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June, 2006                                                    Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                         Vol. 40 No. 6

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



General Meeting


Date:              June 13

Time:              7:30 - 9:00 pm


Program:      The Toiyabe Crest Trail

Presenter:      Chris Prendergast

The Toiyabes are the longest mountain range in Nevada. Along the crest, the state's longest recreational trail travels 72 miles through the Arc Dome wilderness and climbs to the 11,775 ft summit of Arc Dome. On either side in the desert basins below salt flats can be seen reflecting the intense sun contrasting sharply with the upland mountain streams, pine forests, open grasslands and wild flowers that line the trail creating an outstandingly beautiful ridge walk. Join us for a slide presentation of Chris, Bill and John's 2003 multi-day backpack along the Toiyabe Crest Trail.


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. 

In Memoriam: Will Hirst


I am saddened to hear of the loss of Will Hurst, he will be sorely missed by those of us who knew him.  He was an extremely competent and savvy climber, who had a heart as wide open as the outdoors.  And he always seemed to have a grin on his face, as well as a ready laugh.


He went to Denali along with Bob Evans and I; and over the course of a number of practice sessions, training hikes and conditioning trips taken in the Sierra, not to mention nearly a month of continuously being in one another’s face, I never knew him to lose his cool.  He always had a positive outlook, and took what life dealt him with grace (although the same might not be said about cards, particularly hearts where he always ate the queen).


He also cared about other people.  For example, as we were going to bed on the night before our summit push on Denali, a climber from a nearby site asked for help due to another of his party appearing to be ill.  Will could have pointed out the location of the Park Rangers’ tent, and sent the man on his way.  Instead he took him over to the tent.  Then later, when we overheard a ranger saying something about not having a stethoscope, Will pulled one out of his pack and took it over to them.  To me that says several things about Will, including what the hell is he doing with a stethoscope at 17,000 feet?  By the way, his assistance helped resolve an issue that could have been serious, and the Park Service gave him an award for his help.


We’ve lost a very good, and dear, person.


-- Charles Schafer



I’ve heard it said that we share our memories of the dearly departed to sooth and comfort ourselves, and, to ease the pain of our loved one’s passing.  If this be so, I join the many in this regard.  Will Hirst’s sudden death, while tragic and so incredibly sad, reminded me that I need do what I love, to not delay, to grab the brass ring.   That’s what Will was doing – what he loved and what gave him sustenance.


Will and I climbed several mountains together, some of those being: Mt Hood, Arrow Peak, Sonora Peak in winter, and funky Birch Mountain.  On all our mountain climbs, we would invariably get a little tired, poking up that peak, aiming our sights toward the tippy-top.  As I tired and needed encouragement, I would ask him to “tell the bunny story. Tell it again.” And he would.  Here ‘tis:


“Hope (his youngest, his daughter) came home one day with a bunny she had found or someone had given her. I knew we couldn’t keep the bunny in my apartment. So, I said we’d find the bunny a good home. We looked and looked. Finally, I spoke to one woman on the phone and she took in stray animals.  When we got to her house, Hope and I knew it was the right place.  We knew it was the right place because she was wearing bunny slippers!”


Thank you for the climbs Will and for your good heart.

These memories are a part of me and will last forever.


----Debbie Benham, May 2006



When I first met Will Hirst, he looked a lot like St. Nick, full white beard, big gut, exuberant good cheer, a hint of a British accent. His friendship and selflessness did nothing to dispel that impression. On Aconcagua, his aborted his summit bid to walk a sick and disoriented stranger down to camp. In Nepal, as I was about to rap down Amphu Lapcha, he stopped a porter from untying the anchor. He lowered his climbing partner off Cathedral Peak after an ankle breaking fall.  Will had something of a magical power: he got faster and stronger the higher the altitude, and he didn’t hit full speed until above15,000 feet. I am not surprised his favorite Beatles' song was Help.  Will broke a wide trail, and he will be missed.

-- Robert Evans



The Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office has published a press release on Will Hirst’s loss: http://www.bamru.org/press/05-19-06.html



PCS Trips

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

Dates:    June 16-18

Peak:      Undetermined

Class:    3

Leader:  Tim Hult, 408-970-0760

Join me as we meet the tail end of the Climb O’Rama group in the Palisades. We will hike up the south fork of Big Pine creek with the objective of climbing whatever the rest of the group hasn’t done yet (yes, I know it’s vague). This is a good opportunity to get into the Palisades early in the season when the remaining snow makes it almost Switzerland-like. High Snow may require crampons (or in-step crampons), light weight ice axe, and appropriate snow camping skills. Permit is for 4.


Peak:     Sill Mountain 14,153'
Dates:   July 1 - 3
Leader: Stephane Mouradian smouradian@hotmail.com
           Co-leader wanted

Saturday we will go over Bishop Pass for a long and strenuous 1 day approach. Sunday we will attempt Sill via the Southwest slope described by Secor as Class 2 - 3. Monday we will return to the trailhead.  This is a strenuous trip due to the long approach and the elevation. This being a heavy snow year, I am currently considering taking crampons and ice axes along.


Dates:      July 1-4, 2006 (Sat-Tues)
Peaks:     Mt Emerson (13,204'), Muriel Peak (12,937')
Class:      2-3
Leader:    Debbie Benham, H: 650/964-0558
CoLeader: wanted

Celebrate 4th of July along beautiful Piute Pass in
the Eastern Sierra! We'll backpack in Saturday and
climb Emerson that afternoon from a little bit west of
Loch Leven.  Sunday, we'll head toward Muriel Peak
over Piute Pass and set up camp at Muriel Lake.
Monday, we'll summit Muriel via the southeast ridge.
8 on permit.  $5 nonrefundable permit fee required to
hold your spot. Contact leader to sign up.


Dates:    July 3-4, 2006

Peak:      Arrow Peak 12,958'

Class:    3

Leaders:                 Tim Hult, 408-970-0760

  Lisa Barboza, lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com


Our small party (5 people) will ascend the long (6.25 mi), hot (little vegetation), steep ( 5.3k to 11.3k ft) trail to Taboose pass on June 30 (Friday). Camping at or near the pass, we will enjoy the other world of highest Sierra meadows festooned with wildflowers and snow draped peaks (this is one of my favorite area in the Sierras). From the pass, we will proceed on Saturday to Bench lake (6+ miles) and make our camp for an early morning jump off to climb Arrow\x{2019}s spectacular SW Ridge (pg 169 Secor) ridge. Previous parties have taken all day to do this peak, and I expect we will not be the exception. If time permits, we will either attempt Pyramid Peak or retrace our steps back to Taboose pass. Only those with extensive 3rd class experience, altitude acclimatization / conditioning, and proven ability to hike long distances need apply. Helmets are encouraged.



Dates:      August 12-16, 2006
Peak:       Mt Goddard (13,568')
Class:      2-3
Leader:    Debbie Benham, H: 650/964-0558
CoLeader:  Ted Raczek, H: 408/532-7732


A west side entry from Florence Lake, THEN we'll hike
on the John Muir Trail to Goddard Canyon.  We'll climb
Goddard from Martha Lake via the southwest ridge.   8
on permit.

MUST have prior backpacking experience.  $5
nonrefundable permit fee required to hold your spot.
Contact Debbie to sign up.



Dates:     August 19-20,  2006
Peaks:    Mt Warren (12,327')
               Lee Vining Peak (11,690')
Class:     1-2
Leader(s):  Debbie Benham, H: 650/964-0558
                   Chris MacIntosh, H: 650/325-7841


Come and enjoy lovely Yosemite National Park at Crane
Flat Campground for the weekend! Saturday, we'll hike
up both peaks as they're right next to each other,
then, return to the campground for general imbibing!
Sunday, we'll pick a peak. We've reserved two
side-by-side campsites at Crane Flat (Fri/Sat nights).
10 participant limit.  $10 nonrefundable campsite fee
holds your spot. Contact either leader to sign up.
This trip is great for newcomers!! :-)

Dates:    August 19-20, 2006

Peaks:   Mt Silliman

Class:    2

Leader:  Tim Hult, 408-970-0760

Group size 4. This is a straight forward ascent up a classic peak with easy access via class one trails.


Dates:    August 25-27, 2006

Peaks:   Mt Ritter, Mt Banner 12,945'

Class:    3; ice axe, crampons

Leader:  Tim Hult, 408-970-0760


Group size 4. We will access this spectacular part of the Minarets area going in from Agnew Meadows (Devil’s postpile) via the spectacular high Trail. 10 plus miles in on Friday, all day climb on Saturday, Walk out and drive home on Sunday. There is a fee to ride the shuttle bus to Agnews’ meadows.


Dates:      September 2-?, 2006

Peaks:      Piute, Pettit, Volunteer, Rodgers, Electra and Forester

Class:      3; ice axe, crampons

Leader:    Tim Hult, 408-970-0760


Start September 2.

Part 1 (start 9/2/06): Saddlebag Lake to N. Yosemite Peaks: Piute, Pettit, Volunteer (2nd and 3rd class)

Part 2 (permit for 9/8/06): Rush Creek to Thousand Island Lake objective to climb Rodgers, Electra & Forester (12058)

These 9 days will be free form in their schedule, involving possible car shuttles, and a change of trailheads in the High Country of East Yosemite. We will start on the non- quota trail out of Saddlebag lake moving cross-country to the vicinity of Piute, Pettit and Volunteer peaks. This country is little visited, but previous reports have it as beautiful in its emptiness. High snow this year should see this area uncharacteristically loaded with wildflowers however making this late season trip particularly attractive. None of the peaks are terribly challenging, but the XC travel may tax some. The group will decide if we will return to the same trailhead or turn this into a shuttle trip with a car(s) parked at Twin Lakes or in Tuolumne meadows. Our goal will be to complete part one by September 5th.

Part 2 of this unique trip is a bit free form as we will either use the permit I have on the Sept 9th (a safety permit I secured as an insurance policy), or get a new one on Sept 7th or 8th. This will allow us to take one day off (Sept 6th?) to get cleaned up in town and reposition ourselves for part 2. An early start date for part 2 is preferred as it too is challenging in its scope with long distances of XC travel involved. This early start option assumes securing a permit in the middle of the week, after a holiday for non- popular trailheads will not be hard. As planned, we will do the long hike up Rush creek to Thousand Island Lake (10+ miles), then ascend North Glacier Pass (class 2) to access the seldom visited and remote headwaters of the San Joaquin River / Lake Catherine area for our attempts on Rodgers, Electra & Forester a run up to Mt. Davis is possible from the pass as well. If the group decides this plan is not optimum for whatever reason, alternative permits, trails, objectives or scenarios may be discussed, including moving the trip to a West side entry via Clover Meadow ranger Station for a hike to Isberg pass (see Eckert Report on climber.org on this approach).

Participants may leave the trip after part 1, but joining the trip for part 2 may require extreme flexibility on the part of the joinee.




Trip Report


Pilot Knob and Lamont Peak

By Yoni Novat


The trip, led by Bob Suzuki and Joerg Lohse, was attended by another five climbers.  PCS veterans included Bob Evans, Alex Sapozhnikov and Jeff West. Mary Chiao Cheng and Yoni Novat were first timers.

Pilot Knob was accessed through a small Indian reservation that had a bridge to cross the  South Fork of the Kern which was running pretty high.  There is a poorly marked cairn trail leading off to the left of the canyon then up along either side or in the main stream.  It then goes left and up to a prominent saddle.  From there the cairn trail is fairly well marked.

After leaving a $10 tribute and a letter for the Indians we headed up the right side of the canyon and traveled mostly cross country.  The Red bud, Yucca, oak and Monkey Flowers were in bloom.  The Digger Pine left sap for us to sit on.  We encountered a rattle snake that went crazy with its rattle.  Just before the saddle, Mary’s leg began to cramp from the bottom up.  Bob Suzuki stayed back with her while Joerg, Bob Evans

and the rest of us topped out at between 1330 and 1400.  The total elevation gain was about 3400 feet.  We came down the cairned trail without incident by 1800.  Then we roughed it in the wilds at the Sierra Vista Restaurant over a bottle of Merlot, fish and steaks.  That was tough, but someone had to eat there.

After sleeping at the BLM Chimney Creek campground, we moved our sore bones to the seemingly easy Lamont Peak trail with such amenities as a signed parking place and trail sign.  The trail is clearly marked at the beginning.  It leads up the left side of a ridge, crosses over, passes a minor peak to the right then down into a saddle where the trail is very faint.  Then it goes up to the right side of the peak.  Of the two peaks, the one to the south is the true peak.  With only a 1900 foot elevation gain, this would be a piece of cake.  So, at 0730, Yoni took the lead on this jaunt that soon turned into a 30 degree slope.  We passed through grano diorite country into the metamorphic belt full of granitic gneiss, schist and greenstone, then back into granite.  The views of the LA smog were fabulous.  We could see Pilot Knob, the source of our sore feet, through the haze.  We topped out at about 0945 and spent a good hour in the warm sun at the top.  The trail was easily lost going down.  We learned to stay high as we passed the minor peak.


The vote was overwhelming: enough was enough.  So we, with great sadness, forewent a climb of Sawtooth peak.  This was a democracy.  There were fourteen feet and they all voted to cancel.  We humans had no choice but to go for a filling lunch to a restaurant in Lake Isabella.


-- Yoni Novat

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:


Bob Suzuki, w: 408-678-3541, SuzukiR@sd-star.com
Linda Sun lindasun@sbcglobal.net


·Date:  June 10 - 12

Peaks: North Guard 13327', Mt. Francis Farquhar 12893'

Difficulty: class 3 with class 4 summit, snow travel, ice axe,  crampons, rope

For the following trip listing, please contact:

George Van Gorden, 408-779-2320, vangordeng321@aol.com

·Date:  June 25 - June 26 or 27

Peak: Mt. Shasta,  14,162 feet

For the following trip listing, please contact:

Bob Suzuki, w: 408-678-3541, SuzukiR@sd-star.com

Jim Ramaker, w: 408-463-4873, ramaker@us.ibm.com

·Date:  July 1 - 4 (Sat-Tue)

Peaks: Goat (12,207'), State (12,620'), Marion (12,719')
Difficulty: class 2 peaks, class 3 traverse, ice ax, crampons


For the following trip listing, please contact:

Lisa Barboza, lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com

·Date:  July 7-9, 2006

Peaks: Mt Lyell, Mt Maclure

For the following trip listing, please contact:

Bob Suzuki, w: 408-678-3541, SuzukiR@sd-star.com
Chris Prendergast, h: 408-926-8067, chrispp@earthlink.net

·Date:  July 8-10, 2006

Peaks: Pettit (10,788'), Volunteer (10,481')
Difficulty: class 2 peaks, class 2 backpack


For the following trip listing, please contact:

Dee Booth, Linda Sun, lindasun@sbcglobal.net

·Date:  July 22-30, 2006

Peaks: Milestone, Table, Thunder, Jordan, Barnard

Difficulty: class 3, class 4, rope


For the following trip listing, please contact:

Lisa Barboza, lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com

·Date:  July 28-30, 2006

Peaks: Red, Gray, Merced

For the following trip listing, please contact:

Bob Suzuki, SuzukiR@sd-star.com

Bob Evans, 408-998-2857, robtwevans@email.msn.com


·Date:  Sat.  7/22 - Sun.  7/30 (9 days)


Peaks: Kern Pt (12789 ft, class 2), Picket Guard (12,302 ft, class. 3) Whale Back (11717 ft, class 3), Glacier Ridge (12,416 ft, class 4

For the following trip listing, please contact:

Steve Eckert, http://www.climber.org/WhosWho/Steve_Eckert.html

Bob Suzuki, http://www.climber.org/WhosWho/Bob_Suzuki.html


·Date:  August 12 - 20

 Peaks: Gannett, Fremont, Arrowhead, Lester, Ellingwood,

             Stroud, Winifred, Elephant

 Difficulty: class 3 & 4, ice axe, crampons, glaciers, rope

 Location: Rockies



For the following trip listing, please contact:

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

·Date:  October 2006

Peak: Kala Pattar (18300’)

Location: Nepal, Everest Base Camp


For the following trip listing, please contact:

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

·Date:  January 2007

Peak: Kilimanjaro

Location: Tanzania, optional safari following

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,  June 25th. 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