Aug 2008     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Clu b   Vol. 42 . No. 8

General Meeting

Date:      Aug 12, 2008

Time:      7:30 pm

Where:   Peninsula Conservation Center                3921 E. Bayshore Rd.                    Palo Alto, CA

Program: South and West of Whitney

Presenter: Lisa Barboza, PCS Chair

Lisa will provide details on climbing routes for peaks south and west of the Whitney region. Peaks climbed on this recent 6-day outing were McAdie, Irvine, Hitchcock, Joe Devel, Pickering, Guyot, Newcomb, and Chamberlain. A slide show, with narrative and maps will be shown.

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 and enter in the back of the building.

For a Google map click


A recent study conducted by Harvard University found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year.  Another study by the American Medical Association found that Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. This means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.  Kind of makes you proud to be an American.

Your pal, Switchback and Stinker the Trail Skunk

From the pct-l

From the Chair

Lisa Barboza


It’s climbing season, and we’re all out climbing those wonderful peaks.  But in the coming months, we’ll have elections to select new club officers, and keep our organization moving forward.  We’ll form our nominating committee this September (contact me if you’re interested), and have elections in November, with a new term starting in January 2009. This brings me to the subject of the bylaws.  They haven’t been revised since 1997, and our bylaws are dated.  So I’d like to change the bylaws.  Specifically, it doesn’t make sense to limit service of the elected officers to a one-year term, as currently required.  There are other changes as well, and we’ll bring up the topic at the August meeting.  See you then, and be safe out there in the wilderness. 

Editor’s Notes

We thank the many wonderful climbers for sharing recent experiences in the mountains with us.  You are welcome to write about any trips, not just PCS trips.  All of this adds to our reading pleasure and, ultimately, as we learn to apply what we read to our own experiences, our wisdom.

Page Trip Report

5      Mustagh Ata (7546m) By Arun Mahajan

6      Rumors ???

7      Mt. Warren Photos by Andrea Drane

8      Matthes Crest by Julius Gawlas & Mike Snadden

8      Hamilton Dome by Joan Marshall

9      South of Whitney by Jim Wholey

10    Photos, South of Whitney by Louise Wholey

11   Lone Pine Peak by Debbie Bulger

12   A Woman’s Place is on Top! by Emilie Cortes

14   Center Basin Cleanout by Lisa Barboza


By Louise Wholey

Water Filters

Last month I reported on the MSR Hyperflow Microfilter.  Since then I have found out more about  the reuirements for keeping this pump well-behaved.  It must be back-flushed once for every 4 to 8 liters pumped.  Field back-flushing is not hard, but one must reverse the valves and pump back that 5th liter.  I am one of many who did not do that and jammed the filter.  Fortunately Cascade Designs took pity on me and offered to replace my first cartridge.

Solo Tents

People tend to be brave about sleeping in the open until the forecast is for stormy weather, or the hot weather giant mosquitoes make their appearance.  Then the tents come out, both big and small.  I have been looking for a small tent, weighing in at about 1 pound for such occasions.  Here are some tents I have found that weigh about a pound and use adjustable trekking poles for set-up.

Tarptent Sublite, $179

This breathable, water-resistant, zippered tent has full bug mesh.  Trekking pole must extend to 135 cm.  20 sq ft floor, 42” high, 26/42/24" wide, 86” long, with vestibule.

Gossamer Gear The One, $275 (out of stock)

This tent is made from fully waterproof high thread count spinnaker cloth.  It is zippered tent and has full bug mesh.  Trekking pole must extend to 120-130 cm.  17.5 sq ft floor, 47” high, 26/34/26" wide, 84” long, 10 sq ft vestibule.

Others that I have not yet investigated but are probably in the 1.5 pound arena are:

Lunar Solo

BigAgnes Seedhouse SL1

Marmot Eos1P

MSR Hubba HP

Dried Berries

Dried berries are loaded with great taste and micronutrients, making them an excellent choice for trail food.  Of note, ladies, dried cranberries can put an immediate stop to urinary infections.  A great source for organic dried berries is Nuts Online.  The raspberries and strawberries are yummy!

Nanotube-Coated Pot Boils Water FAST

Written by Peg Fong, Wednesday, 09 July 2008

Originally published via RPI and Treehugger on

It's about to get that much easier to create a tempest in a teapot. Conventional wisdom holds that a watched pot never boils and while “never” might be an exaggeration, most of us can agree that it takes longer than we’d like. However, researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered that by coating the inside of a pot with a microscopic layer of copper nanotubes—which under appropriate magnification make the surface of the cooking vessel look hairy—they can increase the efficiency of energy transfer from the pot to the water it holds by an order of magnitude.

In our imperfect world, where the burners of a range give off a huge proportion of their energy directly to the sorrounding air rather than to the cooking vessel they’re supposed to be heating, the microscopically hirsute pots save cooking time, costs, and energy. “If the time taken to boil a given quantity of water is reduced by an order of magnitude, that should translate into significant cost savings,” says Nikhil A. Koratkar, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer, who led the project. However, there are safety concerns to using nanotubes in this way, and testing should continue before we find these little tubes coating our hot-pot coils.

While the findings are definitely interesting, and novel in the context of cookware, the principle involved is generally well-known: an increase in surface area corresponds to more efficient transfer from one medium to another. It’s the same strategy employed in our intestines, where millions of microscopic villi—hair-like structures—aid in the absorption of nutrients; and in radiators, where the fins promote the migration of heat from the coolant to the surrounding air. Our friends at Treehugger speculate that the material could be adapted to make solar thermal power plants harness heat by the light of the sun more effectively - a likely prospect considering the success seen with nanotechnology used with in "hairy" solar cells, or with "popcorn ball" dye-sensitized solar cells.

What does this mean in reality? Well, most of us define when the watched pot has boiled by that roiling appearance as bubbles are nucleated and rise to the surface, rather than by the temperature of the water. The copper "microfur" results in a 30-fold increase in the number of bubbles created as the water reaches 100oC. Not only does the water get hot faster, but we’re also more likely to start actually cooking with it sooner. And who in her right mind doesn’t want a greener version of pasta e fagioli?

PCS Trip Calendar

Aug 9-11 - Rixford, Bago (Date changed!)

Leader: Charles Schafer

Aug 19-23 - Darwin, Mendel (Dates Released!)

Leader: Kelly Maas, Landa Robillard

Aug 22-24 - Mt. Brewer  (13,570)  (New Trip!)

Leader: George Van Gorden

Aug 23-24 - Mt. Baldwin (Date changed!)

Leader: Charles Schafer

Aug 29-Sep 1 - Rodgers, Foerster, Electra

Leader: Tim Hult

Aug 30- Sep 1 - Tower Peak

Leader: Stephane Mouradian

Sep 5-7 - Mt. Russell

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Sep 5-7 - Mt Goode & Cloudripper  (New Trip!)

Leader: Charles Schafer

Sep 12-14 - Mt. Langley (14026)   (New Trip!)

Leader: George Van Gorden

Sep 19-21 - Twin Peaks, Virginia 

Leader: Tim Hult

Sep 27-28 - Florence, Vandever

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Oct 3-5 - Onion Valley peaks - car camp

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Oct 11 - Mt. Whitney (14495)   (New Trip!)

Leader: George Van Gorden

Oct 12 – Black Hawk Peak

Leader: Louise Wholey

Private Trips Summary

Important: 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 Scree editor.  Details on these trips follow the trip reports. In this issue.

Aug 16-24, 2008 – Wind Rivers

Aug 29-Sep 1, 2008 – Clarence King, Gardiner, Cotter,         & Fin Dome

September 6-7, 2008 Tenaya Canyon

October, 2008 Kanchenguna Trek

November 8-9, 2008 – Pinnacles: Hike, Bike or Climb

PCS Trip Details

Rixford, Bago (Kearsarge Pass)

Peaks:     Rixford (12887), Bago (11870)
Dates:     Aug 9-11  (New Dates!)
Leader:   Charles Schafer (, 408-354-1545)

Co-lead:  Needed

Saturday we’ll go up and over Kearsarge Pass, and then on to Charlotte Lake where we’ll set up camp.  Sunday we’ll climb both Mt. Bago and Mt. Rixford, then hike back to Kearsarge Lake for another camp.  Then Monday we’ll hike out.  This will be a relatively slow-paced trip with easy climbing -- it should be appropriate for beginners with a bit of stamina.  There should be some really great views from both peaks, particularly Bago.

Evolution Loop – Darwin, Mendel

Peaks:     Darwin (13831), Mendel (13710)
Dates:     Aug 19-23 (Tue-Sat)  (Dates Released!)
Leader:   Kelly Maas (408-378-5311,

Co-lead:  Landa Robillard

Enter and exit via Lamarck Col; it's not really a loop. We'll try to see as much as possible of Evolution Basin as possible. The routes on the Basin side of these peaks are snow free. If time allows, we can try scrambling up other peaks.

Mt. Brewer

Peaks:     Mt. Brewer  (13,570, class 2)
Dates:     Aug 22-24  (New Trip!)
Leader:   George Van Gorden (, contact after 8/14))

Co-lead:  Bill Kirkpatrick (

We will start at roads end in Kings Canyon at 9am on August 22.  We will hike up the Bubbs Creek trail, turn off onto the East Lake trail and camp at East Lake on Friday night.  The first day will be about 13 miles and 3000 feet.  Sat. we will climb the ridge between the south and middle forks of Ouzel creek.  This ridge is Class 2.  Sat. night we will return to our camp on East Lake and Sun. we will hike out.  We will have a busy three days.

Mt. Baldwin – via Convict Canyon

Peaks:     Mt. Baldwin (12,615)
Dates:     Aug 23-24  (New Dates!)
Leader:   Charles Schafer (, 408-354-1545)

Co-lead:  Needed

This is a relatively slow-paced backpack to climb Mt Baldwin via Convict Canyon.  We’ll hike in and set up camp on Saturday, then climb the peak and hike out on Sunday.  This will be a very scenic hike through country with a variety of colors of rock, and is suitable for relative beginners with backpacking skills. 

Rodgers, Foerster, Electra

Peaks:     Rodgers (12978), Foerster (12057), Electra (12442)
Dates:     Aug 29-Sep 1
Leader:   Tim Hult, 650-966-2215 (w)

Co-lead:  Needed

This trip is to climb these three class 2 / 3 peaks on the "back side" of the Ritter Banner massif.   We will begin Aug 29th (Friday) at the Agnews meadows trailhead with the goal of hiking in over the 2nd class pass between Banner and Grey.  The hanging valley behind Ritter and Banner is one of least visited in the Sierra and very beautiful.  Much of the trip will be cross country over old mining trails, with route finding difficulties and long days.  Milage will be 12-14 per day including elevation loss or gain of 3000'.  Participants should be comfortable in these situations.

Tower Peak

Peaks:     Tower Peak (11755)
Dates:     Aug 30 – Sep 1
Leader:   Stephane Mouradian (

Co-lead:  Needed

Let us enjoy some early fall colors and some good quality class 3 rock on summit day.  TH is Leavitt Meadows and the Saturday hike in is ~ 14 miles along the West Walker River to our camp near Tower Lake.  We will attempt the peak Sunday and return to camp.  In the past, fast groups walked out the same day but we will plan enough food to stay at camp Sunday and walk out Monday, depending on how we do.

Mt. Russell

Peaks:     Mt. Russell (14088), maybe Carillon(13517)

Dates:     Sep 5-7
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (

Co-lead: Needed

Class 3 exposed east ridge route.  Wait-list only at press time.

Mt Goode & Cloudripper

Peaks:     Mt Goode (13,085’, cl 2) & Cloudripper (13,525’, cl 3)
Dates:     Sept 5-7 (New Trip!)
Leader:   Charles Schafer (, 408-354-1545)

Co-lead:  Needed

Friday we’ll hike up to camp at Chocolate Lake and then climb Cloudripper.  Saturday we’ll hike over to Bishop Lake for a second camp, and then climb Mt. Goode.  We’ll hike out on Sunday.  This will be a relatively slow-paced trip with the climbing easy for the most part (although it's class 3 on Cloudripper) -- appropriate for beginners who have done a bit of climbing.

Mt. Langley

Peaks:     Mt. Langley  (14,026, class 2)
Dates:     Sep 12-14  (New Trip!)
Leader:   George Van Gorden (, contact after 8/14))

Co-lead:  Bill Kirkpatrick (

This will be a good trip for people trying to get their first 14er. We will meet at the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead on Sept. 12 at 11am.  We will hike about 6 miles into our camp which will be either at Long Lake or one of the Cottonwood Lakes.  Sat. we will climb the peak using either Old Army Pass or New Army Pass, depending on conditions.  We will return to our camp and then depending on time either spend another night or hike out to our cars.  The whole trip is about 21 miles.

Twin Peaks, Virginia

Peaks:     Twin Peaks (12323), Virginia (12001)

Dates:     Sep 19-21
Leader:   Tim Hult, 650-966-2215 (w)

Co-lead: Needed

Saturday, hike in from Green Creek TH (5.5 miles north of Sherwin Pass on Hwy 395), 3400 feet gain, camp at lake 10,500. Climb 1 peak if time.  Sunday, climb other peak and hike out. CL2 climbing.

Mineral King - Florence & Vandever

Peaks:     Florence (12432), Vandever (11947)

Dates:     Sep 27-28
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (

Co-lead: Needed

Be prepared for fall mountain conditions with possible cold temperatures.  Suitable for beginner-intermediate climbers. 

Friday 9/26/08, drive in carpools from Bay Area to Mineral King.  Car-camp at 8000' trailhead. 

Saturday, dayhike both peaks. 3.5 miles to Farewell Gap, 2700 ft. gain, climb both peaks (about 3 miles and 2000 feet of gain).  Sunday, drive home.  Contact Leader with experience.

Onion Valley peaks - car camp

Peaks:     Rixford, Bago, Kearsarge, Gould

Dates:     Oct 3-5
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (

Co-lead: Needed

Lots of peak-begging but no further details at press time…

Mt. Whitney

Peaks:     Mt. Whitney  (14,026, class 1)
Dates:     Oct 11  (New Trip!)
Leader:   George Van Gorden (, contact after 8/14))

Co-lead:  Bill Kirkpatrick (

We will meet at Whitney Portal at 6am on Sat. morning.  We will plan to climb the mountain using the standard trail.  The round trip to the top and return is about 22 miles.  We should get back to our cars shortly after dark.  We will have a turn around time to avoid being on the more difficult sections of the trail in the darkness.  If there has been significant snow, then it is possible that we will need to carry crampons.  This is unlikely.  Although crowded this is a climb of great beauty.

Black Hawk Peak

Peaks:     Black Hawk Peak  (10348, class 2)
Dates:     Oct 12 (Sun)

Leader:   Louise Wholey

Co-lead:  Lisa Barboza

This will be a long day hike (22 miles RT) from the northern Kennedy Meadows.  Excellent physical condition and recent altitude experience will allow participants to summit and return.

Trip Reports

Hot Off The Press!

Mustagh Ata 7546m/24751 ft, July 08

By Arun Mahajan

Mustagh Ata (7546m/24751 ft), the 'father of the ice mountain' is an enormous peak, 43rd in the world, that sits in the geological knot formed by the mountain ranges of the Pamir, the Tien-shan, the Kun Lun and the Krakoram-HinduKush-Himalaya groups. It is an ongoing debate whether it is to be considered being in the Pamirs or the Kunluns. The even more impressive bulk of the Kongur Tagh  massif, 7,649 metres (25,095 feet), of the Kunlun range, is very near to it as well.

I participated in the climb of Mustagh Ata on an expedition put together by SummitClimb (Dan Mazur's organisation) and our leader was the acomplished climber, Jon Otto. Operating independently, we were also joined by Tim Boelter, the award winning adventure documentary maker (

We gathered together at Kashgar, the Silk Road city in the far north-western Xingjiang province of China, almost at the Tajistan/Khirgizstan border. Kashgar or Kashi is a few hours north of the peak.

We had amongst us people who had never tied into a harness to people who had done the Nose and the Salathe Wall in Yosemite, from people who had only gone to 3000ft peaks to train to people who had been on Cho Oyu before, from boys aged 16 to experienced climbers in their 40's and 50's. We had people who were working in fields as diverse as engineering, consulting, dentistry, the army, cartography, law enforcement and movie-making. We had someone who lead teams at the UN to someone who owned a company making speciality gelatos. The countries represented by the members of the group were Finland, Italy, Norway, Holland, Sweden, the UK, China, Hong Kong, Belgium and the good ol' US of A.

After leaving Kashgar, we acclimated at Karakul Lake (3600m/11800 ft) for a couple of days and then went to the base camp for the so called Tash route which goes to the summit from the right of the huge Karatmak Glacier on the western side of the peak. The more popular normal route goes from the left of the Karatmak. Our BC was at 4500m/14700 ft. We climbed the mountain by several forays onto the peak for acclimatization. The hike into BC from the trailhead took about four hours. We went from BC to ABC and back, from BC to ABC and then C1 (5500m/ 18000ft), stayed at C1 and then back to BC, from BC to ABC to C1 to C2 (6150m/20172 ft), stayed at C2 and back and then finally from BC to ABC to C1, sleep at C1, then move to C2, sleep at C2, then move to C3, sleep at C3 and then the summit bid from there.

C3 was at 6800m/22300 ft).

BC to ABC was a steep and tiring scree slope. ABC was at snowline. It took three hours from BC to ABC and an hour from ABC to BC on a relatively steep snow slope that was somewhat crevassed. C1 was precariously placed on a wedge between two crevasses. Right above C1 was a steep hill after which a continiously ascending slope got us to spectacular C2 that was on a platform with imposing seracs near it. The route to C3 from C2 was the hardest single stretch of the route, starting off with a steep hill and then a rising plateau topped off by a steep hill on which was perched C3. The route from C3 to the summit starts of a bit steep but then gently rises to a saddle (7100m/23300 ft) that is between the imposing summit dome of Mustagh Ata to the left and the seemingly gentle slopes of Kalaxong Peak (7227m) to the right. The route to Mustagh Ata ascends this dome and then tops off on to a gently ascending ridge that bypasses a false summit to the real one.

The weather was consistently bad with huge amounts of unseasonal snow dumpings and it remained cold and windy with many long periods of white-outs. No other team (we had neighbouring teams at BC) was able to succeed before us.

As for our team, we broke up into two groups and attemped the summit one after the other. From both the teams, a majority summmited and those who did not, came very close before turning around. Both teams summited in whiteout conditions and both teams had a very hard summit day with no views at all at the summit and a very hairy descent down. We had 3 skiers and 3 snowboarders. Just one of the skiers being on tele-skis, Jon Otto. One snowboarder and one skiier boarded/skied all the way from the summit to ABC and then walked in the dark to BC all the way and they were only 17 and 16 years old! One person on our team had to be evacuated out from BC due to AMS and another got AMS but summited nonetheless. One got HAPE but Nephedeprine fixed that and he summited as well. There were several stories of brave descents in bad weather. Two members, in a whiteout, but unable to see the nearby C3, dug a hole in the snow at the last wand they were able to see and stayed there for 4 hrs, clutching to each other. Four people got early stages of frost-bite (frost nip), two of them in their fingers and twon their feet, in varying degrees of severity. Four members, two from each group, turned back at various points along the way, one at 7400m, two at 7200m and one at just below 7100m. Some people acclimated well, some others, good climbers in general, never did. Some used Diamox and some did not, depending on their point of view and the need. Some used porters to cary loads from BC to ABC and some did not. Some had even paid for a personal climbing guide, the incredible Tibetan, Tsering, who had returned from his third time summiting Everest this spring, now climbed Mustagh Ata and is headed to Cho Oyu in the fall and he is all of 21 years old.

As for me, I was in the lead group. On summit day, I started off slow. I was also suffering from an upset stomach. Just at the saddle between the final summit dome of MA and Kalaxong Paak, at an altitude between 7000 and 7100m, I started to get very cold, My fingers got numb and began to pain. I was unable to even get to my food and drink in my pack. I decided to turn around as I was worried of getting frost-bite. I returned to C3 and lay in my down bag, hands in wool mittens, hoping for the pain to subside. Group-2 then came up in the evening from C2 but group-1, on the summit bid, had not yet returned but when they did, several were in no state to go back to C2, thus creating a traffic jam in the limited number of tents but it all got sorted out. My fingers got checked out by Jon and Mike Chrisp, a dental surgeon and I was diagnosed with early frost bite (white-fingers or frost-nip) so I stayed with the tired climbers in my tent who had just returned from the summit bid, boiling water for them since they were in worse shape than me. I was hoping to join team-02 on their summit bid the next morning. But my fingers were still hurting and I was also not doing too well on my second night at 6807m but regardless, when the morning came, there was another whiteout and the team-2's summit bid got pushed out by another day. At this point, I was not sure that I would not deteriorate further, so I decided to get down in that whiteout and had a  hairy time in the descent to C2, also since I was making sure that I was able to get one of my tent-mates down, who was throwing up all night. We went from wand to wand, at times waiting at wands till the next one would come into sight. It was very disappointing to turn back from just 400m below the summit. I take the positives with me, that I was able to go above 7000m, despite not being at my best, that I was able to adapt relatively well, that I slept two nights at 6800m/22300ft (and it felt miserable) and that I carried my own loads that too without even taking caffeine!

General comments:

Mustagh Ata is an exhausting peak. If fit, able to deal with the cold, the altitude and mainly, carrying a relatively heavy pack, then it is doable if the weather and conditions hold. It is tiring, carrying a load at altitude and in deep snow. To ski it, one must be close to expert level. The angle is not the issue, it is the ability to deal with variable conditions and to ski/board with a pack at altitude and having ski-mountaineering skills.

All our snow-line climbing (from ABC till the summit) was done on snowshoes without the use of roped climbing, fixed lines, harnesses, axe or crampons during the time we were there although we had them all at the ready. Setting up wands on the route is absolutely essential. I think that without the wands, our descent in the whiteout would have had dire consequences.

The SummitClimb staff, both at high altitude and at BC were very helpful and caring and it was a pleasure climbing with them. I dearly wished that I knew Mandarin, to be able to communicate more with them. The tireless Jon Otto is an excellent leader and guide and mountaineer. It was a pleasure to climb with him.

The Uyghurs, Khirgiz and Tajik (and the other Central-Asians) that we met in Kashgar and in our travels were very friendly and hospitable. Central Asia has such a rich history, legacy and culture that it is definitely worth a visit. Kashgar was not like I had thought. It has become a lot modern which is good for the locals but has lost some of its romance (in my eyes). A couple of us sneaked in a visit to the incredible Shipton's Arch as we had a day off before the flights home. The size of that thing takes the breath away.

The Central-Asian good-bye is said with hands on the heart and the words translate to something like, 'happiness to you', and therefore,




We have heard via the climbing rope (modern grapevine) that three technical trips and some other peak-bagging trips were successful. 

Bob Suzuki’s gang successfully summited Disappointment on July 5th. 

Charles Schafer’s group happily topped out on Iron Mountain the following weekend.

A couple other successful trips the Scree editor enjoyed were a traverse across Disappointment to Middle Palisade June 28 (a very, very long day) and climbs of Emerald Peak and Mt. Henry on July 12-13.  We await Daryn’s trip reports on

Several trips are underway at press time – Lisa’s Kaweah trip, Louise’s Davis climb, and Debbie and Chris's annual (how many years?) Sequoia / Kings Canyon Car Camping.

Mt. Warren (12,327)

By Andrea Drane

Editor Notes: Last month we published a text report by Kelly Maas on the ice axe training class June 21-22, 2008 on Mt. Dana and subsequent climb of Mt. Warren.  Lots of people participated: Rudy Ortega, George Van Gorden, Sandra Hao, Kelly Maas (leader), Landa Robillard, Joe Baker, Judy Molland, Andrea Drane, Toinette Hartshorne, Sassan Hazeghi, Dara Hazeghi, Martin Alkire, Chris Prendergast.  This month we add Andrea’s photos!

Heading off to Mt. Warren

Summit of Mt. Warren

View of Mono Lake from Mt. Warren

View to the South from Mt. Warren

Afternoon Descent

Tuolumne Meadows

Matthes Crest, June 21-22

By Julius Gawlas  & Mike Snadden

Inspired by Peter Croft's description and glowing recommendation from Rick's "Five Favorites" (h Mike Snadden and Julius Gawlas decided to climb Matthes Crest during weekend of June 21-22.

We headed out from the Bay Area early afternoon of Friday, avoiding most of the traffic and reached Tuolumne Meadows campground around 9 PM. We got lucky - it turned out it just opened on the same day. On Saturday after quick a breakfast and sorting out the gear we started from Cathedral Lakes trailhead just after 6 AM. After a few minutes we left the main trail and headed towards Budd Lake. We never saw Budd Lake, but the approach turned out to be rather straightforward, with very little snow on the ground. Once we could see the Matthes Crest we simply traversed towards the south notch - the start of the route. Entire approach took ~3 hours.

We started climbing just before 10 am; with two 60m half ropes it took two pitches of ~5.6 to reach the ridge. Once on the ridge we simul-climbed it. It was beautiful - just as advertised - awesome rock, exposure and views. Climbing seemed mostly fourth class. Once or twice we got off the route and ended up on a real thin block with no way forward and had to retrace back and traverse a few feet below. There was only one other party on the route and one guy passed us going solo. Final climb to the South Summit was real fun. Using the topo advice we down climbed from the South Summit and back and on ledges to the notch.

During the day wind picked up and we had a few clouds approaching from all sides. Once on the notch it was clear the we are going to have one of the *Sierra afternoon thunderstorms*. We found rappel slings and while setting up the rappel we could hear a few thunderclaps, and got hit with a bit of rain mixed up with hail. All this made for a rather hasty retreat.

Down in the valley we met some folks biving overnight and intending to go up the Crest next day. They offered us some hot cider and after some pleasant chat we headed back towards the car. Fortunately the rain quickly stopped and the hike back was quite pleasant. We reached the car around 7 pm.

Next morning we were a bit tired so we started slower with more modest goals. We went to Bunny Slopes to practice our slab skills. We climbed all the routes there (mostly bolted sport) and really liked it. Weather was magnificent and the setting is great with Pywiack Dome, Tenaya and Cathedral Peak in the distance. On top of that we had a place to ourselves. Early afternoon we started going home planning when we will come back for more.

Pictures from the trip can be found at h

Hamilton Domes

By Joan Marshall

Here is a photo of a marmot taken by Hal Thompkins, at Bear Paw Meadows, (Sequoia National Park) over July 4 weekend.

Donations, please!

The goal was to climb Hamilton Dome, an obscure dome near Hamilton Lake, first ascent by TM Herbert and Don Lauria. We got close to it, but ran out of time, so we had to turn back and leave it for another trip. The approach took us 5 hours starting from the Middle Fork of the Kaweah, just below BearPaw High Sierra Camp. We estimate the approach alone would take 6 hours, the climb another four hours, and the descent back, perhaps 5 hours more. The dome is well defended by manzanita and buck thorn. Also, no water, or certainly no flowing water once you leave the river. There are many game trails one can weave in and around to gain the ridge. From there, the dome can be seen easily, and one traverses to get to it. Looks scary, but the beta says it isn't. And since we didn't get that far, we wouldn't know.

Photos of the entire trip:

Even though we don't get to meetings and don't go on many organized trips we do consider ourselves members and try to keep up on what's going on with the club!


Too Slow?  South of Whitney, July 2-7

By Jim Wholey

This trip was an extended weekend between two delightfully intense bike rides, the Climb to Kaiser (up Kaiser Pass from Clovis) and the Tour of the California Alps, also known as the Markleeville Death Ride. Having been convinced by my doc that healthy exercise requires diversity, I signed up for the PCS trip to the peaks south of Whitney.  The trip had some interesting aspects as you will see.  My report was inspired by a question from another climber we met on our way out at Cottonwood Pass.  She was eager to learn more about our PCS group. She asked the question “What if I’m too slow?” I described my experience, for which she showed great gratitude.

Wednesday, July 2, the trip started at Horseshoe Meadows. Participants were Lisa Barboza, Louise Wholey (co-leaders), Chris Franchuk, and myself. Our destination for the day was Sky Blue Lake.  After examining the map it was clear to me that Army Pass was no shortcut and it would be easiest to go via Cottonwood Pass and up the PCT trail. We arrived late afternoon to a beautiful lake, without an overly strenuous day of hiking.  My acclimatization was not ideal.

Thursday, July 3, we were to climb McAdie, which I felt was the most significant peak of the trip. The route from Sky Blue Lake took us up to Crabtree pass, just west of McAdie and a 1000’ gully leading up it. Altitude was affecting my pace, a bit slower that the rest, but we did arrive at Crabtree Pass about 10am with blue-sky weather. At that point Lisa informed me I should stay at the pass – I was too slow to proceed with the group. Possible rock fall within the gully required the group to keep together. Lisa was already sporting a bruised shoulder from rock fall on a previous trip. Clearly 10AM was too late for me to start up! This was complicated by Lisa and Chris’ desire to continue to Mallory and Irvine, two peaks they ‘needed’ for the SPS list. Louise’s plan was to ascend McAdie and return to the pass and back to camp with me. So I hung out, disappointed, at Crabtree Pass.

Friday, July 4, had a variety of options for routes up Newcomb and Chamberlin.  Louise advocated an obvious route up the east bowl which was not described in Secor’s guide while Lisa chose a route up a supposed class 2 gully which others had seen on the northwest side, a route which included a very long approach over Crabtree Pass. I felt one peak would be nice, but I was told, “We came to do both peaks; we don’t want to return for an orphan peak.” So my alternative was to stay in camp and try out the fishing. My decision was fully and happily agreed to. Clearly it would not put anyone’s SPS checklist in any jeopardy. As it turned out there were plenty of big trout in Sky Blue Lake, but none were biting, not even a strike. In the inlet stream there were plenty of rapidly moving fish. I suppose they were breeding, after all they had no interest in eating! At the end of the day Lisa returned from Hitchcock, and Chris and Louise returned from climbing Pickering and Joe Devil after being quite mislead over Crabtree Pass.

Saturday, July 5, the group chose to move camp to Rock Creek to climb Mt. Guyot and have an easy approach to Chamberlin and Newcomb. There were plenty of mosquitoes, so early rest stops tended to be short. We did get to a small lake a few miles before Rock Creek where Lisa suggested there was enough time to try out fishing. First cast – a small but very pretty golden trout. Within an hour both Louise and I had our limits! And the silver lining was the small size fit great in our little titanium fry pan.

We proceeded to set up camp at Rock Creek by early afternoon. Lisa asked if I intended to climb Guyot, which, since I signed up for a peak climbing trip, I did. It was a rather bland expression on her face. But when I finished filtering some water Louise told me that both Chris and Lisa had already left for the peak. At least I had Louise for company (I personally do not like solo climbs) and we did get to the summit of Guyot, with only a short glimpse of Chris and Lisa high on the route ahead of us. On returning we had some great fish for dinner.

Sunday, July 6, plans were to climb both Chamberlin and Newcomb, a long hard day. By then it was pretty obvious how limited my invitation for this trip was. At least there was Rock Creek, and a chance to see if I could be successful with stream fishing. Up until then it has only been lakes. It took a bit of wandering along the stream to try to outguess the fish but finally things began striking and a limit was once again obtained. I was reminded of a story I once heard from an atheist – he claimed he would always have second thoughts about God whenever he looked at the feathers of a mallard duck; they were just too perfect. Perhaps a golden trout would have also inspired such second thoughts. The group (of three) returned late from climbing the two peaks.

Monday, July 7, was the day to hike out and return home. As I’m writing this Louise is returning home from another trip led by Lisa to the Onion Valley area. But she is returning with Lisa, and not the person she went out with. After asking why, the response was “Oh – he was too slow and was kicked off the trip.” (Why am I not surprised)?

For those of you who expected a detailed route description from this report - sorry it isn’t here. But for those, like the person we met coming down from Cottonwood Pass that occasionally wonders “What if I am too slow?”, perhaps this report might have been informative.

Photos, South of Whitney, July 2-7, 2008

By Louise Wholey

McAdie’s class 2 gully from Crabtree Pass

No matter how tough the route, Polemonium grows!

Jim on Guyot with prominent view of Whitney to Muir

The Shooting Star is where the mosquitoes are




Editor’s Note: More photos of this incredibly beautiful area along with route details will be in Lisa’s August slide show.  Incidentally, our new friend mentioned in Jim’s report signed up for an extended climbing trip, Lisa’s Kaweah trip.  She seemed quite delighted to find other climbers that would actually focus on climbing peaks, not just backpacking and looking at peaks!

Lone Pine Peak, July 4, 2008

By Debbie Bulger

The view from this prominent peak is spectacular. You can see the town of Lone Pine below to the east flanked by a cream and red Owens Lake bed and Mount Whitney and Russell to the northwest. Directly west, Mt Irvine towers above the bowl of Meysan Lake. We were lucky the winds had shifted away from the fires burning both north and south of us during the day we summited.

Richard Stover and I backpacked up the Meysan Lake Trail the day before in a smoky haze. This hot, steep trail always seems longer than it is. Take plenty of water, for your track is far from the creek. We camped at Grass Lake under foxtail pines and ascended Lone Pine Peak’s northwest scree chute to the summit plateau. Looking at this chute later from camp, I found it hard to believe we had inched up that steep mess. It was even harder coming down when plunge stepping becomes a fine line between riding the cascading scree and starting a rockslide you might not be able to stop.

The summit plateau was carpeted with phlox which almost matched the color of the soil. Here and there dwarf wallflowers added a splash of yellow. The most amazing observation was the deer droppings—all the way to the summit. Why would a deer come up here with little browse and only a few escape routes should a predator arrive?

The Wrong Tower

The climb should be an easy finish from the top of the scree chute, but we overshot the top in an effort to avoid the false summits. Instead we climbed two towers slightly to the northeast before finding the easy summit. (Here’s where a GPS would have come in handy). If your route becomes third class, you are barking up the wrong tree (umm, tower).

Persistence pays off, however. After climbing two towers and then twice descending the slope to find a route around, we reached the register. The book is a poor choice with its pages designed to tear out with handling.

Debbie on Summit of Lone Pine Peak

The next day instead of climbing Irvine as originally planned (my knees and back were still protesting the scree descent), we hiked to Meysan Lake and scouted various routes on Irvine. After supper we offered cookies to the endurance hikers who were returning late from their day hike of LeConte.

That night it was so warm we didn’t get in our sleeping bags but just used them as top covers. The ice axes we had laboriously carried in remained in camp unused. It’s going to be a warm summer.

A Woman’s Place is on Top!

Mt Morgan (13,748), July 25-26, 2008

By Emilie Cortes

Photos by Sonya Velez


After the devastating incapacitation of our (from what I hear) fearless leader, Joe Baker, to flu-like symptoms, there was a flurry of emails on Friday the 25th to figure out who was willing to venture out to explore such an imposing mountain.  July Molland determined that Joe would indeed live despite his raspy whispers urging her to go on ahead without him and continue the trip.  We all had the image of Joe laying in his bed, surrounded by mounds of pillows and cold compresses on his head fighting to recover and wishing he was surrounded by the group of 6 strong charismatic women who ultimately comprised the Mt Morgan summit team dubbed “A Woman’s Place is on Top – Mt Morgan.” 

Judy became our new fearless leader.  Well, un-leader actually as the trip was converted from an official one to a private one.  Andrea Snadden was present, a stalwart of PCS trips to get her climbing fix in while her husband watches the twins.  Sandra Hao and Monique Messié were two experienced backpackers beginning to dabble in climbing.  I was accompanied by my friend, Sonja Velez, who I put through the torture of the Sierra Club snow-camping training last spring and she for some reason continues to want to go on adventures with me.  I rounded out the crew with a fair bit of climbing experience, but pretty out of shape due to a protracted recovery of a broken collarbone and subsequent surgery.  A motley crew, but full of enthusiasm.


The first day was “easy.”  That is unless you have been nearly bedridden for 2 of the last 3 months with a shoulder injury.  I was huffing and puffing with the pack - feeling quite frustrated with such an intense sensation of struggling which has become unfamiliar to me.  Sonja hung with me and although I was bringing up the rear, the others didn’t seem to be too cognizant of my poor fitness.  An hour and a half passed by very quickly and we found ourselves having gained 1,300 feet and arriving at Francis Lake.  My despair was alleviated significantly when I learned that Judy and Joe and arrived at the same spot just 2 weeks prior with day packs in the same amount of time – an hour and a half.  “Not too bad for a gimp!” I thought to myself.

Debate ensued about whether to push on to the top with day packs or take a rest day and continue with the original plan of a summit day on Sunday.  We decided on the latter and ended up with a lovely relaxing day by the lake.  After making camp, we split up to partake in a variety of leisurely activities – naps, reading, bouldering, meditating, scouting, and skinny dipping.  Yes, you read right – skinny dipping!  Sonja, Andrea and I waited for women to pass by us on the rim of Francis Lake before stripping down to the buff.  The water was freezing and the going was excruciatingly slow to get submerged.  We were only half way in (read – half way exposed) when we looked up and saw the two women taking their lunch break across the lake.  There was no turning back so we accepted that we had an audience. 

The timeless hours passed and we enjoyed our respective dinners complemented by an honest to goodness bottle of red wine packed in by our resident Française – Monique.  We conversed about the fact that the trip was 100% women, something none of us had experienced before.  We remarked that despite the unique demographic, the conversation topics were similar to other trips – comparing gear, mooching food, past trip analysis, future trip day dreaming.  We never regressed into hair, nails, or men…well, at least not till much later.  I remarked that I was feeling much more subdued around a group of women.  My raunchy sense of humor which seems to be exacerbated in the mountain environment remained remarkably dormant.  Otherwise, it was business as usual.


As is often the case, we were well-intentioned to rise at 5am for a 6am sharp departure.  Not too bad, we rolled out of camp at 6:30am.  Andrea seemed a bit disconcerted as her goal was to summit, as her adventure time budget is very precious these days with the twins.  Giving oneself a time cushion is typically a good thing and we still set ourselves up for success with the early start.

I resumed huffing and puffing as we started out on steep terrain and had to take it down a notch to make sure I would have the juice for the long day.  We ascended some moderate sandy slopes that felt very physical, especially as the hot sun began to quickly beat down on our backs.  Andrea suggested that we try to gain the ridge sooner rather than later and Judy agreed.  We made a beeline straight up the side of the ridge which was strenuous but over quickly.  Once atop, there was a majestic scene of monstrous boulders, most much larger than any of us, that we would have to negotiate for the rest of the ascent.  This for me was the most fun of the entire trip.  I haven’t climbed at all in over 3 months due to my injury and I was in heaven just having my hands all over the granite and remembering how it feels to pull on, balance across, and lower down over the boulders.  I was picking harder lines and going a bit slower, but I purposefully preferred the scrambling to the easier and faster boulder hopping line that Monique discovered on the south side of the ridgeline.

Hours began to pass and the boulders got smaller as we gained altitude.  I began to feel better and better as if my body was remembering that it really is good at endurance and acclimatizing.  Judy started to feel the effects of the altitude despite a successful scouting trip on Mt Morgan just 2 weeks prior.  Her struggle towards the top reminded us that acclimatization depends on three things: fitness, genetics and good ole randomness.

Big Horn Sheep

After being graced by a view of a large flock of big horn sheep just below the last slope towards the summit, I joined the gals at the summit at around 11am.  I found a bit of confusion at the top.  Judy was still a few minutes behind and she had warned us much earlier that there would be a false summit and then a bit of a walk to the true summit.  We weren’t sure if this was really it as there were two other peaks close by, but they seemed like they were a bit shorter and the climbing was quite exposed to both.  We hoped we were on the right one, a fact confirmed when Monique found the summit register right as Judy arrived.


Typical afternoon thunder bumpers began to form on the Sierra skyline and I remarked to the group that we might want to start heading down.  We had spent 45 minutes at the summit and it went by quickly with the photo sessions, register signing, and well deserved snack break.  We began to descend, quickly but carefully negotiating the boulder fields when gravity was at a distinct, but always hazardous advantage. 

At about 13,000, I felt myself suddenly propelled downward in a short free fall.  I’m still not quite sure how I did it, but my back foot must have caught as I stepped down and I fell headfirst downhill into a boulder.  The left side of my head and left shoulder took the full brunt  of my body weight.  The sensation of head meets granite impact is still very vivid – not pleasant!  I remember my first thought was “Am I wearing a helmet? No. Shit!” 

It took a few seconds of self-evaluation to realize I could try to sit up.  By then, Judy, Sonja, and Sandra were by my side.  I banged up my head, shoulder, both knees and right shin.  A big grey shiner was developing on my hair line.  I realized I was flying to Seattle the next day for a bunch of prospective client meetings and thought “Shit!” again.  Only then did my mind turn to my recovering collar bone injury and the explicit orders from my orthopedic surgeon not to fall under any circumstances.  I downed 800mg of ibuprofen immediately to try to stem any more swelling and insisted that we focus on continuing to descend as we had much difficult terrain yet to cross. 

Sonja and Judy stayed close by to watch me for dizziness and we continued downward.  The skies began to darken quickly, several rounds of ominous thunder erupted, and we felt a few drops.  We definitely felt a sense of urgency in our decent.  Judy picked an easier line down a sandy drainage rather than renegotiate the boulder ridgeline.  The going was fast as we all plunge-stepped nearly all the way to Lake Francis.

What took ~4 hours to ascend took just under 2.5hrs to descend.  We broke camp in 45 minutes and continued down to the trailhead.  Efficiency was clearly a strength of the group as we loaded up, changed and hit the road in 30 seconds flat.  The famous grilled salmon of Lee Vining Mobil station was calling us!


For me personally, it gave me great confidence that I can still do these sorts of trips, even sustaining a significant fall without major repercussion to my injury recovery.  I have a long way to go to regain my fitness, but now I know just how far I need to go.  I’ll bring hydropel or tape for the bad case of toe bang I developed next time and be sure to have a solid stash of ibuprofen (at least 1600mg). I’ll consider bringing a helmet for anything Class 2 or higher.  I also won’t have “Don’t fall” as a mantra as it may actually contribute to falling.

Finally, my greatest lesson was that women do indeed belong on top!  J  Keep your eyes peeled for more of us out there!

Women on Top!

More photos may be found at

Center Basin Cleanout, July 18-21 2008

By Lisa Barboza

Abstract: July 18-21 2008 – participants: Lisa Barboza, Louise Wholey, Alex Sapozhnikov, Chris Kerr,  Helga Zimmerman, Terry Erickson, Wayne Martin, Margy Marshall, Dan Tupper – a party of nine…

Day 1: 7/18/08: University Peak 13,864… Climb over University Pass from Onion Valley, climb University Peak, camp at Lake 11,140 below University – 10 miles, 4500 feet gain

Day 1: We camped overnight at Onion Valley – 9200 feet in the walk-in campground. There are usually spots there, and it’s a great place to camp, if a bit windy.  We all met at the TH to Robinson Lake, and got going at 8:45 AM.  The trail to Robinson Lake is a bit steep and winds around a bit – but we eventually got to the point on the use trail where Louise & Dan made an independent bid for Independence Peak – the rest of us went up to University Pass, and climbed University.  The route to University Pass is obvious – You have to boulder hop above Robinson Lake, and it’s best to avoid the trees on the right hand side and go right up the boulder field.  Most didn’t have ice axe and crampons, so we took the snow-free gully to the left *east* side of the pass proper. The pass proper had a nice couloir – but lacking ice axes – most took the gully. The gully is very loose rock, not too steep, but steep enough that you wish you were at the top as soon as possible. The old, Sierra two-step – one step forward, one step back.  The left side of the chute offers better rock – but not great by any standards…We reached the pass at 1145AM, took a break, and were off to climb University by 12:15.  The climb of University involves heading north around a rib, and then gradually climbing the sand and scree, and some boulder hopping to the summit.  The Summit block has some CL2 boulders – but then you’re on the summit.  The ammo-box register has a missing cover, and we placed an additional register to supplement the spiral pad register extant.  After 40 minutes of lazing on the summit, we headed down – and got back to the pass at 4:15 PM.  Back at the pass, we waited for Dan and Louise to return from Independence.  We went down the chute directly down to Lake 11,140 (not named) and camped on the broad flats just above the lake. It made for a great campsite. And we set up camp by 7:30, at 11,150 ft.  Interestingly, there was an unoccupied tent city about 100 yds south of us, from the SEKI Aquatics group – We looked for yellow-legged frogs but found none.

Day 2: 7/19/08: Junction Peak: 13,888 feet

Walk the JMT to Forester Pass (13,200); 6.5 miles, 2000 feet gain, climb Junction Peak CL3 – 700 feet, 1 mile, climb Junction Peak CL3, 15.5 miles RT total

Day 2: We left camp at 6:00 AM, for the long dayhike to Junction Peak.  To get to the JMT, you end up descending about 500 feet to the trail at 10,600 feet.  Then it’s about 6 miles on the JMT freeway to Forester Pass at 13,200.  Once at the pass, we traversed over to Ski Mountaineer’s pass over the no-name peak that separates the two passes.  You have to start out on the north side of no-name peak, and there is a small notch (actually, look for a use trail) that passes over to the south side of the peak.  Alternately, you can stay on the JMT and drop a hundred feet down on the south side of Forester Pass and climb the CL2-CL3 route that way to Ski Mountaineer’s pass.  Once at the pass, the large, obvious west chute is the easiest route up the peak.

The big chute up the peak

From the pass we climbed up 50 feet, started to traverse over 2 ribs to the main chute.  We climbed, up CL2 and low CL3 to a waterfall pitch (still running slowly).  For most, it was a straightforward CL3 friction and jam climb, but several of the seven of us declared that they wouldn’t want to downclimb it. From there, it’s mainly a matter of avoiding rockfall.  With our group of 7, we went up in parallel. After about 250 feet, near the top of the chute, is another waterfall pitch.  We traversed below it and to the left, where a hidden ledge system leads to a spot above the pitch and to the base of the summit block. 

Climbing the chute

At the base of the summit block, looking to the right (Southwest direction) you can climb a ledge system with a few CL3 moves to the summit.  Alternatively, to the left (Southeast direction) you can climb an exposed catwalk that wraps around and goes up the east face of the summit block. We summited at 11:45AM. After a liesurely (and fantastic view) on the summit, with a register that dated back to 1997, we all decided to take the catwalk down.  We descended the chute, went down the hidden ledge to the upper chute, and to avoid the lowest waterfall pitch, traversed across the chute about 100 feet above the waterfall pitch to find a smaller scree chute down to Ski Mountaineer’s pass.  This route saved us the downclimb of the lowest waterfall pitch.   We traversed the peaklet back to Forester Pass, and headed back to camp, arriving about 6PM.  All in all, a 12 hour day, and great fun.

Day 3: 7/20/08 A two-peak day: Mt. Bradley 13,289, Mt. Keith, 13,997 – 10 miles RT, 4000 feet of gain, 4 mile hike from Center Basin Camp to Vidette Meadow on the JMT (600 feet of downhill)

Mt. Bradley: Some of our climbers elected to hike out; there were 5 of us who left camp at 5:30 AM to climb Bradley.  The chute is a short hike from our camp; move up the chute, which consists of much loose rock; after about 400 feet, move to the right hand side of the chute where the rock is less loose.  There is good CL2-3 climbing there.  You’ll see, above you, a peak with a diving board rock sticking out to the right (East).  The real peak is further east of that.  Keep climbing the chute up to the right, east leg of the chute.  You will come to a low pass between the summit block and a lower peak on the south.  The summit block itself will appear to be CL4 and 5 on all sides.  But once you cross over the low pass, on the southeast side of the peak, you’ll see a narrow (and I mean narrow) chute blocked by a chockstone.  Drop down about 20 feet, head north for 100 feet, and climb up over the chockstone.  Once past the chockstone, you’ll be in a 12 inch wide sandy chute, which leads to a surprisingly open flat spot.  From there, the summit is about 100 feet away over CL2 blocks.  We summited at 8:00 AM, had a second breakfast, and headed down the chutes, arriving at the basin floor at 9:30AM. 

Mt. Keith: Northwest bowl route. The clouds had started to come in, low, and we wanted to climb Keith. There is a route up the northwest bowl to the left of a triple band of rock, the lower two of which are black water stained.  We took that route on the way down.  On the way up, we debated whether or not to take the CL3 route above the talus band, but rain was threatening, and indeed we were hailed on briefly. We headed to the highest paternoster lake (WL3592 – 11,790) in the Center Basin, and went up the slabs to the right of the bench.  From the top of the bench, we headed east up a short scree slope, after crossing about 200 feet of car-sized blocks.  Since rain was threatening, we elected to stay on CL2, and went up the northwest bowl.  On top of the short scree slope is a snow-melt stream, and around the corner on the north-northwest slope is a nice CL2 rock climb with a sandy chute right next to it.  We summitted at 11:45, in cold and windy weather. The register dates to 1982 and has a sign in by none the less than Sir Edmund Hillary, in the mid 1980s.  We added our names as well, and had a cold lunch.  Mt. Williamson was covered in clouds, and we soon were as well.  The cloud ceiling was right at 13,800 feet, and feeling cold, we descended.  Down the sand chutes we went.  Instead of descending the scree slope above the bench that we took on the way up, we went down the face of the water-stained cliffs.

The water-stained rocks at the base

To do this, stay to the left (south of the small stream, and traverse down across the face where it stays at CL1-2 the whole way down.  You’ll see an obvious sandy ramp on the north side of the stream once you descend about 50 feet. From there, keep heading north and you will bypass the car-sized blocks.  From there we headed back to camp, finding the Center Basin trail.  At camp by 4:30, we all decided to start hiking out, and were packed up by 5:00 PM.  We hiked for 4.7 miles and stopped for the night at Vidette Meadow.  It was filled with mosquitoes, but we camped by Bubbs Creek.

Day 4: 7/21/08 hike out from Vidette Meadow to Onion Valley TH – 9 miles, 2000 feet of gain – all downhill from Kearsarge Pass

We hiked out to Onion Valley on the JMT and Kearsarge pass trail, a total of 8.8 miles. We left the meadow at 7:00 am, and were at the Trailhead by 11:30AM.  All in all, a fine trips – A peak a day, that’s all we ask!


TOPO! GPS Data Format Deg NAD83 ElevFeet Local-Time

UNIPAS,36.74200,-118.35258,NA,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTRE BASIN UNIVERSITY PASS 12600

BBBC09,36.73376,-118.37552,NA,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTERBASIN JCT

CENTER,36.72192,-118.36278,NA,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER PK 12760

ROBLAK,36.75884,-118.34030,NA,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN TRIP

SKIMTN,36.69249,-118.36862,13272,07/30/2008,08:25:48,CENTER BASIN SKI MTNR PASS

UNIPSN,36.74452,-118.35348,NA,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN NORTH SIDE OF UNIVERSITY PASS

KEITH,36.70008,-118.34342,13929,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN MT KEITH 13977

BRADLY,36.72867,-118.33863,NA,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN MT BRADLEY 13289

BRADCH,36.72731,-118.34722,NA,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN CHUTE TO BRADLEY

718CMP,36.73648,-118.35833,11155,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN CAMP

UNVRSY,36.74795,-118.36205,13578,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN 7-18-08 341PM

JUNCTN,36.69105,-118.36630,13855,07/29/2008,13:24:17,CENTER BASIN 19-JUL-08 12:21:31PM

Private Trips

Note: 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.

Aug 16-24, 2008 – Gannett Peak, Wind Rivers, Wyoming

Peaks: Gannett (13804), Fremont (13745), Ellingwood (13052)

Difficulty: Class 3-4, ice ax, crampons

Maps: Bridger Teton NF, Pinedale RD, North WR

Contacts: Bob Suzuki (,

Tim Hult (

From the Elkhart TH (near Pinedale) we'll dash up to Titcomb

Basin with our primary focus on bagging the state highpoint of Gannett. Following easy climbs of Fremont and Jackson, we may try a couple of different routes (cl. 4, 5.6) on Ellingwood Peak.

Ice ax, crampons, recent climbing resume, and confidence required.

Leaders will be driving from SF Bay Area.

Aug 29 - Sept 1, 2008 Clarence King, Gardiner,                 Cotter, & Fin Dome

Difficulty: Class 3-5, rope

Contacts: Bob Suzuki (

                  Jim Ramaker (

This is a technical trip requiring a high level of skill.

To avoid holiday traffic we will leave the Bay Area on Thursday. After a long, strenuous backpack to camp, we will have 2 fairly difficult climbs each day, with short belayed climbing on Clarence King and possibly on Gardiner. If interested please be in very good shape with confidence on class 3 & 4 and with some roped climbing experience.

Sep 6-7, 2008 Tenaya Canyon

Difficulty: Class 4-5, rope, rappel tools

Contact: Kelly Maas (408-378-5311,

Assistant:  Needed

This is a technical trip but no further details were available at press time.

October, 2008 Kanchenguna –

                                   North and South Base Camp

Contact: Warren Storkman (650-493-8959,

This will be a 20 day trek in Nepal.

This is my 30th year leading treks in Nepal and Tibet.  I do not handle any of your funds.  We pay the trip provider in Nepal.

November 8-9, 2008 – Pinnacles

Difficulty: Class 1-5, rope, bike or walking shoes

Contact: Rick Booth ( or

Jeff Fisher (

Hike, Bike, and Climb at Pinnacles National Monument. Come to the interesting and popular Pinnacles National Monument for a Fall trip. A group camp site has been reserved at the campground for Saturday night, November 8.

This is a great area where you can hike, bike or rock climb. Plenty of good hiking and road biking. This is a private trip; no rock climbing instruction is available so be prepared to operate on your own.

Elected Officials

    Lisa Barboza /

    664 Canyon Road, Redwood City, CA 94062-3022


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
Rod McCalley /

    3489 Cowper St., Palo Alto 94306


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
Alex Sapozhnikov /

    4616 Cabrillo, San Francisco, CA, 94121


Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:
    Louise Wholey/

    21020 Canyon View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070


PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
    Joe Baker/

    1524 Hudson St, Redwood City, CA 94061


Scree is the monthly journal of the Peak Climbing Section of the Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter.  Current and back issues are posted on the web in PDF and html.

PCS Official Website

Our official website is

Joining the PCS is easy:

PCS Announcement Listserve

If you join the PCS Announcement Listserv you will receive announcements and updates of trips and meetings. Use web page or send an email with the message body "subscribe lomap-pcs-announce" (no quotes) to  

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 Monday,  July 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