Dec 2008     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 42 . No. 12

General Meeting

Date:           December 9, 2008

Time:          7:00 pm

Where:        Caliper Life Sciences

                    605 Fairchild Drive

                    Mountain View, CA

Program:    Holiday Party with Slide Show

Presenter:    Everyone!

Come one, come all to our annual holiday party where we indulge in a potluck dinner, view trip highlights, and generally have a rollicking good time.  Family members & friends are welcome - if they dare to be seen with crazy climbers.

Bring a dozen photos and some yummy food dish to share, as well as your own plate, utensils and cup. (Re-usable items will minimize waste.)  We'll supply some basic drinks and paper towels, but that's it.  If you'd like to bring a special beverage, please do so.  Alcohol is OK.  The cafeteria at Caliper has a small kitchen area with a couple of microwaves and a sink.

Bring your digital pics on a USB flash drive or a CD-ROM.  Old-fashioned slides will also be accommodated.


Parking and access to the Caliper cafeteria is on the south side of the building.

From San Jose (Northbound Hwy 101):

Take the Ellis St exit and turn left, going back under the freeway.  Turn left on Fairchild Drive (first street after freeway on-ramp).  Go approx. ¼ mile to Caliper building on the right.

From San Francisco (Southbound Hwy 101):

Take Ellis Street exit and turn right onto Ellis Street.  Take the very first left (100 ft) on Fairchild Drive.  Go approx. ¼ mile to Caliper building on the right.

From Hwy 85 (Northbound):

Take the Moffett Blvd. exit and turn right onto Moffett Blvd.  Follow Moffett Blvd. and take Hwy 101 southbound.  Exit Ellis and follow the directions shown above.

Editor’s Notes

Scree Features

Page Trip Report

8       Everest Base Camp Trek, Lobuche East (19800),

Ama Dablam (22349) By Julius Gawlas

11     Skiing Mt. Lola by Louise Wholey

12     Crag & Smith by Lisa Barboza

Friday, December 5, 2008

Details at

Election Results

A note from the PCS nominating committee

At the November meeting we held our annual elections by paper ballot.  Thankfully, we will not be having a runoff nor a recount.

Our new officers are:

Louise Wholey: Chair

Jeff Fisher: Vice Chair

Jesper Schou: Treasurer

On behalf of the PCS, we would like to thank the outgoing team of officers for a stellar job. Note that without volunteers the section would not exist.

Lisa Barboza, Chair

Rod McCalley, Vice-Chair

Alex Sapozhnikov, Treasurer

Congratulations to the new team!

We would also like to thank the entire team of appointed officers and other volunteers for their support of the PCS.  In particular we want to thank

Joe Baker Website - site completely revamped & updated

Louise Wholey Scree Editor for the past 2 years

Lisa Barboza, Tim Hult and Louise Wholey OLT 101/201

Kelly Maas training trips

Charles Schafer mountaineering and executive issues

Jesper Schou publicity committee

Many thanks go to the PCS nominating committee:

Toinette Hartshorne

Stephane Mouradian

Arun Mahajan

Sierra Avalanche Center

Avalanche forecasting for the central Sierra (Tahoe)

Hotline: 530-587-2158

Downhill Ski Events (special ticket prices – see website):

Jan. 25, Northstar Ski Day - $40

Jan. 27, 28, 29 Mt. Rose Ski Days - $35

Mar. 22, SugarBowl Ski Day - $35

Mar. 29, Alpine Meadows Day- $35

TBA, Kirkwood Ski Day - $35

From the Chair

By Lisa Barboza

Final Chair Column – December 2008

Hi everyone – It’s been quite a year and I’ve really enjoyed serving as your chair.  This experience has been truly rewarding for me and I’ve learned a lot.  Now it’s time to turn the page and hand the reins over to our new Steering Committee; Louise Wholey, chair, Jeff Fisher, vice-chair, and Jesper Schou, treasurer, and their team.

But before we turn the page, I want to thank, deeply, the current steering committee for everything they have done in 2008.  The officers and committee chairs can point to several accomplishments.  We started our year with a very ambitious goal of 50/50/10: fifty trips, fifty new members, and ten new leaders.  We exceeded our goal on trips at 55 plus.  We pulled in 25 new members, and are in the process of certifying 3 new leaders.  We set high goals, didn’t exactly meet them – but hey – we gave it a good try.  Let me highlight some of our other accomplishments:

•                 Scree Editor – Louise Wholey – she applied creativity, and did a fantastic job putting together two years of outstanding Scree issues and putting up with many late submissions.  My favorite was the Hygiene article on camping sans TP, in the November issue.

•                 New Website – Webmaster Joe Baker – he used his incredible skill-set to create a wholly new website, a platform for the new millennium and it’s also lots of fun.   Go and visit our site:

•                 Bylaws – we updated the PCS bylaws to better reflect how we operate in this new century.  You can check the updated bylaws in this issue of the Scree

•                 OLT101 and OLT201 classes.   Tim Hult, Louise Wholey, and Lisa B. put together a very well-regarded (well attended with 18 folks) class in the spring, and we’ll repeat this in 2009.  It was very successful and is one method to get new leaders started in their certifications.  All new leaders must take the class.

•                 Our bank account is ‘healthy’ (for a shoestring operation) with $532 in the bank, $150 from OLT201.  And thanks to Treasurer Alex Sapozhnikov for actually transferring the bank account!

•                 Ice-axe training – Training Chair Kelly Maas held a well attended and informative event at Dana Couloir in June, and actually found snow!

•                 2009 Trips – we already have at least 2 trips / month throughout the winter – Thanks to Vice Chair Rod McCalley and all of the trip leaders.

So WOW!  Great job everyone!  We still have a lot of work to do – and I will continue to serve, but at a different level.  I hope to see all of you at our Christmas Party on December 9th, 2008 at Caliper in Mountain View.  Many thanks go to Stephane Mouradian for arranging the location.  Bring food to share and a slide show of your adventures for 2008.  See the potluck assignments elsewhere in this issue.   Again – I want to thank all of you for your support, and offer my sincere appreciation of our 2008 Steering Committee.  THX<LISA


At the November PCS meeting we discussed some edits to the Section Bylaws that had been proposed in the November issue of the Scree.  The following are the final edits, with changes from the current Bylaws underlined.  These changes become permanent when approved by the chapter.

By-Laws of the Peak Climbing Section of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club

Revision History:

Jan 1978 - unknown edits (starting point for 1995 revision)

Oct 1995 - Article III altered to have membership last one year from subscription date instead of all memberships expire on Dec 31.

Oct 1997 - Article IX, Section 2 added (sunset clause for operating rules)

November 2008 – Updated Bylaws to simplify membership requirements, updated committee names to reflect current practice, and to allow officers to serve consecutive terms to a maximum of two continuous terms.

ARTICLE I. Name of Section

Section 1. The name of the Section shall be the Peak Climbing Section of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club.

ARTICLE II. Purposes

Section 1. The purposes of the Section shall be to explore, enjoy, and preserve the mountain ranges and become familiar with their scenic resources; to preserve their forests, waters, wildlife and wildernesses; to enlist public interest and cooperation in protecting them; to cultivate comradeship in and understanding of mountain climbing; and to further the purposes of the Sierra Club.

ARTICLE III. Membership

Section 1. Membership in the PCS is free. The membership roster shall be those members of the Sierra Club who subscribe to the Peak Climbing Section through the PCS website.  Membership does not expire.  Members may cancel their membership by emailing the treasurer.

ARTICLE IV. Officers

Section 1. Elected officers. There shall be three elected officers for the Section: the Chair, the Vice-Chair, and the Secretary/Treasurer.

Section 2. Any member of the Peak Climbing Section may be elected to office.  Section officers hold office for a term of one year, and may be re-elected to serve a consecutive term, to be limited to no more than two consecutive full terms.  A member may serve any number of non-consecutive terms.   

Section 3. Term of Office and Election. Officers shall serve for a term of one year. Election of officers shall be held annually at the regular meeting in November. A Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the Chair and announced at the October meeting. If any of the Nominating Committee members do not meet the approval of a majority of the members present, the Chair shall call for nominations from the floor to replace the disapproved Committee members. Committee members nominated in this fashion shall be approved by a majority of those members present at the October meeting. The Nominating Committee shall publish a list of candidates for the offices to be filled in the issue of the Section newsletter preceding the November meeting.

Additional names may be placed in nomination from the floor immediately prior to the election. A candidate may be nominated for only one office at the yearly election. Voting shall be by written ballot. A majority vote of the Peak Climbing Section members present shall be required to elect. If no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot, another ballot shall be cast, dropping the name of the candidate receiving the fewest votes on the first ballot. This procedure is repeated until a majority is obtained.

Installation of officers shall take place on January 1st of the succeeding calendar year following the election.

Section 4. Vacancies. A vacancy in the office of Chair shall be filled by the Vice-Chair. Vacancies in the other offices shall be filled for the balance of the term by election at the next regular meeting following the occurrence of the vacancy.

Section 5. Duties of Officers. The duties of the officers of the Section shall be as follows:

a. Chair. The Chair of the Section calls and presides at the meetings of the Section, enforces the By-Laws of the Section, and appoints and may remove members of committees to carry out the work of the Section.

The Chair of the Section shall attend, or appoint an alternate to attend, the meetings of the Executive Committee of the Loma Prieta Chapter.

b. Vice-Chair. The Vice-Chair of the Section is responsible for the selection of leaders for, and the scheduling of, the outings of the Section, subject to the approval of the Mountaineering Committee. During the absence or disability of the Chair, the Vice-Chair shall act in his place.

c. Secretary/Treasurer. The Secretary/Treasurer of the Section shall keep an up-to-date roster of members; and manage all financial matters of the Peak Climbing Section, keeping proper records thereof. 

Section 6. Removal of Officers. An officer may be removed by a 3/5 vote of members present at a duly constituted meeting of the Section, provided that a petition signed by five members of the Section has been placed in the immediately preceding issue of the Section newsletter. Upon receipt of such a petition for recall, the editor of the Section newsletter shall print the petition in the next issue of the Section newsletter.

ARTICLE V. Meetings

Section 1. Section meetings shall be held monthly or when called by the Chair. Notices of meetings of the Section shall be given to the membership through the Section newsletter prior to the date of the meeting.

Upon the written request of ten percent of the membership, the Chair shall call a meeting within thirty days of the receipt of the request.

Section 2. Quorum. A quorum for the conduct of business shall consist of ten members or ten percent of the Section membership, whichever is larger.

ARTICLE VI. Committees

Section 1. Standing Committees shall include a Mountaineering Committee, Training Committee, Publicity Committee, Social Committee, Webmaster/Email Broadcast Committee, Scree Publication Committee.  The Nominating Committee is temporary for the purpose of seeking qualified new officers prior to annual elections.  The functions of the committees are described in the operating rules.


Section 1. No dues shall be assessed or collected by the Section. Voluntary contributions will be accepted.

ARTICLE VIII. Operating Rules

Section 1. Rules for making more explicit the operating procedures of the Section may be adopted or modified by the following method. Rules as defined in this article shall not be in conflict with the By-Laws.

a. A proposed rule shall be presented at a duly constituted meeting of the Section for discussion.

b. Upon approval of the proposed rule by a majority of those members present, the proposed rule shall be published in the next issue of the Section newsletter.

c. The proposed rule may then be adopted or rejected by a majority vote at the next duly constituted meeting of the Section.

ARTICLE IX. Amendments

Section 1. These By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the Peak Climbing Section members present at a duly constituted meeting of the Section prior to submission of the amendment to the Executive Committee of the Loma Prieta Chapter for approval, provided that the proposed amendment is
published in the Section newsletter immediately preceding the meeting.

Section 2. Amendments or standing rules which modify or clarify these bylaws shall be signed by the Section Chair, attached to a printed and signed copy of the bylaws, and kept on file at the Loma Prieta Chapter offices. Each amendment or standing rule must be accompanied by a record of when the final vote was taken. Those amendments or standing rules not so documented are revoked as of December 1997.

Message from our New Chair

Louise Wholey

The PCS is great!

The PCS offers an incredible opportunity for climbers to enjoy peak climbing with skilled people of similar interests.  The peaks of the High Sierra are our main target; these peaks are difficult and remote enough that forming a group for each climb is a wise idea for both one’s personal safety and also for having more fun.

Finding routes and other climbers is different today than in the past.  We have many resources for information on how to climb using past trip reports on the web as well as books.  Getting together is also easier with email, chat groups and meet-ups.  The PCS is one of these resources but also offers meetings where you can actually meet the people leading and participating in our trips before committing to a trip. 

For leaders, participating in the PCS offers a further safety margin.  The Sierra Club provides liability insurance for the official trip leaders!  You will not find that on any private or meet-up trips!

Beginners are welcome to climb with us.  We will also train you.  Someone once said the PCS is NOLS for free!

As chair I plan to continue the effort to revive the section as a modern vibrant organization that most effectively meets the needs of the peak climbing / mountaineering community.  I have met many wonderful people so far in the section and hope to see more new faces coming to meetings, participating in, and leading our trips this coming year.  I have enjoyed climbing over 70 peaks over the past two years with section members.  We have a very active section!




Snow Camping Course 2009


    Snow camping allows you to backpack in all seasons. By snowshoeing or skiing far into the wilderness, you can visit the Sierras with its thick layer of snow and enjoy the scenery far from the crowds; no competition for the “best” campsites! The skills obtained from the Loma Prieta's Snow Camping Seminar prepare you for camping happily in the snow, and give tips for day skiers or snowshoers caught out overnight. Participants must be experienced summer backpackers as this course will give you winter information and tips but doesn’t teach basic backpacking.

One full day on Saturday, January 24, 2009, in the Palo Alto area and one weekend field trip on Jan 31-Feb1, 2009. Limited to 40 participants for the classroom session, and 25 participants on the outing.

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

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

Questions? Contact Chris MacIntosh at 650/325-7841,, or Steve Sergeant at 408/937-8116, .

Note: This course is only offered every other year so don’t plan to wait until next year! - Ed.


Local Ice Climbing Condition Reports

This seems to be the new spot for ice conditions in Lee V:

(One of my guides in CH, Howie Schwartz, is part owner of this outfit.)

-Scott Kreider

Ouray Ice Festival, Jan 9-11, 2009

The Ouray Ice Festival is scheduled every January at the Ouray Ice Park in Ouray Colorado.  According to the website the 2009 festival is a “must do” for ice climbing affectionados.

“In 2009 we will host over 80+ interactive climbing clinics. Our nightly slideshows will feature outstanding world class mountaineers and climbers. Great auctions, parties, fundraisers and meals in the evenings all make the Ouray Ice Festival the premier climber gathering in the world!!

“For additional information please visit or email Erin Eddy at

“Guest speakers announced for 2009 Ice Festival:

    * Thursday Januray 8: Clint Cook

    * Friday Januray 9: Raphael Slawinski

    * Saturday Januray 10: Maxime Turgeon

    * Sunday Januray 11: Mike Libecki”

PCS Trip Calendar

Dec 29 – Backcountry Skiing Tahoe

Leader:  Louise Wholey

Jan 3 – Junipero Serra Peak

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Jan 10 – Mt. Diablo (north side)

Leader: Kelly Maas

Jan 16 – Backcountry Skiing Tahoe

Leader:  Louise Wholey

Jan 16-18 – Lone Pine Peak

Leader:  Lisa Barboza

Jan 24 – Snow Camping Course – classroom training

Leader:  Chris MacIntosh

Jan 31-Feb 1 – Backcountry Skiing near Ostrander Lake

Leader:  George Van Gorden

Jan 31-Feb 1 – Snow Camping Course – field training

Leader:  Chris MacIntosh

Feb 6 - 8 – Split Mtn.

Leader:  Lisa Barboza

Feb 19-20 – Glacier Point Ski Tour

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.

Dec 11-14 – Mt. Langley

February 13-15 – Bear Valley Telefest, MAS

May 2009 – Nepal/Tibet, Mt Kailsh - Lasa

October 2009 – Nepal - Mera Peak 21,300 ft

January 2010 – Kilimanjaro

PCS Trip Details

Backcountry Skiing Tahoe

Peak:      Tamarack Peak or Castle Peak, depending on snow
Date:       December 29, Monday
Leader:   Louise Wholey (
Co-Lead: Jim Wholey

Join us for a day of backcountry skiing in the Tahoe area. Requires advanced skiing skills, avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.  Location determined by snow conditions.  We seek powder snow and may climb and descend multiple times.  Contact leader about lodging. 

Junipero Serra Peak

Peak:      Junipero Serra (5862), King City
Date:      Jan 3, Saturday
Leader:   Lisa Barboza  (
Co-Lead: Needed

This is an annual January Loma Prieta Peak Climbing Section tradition. It's a 12 mile round trip to the summit of the peak. We'll be carpooling from San Jose for this trip as it is a 150 mile drive to the trailhead. This peak is the 2nd highest in the Santa Lucia range. On the summit, we'll find exotic ponderosa pine, white fir, and other plants normally associated with the Sierra. We'll start at the trailhead at 10AM, summit by 2PM and be back at the cars by 4PM. This is a class 1 day hike open to all.

Mt. Diablo (3849) from the north

Peak:      Mt. Diablo (3849)
Date:      Jan 10, Saturday
Leader:   Kelly Maas (
Co-Lead: Needed

15-mile round trip.  Too much food and too little exercise recently?  The holidays are over, so now it's time to get back into shape.  From Mitchell Canyon we'll hike up the north side of Diablo to at least the two main summits.  Heavy rain cancels.  For carpooling, we meet at 8:00 AM at the Park & Ride at 680 and Mission Blvd in Fremont, across from McDonald's -- note, this is the NORTHERN of the two 680/Mission intersections.  Or, meet at the Mitchell Canyon Trailhead on the north side of Mt. Diablo at 9:00 AM. 

Backcountry Skiing Tahoe

Peak:      Tamarack Peak or Castle Peak, depending on snow
Date:       January 16, Friday
Leader:   Louise Wholey (
Co-Lead: Jim Wholey

Join us for a day of backcountry skiing in the Tahoe area. Requires advanced skiing skills, avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.  Location determined by snow conditions.  We seek powder snow and may climb and descend multiple times.  Contact leader about lodging. 

Lone Pine Peak (12,943)

Peaks:     Lone Pine Peak (12,943)
Dates:     January 16-18, 2009, Fri-Sun
Leader:    Lisa Barboza (
Co-lead:   Emilie Cortes (

Climb Lone Pine Peak's north face in winter from the Meysan Lakes trail. This is a snowshoe trip; crampons and ice axe required.  Trip is restricted  to Sierra Club members.  Expect winter conditions.  Be prepared for winter climbing at altitude and snow camping.  Extreme weather cancels.  Must be in excellent physical condition for climbing.  Trip will be private if not approved by the MOC.

Backcountry Skiing near Ostrander Lake

Peak:      Whatever high point we can find near Ostrander Lake
Date:       January 31 – February 1
Leader:   George Van Gorden  (
Co-Lead: needed

This will be an easy winter over-night - a good beginner trip.  Sat. we will meet at Badger Pass ski area at 8:30 on Sat. morning.  We will head out toward Ostrander Lake and go about five mile before setting camp.  After setting up camp we will explore the area and look for good views.  Sunday morning we will make an early start which in winter probably won't be that early and go to Ostrander Lake, climb to a high point and return to camp and cars before 4:00.  This trip can be done on snowshoes or skis.  To our camping site will be easy skiing and after that intermediate but without a heavy pack.

Split Mountain (14,042)

Peaks:     Split Mountain (14,042)
Dates:     February 6-8 2009, Fri-Sun
Leader:    Lisa Barboza (
Co-lead:   Emilie Cortes (

Climb Split Mountain from Owens Valley, Red Lake TH.  This is a snowshoe trip; crampons and ice axe required.  Trip is restricted  to Sierra Club members.  Expect winter conditions.  Be prepared for winter climbing at altitude and snow camping.  Extreme weather cancels.  Must be in excellent physical condition for climbing.  Trip will be private if not approved by the MOC.

Ski Tour to Glacier Point

Peak:      Lots to see at Washburn Point, none to climb
Date:       February 19 – 20, 2009, Thu – Fri
Leader:   Louise Wholey (
Co-Lead: Jim Wholey

Ski 17 miles to a European style hut at Glacier Point. Meals and sleeping provided.  Cost TBD.  Further details are coming later. 

Stay Friday night at Yosemite West to participate in the Yosemite Nordic Holidays weekend events – 17 km classic race and Telemark race on NASTAR course on Saturday, plus a 35 km skate race to Glacier Point on Sunday.  Lots of food and many raffle prizes included.   The classic race is the oldest in the west.

Private Trip Details

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.

Mt. Langley (14,026)

Peaks:     Mt. Langley (14,026)
Dates:     December 11-14, Thur-Sun
Contact:  Emilie Cortes (
Contact:  Lisa Barboza (

Drive to Lone Pine Wednesday.  Hike in to Horseshoe Meadow (Road may be closed).  Snowshoe trip to camp below New Army Pass.  Summit day: Climb New Army Pass to summit. Hike out on Saturday or Sunday depending on conditions. Winter conditions on snowshoes.  Be prepared for winter climbing with ice axe and crampons at altitude and for snow camping.  Extreme weather cancels.  Must be in excellent physical condition for climbing. 

Mt Kailsh, Nepal/Tibet

Peaks:     Mt Kailsh – Lhasa
Dates:     May, 2009
Contact:  Warren Storkman (650-493-8959,

Camping 14 days, Hotel 7 days

Mera Peak 21,300 ft, Nepal

Peaks:     Mera Peak (21,300 ft), Nepal
Dates:     October, 2009
Contact:  Warren Storkman (650-493-8959,

19 day trip to trek the tallest walkup peak

Rural experience.  Approach from the South East

Kilimanjaro 19340 ft / 5895 m, Tanzania, Africa

Peaks:     Kilimanjaro 19340 ft / 5895 m
Dates:     January, 2010
Contact:  Warren Storkman (650-493-8959,

Trip will be similar to Warren’s previous trip to Kilimanjaro in January 2002.  A couple of detailed reports on Summit Post supply myriad detail:

Trip Reports

Everest Base Camp Trek,

Lobuche East (19800),

Ama Dablam (22349)

Oct, 2008

By Julius Gawlas

In October I joined a trip to Nepal organized by IMG (based in Seattle) and led by Justin Merle. The trip consisted of three parts: trek to Everest base camp, than climb of Lobuche East and finally climb of Ama Dablam. There were 14 people on the trek, 6 people climbing Lobuche and 4 on Ama Dablam.

The trip started with sad and scary news - when we all met in Kathmandu we found out that there was a plane crash in Lukla. That made the plane ride and landing there quite exciting especially because instead of regular plane we were stuffed into a military transport - no seats, no seatbelts - just a bunch of people and gear thrown together. Fortunately the ride was uneventful and in good weather. The trek up Khumbu was very nice and slow. Plenty of time to acclimatize, enjoy the changing scenery and visit monasteries on the way. We slept in tents but usually ate in the local tea houses. After about a week of trekking we got to Gorak Shep at about 17000 ft - this was the highest camp on the trek. Gorak Shep was a rather dusty outpost next to dry lake bed and the last inhabited stop on the way to Everest base camp.  From there we hiked up to Kala Patar (18200) - we had great views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Khumbu Icefall. Next day we hiked to Everest base camp - at this time of the year there were just a few expeditions. From the base camp, the icefall seemed like an enormous puzzle made up from gigantic ice pieces.

Everest and Nuptse

After we came back from EBC the group split - trekkers started down towards Lukla and six people climbing Lobuche headed towards Lobuche base camp located at a meadow at 15800. The next day we moved to a higher camp set up on an alpine lake at 17000. It was a beautiful setting - a little basin enclosed from three sides by mountains with opening to the south and great views of Ama Dablam and other peaks.  


The route up Lobuche was clearly visible from the camp - first part on rock slabs and than up the snow ridge to the summit ridge (according to our Sherpas there was much more snow on the route than normal). After the trek everybody was reasonably well acclimatized and eager to climb. On summit day we left camp around 4 am, put crampons on after about hour of climbing on the rocky slabs. Once we reached a steeper snowy ridge we used a fixed line put up by Sherpas the day before. Climbing was very nice, with good firm snow on moderate slope, in places up to 70 degrees. We got to the false summit of East Lobuche (~19800) around 10 am. The weather was great and we were rewarded wit expansive views all around. After snacks, water and some lingering on the summit we descended and got back to camp shortly after 1 pm.

At this point three of the Lobuche climbers departed home and three of us turned towards Ama Dablam where we were joined by another guy climbing just Ama Dablam. Ama Dablam is truly a spectacular mountain that we had seen many times during the trek. "Ama Dablam" means mother and her charm box - referring to huge hanging glacier that looks like a box attached to the mountain.

Ama Dablam

The original plan was to use our acclimatization and existing fixed lines and climb straight from base camp without making any additional round trips up and down. We were planning to attempt the normal route via southwest ridge. Normally three camps are used above base camp: C1 at 18800, C2 at 19800 and C3 at 20800. Camp 3 is located underneath the Dablam glacier and was considered safe until 2006 when an ice avalanche obliterated it killing 6 people. When we got to base camp it seemed that Dablam glacier was very active again - it had different shape than in the pictures from previous years. Other teams found scattered pieces of ice on the site of C3. Additionally it looked like ice falling from Dablam caused snow avalanches below, scraping snow from the route and making it more icy than usual. Because of all that, several teams turned back before us and there were no fixed lines above C3.

The day after we got to base camp we had a puja ceremony with lama from the monastery and the next day made a rotation trip to C1, slept there and climbed part of the ridge towards C2 before heading back to base  camp. At the same time our guide Justin and one of the Sherpas went to C3 to assess the situation.  Justin is a very accomplished guide with two Everest summits, Cho Oyu, etc. under his belt and also with wealth of local knowledge having summited Ama Dablam three times before.

In the end, a route to the left was established and fixed and after two days of rest we left for the summit. On the first day we hiked up to C1 gaining about 4000 ft from the base camp. Two guys from our party of four (not counting guides/sherpas) decided that this is going to be their high point. On the second day we climbed a beautiful rocky ridge with occasional snow patches to C2. Seemed liked it was low fifth class with tremendous exposure on both sides. Right before C2 we climbed the yellow tower - most technically difficult part - rated 5.7 or 5.9 depending on the source. At 19000+ ft it was very demanding especially in plastic boots.

Ridge between C1 and C2

Once we passed the tower, there was a very narrow and exposed short snow ridge leading to C2. We got to C2 early in the afternoon and tried to eat and rest before the summit bid that night. C2 was cramped and exposed - it is recommended to hang on to fixed ropes while going to the bathroom...

View from C2

We got up around 3 am and started climbing at 4 am. Right out from the camp we climbed the grey tower to reach the snowy mushroom ridge. That was another exciting piece, ~5.5 on mixed ice/rock terrain, very nice climbing at high altitude. On the mushroom ridge (at around 20500 ft or 6250 m) before getting under the Dablam glacier I decided to turn around.

Mushroom Ridge above C2

The other climber continued with two guides and summitted around noon. On the way down they got hit with a small ice fall from the Dablam but were ok. After another night at C2 we descended to base camp safely. A few days later we were back in Kathmandu ready to fly home. It was a really well organized trip: kudos to IMG and Justin. I left KTM with lots of great memories and interesting experiences.

Skiing Mt. Lola, Nov 30, 2008

By Louise Wholey

Abstract: 2500 feet in 4.5 trail miles each way, 3 hours up, 2 down from Henness Pass Road off Hwy 89 north of Truckee.

Albeit later than originally scheduled, Jim and Louise Wholey climbed Mt. Lola with skis in the pack to see if the apparent snow in the high bowls on the north side was worth the effort.  The answer is “Yes”! 

The day was so clear that we could pick out not only Mt. St. Helena and many other peaks north of wine country, but also Mt. Diablo.  The contrast with the opaque white layer topping out at about 3500 feet helped display the peaks very nicely. 

Views to the south were spectacular with many snowy peaks (snow only on the north sides).  To the north we could see Mt. Lassen clearly and even the tiny blip of Mt. Shasta far beyond.  We had lots of short shirt sleeve summit time to eat and look around.  What a beautiful day!

Though I had only short steel edged cross country skis known as Fischer Adventure skis (157 cm Revolution series) and skate racing boots, I managed to carve numerous sets of 6-10 linked turns in a few inches of powder topping a crust layer.

The Tahoe Basin is very dry this fall. Except for one storm that struck around the beginning of November, only a few inches have fallen.  Powder was good though on Nov 4 on Tamarack Peak according to The Backcountry Store in Truckee, our primary resource for backcountry equipment and information. 

Photo courtesy The Backcountry Store email newsletter

Pray for snow whether you ski or not!

Crag & Smith, Nov 15-16, 2008

By Lisa Barboza


Day 1: 11/15/08 Climb Crag – Kennedy Meadows TH to peak: 7.2 miles and 3300 gain, 14.5 miles RT, time: 7:30-4:30 PM

Day 2:  11/16/08 Climb Smith – TH to peak 2.5 miles 1600 feet gain, 5.5 miles RT, 8:30-2:00 PM

Participants: Arun Mahajan, Louise Wholey, Linda Sun, Monique Messie, Erica Mosier

Day 1 – 11/16/08.  We camped overnight at the Kennedy Meadows campground, which was deserted, windy, and cold.  We rose early, and were on the trail by 7:30AM (KENMTH).  The Kennedy Meadows TH is at 6200 feet, and winds through a pleasant forest of pinyon pine, with Ponderosa pine higher up.  It took us about 3 hours to get to Clover Meadow, dry at this time of year, and with the peak in sight, we took off across the meadow.  There is a rocky ridge running north south in front of the peak and we went up the gully to the north of the ridge.  Many climbers go to the north end of the meadow to ascend the ridge, and thus avoid the brush, but there had been fires and much of the dreaded manzanita was blackened and relatively easy to get around.  We stayed in the trees for the most part on the way up.  Arun regaled us with jokes and we looked in wonder at the forest around us.

Monique, Lisa, Erica, and Linda Ride Crag’s Knife Edge

Before we knew it, we were at the base of the summit ridge of Crag.  The granite peak itself is towards the south end of the ridge; I would characterize it as the middle bump.  We went up a rocky gully, about 100 feet high to gain the ridge just north of the summit block.  To get to the airy traverse before the summit block, you can either climb a small friction slab, or move more to the right and climb a short CL3 crack.  Once on the airy traverse, we played it safe and kept low (there were very strong winds), as a fall either right or left would result in fatality or dire injury, with about a 40 foot fall.  The airy traverse itself is the most fun part of the climb; it’s about 2 feet wide, slightly inclined, and about 25 feet long.  Once across the traverse, a scramble brings you to the top. 

Erica, Monique, Lisa, Linda, and Arun on Crag’s Summit

Unfortunately, the register was missing, but the views were fantastic!  After lounging about for about an hour, we returned the way we came and were back in camp for a Happy Hour.  Arun and Erica drove home.  The rest of us enjoyed a fire and a wonderfully starry night.

Day 2 – 11/16/08.  We broke camp, and started the drive over paved roads to the Black Rock ranger station. We drove down to the Kennedy Meadow store, and then on to Black Rock R.S., a 13 mile trip, passing the Fish Creek and Troy Meadows campgrounds on the way.  At the ranger station, we headed north (don’t go west on Sherman Pass Road) on FS road 21S03 for about 3.7 miles, turning right on 21S36 (SMITHJ).  This is signed as a jeep road but it’s paved for much of the way to the meadow.  We stopped at EL 8165, (CAR?$$) a few hundred feet above the meadow and started for the peak at 8:30 AM.  We headed off cross country, southeast, across the golden meadow, with streams still running across it.  Leaving the meadow, we ascended 100 feet and crossed a dirt logging road (21S36A), and headed up the west ridge of Smith to the peak. This ridge will curve around and you will reach the peak from the northwest by staying on the ridge.  We stayed about 100-200 feet below the ridge, mostly stayed out of the brush, and reached the summit at 11:30AM.  This time, there was a register and also a fine view of Crag across the valley.  On the return trip, we decided to avoid all of the brush and went back down the north ridge, and then down the drainage to the southwest of the peak.  While ½ mile longer, there was much less brush and we found the road again, headed back across the meadow to the cars.   Then we had a long drive home after some great fall climbing. 

The GPS Waypoints are listed below:

TOPO! GPS Data Format Deg NAD83 ElevFeet Local-Time

KENMTH,36.05446,-118.13037,NA,11/17/2008,15:50:40,KENNEDY MDW TRAILHEAD 6100

CRAGUP,36.11032,-118.12324,6995,11/15/2008,09:22:57,CROSS CLOVER MEADOW

CRAGPK,36.11470,-118.15212,NA,11/17/2008,15:50:40,1 9 CRAG PEAK 9480

BLKINF,36.09273,-118.26390,NA,11/17/2008,15:50:40,JCT FOR BLACKROCK INFO STATION

CAR?$$,36.13737,-118.25631,8165,11/17/2008,15:50:40,16-NOV-08 9:26:44AM

SMITHJ,36.12816,-118.26029,NA,11/17/2008,15:50:40,SMITH MDW JCT

SMITHM,36.12724,-118.22443,NA,11/17/2008,15:50:40,1 10 SMITH MTN 9533

395143,36.05350,-118.13220,6106,11/15/2008,05:30:02,NEW TRACK

395144,36.05337,-118.13244,6032,11/15/2008,05:31:25,NEW TRACK

395145,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:09:29,NEW TRACK

395146,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:14:11,NEW TRACK

395147,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:14:15,NEW TRACK

395148,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:14:19,NEW TRACK

395149,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:14:23,NEW TRACK

395150,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:14:40,NEW TRACK

395151,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:14:45,NEW TRACK

395152,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:14:50,NEW TRACK

395153,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:15:27,NEW TRACK

395154,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:15:39,NEW TRACK

395155,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:18:16,NEW TRACK

395156,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:18:21,NEW TRACK

395157,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:18:26,NEW TRACK

395158,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:18:32,NEW TRACK

395159,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:19:25,NEW TRACK

395160,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:19:38,NEW TRACK

395161,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:19:44,NEW TRACK

395162,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:20:14,NEW TRACK

395163,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:20:18,NEW TRACK

395164,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:20:22,NEW TRACK

395165,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:20:25,NEW TRACK

395166,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:20:28,NEW TRACK

395167,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:21:22,NEW TRACK

395168,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:21:29,NEW TRACK

395169,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:21:33,NEW TRACK

395170,36.05347,-118.13219,6120,11/15/2008,09:21:37,NEW TRACK

395172,36.11510,-118.13299,7450,11/15/2008,09:57:41,NEW TRACK

395173,36.11695,-118.13858,7724,11/15/2008,10:29:32,NEW TRACK

395174,36.11544,-118.15187,9348,11/15/2008,11:47:55,NEW TRACK

395177,36.05326,-118.12973,6114,11/15/2008,20:03:37,NEW TRACK

395178,36.05345,-118.13213,6137,11/15/2008,20:05:25,NEW TRACK

395179,36.05345,-118.13213,6137,11/16/2008,05:30:02,NEW TRACK

395180,36.05355,-118.13219,5996,11/16/2008,05:31:25,NEW TRACK

395181,36.05347,-118.13219,6117,11/16/2008,07:11:54,NEW TRACK

395182,36.05327,-118.13211,6108,11/16/2008,07:12:50,NEW TRACK

395183,36.13319,-118.25105,7992,11/16/2008,08:40:10,NEW TRACK

395184,36.12853,-118.24398,8262,11/16/2008,09:06:21,NEW TRACK

395188,36.12853,-118.23988,8526,11/16/2008,09:28:38,NEW TRACK

395189,36.12790,-118.23801,8659,11/16/2008,09:29:38,NEW TRACK

395190,36.12827,-118.23656,8732,11/16/2008,10:20:41,NEW TRACK

395191,36.12833,-118.22473,9301,11/16/2008,10:22:02,NEW TRACK

395193,36.12998,-118.23003,8828,11/16/2008,11:56:33,NEW TRACK

395194,36.12339,-118.23870,8391,11/16/2008,12:22:02,NEW TRACK

395195,36.12395,-118.24083,8394,11/16/2008,12:26:41,NEW TRACK

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/

    1975 Cordilleras Rd, Redwood City, CA 94062


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.

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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,  Dec 29th. Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

Peak Climbing Section, 789 Daffodil Way, San Jose CA 95117       

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