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April, 2005                        Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                   Vol. 39 No. 4

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

General Meeting




Date:              Tuesday, April 12th

Time:              7:30 PM

Where:           Peninsula Conservation Center

                        3921 E Bayshore Rd

                        Palo Alto, CA

                        (see below for directions)

Program:      Canyoneering In The San Rafael Swell  presented by Hal Tompkins                 

Canyoneering is much like rock climbing except that you are usually downclimbing.  Face climbing and chimneying are the usual techniques.  Anchor-building for rappels can be quite stimulating.  The most common anchor is a sling around a rock or branch buried in the sand.  Fortunately,  there’s lots of sand in Utah!

Hal Tompkins is Chair of the Loma Prieta Chapter, Rock Climbing Section.

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

Wilderness First Aid

Wondering how to update your first aid certification so you can lead trips for PCS?  Want to become a leader and need that wilderness first aid training? Look no further! Foster Calm, organized by Bobbie Foster, offers great classes for learning and practicing wilderness first aid in an outdoor setting. In addition to a half day of outdoor scenarios practice, there is a focus on patient assessment, shock and bleeding, head and spinal injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, heat and cold injuries, and much more.  For more information, go to www.fostercalm.com, or contact Bobbie Foster, 530-265-0997. Latest course offerings:


April 2-3       Stanford University, CA

April 9-10    Sacramento, CA

April 16-17  San Francisco, CA


April 13      Patient Assessment Skills Practice

A fun evening of practicing patient assessment skills. Join a group of wilderness first aiders and have fun taking turns being patient and rescuer…can you solve the mystery of what is wrong with your patient by getting all the clues? The only requirement is that you have taken a wilderness first aid class. This evening is a review of the systems you learned in your WFA class. Class sponsored by BAWT and held at their offices: 300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco.

Contact Bobbie if interested in participating:

bobbie@fostercalm.com, or, 530-265-0997.


PCS Trips

PCS trips must be submitted through the Scheduler (see back cover for details).

Mt Adams and Sierra Buttes

Date:       April 16-17 (Sat-Sun)

Peak:       Adams, 8197’, class 2

            Sierra Buttes, 8587’, class 2

Leader(s):              Charles Schafer, 408-354-1545,      


                                Bob Evans, 408-998-2857,


I plan to try and dayhike each of these peaks: one on Saturday and one on Sunday.  It will be more difficult than it would be during the summer because we will not be able to drive as high on some of the backcountry roads, but it appears that we will be able to get close enough to accomplish our objectives.  We will be using snowshoes for at least part of the way.  This is an area which I haven’t explored much, and it should provide some good views.  Sierra Buttes is said to be a very scenic summit.  This trip should be suitable for relative beginners, although you will need to be in reasonable shape.

Telescope Peak

Date:       April 23, Saturday

Peak:       Telescope Peak, 11000’

Leader:   George Van Gorden, h: 408-779-2320


We will meet at the Charcoal Kilns in Death Valley NP at 6:30AM on Saturday morning.  We’ll climb the peak by the regular trail and cover about 14 miles, 4000’ of gain.  Up on the high ridge, we will probably be in snow and we will carry snowshoes if so advised by the park ranger and/or our own judgment. We will be back to our cars by dark and, if not, we have a full moon.

Mt Lassen

Date:       May 7th, Saturday

Peak:       Lassen Peak, 10400’

Leader:  George Van Gorden, h: 408-779-2320


We will meet at 8:00AM, Saturday morning, at the old ski chalet near the southwest entrance to Mt Lassen National park.  We’ll climb the mountain on skis or snowshoes (individual choice) and return to our cars in the late afternoon.


Dewey Point: Ski and Snowshoe Trip

Date climbed: Sunday, 20th February 2005        

By Arun Mahajan [arun.mahajan@att.net]

The bad weather on Saturday - rain in the Yosemite Valley and snow in the higher elevations -  made one wonder if anybody would even show up at the Badger Pass/Glacier Point trailhead on Sunday morning for the proposed private ski and snowshoe day trip to Dewey Point.  As it was, several had cancelled, and justifiably so for fear of the weather and the driving conditions.  Some of us who had stayed in the Valley Saturday night, took the shuttle bus to the trailhead and the bus had to stop at one point to put on chains.  Some others braved the conditions and drove up anyway.  Driving conditions on the final five-mile approach were not the best, but not impossible, either.

Finally, at about 10AM, thirty minutes after the schedule start time, we got going.  The group included: Scott Kreider, Dan Tischler, Carmen, Stephanie, Natali Guishar, Richard Gigax, Amanda Jobbins, Ted Raczek, and organizer and scribe, Arun Mahajan.  Despite the large amounts of snowfall the previous night, there were several other parties of skiers and snowshoers. The snow was soft and deep and not as sticky as we were expecting. We all made good time as we took the steeper trail (#14, I think) on the way towards Dewey Point.  This trail is rated “black”, but that is a relative rating and suitable for skiers at the advanced beginner level.

At about the halfway point where we had all stopped for a break, we were spooked by a loud sound and reverberations under our feet.  It almost seemed like being in the vicinity of an exploding charge.  Ted explained that this was probably the snow compacting.  Whatever it was, it scared us all!   Several times along the way, the sun shone through the clouds and we even got some of the famed views when we finally got to Dewey Point.   After lunch, we started back with the intention of trying to beat the clock to get to the trailhead for the 2PM shuttle.  This time, we took the easier trail (#18, I think) that is fairly flat as it gets closer to the Glacier Point Road.  Amanda (on snowshoes) and Scott (on skis) put on a burst of speed and Amanda even made it just before the bus was about to leave. The rest of the group was not that fast and so, had to wait ‘til 4PM for the next shuttle.  As far as waits go, this was not unpleasant at all. The salty, but hot, soup at the Badger Pass cafeteria certainly hit the spot!  We considered ourselves lucky that we got to sneak in a trip in the mountains on a weekend that had bad weather conditions elsewhere.


Mt Clarence King, Fin Dome and Mt Gardiner


Date Climbed: 20-26 August 2004

By Ron Norton [Norton@rglobal.net]

The author would like to thank the California Mountaineering Club for organizing this climb. Ron’s report was originally posted on climber.org and is reprinted with his permission.

When Joe White and I started planning this trip, we envisioned a week in the Sierra that would have a little something for everyone who joined us: Challenging climbing, a chance to hike a section of the John Muir Trail,(JMT), and a visit to one of the most scenic areas in the Sierra. 

After a week that started with rain, hail, lightning, and fog only to ease up and allow enjoyable climbing on some great routes, combined with good companionship, big horn sheep sightings, backpacking through a section of the JMT, and a trailhead encounter with the biker in the pink miniskirt, we were not disappointed.

Friday August 20th. Joe and I meet for lunch at the Subway in Independence and then head over to the Wilder House to meet Skip Wilder who will shuttle us from the Taboose Pass trailhead (where we leave a car) to the Onion Valley trailhead where our trip would start.  Skip proved to be quite a colorful character and kept us entertained during the drive with stories about his life growing up and living in the Owens Valley.  Those looking for a Sierra shuttle should consider these folks (866) 870-2119 they are reliable and reasonably priced

As soon as we get to the trailhead campground and get our tents set up, it starts raining.  During one of the breaks in the rain, Joe and I take a walk around the campground and have one of those 'Now there's something you don't see everyday' encounters:  2 bikers (the motorcycle type) are taking refuge from the rain under a large tree. One of them (the bikerette) is adorned in a hot pink mini skirt with a matching top that reveals way too much skin.  Not sure if this was some sort of an omen for our trip (good?bad??), or just a poor choice in motorcycling apparel, we move deliberately back to our tents.  Later that afternoon and into the evening, Asher Waxman, Gerhard Japp, and Jack Wickel arrive and join us in our soggy campsite where we cook dinner and make sure that no beer is left behind.

Saturday August 21st. Everybody is up, packed and ready to start moving by 7:45 a.m.  Before leaving, we meet Brian Smith, the 6th member of our group.  He had arrived at the trailhead at 5:00 a.m. and decides that he needs a little more sleep before hiking in and meeting up with us in  camp later that evening.  We have a pleasant and unhurried hike into our camp which we strategically choose near a small tarn just south of Glen Pass. Our thinking is that it made no sense to hump all the way over Glen Pass on day 1 since the next day's hiking and climbing objectives were moderate (3-4 mile backpack and an afternoon attempt of Fin Dome).  As we are setting up our tents, R.J. Secor, the 7th and final member of our group wanders into camp.  He has come in from the west side and spent some time climbing around Charlotte Lake.  Once our tents are up, it rains like hell for about 2 hours.  Mixed in with the rain is plenty of hail and lightning.

Things finally calm down around 6:00 p.m. and we are able to emerge from our shelters and cook dinner.  By the time we all get to bed, Brian has not showed up we figure that he is camped nearby or still sleeping at the trailhead.

Sunday August 22nd. We are all moving at 7:00 a.m. and reach Glen Pass at 8:00 a.m. where we get our first view of the beautiful 60 Lakes and Rae Lakes basins.  As we make our way down from the pass and towards Rae Col we run into Brian who is camped at one of the lakes just north of the pass (we had given up on him at Glen Pass).  He had passed through our previous night's camp during the storm and none of us (who were all warm and snug in our tents) could hear his shouts as he passed through.  He figured that we had pushed ahead and had gone over the pass in hopes of finding us there.Now with all trip participants aboard, we head over Rae Col and down to our camp for the next 3 nights - a small lake SW of Fin Dome.

By noon we have established camp and are ready for an attempt of Fin Dome.  We are hoping to find the elusive class 3 route, but bring along a rope (100' of 9mm) and some slings just in case.  We start up a chute on the SW side of the dome and then get onto a ramp that leads up and to the left.  This ramp get a bit slippery at times because of some hail left over from yesterday's storm so we are forced to grovel around in some short  pine trees for more secure footing.  When this ramp peters out, we climb up onto a ledge which takes us up and to the right.  When this ledge ends, we climb up to higher ledges and easier terrain that takes us all to the top. Because of the gathering clouds, and previous days thunderstorms, we limit our time on the summit and make it back to camp by around 4:00 p.m.

I don't know if there is a definitive class 3 route for this climb.  We saw different variations for several sections of our route and even ran into a party descending via a different route than we took.  We did set up a quick belay for one short, strenuous section and used 2 rappels to avoid down climbing some slippery ledges.  We all agreed that this was a challenging, but worthy, climb.

Monday, August 23rd. We get a 6:30 a.m. start for our attempt of Mt. Clarence King.  Even though we didn't get any rain yesterday, the constant flow of clouds from the northwest causes us to keep an eye on the weather all day.  From our camp we follow the trail down into the basin for  about 1mile to a location just past Point 3361 and where Clarence King comes back into view.  From here, we leave the trail and work our way up to the large lake that is east of Clarence King (roughly following the drainage).  We now must find a way to get from this lake up through the cliffs that lead to the south slope of the peak (due west of the lake).  Fortunately, everyone in our group (except Joe and I) had been here before and knew the way.  Near the top right side (climbers right) of the cliff, there is a ramp that leads slightly up and to the left.  A large overhanging boulder near the start (which we had to crawl under) will help to identify the correct ramp.  Once we are on the south slope it is a straightforward traverse and climb to a point ~150 ft below the summit  this is where the real climbing begins.

After dropping our packs and putting on harnesses, we climb one pitch (70-80' ft) of fun 4th class rock (using only slings for protection).  This gets us all up to the base of the summit block.  To protect the very exposed moves onto the summit, we set up a somewhat unconventional, but secure, top rope over the summit block by throwing the rope over the summit block and then belaying the climber from a secure, anchored position on the other side of the summit block.  After making the final move onto the summit we all agree that Bolton C. Brown, who made the first ascent in 1896 without protection, had big huevos.

A couple of rappels and some down climbing and we are back to our packs at 2:30 p.m.  An uneventful, but scenic, slog gets us back into camp at 5:45 p.m.  As we are enjoying dinner in camp that night, the fog rolls in and for a little while it feels like we are in Pismo Beach instead of the high Sierra (at least to me).

Tuesday, August 24th. After saying our goodbyes to Brian (he has to return home for work), we are again moving at 6:30 a.m.  And after two  days of climbing, we are all a little tired.  In fact, by the time we reach 60 Lakes Col, 2 of our climbing compadres have decided to pass on climbing Mt.Gardiner and simply enjoy the day exploring the area.  This leaves four of us for an attempt of Mt. Gardiner.  Our plan for the climb is to go over 60 Lakes Col into Gardiner Basin and then head up the east chute/ridge to the final summit ridge.  On our way up to 60 lakes Col, we are treated to arare encounter with 7 Sierra Nevada Big Horn Sheep!  Once up to the col, we work our way down through some large boulders to the lakes at the south end of Gardiner Basin.  From here we survey the east chute and try to pick out a route that will avoid scree as much as possible.  As we head up we find that most (but not all) of the loose stuff can be avoided by staying closer to the east ridge.  We reach the top of the chute, and after some delicate class 3 climbing find ourselves on the south summit staring at the obvious crux of the climb  a vertical traverse of several hundred feet to the actual summit.

While none of the climbing appears that difficult, the 700 ft.+ exposure on both sides of the ridge makes us all think carefully about continuing. Gerhard, R.J. and I head out onto the ridge and after no more than 20 minutes of exhilarating climbing are at the true summit.  We bring the rope just in case, but it stays on my back.  We carefully traverse back to the south summit and then all of us except R.J. retrace our route back to camp (He takes a detour and climbs Mt. Cotter on the way back).

Wednesday August 25th. We all hike together to the junction of the 60 Lakes Basin trail with the John Muir Trail (JMT).  Here we part company with Gerhard, Asher and Jack heading back to Onion Valley and R.J. heading out via Bubbs Creek.  Joe and I turn onto the JMT and start heading north for the final 30 miles of our journey.  Since we are well acclimated and our packs are much lighter, we make good time as we pass through this spectacular area  even with plenty of stops for picture taking.  By noon we have reached the suspension bridge (very cool) over Woods Creek and are starting to talk about getting out in 2 days instead of 3 as originally planned.  As we chug up the trail towards higher terrain and Pinchot Pass, we talk more and more about seeing family and friends and enjoying a good meal (and beer..mmmmm). - I know we will be heading out on Thursday.

About an hour before we make camp, we run into an interesting character who claims to have been in the backcountry for 38 days.  After chatting with him, we both realize that he is not your typical backcountry traveler (he also has this disturbing pinkish-red film that covers his teeth and lips).  He reminds me of a cross between Cosmo Kramer and Hannibal Lechter. Joe thinks he may have escaped from a state mental hospital.  Maybe we are tired and not thinking clearly, but we are both happy to see him go over the pass that evening.

We make camp on one of the last lakes before Pinchot Pass at an elevation of 11,300 ft.  It is a cold and windy camp and the wind blowing through Mt. Wynne sounds like a freight train.

Thursday August 26th. We break camp using headlamps and are hiking towards Pinchot Pass at 6:00 a.m.  It's a cool morning (below 30 F) and we are moving quickly to stay warm.  In our haste, we almost miss the group of 6-7 big horn sheep that are grazing just south of the pass.  The pass is colder and windier than our camp was so we keep moving until we reach a warm and sunny break spot a little north of Lake Marjorie.  From here we make it easily to Taboose Pass and then start the punishing descent to the trailhead.  Fortunately, the weather stays relatively cool (high 80's) all the way to the 5,400 ft trailhead that we reach before 2:00 p.m.  After a quick shower, we pick up Joe's car at the Wilder House and head home.


Ice Climbing: Banff, Alberta


Date Climbed: February 10-14, 2005

By Rick Booth [rwbooth@comcast.net]


I have tried to make a special ice climbing trip every year for the last several years, however, time and other commitments have gotten in the way the last two years. This year was going to be different. In spite of the success of the visits to Ouray, Colorado, Ron Karpel and I wanted to go some place different. The first choice was Utah, somewhere, anywhere, but Rob Yang was kind enough to forward an email from a friend of his who indicated there was not ice in Utah this year. How this is possible, I have no idea, so we decided to give Banff, Alberta a try, in spite of my fear that I would essentially freeze to death for the entire trip. 


On February 10 Ron and I flew from San Francisco to Calgary, Alberta. After renting a car it is a reasonably short drive of about one and one half hours to Banff. This is a big ski area and there area lot of motels and hotels in Banff. These seemed to fill up completely on the weekend. 


Friday morning Ron and I headed out to the ice. We went to Canmore Junkyard for a couple of moderate WI 3 pitches. This was easy to get to and rated harder than it was. Cake. The next day we headed to the Grotto and climbed Grotto Falls a couple of times, also easy WI 3, and yucked it up with a couple form Seattle and a couple from Quebec who mostly spoke French. Sunday got us on Louise Falls at the end of Lake Louise. We climbed the first two pitches and chickened out on the crux pitch which is too bad since it looked pretty cool. Next year. The last day we headed out the Banff-Jasper Highway looking for ice and found a bunch of it at a place called the Weeping Wall. Unfortunately, we didn’t get there in time to climb any of it but it looked terrific. Next year. Monday night we headed back into Calgary and flew back Tuesday morning. It was a lazy trip. Ron and I were torched from the stress of everything else in life and not that ambitious!  


Notes: This is a terrific ice climbing area. The only real negative aspect is there can be a lot of driving to get to the ice from Banff, especially out the Banff-Jasper Highway which isn’t maintained as well as the rest of the roads in the area. The other aspect to watch for is the ice is scattered around and the areas are not very close to each other which means the focus for the day is one area. If the ice isn’t in on a few routes then the options are limited. For example, at the Grotto, there was only one route in of the three that were there. That said, it isn’t (ice) crystal clear I would have made it up the ice pencil hanging off the wall there! 


Bring the standard rack of ice screws and depending on your interests some rock gear. There is a terrific store called Mountain Magic in downtown Banff. Tons of selection and people who know what they are talking about. How come we don’t have a store like this? Anyway, Banff is a well equipped town with hotels and restaurants. Oddly enough, the place called “Magpie and Stump” serves Mexican food or maybe it is Canexican food. In the town of Canmore, down the road towards Calgary, is the Alpine Club of Canada so called mountain hut. It is pretty much a palace. Dorm rooms are available there for a very reasonable price. Information on the Alpine Club of Canada is at www.alpineclubofcanada.ca. Information on Banff national Park is available at www.banffnationalpark.com


The weather was terrific. Apparently it is the expected colder than hell itself there, however, February gets warm spells. We hit one and it was perfect climbing weather, maybe even too warm. 



Waterfall Ice: Climbs in the Canadian Rockies, fourth edition, 2003, Joe Josephson, Rocky Mountain Books, ISBN 0-921102-68-2







Love Affair With The Desert

Date Climbed: February 5, 2005

By Radek Chalupa [rpchalup@yahoo.com]

This report was originally posted on summitpost.org and is reprinted with permission from the author.

The Flawed Plan

“Shit!!” I exclaim mostly to myself.  “I’m sorry baby, I don’t think we’re gonna make it.”  The milky fluid outside the car window has been steadily turning brighter.  We should’ve been 200 miles further south by now.  I pull off interstate 15 into a rest area some 30 miles north of Salt Lake City.  Shirley stirs briefly but then goes back to sleep.  Tired but mostly pissed off at myself and our bad luck, I fade to sleep in the front seat of our truck.

The plan was simple – if a bit ambitious.  We’d leave Friday after work, push it through the night and 14 hours later find ourselves in Moab, UT.  Bag a tower (ideally two) and be back home in Portland, Oregon late Sunday night (in time for work on Monday).  The plan was born a few days earlier as I was climbing the walls in my cubicle looking for a reason to keep going to work ‘til the end of the week.  As always, Shirley did not require much convincing:  “Sounds demented” was her initial reponse.  But it was quickly followed by “…and we could bag Owl Rock on Sunday Morning before driving back.”  What a lady!

The plan was flawed.  It did not take into account the nasty weather we’d encounter en route.  Left work Friday at 4pm, picked up Shirley from her job and were eastbound on I84 by 5pm.  Things were going great – speed limit +12mph.  Then we hit the fog.  Mile long patches at first did not slow us down much.  We hit the Idaho border roughly on schedule.  The fog patches then got denser and longer – in fact we were driving through constant fog.  What should’ve been a 90 mile per hour speeding extravaganza through Idaho turned into a 60 mph slog.  We were falling behind schedule. 

I woke up two hours later at the rest area feeling angry and guilty at having wasted one day of our precious weekend.  We made a U-turn and headed back to Smith Rock in Oregon in defeat.

A Better Way

We woke up before dawn a week later in Moab under clear, chilly skies. This time, we flew to Salt Lake the night before (taking advantage of Delta’s price slashing) and arrived in Moab at the leisurely hour of midnight the evening before.  We were headed for The Priest.  The goal was to climb this magnificent-looking tower via its easiest route: Honeymoon Chimney rated at III 5.9 A0.  I got the inspiration to climb this route while surfing piquaclimber.com.  Brad and Co. had written up an enticing trip report from their climb of this route.

The morning approach hike was nothing short of spectacular.  We followed the climber’s trail to the base of the 2nd cliff band beneath Castleton Tower taking in the view of the first rays of sunshine illuminating the lone tower.  Beneath the upper cliff band, w cut left toward the Castleton-Rectory saddle.  As we turned the corner, the world opened up in front of us. We were in one of the most amazing of settings!  To the south was the sleek shape of Castleton; to the north was The Rectory – an elongated, narrow mesa.  The Priest was peeping in from behind it. We were on the crest of a sharp ridge with views of eastern Utah desert and the La Sal Mountains on the Horizon.  The skies were clear and the temperature was almost pleasant.  Finding the start of Honeymoon Chimney is trivial – the obvious dihedral with a harder-then-it-looks OW crack on the southwest face of the tower.  Looking up pitch 1, I realize that I will not be needing my #5 camalot (yes – the TR’s and message board exchanges on the web were right).  I pull onto the flat-topped boulder at the base of the dihedral and begin looking up at the start of the OW.  There’s a bolt about 15 ft above.  I consider my options. I try stemming the dihedral. Approach works for a couple o feet and then the nubbins run out.  I back off. Time for plan B: how bad could liebacking be?  Make my way up so that my eyes are level with the bolt and then my arms (surprise!!) pump out.  I’m forced into a quick jump/fall back onto the boulder.  Off-widthing is not a skill I have practiced much.  Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever done any true off-width jamming.  Desperate, I jam my right foot into the crack spanning it with my size 15 foot.  My right arm is deep in the OW while my left arm and leg are desperately smearing and pushing off of anything they can find on the wall in front of me.  The going is very strenuous but I’m finally making upward progress!  I clip the bolt, move two feet higher getting myself wedged partially into the OW and grab for a hold with my left hand.  I can’t get my body out of this contorted position and end up falling as my hand pumps out.  Time for “take 2”. I repeat my desperate sequence of moves and this time try to move quicker.  I grab for the same (now very well chalked-up) hold with my left hand and throw my right hand for the top of a bulge.  It finds a decent hold and I pull myself over the bulge.  There a second fixed piece (piton) awaits.  I clip and hang shaking out my arms and huffing profusely! The going is not quite as desperate on the next 20’.  I quickly use up my two #4 Big Bros.  Above, there are several chockstones wedged in the off-width – these either suck up small cams/nuts or have slings on them.  Finally, I arrive at a point where I can look inside the widening OW and see the huge belay chockstone about 50 feet into the opening.  I try to squeeze myself into the slot but I can’t seem to get in. I try a few more times and then decide to jettison the remainder of my rack – leave it hanging on the last piece hoping that Shirley (with her petite figure) will have an easier time getting it through the squeeze.  Still “no go.”  I move 5 ft higher and am finally able to move inside.  Now the real fun begins.  Suck in chest and stomach (try to suck in the ass as well) and move two inches.  Exhale. Rest. Repeat.  A short 45 minutes later, I arrive at the belay, puke out breakfast, and belay Shirley up. Though not too thrilled to find the complete rack at the entrance to the squeeze chimney, she has little problem getting the junk through.  The remainder of the route is just pure fun.  Pitch 2 is a bit run-out but offers very secure 5.6 chimney climbing (2 bolts protect about 60-70 ft of chimneying). It puts us on a very comfy ledge and – finally – in the sun!  Small prop plan circles around us a couple of times and then flies through the opening between Rectory and Castleton.  We dispatch pitch 3 in A0 style (goes free at 5.11) via the bolt ladder (mostly good-looking pitons). Shirley back-cleans the bolt ladder and exits onto the narrow ledge above, smoothly, despite some reach difference issues.  The belay for this pitch is the most uncomfortable one on the route:  an exposed, sloping ledge with some manky fixed gear supplemented with cams. Fourth and final pitch presents the most fun climbing on the route:  a fingers to thin hands crack in a beautifully exposed dihedral (~5.8).  Soon, we are on the summit looking for a place to put down our names in the very “busy” summit register.  Three double rope raps put us at the base of the tower on the opposite side. The hike around the northern side of the tower reveals some amazing views.  The Priest resembles a seahorse from this vantage point.  Very satisfied, we hike down getting below the lower cliff band just as the sun sets.

We enjoy the victory pizza and beers in Moab (stay away from the Chinese place in town on the main drag. My Mandarin is rusty, but I do believe that the original name contains the phrase “will take the a—out of you”). The weatherman is predicting a snow/rain storm for Sunday.  With little hope for climbing the next day, we go to sleep (exhausted!) without bothering to pack or even to set the alarm.

As I wake up, probably more sore than I’ve ever been before, at 7am, I see blue, clear skies overhead.  We begin packing frantically.  What do we go for?  We’d love to nail another tower, but which one?  We decide to check out the Independence Monument in Colorado (~two hours driving time to the east).  We get to the trailhead at about 10am and start hiking.  The hike is downright ugly to start with (following a barbed-wire fence protecting the sprawling suburbia of Fruita, CO), but improves 20 minutes in.  The Monument comes into view about 45 minues from the trailhead.  From this point of view, it looks awesome, sleek and imposing.  We climb Otto’s Route, a grade II-III 5.9. I find the crux kind of hard, though short (15 ft?) and hang on the piton to rest; maybe it’s the fatigue and soreness from the previous day’s climbing or maybe I just suck. Regardless, we top out and enjoy the sunny summit.  We get back to the car early enough to drive into the heart of the Colorado National Monument and snap some photos of Independence Tower from the rim road.  More beers and food (and nothing feels better after a climb IMHO) in Fruita and we’re back in Salt Lake before midnight. We fly back to Portland early next morning.  I drop Shirley off straight at work, while I, blessed with four more vacation days than she, head home and sleep.

Good weekend.


Private Trips

Private trips are not insured, sponsored, or supervised by the Sierra Club. They are listed here because they may be of interest to PCS members. Private trips may be submitted directly to the editor.

Date: April 15-17 (Fri-Sun)

Ventana Double Cone, 4854’

Contacts: Bill Kirkpatrick, 408-244-7607, wmkirk@earthlink.net;  Nancy Fitzsimmons, 650-938-2106, pkclimber@aol.com

Date: May 2 –16, 2005

Lhasa, Tibet  [with optional trek to Nepal following]

Contact: Warren Storkman, 650-493-8959, dstorkman@aol.com

Date: May 27-30, 2005 (Memorial Day Holiday)

Selenite Range and Dry Mountain Range: Kumiva Peak

Contact: Vicky Hoover, 415-977-5527,


Date: July 10-24, 2005

Slovenian Alps “Hut-to-Hut”

Contact: Arlene Blum, Arlene@arleneblumcom

Website: http://www.burger.si/SLOIndex.htm

Date: January 14, 2006

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania  [optional safari following]

Contact: Warren Storkman, 650-493-8959, dstorkman@aol.com


Talk of the Town…

Snowmobilers, those noisy critters, want to use the Leavitt Creek area off Sonora Pass (aaaack! ) for their fun and frolic.  The Bridgeport Ranger District is accepting your pristine comments. Stop the madness, I say!! Contact their District Office in Bridgeport, CA at 760-932-7070.  Sick of those pack animals on the trail?  The Forest Serivce continues to allow illegal use of packstock onthe Inyo and Sierra National Forests.  Wanna have a say?  Contact High Sierra Hikers  at www.highsierrahikers.orgAll for now! I’m plum out of room!!     -your editor

Elected Officials

     Arun Mahajan / arun.mahajan@att.net

      1745 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

      650-327-8598  home

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
     Chris Prendergast / cprendergast@osisoft.com

      2973 Cataldi Drive, San Jose, CA 95132

      408-926-8067 home

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
     Bob Bynum / pcs-treasurer@climber.org

    510-659-1413 home

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:
     Deborah Benham / deborah4@pacbell.net

      505 Cypress Point Dr., #26, Mountain View, CA 94043

      650-964-0558 home

PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
     Rick Booth / rwbooth@comcast.net

      237 San Mateo Av., Los Gatos, CA 95030

      408-354-7291 home

Publicity Chair:
     Linda Sun / lindasun@sbcglobal.net

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 Friday, April 29th. 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