came to Colorado with a team of surveyors a few years after Mt. Whitney was discovered to investigate rumors that there were peaks possibly higher than those in California. After spending some time in the area and discovering numerous high peaks, the professor was able to leave the state happy in the knowledge that his mountain in California would remain the summit of the 48 contiguous states.

When I read that a jeep had once been to the top, and I could see on a map that there were at least two well-defined trails up the mountain, I presumed that Elbert would not offer much of a mountaineering challenge. By following the recommended trail up the northeast ridge from Halfmoon Creek near Leadville, I was able to reach the summit in about three hours. Although the trail is steep in places, it is easy to follow, and continues all the way to the top. It is a popular trail, and I encountered many people along it. Although it was early July, at no point did I cross any snow on my way to the top. A simple register, consisting of a plastic tube with a few scraps of paper inside, was found on the summit. No other artifacts were found on top. The descent back to the car took about two hours.

• George Sinclair

Tenaya Peak, Northeast Buttress

June 22nd, 2002
The day before we did Matterhorn Peak, Steve Cochran and I climbed Tenaya Peak as a warm-up. I don't get out as much as I once did, so this was a good way for me to get my head together for climbing.

Reid and Falkenstein, as well as the advertising at TopoZone, describe this climb as the "Northwest Buttress," but I think Northeast Buttress is a more accurate description.

The climb starts at the East end of Tenaya Lake, going straight up the buttress to the right of the big cirque on the North side of the peak.

There are already some excellent descriptions of this climb at climber.org, so I can't contribute much additional here. Except perhaps some dramatic license.

Darkness was falling on the small tent, high in the Kashmiri frontier not far from the Line of Control. The muffled explosions of distant mortar fire could be heard. On a small carpet lay a tall, bearded man of around fifty. His turbaned head was supported by a small embroidered pillow, and a makeshift, battery-powered dialysis machine hummed nearby. Another robed man also in the tent spoke softly into a sattelite phone. Then he put down the phone and knelt next to the sick man. "Your excellency," he said, "Doctor Zahiri tells me that the device has been prepared. It is time."

Steve and I walked from the Tenaya Lake parking lot across the meadow.

"What time is it?" he asked.

"Where, here or in Kashmir?" I replied, slapping a mosquito. It was about

8:15 a.m. PDT.

We walked unroped as far as was safe, going left to get around some wet slabs. At an elevation near the floor of the big cirque (but on the face to the right of it) we roped up and simulclimbed, the leader placing protection and the follower retrieving it. There are multiple possible routes on the face.

Near the top we belayed each other for three pitches or so. The hardest move was about 5.7, on a dihedral near the top, but this section could have been avoided by skirting left around it. We topped out on the ridge about 200 feet east of the summit (10,300') at half past noon.

We had a leisurely lunch at the summit. Then we made an easy descent down the back side, down the Mildred Lake drainage, hitting the Sunrise trail near the West end of the lake. This route, and the walk back around the lake, took a while; we got back to the car at 3:15 p.m. Overall, it was a fun, moderate climb with great views.

• Roy Lambertson

Matterhorn Peak North Arete

June 23rd, 2002
'I nudged myself closer into the ledge and closed my eyes and thought "Oh what a life this is, why do we have to be born in the first place, and only so we can have our poor gentle flesh laid out to such impossible horrors as huge mountains and rock and empty space," and with horror I remembered the famous Zen saying, "When you get to the top of a mountain, keep climbing." '

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Steve Cochran and I fared better on Matterhorn Peak than Kerouac's tortured protagonist, but there were certainly moments like the one he described.

If you get to the entrance to Mono Village after 4:30 a.m. you can park on the Twin Lakes road right outside the entrance for free. We arrived around that time, and started up the trail toward Horse Creek at 5:00.

There was just enough combined light from the setting moon and the rising sun for us to make our way. Steve promised that if we brought headlamps, we would not need them. This turned out to be true.

It would be a challenge for us to try to do the climb in one day, but we were motivated. Between the two of us we had four unsuccessful separate attempts on the route; we had each been turned back before by everything from poor weather to altitude lassitude.

The first part of the approach, up the use trail to the lovely tarn below the Matterhorn Glacier, went pretty quickly; we reached the tarn by 8:00 a.m. I'm slow to acclimatize, so I bogged down after that. It took another three hours for us to reach the entry onto the North Arete, a bit up the Northeast gully.

Steve shuttled a pair of boots, crampons, and one ice axe to the top of the snow, which was only 150 feet higher. We left one set of the snow climbing gear at the bottom of the rock climb, in case we had to rappel off. I ate a chocolate bar to boost my energy. We finally started up the rock at 11:20.

We simulclimbed most of the 4th class sections, and did a number of short pitches to avoid rope drag as well as difficulty communicating after going around corners. Skilled climbers could combine a number of the short pitches that we did.

1-2 : 4th class from the gully to a ledge on the prow.

3: Straight up about a half rope; stopped to avoid rope drag.

4: Traversed right onto a ledge on the West side of Arete. Another short pitch.

5: Straight up a crack to a large ledge

6: Traversed left around the arete to a chimney below a big chockstone.

7: Up and a bit left to another ledge.

8: Straight up to the ridge. Up face to an awkward chimney. 5.6.

9-10 : 4th class along ridge toward summit. 3rd class to summit.

Protection: The usual nuts and cams, plus a few extra long slings. We had three of these and they came in handy for slinging horns, especially on the 4th class sections.

Conditions were great, just a gentle breeze. Towards the end of the climb it got cold as we moved back to the now shady East side of the arete. We reached the summit, 12,280', at 4:30 p.m.

The descent was uneventful, though we cursed ourselves for forgetting the mosquito repellent for the second day in a row. Dead tired but pleased that we had broken our losing streaks, we reached the car by moonlight, at 9:30 p.m.

The drive home was undoubtedly the most dangerous part of our day. We alternated stints at the wheel with napping in the passenger seat. I made it to bed by 3:45 a.m. My 18 month-old son, bless his heart, woke my wife and I up at 5:30 and stayed up. He playfully nudged me into full consciousness by bouncing on my head. I got to work Monday morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 8:00.

• Roy Lambertson

Mera Peak and Island Peak Trek

April 8-14 2003
Peaks: Mera Peak, Island Peak
Place: Nepal / India
Difficulty: glaciers, rope used
Participants: Craig Deidrick, Jeff Fisher, Will Hirst, Chris Kramar, Bob Evans, Rick and Dee Booth (author).

On April 8, 2003 eight travelers met at San Francisco Airport for a 1:30 AM flight to Nepal. We boarded the Cathay Pacific 747 with about 50 other passengers. Consequently, we had the entire back of the airplane to ourselves. Each of us chose a row of four seats and after dinner, got a good night's sleep. That was the most pleasant flight I've ever taken to Asia.

Once in Hong Kong we put on our surgical masks kindly given to us by Hailen Mak. I wondered if I would look strange with a mask on but once in the airport I realized I would stand out if I did not have a mask on. Two more flights got us to Kathmandu.

We were met at Tribhuven International Airport by Tamding, a founder of the trekking company handling our trek to Mera Peak and Island Peak. He took us to the Tibet Guest House in the Thamel district, which is a very nice place to stay. It is modest by US standards but very clean and the personnel are attentive and polite. If you wish, you can pay 50 rupees to send e-mail and surf the net in their internet room. There are numerous internet cafis now in Kathmandu.

On April 9th we returned to the airport for our flight to Lukla. I had never been to Lukla but I had heard that since the airstrip was paved landings and take offs are much safer. It is still a wild ride, nevetheless.

The itinerary for our 24-day trek had changed several times before we started walking. The final version was to avoid Zatrwa La, just above Lukla, because there was too much snow for the porters to go over it safely. The alternative route was to go around the pass which had us camping at 9,000 feet for four nights. This put a kink in our acclimatization plans.

Our Sherpa guides were Ang Nima, a climbing guide, Ang Babu and Krishna. Our sirdar was Dawa Jainbu from whom it was difficult to get a straight story on what our plans were. Nevertheless, they took good care of us and always kept us in sight.

The first day of our trek we were accompanied by Warren Storkman who entertained us with stories of past treks. We were amazed that everyone seemed to know Warren. On the second day, Warren turned back to meet the 17-day trekking group. We felt cast adrift without our leader, the great Babu as we affectionately called him. What would we talk about at dinner? We didn't ponder it long before conversation turned to all those topics your mother told you not to talk about at the dinner table. Most dinners were loud, raucous affairs.

Our walk took us through beautiful rhododendron forests and up the Hinku Valley. Spring time is a good time for a trek in the Khumbu because the flowers are spectacular but the views are sometimes obscured by the moisture in the air. It also rained just about every afternoon.

There is a lot of flood damage in this valley from 1998 when the moraine containing the Sabai Tsho burst. One report indicates that millions of cubic meters of water poured down the river valley in about 10 minutes. The scenery remains beautiful despite the damage.

We rejoined the normal trekking trail to Mera Peak near the village of Tagnag at about 14,000 feet. We stayed here two days and were treated to a shower. Our next stop was Khare at about 16,000 feet where we shuffled the schedule a bit and stayed two days hoping to get in a little more acclimatization before starting up to Mera La.

Just above Khare we got onto snow continuously and climbed up to Mera La which is at about 18,000 feet. From there we continued up to our base camp for Mera Peak at 19,000 feet. It was windy but the weather was good that day and we did not get any precipitation. A group ahead of us had already taken the camping spots on the rocks so our tents were set up on the snow somewhat in the path of the wind. Our tireless guides served us tea and dinner while we lazed around in our tents or tried to catch a glimpse of Mount Everest.

We started out at about 4:30 AM for the summit of Mera Peak. We had two rope teams because there are crevasses along the way otherwise Mera is nontechnical and not very steep. From the upper slopes the views of the high peaks around Mount Everest are incredible. The day was clear and it was very nice to have the warmth of the sun. My rope team reached the central summit of Mera at about 2:00 just as the other rope team was heading back down. The slope up to the central summit is about 40-degrees and is the steepest part of the climb. The north summit is slightly higher but there is a wide crevasse separating the two summits. A broken ladder may once have provided easy access to the higher summit. We were satisfied with reaching the 21,321 foot summit.

Descending took only a few hours and once back at our base campsite, we were given hot juice and noodle soup by our cook. Thus fortified we continued down Mera La to our campsite at about 16,500 feet. This put us in a barren but beautiful river valley following the Honggu Khola. We followed this valley to the end where we climbed up and over Ambulapcha La.

This pass was very difficult and involved many feet of fixed lines on both sides of the pass a few moves of overhanging 5.4 rock at 19,000 feet and rappelling down steep snow. Porters, guides and clients all agreed that it was not a good route.

Once on the other side of the pass we continued to Chukung where we decided to have another rest day before heading up to Island Peak base camp. Here we were on a popular tourist trail so we saw many more trekkers and expeditions than we had in days.

Island Peak is a more popular peak than Mera or so it seemed from the number of tents at the lower camp. We made camp at about 16,600 feet since there is no water available at the high r camp at about 18,000 feet. The next morning only two members of our team felt fit enough to climb the peak so an account of the climb by Bob Evans follows.

The rest of our trek back to Lukla took us through Tengboche where we visited the monastery and Namche Bazaar where we met up with Warren and Dixie Storkamn and the group from the 17-day trek. We learned from Warren that the Chinese government had cancelled our visas to Tibet and closed the Nepal/China border.

This was a strenuous trek but was well worth the effort. The scenery and camaraderie were great. I don't know our mileage for the trek but our approximate total elevation gain was 36,400 feet.

Island Peak by Bob Evans

Turn Back: The walking wounded, which was 5 of 7, turned back to camp (Imja Tse Base Camp, not the High Camp or 'Attack Camp' as labeled on one map) after about 15 minutes, along with our sirdar and two Sherpas. Chris Kramer and Bob Evans proceeded with the other climbing Sherpa A. Ningma.

The route was well ducked snow free scree and rock up to about 18,500 feet.

At about 10:30, we reached snow, donned crampons, and roped up. A short narrowish bit follow d by a short moderately angled traverse led to the flat portion of the glacier. At the first and only crevasse, the front portion of the glacier had sunk about six feet but at one point leaned against the upper portion. Accessory cord and cut steps led to the upper portion.

The route up has changed from the guidebook description and photograph. The guidebook shows a crossing low on the glacier to the base of the head wall, where the route angled up, and then a relatively long ridge walk to the final summit ridge. However, a bergshrund covered the length of the glacier and could be crossed (easily) at only one snow bridge further up the glacier. Above the snow bridge, the head wall was steeper, between 55 and 65 degrees (my visual estimate). Thin (about 6 mm) poly pool line had been fixed. I used a micro-ascender and 'French' style, though I saw some front point. The head wall was about 2 1/4 pitches, some of it hard ice, which made for good placement of the ax by overhead swing; some of the ice was rotten to a depth of about six inches.

At the top of the head wall, the final ridge was immediate. One crevasse intersected the ridge and had to be stepped around. The final ridge was fixed with rope and was about 100 feet vertical. No views at the top, due to falling snow; though Chris, who reached the top of the head wall well before me, enjoyed the fabled view of Lhotse. Arrived on summit: About 1 PM

Left summit: About 1:30 PM

For the descent, we repelled down. At the head wall, we used rope, which did not reach the bottom (snow bridge), so we had to transfer over to the pool line to finish. Back at camp: 4:30 PM.

Total round trip: 13 hours. Ang Nima left his pool line and rope on the mountain. He returned the next day to retrieve them, and he reported that he ascended in 2 hours from Base Camp and descended in 1 hour.

• Dee Booth

Oh No!! Not Pile of Rubble Again!

June, 2003
I left home around 8:30 PM and got to Tioga Pass 00:30. The night was windy and cold with temperatures in the low 20's. Leaving the trailhead at the entrance station at 6:30 I went left towards Glacier Canyon. I took my time taking pictures and lollygagging, hoping the snow will soften as the day grows warmer. It didn't.

Finally at the bottom of the couloir, the bergschrund was still bridged over. Just to be safe, I stayed near some rocks on the right side in an area where I thought we crossed last year. The snow was soft enough for good cramponing, but not soft enough to kick steps. Also in some places it was hard to get the spike of my ice axe to sink more then a couple of inches in, but I always felt I could self arrest if I needed to, which I didn't have to verify.

It was very cold and windy. I am sure that is part of the reason the couloir didn't soften as much as I expected. It was good on one hand not to have to kick steps, but I prefer to have a bit more of the spike to sink in for safety. The angle of the couloir really eases off about half way up, where I was able to relax a little bit. I used my French technique the whole way up.

Out the top around 12:30, I got to the summit of Dana by 1:30. I was getting pretty tired by then, so had a nice long break on the summit, and return to the car around 4 PM.

• Ron Karpel

Ski North East Face of Lassen

June 7-8 2003
Peaks: Lassen
Place: California
Difficulty: ice axe, snow board, crampons, skis, snowshoes

For those looking for a little beta. Erik, on snow shoes and snow board, and I on Telemarks went up Lassen yesterday. Because Hwy 89 is closed at the Devastated Area parking lot and because this is the most direct route for the North East face we started our hike from there. With no snow for at least a mile from the parking lot we hiked out with our equipment on our backs. Early in the morning the snow was firm enough that Erik didn't use his snowshoes and skinning up to the higher angle slopes made for easy walking. The weather was beautiful all day, T shirt weather even at the top!

There were a few other groups on the mountain and there was great spring corn around 10am. At about 11am the warm weather loosened the snow pack enough that one tele skier started an avalanche on her way down and got partially buried. Fortunately her partner was able to assist her and none were injured. On our way down the face was avalanche prone as well and many small avalanches were created by some deep turns but we were not caught in them. Overall, it was a great trip and made for an excellent Saturday.

• Mike Griffo

Mt. Darwin

June 15, 2003
Peaks: Mt Darwin
Place: California
Difficulty: ice axe, crampons, glaciers

I climbed Mt. Darwin yesterday, after hiking in from North Lake via Lamarck Col on Saturday. I went up the North Glacier couloir (in the Sierra Classics book) and descended the West Ridge. The couloir is supposedly averages 45 degrees, but it seemed less then that to me--maybe the steepest part is 45 degrees. In fact, I encountered steeper snow coming down the headwall of the West Ridge.

The bottom part was slushy with a thin crust that quickly melted away. In places I was postholing to my knees even at 8:00 in the morning. The upper part was icy, but luckily (since I was using aluminum crampons and an axe with an aluminum pick) was almost all frozen neve but it appeared that there was water ice under the surface just waiting to be uncovered.

The snow started at 11,000 but it is just in patches now. I did not see any continuous snow coverage, even up higher. The snow was a bit slushy but in general wasn't too difficult to walk on. Where there was postholing, I *usually* didn't sink in further then my knees. The Lamarck Lakes are completely ice-free, but the lakes in Darwin Canyon are still mostly frozen over. It was warm and there was running water from snow-melt everywhere.

The area around North Lake was swarming with mosquitoes, but I didn't notice any yet at the Lamarck Lakes and in Darwin Canyon.

• Christopher Jain

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. 

Red + White Ball At Stanford

Peak:           Red + White Mtn. (12,816'), Mt. Stanford -N (12,838'), Mt. Crocker (12,458')
Dates:         Jul 4-6 (Fri-Sun)
Contact:      Tim Hult, 408-970-0760, hutch1101@aol.com

Ascent of Red + White Mtn is the primary objective, with possible ascents of Mt Stanford North and Mt Crocker. Crampons, ice axe and helmets may be required due to late season snows and loose rock on Red and White. This trip for up to 6 people affords us the opportunity to access a several moderately high peaks via a scenic trail with no major passes to cross with heavy backpacks. Big McGee Lake has several nice campsites situated in a basin beneath the aptly named Red and White Mountain. Should be stunning this year with all the late season snows on it. Red and White Mountain, via the SE route (class 2-3). This route may be filled with snow however, but an ascent of Mt Crocker will be taken as a consolation prize. Bear canisters are required for this trip as no bear lockers are available at these sites. Signing a release form will be required at the trailhead as will reimbursement for permit costs.

Mts Abbott and Dade

Peak:           Mt Abbot (13,704 ft.) and Mt Dade (13,600 ft)
Dates:         Jul 18-20 (Fri-Sun)
Difficulty:     class 3, ice axe, crampons, helmet, rope
Contact:      Tim Hult, 408-970-0760, hutch1101@aol.com

Helmet and Ice axe are required; crampons, harness and ropes may be required as well due to late season snows this year. This trip for up 6 people takes us to a spectacular part of the Sierras and a camp at Treasure Lakes. Treasure Lakes is a relatively short hike from Rock Creek car park. Given 3 days, we will attempt both Mt Abbot (class 3) and Mt Dade (class 2). Mount Dade offers the unique opportunity to climb a straightforward 1000 ft snow couloir, which will surely be filled this year. Mount Abbot via the class 3 N. Couloir (see page 326 in Secor) Again, this couloir should be filled with snow this year, making our ascent straightforward.

Completion of the climb will require 3 class rock-climbing skills, however. All other routes on this peak are as difficult or harder making this a terrific peak to climb. Bear canisters are required for this trip. Signing a release form will be required at the trailhead as will reimbursement for permit costs

Mt. Russell

Peak:            Mt. Russell, 14,086 ft.
Dates:          August 23-25 (Saturday-Monday)
Difficulty:      Class 3+
Contact:       Cecil Anison, cecilann@attbi.com

Secor - "This is the finest peak in the Whitney Region. It is high and beautiful and none of its routes are easy." Join us for a thrilling and breathtaking adventure to one of the most beautiful parts of the Sierra.

Call only if you're comfortable with very exposed Class 3 climbing and have had recent experience.

Clyde Minaret

Peak:          Clyde Minaret
Dates:        July 19-21, 2003 (Sat-Mon)
Difficulty:    Class 4
Contact:     Bob Suzuki suzukir@sd-star.com
Contact:     Jim Ramaker ramaker@us.ibm.com

Even by its easiest route, this mountaineer's peak is steep and challenging. Saturday we'll hike in to the Ediza Lake area. Sunday we'll attempt the peak via the "rock route," which involves crossing a steep snowfield, some class-4 climbing, and some rappelling on the way down.

Experience in all three areas is required. Required gear includes ice axe, crampons, harness, and helmet. Monday we'll hike out.

2003 Sierra Challenge

Peaks:          Virginia, Banner, Red + White, Gabb, Thompson, Sill, Norman Clyde, Tyndall, McAdie, Langley
Dates:          Aug 9-18, 2003 (Sat-Mon)
Difficulty:      Class 2-4
Location:     Eastern Sierra
Contact:      Bob Burd, snwbord@hotmail.com

Ten (10) challenging dayhikes in the High Sierra, from Virginia Peak in the north to Mt. Langley in the south. This is the third year for this private/ non-sponsored event, drawing on a new list of peaks, including 3 14ers and 3 'Mountaineers' Peaks. Join us for one or all, from easy class 2 to challenging class 4 climbing. If you've ever wondered why you need to take 50lbs of gear and three days to climb a Sierra peak, this may be the alternative you've been looking for. Information, details and sign up info can be found at: http://www.snwburd.com/bob/challenge/

Triple Trip

Peaks:            Glacier Ridge, Whaleback, Lion Rock, Mount Stewart, Triple Divide Peak, Kern Point, Picket Guard, Milestone Mountain, Midway Mountain
Dates:          Aug 16-24 (Sat-Sun)
Difficulty:      class 2, class 3, class 4
Location:      Western Sierra Nevada (Triple Divide 15', Mt Whitney 15' map)
Contact:     Steve Eckert
Contact:     Aaron Schuman

The ninth annual Climb-o-rama rumbles to the Triple Divide in the very heart of the Sierra Nevada. Entering from the west side of Kings Canyon National Park, we'll pack to Roaring River and up Cloud Canyon, climb the Whaleback, Glacier Ridge, Triple Divide and maybe even its southern outliers, Lion Rock and Mount Stewart. We'll cross the Great Western Divide at Colby Pass, climb Picket Guard and Kern Point, even the rarely visited west side of Milestone Mountain, and finally Midway Mountain. After all of these successes, we'll hike out the same long trail that we took into the center of the range. Limit 15.

Beyond the Pale

Peak:           Palisade Crest 13,553'
Dates:         Sep 13-15 (Sat-Mon)
Difficulty:     Class 4, helmet, rope used
Location:    Eastern Sierra Nevada (Big Pine 15' map)
Contact:     Charles Schafer, 408-354-1545 c_g_schafer@yahoo.com
Contact:     Aaron Schuman

Webster's dictionary defines a palisade as a wall of large pointed stakes set in the ground for fortification. One of those intimidating posts is a pale. The Palisades are the best defended ridge in the Sierra Nevada. We will besiege the Palisade Crest, a particularly steep and jagged medieval battlement, and if we are fortunate, we will catapult ourselves up to the very crenels. Endurance, sangfroid, teamwork, and skill in roped climbing are essential for success on this trip. Limit 6 people.


Peak:          Chulu West 21,752 ft.
Dates:        October 2-25,(Thu-Sat) 2003
Contact:     Warren Storkman, 650-493-8959 dstorkman@aol,com

Class A TrekerPeak
The Manang region off the Annapurna Circuit
16 day trek and climbimg $800.00 total
Air travel in Nepal $245.00
Peak permit (6 persons) $60.00
Climbing sherpa (2) (6 persons)$80.00
Tenative air from SF to KTM $1,250.00


Peak:          Kilimanjaro
Dates:        January, 2004
Contact:     Warren Storkman, 650-493-8959 dstorkman@aol,com

Kilimanjaro is shaping up for middle of January 2004. Considering the Western Breach route.

7 day cost: Park fee: $480.00; Forest fee: $20.00

Fully equipted package $670.00

Total $1170.00

3 nights at the hotel $30.00 a night includes breakfast and dinner. More to come later in the year. Open to all.

Can try this website for first information on Kilimanjaro climb:


Elected Officials

     Stephane Mouradian / smouradian@hotmail.com
     650-551-0392 home
     1340 Hull Drive, San Carlos, CA 94070

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
     Andrew F. Macica / andy.macica@kla-tencor.com
     408-859-7634 home
     430 Roading Drive, San Jose, CA 95123

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
     Tom Driscoll / tdriscoll@eooinc.com
     650-938-2106 home
     1745 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94043

Publicity Committee Positions

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

PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
     Roger Dettloff/ pcs_web_roger@pacbell.net
     Redwood City, CA

Publicity Chair:
     Arun Mahajan / pcs-pub-chair@climber.org
     650-327-8598 home
     1745 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

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  the email list the PCS feeds (pcs-issues@climber.org), 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 7/27/2003  •  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