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January, 2006                                          Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                         Vol. 40 No. 1

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



General Meeting


Date:              January 10

Time:              7:30 - 9:00 pm


Program:      Best Ski Tours

in the Sierra & Beyond

Presenter:      Marcus Libkind

Founder of Snowlands Network (www.snowlands.org) and author of the guidebook series "Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada", Marcus Libkind has spent more than 30 years exploring the Sierra backcountry on skis. In
tonight's slide presentation, Marcus will show you some of his favorite day tours and multi-day trips in California. He'll take you touring in the Rock Creek area near Mammoth, then to points north -- Yosemite, Carson Pass, Tahoe and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Whether you're a
ski touring novice or an experienced backcountry skier in search of great hut adventures, come find out how to make the most of your next winter outing.


Location:               THE NORTH FACE

Directions:           217 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

From San Jose (Northbound Highway 101):  Take the University Ave Exit and turn left (south) going toward Stanford.  Turn right on Alma Street.

From San Francisco (Southbound Highway 101):  Take the University Ave exit and turn right (south) going toward Stanford.  Turn right on Alma Street. 


A New Mountaineering Committee

 I would like to announce the PCS will have a new Mountaineering Committee, and they are:

Charles Schafer, Chair

Bill Kirkpatrick

Rick Booth

Scott Kreider

The Mountaineering Committee is accepting applications for new leaders - no waiting! An application to lead trips for the PCS can be found here:


I want to thank Dee Booth, for her work as the Mountaineering Committee Chair last year.

We have a new Publicity Committee Chair, Paul Vlasveld. If you are interested in helping publicize the PCS to other outdoor groups, please contact Paul.


I want to thank Linda Sun for her work on the Publicity Committee last year.

-- Tom Driscoll


PCS Trips

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



Date:      January 20-22, 2006

Peak:     Sentinel  (9634’), class 2

Leader(s):  George Van Gorden


Bill Kirkpatrick



We will meet in Ballarat in the Panamint Valley on Friday morning by 10, car pool to the trail head for Surprise Canyon, and then backpack to the Panamint City.   We climb the mountain on Saturday and return to our cars by dark.  Weather permitting, we may do a hike on Porter Peak on Sunday or back to the Bay Area.  What we do will depend entirely on the weather.




Snow Camping Seminar prepares you for camping happily in the snow, and gives tips for day skiers or snowshoers caught out overnight. Participants must be experienced summer backpackers as this course will give you winter information and tips but doesn’t teach basic backpacking.

Three evening classes, held in the Palo Alto area, on Tues, Jan. 17, 24 and 31. One weekend field trip on Feb 4-5, 2006. Limited to 40 participants for the evening sessions, and 25 participants on the outing.

$40 cost includes books, instruction, and some common equipment used on field trip.

To sign up, send $40 check, payable to BSCS, to P.O. Box 802, Menlo Park, CA 94026. Include your name(s), phone #, email, postal address, Sierra Club member number (if oversubscribed, preference will be given to members). Upon receipt, we will acknowledge and send info and directions.


Questions? Contact

Chris MacIntosh at 650/325-7841, cmaci@sbcglobal.net,


Steve Sergeant at 408/937-8116, SteveSgt@effable.com



Snow Camping Seminar Application


Name:             ___________________________


SC Member #____________


Address: _______________________________



Phone: ________________________

Email: ____________________________



Mt Tamalpais Conditioning Hike

Date:      Sunday, February 12, 2006

Peak:     Mt Tamalpais, 2571', Class 1

Leader:  Debbie Benham, 650/964-0558


From the lush redwoods of John Muir Woods to the
summits of all three peaklets, this lovely loop will
be worth all 15 miles (about) and 3000' gain. Heavy rain
Carpool meets 7:45am at Edgewood Rd. and Hwy 280 Park and Ride, or, Muir Woods parking lot, 8:45ish.




  Basic Wilderness First Aid - 8 Hours

Date:      Sunday, April 2

This 8 hr class will teach you the skills to deal with a wilderness first aid  emergency. It is FUN and you will feel a lot more confident in yourself. You can make a difference!!!! This class focuses on practicing skills and covers wilderness first aid topics: patient assessment, shock and bleeding, head and spinal injuries, wounds, musculoskeletal injuries, heat and cold illnesses and
much more. A three year Basic Wilderness First Aid certification is available upon successful completion of this course and passing a written wilderness exam. There are pre-class reading assignments.

Class will be taught by Bobbie Foster of Foster Calm. She has been teaching wilderness first aid in the Bay Area for 12 years.

Pre-requisites: None

Cost:                  $45


For sign up information, please contact Bonnie Ruesch at bruesch@att.net or (408) 391-8323



Trip Reports

Peak:      Mt Izaak Walton

Date:      July 8-10, 2005

Leader:   Aaron Schuman / climberaaron@comcast.net


Izaak Walton, early American angler and conservationist, deserved to have a mountain named for him. Charles Schafer, Bob Evans and I deserved a chance to try to climb that mountain.

July 8, we visited the Kaiser Pass ranger to pick up our permit and headed to Lake Thomas A Edison to catch the ferry. The permit office opens at 8:00 a.m., the ferry runs at 9:00 a.m., and in between is a lengthy stretch of 10-20 mile per hour roadway. No dawdling! We bought round trip boat tickets at Vermilion Valley Resort for $15.00 each and paid $3.00 per night to park in their lot. VVR owner Jim Clement is One Of Us, and backcountry users of the Sierra National Forest should line up to support his business.


At the far side of Lake Thomas A Edison, we hiked on trail alongside Mono Creek. We were obliged to ford the North Fork where it pours into the main branch. 2005 was a snowy winter, and the creek was chilly, thigh-high and swift. We hiked up a stretch of the John Muir Trail in the direction of Silver Divide. Above Pocket Meadow, we turned up a side trail toward Mott Lake. This trail is not maintained, but is still in excellent condition. Our Friday hike was only about 7 miles and 2400 vertical feet.

Charles fording Mono Creek’s North Fork

July 9, we scrambled across 1 mile and 2000 vertical feet of class 2 rock to the summit of Mount Izaak Walton. There are several feasible alternate routes on the south side of the peak. Climbers coming after us should select a line that appeals to them, and proceed without fear of serious error. There was a splendid view from the summit from Yosemite in the north to the Evolution Range in the south. We returned to Mott Lake, broke camp, and hiked down to a point just before the North Fork stream crossing.

Aaron on summit of Mt Izaak Walton

July 10, we were moving at 7:00 a.m. The return ford was our first act of the day. We reached the boat dock at 8:00 a.m., and loafed there until the ferry departed at 9:45 a.m. The boat returned to VVR at about 10:15, and we regretted that the VVR kitchen had stopped serving breakfast, but wouldn't serve lunch until 11:00 a.m., so we ended up leaving without tasting their famous pancakes.

Pleasant weather, gorgeous scenery and great companionship - a perfect weekend climb.

-- Aaron Schuman

[reprinted from climber.org with permission]


Peaks:    Arrow Peak and Mt Ruskin

Date:      September 2-5, 2005

Leader:   Rick Booth / rwbooth@comcast.net


Getting to Arrow Peak and Mt Ruskin requires a long chug up Taboose Pass gaining about 6000 feet.  The trailhead for the Taboose Pass trail starts in the Owens Valley desert and features cactus on the trail edges, always a bad sign!  In any case, this was my third trip up the Taboose Pass trail in an attempt to climb Arrow and Ruskin.  The first attempt was eight years ago and ended at the pass itself when my recently repaired right knee pretty much gave up the ghost and the second attempt was last year and ended in rain.

This year Dee Booth, Linda Sun, Scott Kreider, and I headed up the Taboose Pass trail on Friday September 2 on the Labor Day weekend.  About six to seven hours after starting we found camp at the junction of the John Muir Trail and the Bench Lake Trail.  There are a few camp sites there and it is not super flat but since we were using bivouac bags it was fairly easy to find several reasonable flat spots to fit us all in.  The air was pretty hazy due to a fire burning in Kings Canyon.

Saturday morning we headed for our first target, the Northeast Ridge on Arrow Peak.  This required heading down the trail to Bench Lake where the trail ends.  Skirting around the west end of the lake we headed straight cross-country from the westernmost end of the lake near a small stream inlet.  After a while the Northeast Ridge comes into view.  We headed more towards the north end of this ridge since it wasn’t clear how easy it was to get on this ridge.  When the end of the ridge is clearly in sight we dropped down a hundred feet or so to cross a stream and then headed up to get on the ridge.  In retrospect we probably headed too far north and got on the ridge too low but the climbing was easy third class for most of the way up.  Near the top the ridge steepens and gets narrower.  We escaped somewhat by going a little left (south) of the ridge proper but this was probably unnecessary.  At about 1 PM we summitted.  The haze from the fire was starting to obscure the view and we could smell the smoke.

Arrow Peak from Bench Lake

Northeast Ridge Separates Sun from Shadow

We headed down the second-class dirt on the south side of Arrow heading for a gap between Arrow and a bump further down the ridge.  We ended up dropping down this gap although there was no sign that anyone had been there previously this year.  Apparently the better descent involves hiking further down along the ridge behind the bump and dropping down the other side of the bump but we cannot verify that.  The drop down the gap was loose and steep.  Some of the descent involved “dirt skiing”.  Yuk.  Eventually we crossed the stream that borders the Northeast Ridge and crossed it considerably higher and further to the south.  From the stream crossing we headed directly cross-country towards where we thought Bench Lake was.  Fortunately, we were approximately right and ran into Bench Lake about where we had left it earlier that morning.  We found the trail and strolled back into camp about 5 PM.

Linda, Dee, and Scott on Arrow

Sunday morning we headed for Ruskin.  This involves chugging down hill on the John Muir Trail for a ways to cross the Kings River and then go north somewhat to approach the East Ridge of Ruskin from the north side.  We left the John Muir Trail near a dried out stream that crosses the JMT.  It was interesting to see the Kings River so far up canyon. It was a fairly quiet little stream at this point at this time of year, not at all the raging torrent down at Roads End in Kings Canyon National Park!

Getting on the East Ridge proved to be somewhat problematic.  The ridge is apparently unassailable directly on its east end and the access to this ridge is a few hundred feet further along the south side of the ridge.  We headed up at an obvious gap and it appeared that others had gone there before us.  Linda, Scott and I went pretty much straight up for the first 50 feet and there was one section of probably fifth class climbing in there.  Dee went slightly further to the left and reported somewhat easier climbing but it was still fourth class and possibly low fifth class.

Scott, Linda, and Dee on East Ridge, Mt Ruskin

Once on the ridge we hit the jet stream.  We cruised the ridge directly on top of it.  It was easy third class but the ridge is narrow and drops off steeply, especially on the north side.  The ridge goes over a false summit, as usual, and gets narrower heading for the real summit.  Along this ridge there is steep tricky section that requires going up a short crack section on the north side to get back on the ridge proper.  It is pretty exposed.  Again, we were on the summit by about 1 PM.  We reversed our steps on the ridge and carefully dropped down the short crack section.  Near the lower false summit we headed down the south side of the mountain and then headed cross-country for the John Muir Trail.  Again, we were back in camp by about 5 PM.

Monday we packed up and headed back down the Taboose Pass and headed for home.

Final notes:

The ridge routes on Arrow and Ruskin are excellent mountaineering routes.  In fact, the third class route on Ruskin is one of the best third class routes anywhere in the Sierra.  The length of the Taboose Pass trail seems to keep the crowds and traffic low and with the exception of a few other hikers and campers near the junction of the John Muir Trail and Bench Lake Trail we ran into no one else.  We did not bring any technical equipment for these two climbs.


Sierra Classics, 100 Best Climbs in the High Sierra, John Moynier and Claude Fiddler, Chockstone Press, 1993, ISBN 0-934641-60-9.  This is the first version and is out of print.  May be available through Amazon.com using their used book search.


The High Sierra, Peaks, Passes, and Trails, Second Edition, R.J. Secor, The Mountaineers, 1999, ISBN 0-89886-625-1.


Peak:      Mt Diablo

Date:      December 4, 2005

Leader:   Aaron Schuman / climberaaron@comcast.net


Mt Diablo is a traditional December climb. It is tall enough to have a view, and low enough that it is rarely snowbound. (But we've got to do a snow climb of that mountain some day!)

The team: Syd and Linda Smith, Kai Weidman, Cecil Anison, Kelly Maas, Landa Roubillard, Steve Eckert, Chris Prendergast, Firoozeh Verplanke, and co-leader and reporter Aaron Schuman. What happened to our leader? Nancy Fitzsimmons has a hurt leg, and while she can't hike right now, she can pedal, so she biked up the paved road to the summit with Brunonians Tom Driscoll and Dave Ress.

We climbed the north side, up Mitchell Canyon. From the vacant ranger station at the end of Mitchell Canyon Road, we went up Coulter Pine Trail, Eagle Peak Trail, over the top of Eagle Peak (2369'), through Murchio Gap, up Meridian Ridge, to Prospector's Gap, and up North Peak Trail past Devil's Pulpit and Devil's Elbow to the summit, the high point of Contra Costa County.

Nancy promised to meet us at the summit with brownies. She and her bicycle crew arrived at noon, but it was frigid and windy, so they didn't linger. The hikers arrived at one p.m. We choked down our frozen PB&J in the summit hut, wishing for the taste of Nancy's brownies. From the summit we could see the snow covered Sierra Nevada.

We returned via the Falls Trail, hoping to enjoy a view of the Donner Creek waterfall with a gusher or at least a trickle. It rained hard last Thursday, but that wasn't enough. The falls were dry. We completed our loop down Conner Canyon Trail, Back Creek Trail, and Coulter Pine Trail.

-- Aaron Schuman

[reprinted from climber.org with permission]


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.

For the following trip listing, please contact:

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

·Date:  May 2006

  Mt Kailas in Tibet, or, Meno Nani (7728m) in Tibet

Elected Officials

Tom Driscoll / pcschair2006@sbcglobal.net

     2149 Junction Ave #3, Mountain View, CA 94043

     650-938-2106  home

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
     Bill Kirkpatrick / pcs2006@earthlink.net

    28 N. First St #100,  San Jose, CA 95113

    408-497-2957 work

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
     Landa Robillard / kellylanda@sbcglobal.net

     408-378-5311 home

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:
Joerg Lohse / JoergPCS@gmail.com

     1233 Elm Lake Ct, San Jose, CA 95131

     408-452-1406 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:
      Paul Vlasveld / pvlasvel@yahoo.com

     789 Daffodil Way, San Jose, CA 95117

     408-247-6472 home


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/

Email List Info

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, January 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