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April, 2007                                                    Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                         Vol. 41 No. 4

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


General Meeting


Date:           April 10, 2007

Time:           7:30 pm

Where:        Peninsula Conservation Center

                    3921 E. Bayshore Rd.

                    Palo Alto, CA

Program:    In the Avenue of Volcanoes

Traveling and Climbing in Ecuador

Presenter:   Arun Mahajan


In July-06, a couple of PCS-ers, Dimitry Nechayev and Arun Mahajan, along with Maja Engmark of Denmark, wandered into Ecuador. There, they enjoyed the fine food and the equally fine company of the friendly locals. In all this, they attempted a few peaks including Illiniza Norte, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo and even managed to reach the summits of some.


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.



Editor’s Note


In this newsletter we will begin a series of articles on gear called the Gear Corner.  Great idea, Lisa!  This month I contribute some thoughts about modern ski equipment and fast-packing, while the all-time master of equipment, Frank Martin, PCS Equipment Guru, covers lightweight sleeping bags.  We seek other contributions!!!

Gear Corner


Randonnée Ski Equipment


By Louise Wholey


Recently I joined a group of PCS skiers and snowshoers to climb Round Top.  Not only was I surprised that nobody else had Randonée ski equipment, but people seemed to be unaware of its existence.  Here is a brief review of currently popular equipment. 


Telemark equipment is well-known, though G3, Black Diamond and similar cable bindings have largely replaced the 3-pin system for serious skiing.  Randonée, or Alpine touring (AT), bindings offer much more control as well as full release capability.  Some people say that Randonée means “I can’t Tele”, but if you can imagine being caught in an avalanche with skis that do not come off, you will understand why I switched to Randonée equipment. 


Most commonly used in the USA is the heavy but effective Fritschi ski binding system.  It clamps onto the boot with toe and heel pieces much like downhill bindings.  They attach to a strong metal shaft under the foot that is fixed at the front and is free at the back when it is in the touring setting.  When it is set for downhill, it acts very much like a downhill binding with full release capability.  Any regular Randonée or downhill ski boot will fit the binding.


Few people in the USA have discovered the super lightweight Dynafit boot/binding system, but its use is growing rapidly.  The system uses a special Dynafit compatible boot with holes on the sides of the toe and in the center of the back.  The very tiny binding attaches at these places and has a rotating heel piece for a variable height touring setting.  Most serious backcountry skiers use this system - unless they are dedicated Telemark skiers.  Besides being lighter than Telemark bindings, they offer considerable ski control, full release capability, and great flexibility for climbing different grades.



Fast-packing Gear


By Louise Wholey


While our trips do not require fast-packing gear, such gear makes a big difference in how fast one can travel in comfort.  For example, most PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) through-hikers who hike from Mexico to Canada, a total of 2658 miles, taking about 5 months, will either start with very lightweight equipment or wish they had.  The annual PCT kick-off party, ADZPCTKO, http://www.siechert.org/adz/, is probably the world’s greatest gear fest.


When I was first active in the Sierra Club around 1968, the RCS had extra long trips called “Old John” trips.  The name derives from the huge distances John Muir would cover on his outings in the Sierra.  He did not have the wonderful equipment we now have and typically had a backpack that weighed around 80 pounds, heavily loaded with camera equipment.  We are so lucky to have our small lightweight digital cameras!  A typical “Old John” RCS trip might be to climb Mt. Goddard or tour the high peaks in Yosemite, climbing Florence, Lyell and Maclure, on a 2-day weekend!  On those trips we carried very little.


Today we benefit from having many super lightweight items available on the market.  Optionally people can and do make their own gear.  We hope people will contribute to this dialog.


Companies like Gossamer Gear http://www.gossamergear.com/ specialize in lighter than the lightest equipment.  My Mariposa ultralight backpack weighs only one pound, complete with frame stays and padding in the shoulder straps and hip belt.  The pack’s back is uses my double-duty NightLight Sleeping Pad.


Probably the best sleeping bags and jackets are made by Western Mountaineering, http://www.westernmountaineering.com/.  A sleeping bag which will work in temperatures down to the single digits weighs only 2 pounds.  I love my Versalite Super bag.  Others in my family use the Alpinlite Super.    People who need less insulation, and most people for summer use, can get away with a one pound bag such as the HighLite.  The envy of almost everyone who does not own one is the 11 ounce WM Flight Series Jacket.


A tough choice is whether to use a tent, bivy sack, or nothing.  I remember one rainy night with no tent at Lake Ediza below Rtter and Banner.  I just lay there getting wetter and wetter, wishing it would stop.  In the morning I had to carry out a 10 pound sleeping bag!  Today we still have the infamous tube tents, but there are many better options.  One can make a poncho/tarp from silnylon (silicone-impregnated nylon) that serves double duty and weighs about ½ pound.  See Flyin’ Brian’s website for the poncho plans, http://royrobinson.homestead.com/.  Don’t miss the tiny alcohol “Cat Stove”.  It weighs less than 2 ounces with the windscreen!


Many PCS climbers like bivy sacks, typically weighing about a pound.  I think they are best in colder weather because condensation can be a serious issue.  If you travel with another person regularly you can share a super lightweight tent and have good protection from mosquitoes as well as rain.  Henry Shires Tarp Tents http://www.tarptent.com/ are common on the PCT.  Tents like the Black Diamond Firsthouse, Lighthouse, and now HiLight, http://www.bdel.com/gear/hilight.php, are great self-supporting tents for two people weighing in at about 3 pounds or even less.

Ultralite Sleeping Bags


By Frank Martin (PCS Equipment Guru)


My personal criteria for light sleeping bags are they must weigh in at two pounds or less and have 750-850 down fill.  My favorite manufactures are Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends.  I would also include the high end Marmot Bags like the Hydrogen and Helium and Atom but with the warning that Marmot does have the occasional quality control problem. Sometimes the stated weight is not accurate.  Others would include Mont-Bell who have recently introduced 800 fill bags.


The beauty of all the WM bags it that they have a well-deserved reputation for a conservative temperature rating.  All 20-degree bag ratings are not equal. Added to this is some individuals are warm sleepers and others cold. 


'Shoulder Girth' is a very important factor that is often overlooked when purchasing a bag.  This relates to not only body size but how you sleep and how you intend to use the bag.  If the bag is too wide you will have drafts.  If the bag is too narrow or if you are a side sleeper you will end up with a straight jacket effect.  Also with a light bag you want the ability to 'layer up' if necessary and still be comfortable.


If I were to purchase just one bag it would be the WM Versalite.  It is a 15 degree rated bag weighing in at two pounds.  This bag will certainly be enough for any three-season activity.  Combined with a suitable Down Parka would be sufficient for the majority of four seasons camping trips.


I stated several years ago with an old style WM Apache (2 lbs. 20 degree) I then went down to a WM Megalite.  This was a 2 oz overstuffed version. (1lb 10 oz) and had a wide shoulder girth. This has been bag I have used the past few seasons. The normal version of this bag is a 30 degree (1lb 8 oz) This coming season I will be alternating between a WM High-Lite (long) (17 oz and a 35 Degree) and a Nunatak Arc-Edge Quilt (11 oz 40 D). These bags will again be used in combination with a high quality down parka


You are not likely to find many Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends bags on sale. Aside from Ebay (where they often have inaccurate descriptions) a good place to find them are UL backpacker 'gear swap' forums.  The people selling their gear here are constantly 'tweaking' their base weight so that many items are virtually new.  Two forums that I have used many times are below.






Wilderness First Aid Course

When:   May 12-13, 2007,   8 AM to 5 PM

Where: Peninsula Conservation Center, Palo Alto

Cost:     $90

Contact:  Tom Morse, 650-593-5123, tripbtom@aol.com


The Loma Prieta Chapter is sponsoring a 16-hour wilderness first aid course taught by Bobbie Foster of Foster Calm

As of March 27 there are 4 spaces. 


Other Wilderness First Aid Classes

A Wilderness First Aid Course is offered at Auburn Ski Club at Donner Summit on April 21-22, 2007.  Phone the club at 530-426-3313 x103.  It is sponsored by the Wilderness Medicine Institute, wmi.nols.edu.


Other “first aid” in the wilderness, WFA, courses by Bobbie Foster, bobbie@fostercalm.com, are listed on the website www.fostercalm.com

2006-2007 PCS Trip Calendar


5/11 – Mt. Shasta

Leader: George Van Gorden


5/19 – Navigation Course *Bay Area*

Leader: Kelly Maas


6/2 – Ice Axe/Crampon Practice (Lassen)

Leader: Kelly Maas


6/23 – Iron Mt.

Leader: To Be Announced


6/30 – Mt. Russell

Leader: To Be Announced


7/2 – Thompson 13494 CL2-Powell-Wallace

Leader: Lisa Barboza


7/6 – Williamson/Tyndall

Leader: To Be Announced


7/7 – White Mt.

Leader: Jeff Fisher


7/20 – Red 11699, Gray 11573, Merced 11726

Leader: Lisa Barboza


7/? – Split Mt. in a day hike      

Leader: Jeff Fisher


7/27 – Mt. Emerson, Pilot Knob

Leader: To Be Announced


7/27 – Piute 10541, Petit 10788, Volunteer

Leader: Tim Hult


8/4 – Tbolt, No Pal, Polomonium, Sill, Starlite

Leader: Jeff Fisher


8/10 – Big Kaweah, Red Kaweah

Leader: Lisa Barboza


8/10 – Giraud

Leader: To Be Announced


8/11 – Tuolumne Meadows Car Camp

Leader: To Be Announced


8/17 – Mystery Peak(s) TBD

Leader: To Be Announced


8/18 – Lodgepole Car Camp, Alta Peak, Mt. Silliman

Leader: To Be Announced


8/24 – Agassiz, Cloudripper, Goode       

Leader: Lisa Barboza


8/31 – Goat, State, Marion

Leader: Lisa Barboza


9/1 – Davis, Electra, Rodgers, Forester

Leader: To Be Announced


9/21 – Virginia, Twin Peaks, Dunderberg

Leader: To Be Announced


10/5 – East Vidette, West Vidette, Keith, Bradley

Leader: Lisa Barboza


10/19 – University, Kearsage, Gould Car Camp

Leader: Lisa Barboza


PCS Trip Details


Red 11699, Gray 11573, Merced 11726

Peak: Red, Gray, Merced

Dates: July 20, 2007


Leader: Lisa Barboza  (pcs-vice@att.net)

Co-leader: Louise Wholey (louisewholey@yahoo.com)


We're planning a fun fast and light backpacking climbing trip into the south side of Yosemite National Park. We'll leave from Mono Meadows trailhead, backpack in to Ottoway Lake, and attempt Red, Gray, and Merced Peaks. These peaks are 2nd class on our routes.

Open to experienced backpackers and climbers, it's a long way in to our first night's camp, about 15 miles. Accordingly, this is a light and fast trip. Carry enough food and gear for 4 days of hiking and climbing in the Clark Range of Yosemite National Park. Plan to be at the TH in the evening of Wednesday July 12 for an early start.


Piute, Petit, Volunteer

Peak: Piute 10541, Petit 10788, Volunteer

Dates: July 27, 2007


Leader: Tim Hult (408-970-0760)


This is an exploration of the beautiful wilderness of Northern Yosemite. Hike in from Tuolumne Meadows to reach these CL2 Peaks. We'll attempt these peaks at the height of the climbing season, but be prepared for mosquitoes.  Contact Tim Hult or Lisa Barboza.


Trip Reports


Dick's Peak (9974) and Mt. Tallac (9735)


By Louise Wholey


On the weekend of March 9-11 a group of four hardy souls led by Ms. Lisa skied / snowshoed away from the Taylor Creek SNO-PARK near Richardson Bay of Lake Tahoe.  We had images of traveling many miles across Desolation Wilderness to tackle Pyramid Peak.  Reality struck home before long.  It was winter, which means it takes forever to go anywhere.  We skied along Fallen Leaf Lake and up the steep SE bowl of Mt. Tallac, then down to Gilmore Lake.  Lisa and Frank Martin dug deep trenches and laid out sleeping bags in bivy sacks while Jim and Louise Wholey dug a bit of a platform with surrounding snow walls and erected their BD Lighthouse tent.  Before cooking dinner and beginning our long winter’s nap we scouted the route to Dick’s Peak.  The day had been a bit cold due to an overcast sky and the traverse to Dick’s Peak looked rather icy.


In the morning we decided the least hazardous route was to ascend the ridge above the lake, drop down near Dick’s Pass, and cross the face of Dick’s to a ridge in the middle of the snowy face.  As we crossed, the bright sunshine turned the hard snow to perfect corn, causing Louise to appear crazed alternately climbing and descending while waiting for snowshoers to catch up.  Skis have a great advantage on traverses.  In fact they are delightful to use; snowshoes are a pain in the (expletive deleted).  We kicked steps straight up the face and enjoyed sunbathing on the top – well, it was almost that warm.  The decent was plunge steps; there was too little snow to glissade.  The skiers took the lead down the steep bowl to Half Moon Lake.   The snow had turned slushy but the steepness made it a good run anyway.  We followed the track of another skier back to camp.  The other skier had done a day trip from highway 28, climbing and skiing down both Dicks and Tallac.  Another wonderful dinner of home-dehydrated fresh food topped off the day.  The long winter’s night was, well, long.


The next day we choose to climb Tallac – mostly because it was there, but also Frank had not previously climbed it.  We anticipated perfect corn at 9:30 am – oops, the clocks changed – we missed it.  The problem is actually that you cannot get perfect corn for a 2000 foot vertical drop.  There is likely to be frozen corn on the top and slush on the bottom.  Oh well, skiing in spring conditions are a roll of the dice, but skiing is always fun (editors bias). We took different routes out at different speeds but met at the cars within 15 minutes of each other.  Snowshoes do not seem to be all that slow, despite appearances.



Round Top (10381)


By Louise Wholey


Our adventure began at the Carson Pass Sno-Park on Highway-88 on a bright sunny day in May – oops wrong month for a rhyme.  It was Arun’s 11th annual trek to Round Top on March 18, 2007.  A mixture of skis and snowshoes lay below the feet of a huge group:


George Van Gorden: skis

Arun Mahajan: skis

Lisa A Barboza: snowshoes

Amanda Jobbins: snowshoes

Scott Kreider: snowshoes 

Tom Driscoll: skis 

Anthony Stegman: snowshoes

Linda Sun and Harry: skis

Kai Weidman: skis

Brian Roach: snowshoes

Louise and Jim Wholey: skis


The snow was firm and the track of others passing before us was easy to follow.  It is only a matter of deciding which tracks go the right way!  Most of the snow was firm, good for climbing with skins.  George managed to avoid using skins, but had to leave his skis lower on the bowl.  When the climb above the bowl steepened, a short crampon section led to the final rock scramble to the summit.  With the incredibly low snow level, the top-most part of the peak was simply bare rock – interesting to climb third class rock in stiff plastic ski boots.


Some people chose to stay on the first summit while the rest went to the highest point.  After a leisurely lunch we finally began our descent for the great ski run.  Perhaps because of the cold breeze, the snow had not turned to corn, despite it being well after noon.  I aimed for an area of the beautiful bowl where an inch of fresher winter snow topped the hard rough wind-blown surface.  Others using either touring skis or 3-pin Telemark bindings, neither of which are very good for downhill skiing, had left their skis below. 


With our fast skis, freshly waxed the night before by Jim (much easier than waxing for the Gold Rush ski race we had considered doing that day), we continued to the cars in advance of the group.  Everyone was back by 3 pm.  We heard later that Lisa caught her foot glissading and bruised her knee.  The doc says it is healing fast, but for a while she might be taking it a little slower.  We returned to Truckee to pack all sorts of skis, boots, poles, ski preparation tools, waxes, and a few clothes for the US National Masters Cross Country Ski championships the following weekend at Bend, Oregon.  Incidentally, the Sisters in Oregon looked magnificent draped with snow.  We hope to climb North and Middle Sisters on the weekend of April 12-15.  Let me know if you want to join us.



Ecuador Volcanoes

By Julius Gawlas


In January 2007 during California winter and brief alleged dry period in Ecuador Jeff Fisher and I spent two weeks in Ecuador hiking and climbing in the 'Avenue of Volcanoes'.  We arrived in Quito late on Saturday Jan 20th and spent a few nights in the Cayman Hotel which is located in Mariscal (gringo) district close to many restaurants, shops and travel outfitters. On Sunday we visited mandatory tourist attractions around Quito including Mittal del Mundo, old town in Quito, several churches and we hiked to the top of El Panecillo to get a close view of huge Angel.


On Monday we began our acclimatization by heading towards Pasochoa. We had booked a car ride from Quito to the trailhead that starts just above the hydroelectric plant (S0.42797 W78.47792 3283m).  We started hiking around 9AM, and followed several wide roads. The weather was wet: rainy, cloudy, with not much visibility. After a couple of hours we took an obvious path leading towards the summit and reached the ridge (S0.46065 W78.47558 3965m). We debated if the higher point is on the left or on the right and opted for the right summit that appeared to have a more worn path. We reached the summit just before noon (S0.46033 W78.48004) with my GPS showing 4178m. After a short break and taking some pictures we headed down.  By that time it stopped raining but visibility was still quite limited. Good acclimatization for day number one.


Tuesday we headed toward Guagua Pichincha. The weather was a bit nicer since it did not rain but we still could not see any of the other big volcanoes. Same drill - our car shuttle dropped us off on the road to Guagua's refugio at 4137m (S0.18712 W78.58588) around 10 AM. With nice views towards Lloa valley and Quito we hiked up the road to the refugio Volcan (S0.17841 W78.59680 4558m). After paying US $1 to the guy in the hut and taking a short break we headed towards the ridge, following a well worn path, and then to the right towards the summit. On the ridge we could smell the crater but we could not see it - it was filled with a big cloud. We reached the top around noon (S0.17634 W78.59994 4781m).


That day we decided to move higher than Quito to help with acclimatization. The driver suggested Vladimir's hostel in El Chaupi at the base of Ilinizas. He told us that it is at around 4000m.  When we got to the place my GPS showed that it was only at 3371m instead (S0.60104 W78.64355) - we had noticed that Ecuadorian people's estimates of altitude of various places were rather unreliable. Vladimir's place was actually rather nice - several guest rooms and a common area with a kitchen, billiards and ping pong table. Vladimir also provided us with transportation to the trail head for Ilinizas at La Virgen (S0.62938 W78.68849 3900m) the following day.


On Wednesday we started our hike towards Iliniza Norte from La Virgen at 8 AM. The trail is very well marked and goes quite nicely through the parano and steadily climbs up. Of course visibility was limited and we were walking in the cloud. This was a bit higher than previous days but we kept good steady pace and reached the refugio between Ilinizas in 2 hours and 15 minutes. The refugio is located between the two peaks just below the ridge (S0.65511 W78.71274 4745m). Before the trip I had read that it is usually very crowded but on that day there was nobody there. In the hut we put an extra layer and headed up towards the ridge. GPS showed the col between Ilinizas at 4778m (S0.65406 W78.71474), where we turned right and followed a faint path. The visibility decreased even more and we were losing the path and finding it again - general idea is to follow the ridge without dropping too low. Closer to the summit we dropped more to the right traversing on some exposed gullies and over a bit of snow on Paso de Muete. Once over the snow it was up some scree and rocks to the summit. Overall we thought that it was class III scramble. We reached the summit of 5140m with a steel cross and people's droppings on the rocks at 12:30 (S0.64921 W78.72036). As I mentioned before the visibility was really bad so we could only imagine Iliniza Sur, Cotopaxi and other mountains. The hike down was rather uneventful, we lost the path few times but thanks to Jeff’s orientation and the GPS found it back without any difficulties. It cleared up for just few minutes so we could almost see the summit but then it got cloudy again and started to rain as we were walking towards the trailhead.


Next day we were planning to move to higher ground to Cotopaxi National Park. Vladimir organized car transport for us to Tambopaxi and told us that it is located at 3900m. Well, as usual when we got there it turned out to be at 3750m. Anyway it was quite a nice place with good food and pleasant people. When we got there it was raining so even though it is just a few km from Cotopaxi, we could not see it. Despite the rain Jeff and I went for few hours walk towards Lake Limpiopungo - I think we were testing our rain gear. On Friday it was still raining but we decided on another acclimatization hike: we were going to bag Ruminahui. After several hours of hiking in pouring rain and losing the path, we scaled down our plans and turned back after reaching 4150m.


Saturday morning the guided part of our trip began. Edgar from Compania de Guias de Montana was picking us up from Tambopaxi and we were heading towards Cotopaxi refuge and attempting Cotopaxi next night. Up to this point despite being just a few km from Cotopaxi we have not seen it yet - but on Saturday it cleared up and we were rewarded with nice views and first pictures of its perfect, snowy cone. A short drive in Edgar's vehicle brought us to the parking lot (S0.65711 W78.43848 4609m). There were many other cars and many people in the parking area and walking the path towards the hut (S0.66381 W78.43841 4835m). The hut was crowded: some day trippers and people staying for the night, attempting the summit that night. If you intend to get any sleep take ear plugs. We woke up just after midnight and left the hut around 1:30 AM. It was not cold but again visibility was very limited. We followed the standard path from the hut - going to the right, through scree towards the glacier. After 1 hour we put on crampons and tied in together. It was snowing, wind blowing, walking in the cloud - the usual. Edgar sets up rather brisk pace and we move fast. Jeff and I ask for some water/food breaks but our guide is unfazed and we kept moving. In one of our very hasty stops Jeff lost one of his inner gloves but we continued on. Just before 5 AM we reached Yanasasha (S0.67858 W78.43987 5700m) and rest there behind an ice wall.  Wind seems to pick up and visibility is limited to 10-15 feet. Our outer shells became frozen stiff. From Yanasasha we got into somewhat exposed part straight up towards the summit. No crevasse just a walk up. Finally we got to the top as the day was breaking just a few minutes after 6 AM (S0.68044 W78.43764). There were a few other people there, but it was a cold and unwelcoming place. We couldn't see the crater; it was still snowing and blowing hard. We took a picture that turned out completely blurred, spent maybe a minute or two on the summit and headed down. We were back at the refugio before 8 AM. Quite an OK day but felt a bit rushed. We thought that we could have started at 3 AM and go at a slower pace. After a few hours it cleared up and we could actually see Cotopaxi in its entire glory.


Next day the guide company designated as a rest day, so we went to the town of Banos and spent two nights there. It seems like this is the usual stop that people take between Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Banos is OK but rather unremarkable, just a small somewhat touristy town with hot springs - next time I would not go there.


On Tuesday we left Banos and went towards Chimborazo (the guards are parked at the turnoff S1.49734 W78.87477 4353m). The drive to the lower Carrel refuge took several hours and we reached it in the early afternoon (S1.47524 W78.84582 4825m). We ate lunch there, packed up and moved up to Whymper Refuge at ~5000m (S1.47285 W78.83868). There was nobody in the hut other than the caretaker Julio: quite a different atmosphere than Cotopaxi. While we were in the hut it cleared up somewhat so we could actually see Chimborazo and the route up. There was some debate which way to go; the Whymper route does not have snow, the El Castillo leads through steep frozen scree and there are two icy traverses. Jeff suggested yet another way - to the left of El Castillo up the gully to the ridge and than to join El Castillo. Our guide Edgar decided to take El Castillo. We went to bed early and woke up at 10:30 PM. Quick breakfast and we started hiking. It was not very cold but again we started with clouds and limited visibility. We followed the path to the left alongside the stream. Around midnight we reached steeper frozen scree and we put crampons on and roped up. That night I did not feel well and I had some stomach problems. We talked about that and decided to give it a try and continue together. We zigzagged through loosely bound together scree and traversed across two unstable icy sections. At 2:30 AM we were on the snow-covered ridge at 5534m (S1.46577 W78.83282). From there the route is just straight up towards the summit. The skies cleared up and we could see a big, almost full moon. There were stars in the sky, lights of distant towns and clouds in the valley way, way below us. Unfortunately I did not feel that great and we were again going at faster pace than I would like, seldom having time to drink water. Going up got harder and harder and finally at 4 AM, feeling like I was going to throw up. I called for the retreat. Our high point was at S1.46609 W78.82841 at 5830 m. We were still several hours away from the summit and I am sure Jeff and Edgar would have made it... We went down towards the hut and passed some climbers going straight from Carrel Refugio, following the ridge. We reached the hut, and after a couple of hours of sleep we packed up, hiked down to Carrel, got in the car and drove towards Quito.


The plan was to go to Chile and bag Ojos Del Salado. Unfortunatelly we hit a streak of bad luck and never made it Ojos - but that is a different story.




1) We did not rent a car because we read about break-ins at trail heads. Seems like these might have been exaggerated and you should be OK renting a car, leaving it at refugios and thus having more flexibility.


2) We were disappointed with our guide. We both felt that the guide was just running up the mountain and not giving us enough time to properly hydrate, have a nice steady pace etc. Do you really need a guide on Cotopaxi or Chimborazo? On Cotopaxi with the conditions that we had, certainly not; on Chimborazo it might have been sufficient to talk to the hut caretaker. On Chimborazo you might take a tent and sleep closer to the ridge around 5400m - that would make for a much easier summit day.


3) In Quito you can take teleferico to 4100m and do some acclimatization there - take a tent, spend a night or two and do some hiking. You can get to teleferico using taxi for $2.50 from Mariscal district.


4) We bought topographic maps from IGM in Quito but one does not really need them.


5) During our time in Ecuador we had rather lousy weather: at some point we doubted they ever have blue skies. It might be better to go either earlier in Jan or Dec or during our summer months of June/July.





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.


4/6 – Lamont, Sawtooth, Spanish Needle

Contact: Lisa Barboza  pcs-vice@att.net


We'll attempt to day-hike these 3 peaks from the East Side off of HWY 395, camping at or near Rodecker Flat. We'll attempt Sawtooth, Lamont, and if conditions aren't too icy, Spanish Needle. If you want to meet at the trailhead, see the Rodecker Flat TH directions on climber.org. Plan on car-camping. Bring plenty of water, firewood, and warm clothing as it's likely to be cold and windy!  Carpool from San Jose or environs. More information to follow as we get closer to the trip date.  


4/21 – Pinnacles Climbing

Contact: Jeff Fisher, 408-733-1299, 650-207-9632 (cell),  jeff_fisher_5252@sbcglobal.net

Climbing hiking and or biking. Class 1-5, you choice. Come down for a weekend of climbing or if you prefer hiking or biking. There will be climbers of varying abilities.

We will reserve a group campsite. Cost is usually about $8 per person. Shoes, harness and helmet needed if you are going to be climbing.


5/3 – Williamson via George Creek

Contact: Lisa Barboza  pcs-vice@att.net


Details supplied later.


5/19-20 – Mt. Tinemahah (12,561)

Contact: Louise Wholey, louisewholey@yahoo.com, 408-867-6658


Trailhead at ~6500 ft can be accessed only with 4WD.  Hike steep trail to Red Lake (10,459 ft).  Climb peak via class 2 south bowl Sun am.  Ice axe and crampons may be required.  Hike out Sun pm. Group size limit of 5.  Permit fee $5 each.


6/9 – Ritter

Contact: To Be Announced


Saturday hike in and camp near Lake Ediza, Sunday bag the peak, either hike out Sunday or Monday, depends on how the group feels.  Group size limited to 6. 


6/15 – Ritter & Banner

Contact: Lisa Barboza  pcs-vice@att.net


This will be a snow climb of the easiest routes on Ritter and Banner.  TH will be Agnew Meadow unless snow conditions prevent us from using the bus (Otherwise, we'll have to hike in from Mammoth Ski resort. Friday, we'll hike in from Agnew Meadow, up to Lake Ediza and camp above the lake.  Depending on the snow year, expect to snow-camp.  Ice-axe and crampons are required, helmet as well.  We'll attempt Banner on Saturday, Ritter on Sunday, hike out Monday 6/18. Trip limited to 6 climbers. Carpool from San Jose area. 


6/30 to 7/8 – Goddard Canyon & Ionian Basin  

Contact: Bob Evans; robtwevans@email.msn.com


This is a full week trip, Sat - Sun, Jun 30 - Jul 8.  Our climbing goals include Mt. Goddard, E, 13,568; Scylla, 12,956; and others in the area.  Expect class 2 climbing; plan on bringing an ice axe.


Day 1: From Florence Lake landing, up Blayney Meadow Trail to Goddard Canyon. Day 2: To Martha Lake and Mt. Goodard. Day 3 -4: To Ionian Basin, Scylla and Charybdis. Days 5 - 7 flexible (e.g., Evolution Valley peaks; possible early exit). Days 8 and 9: out.


9/1 – Gardner & Cotter

Contact: Kelly Maas


Details supplied later.


October 2007 – Nepal around Annapurna

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


Details supplied later.


Mid-January 2008 –Kilimanjaro - Tanzania

Contact: Warren Storkman, 650-493-8959, dstorkman@aol.com, 4180 Mackay Dr., Palo Alto, CA, 94306


Climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  Take an optional safari.  Inquiries are welcome. 

Elected Officials

     Kelly Maas / kellylanda@sbcglobal.net

     1165 Smith Ave. Unit D, Campbell, CA 95008


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
Lisa Barboza / pcs-vice@att.net

     4382 Moran Drive,  San Jose, CA 95129


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
     Toinette Hartshorne / toinette@pipeline.com


Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:
     Louise Wholey/ screeeditor@yahoo.com

     21020 Canyon View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070


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

     237 San Mateo Av., Los Gatos, CA 95030



Scree is the monthly journal of the Peak Climbing Section of the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter.
Our official website is http:// lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/pcs/

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.

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 28th. 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