January 2008              Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                       Vol. 42 No. 1

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

General Meeting

Date:           January 8, 2007
Time:           7:30 pm
Where:        Sports Basement
                    1177 Kern Ave
                    Sunnyvale, CA

Program:    Seven Years in Scotland

Presenter:    Mike and Andrea Snadden

A photographic tour of Mike and Andrea's outdoor adventures during their time in Scotland. We'll present everything from summer hikes and scrambles to full-on Scottish mixed winter climbing

Directions:   This is the old Frys building on Lawrence Expressway.

From 101: Exit south at Lawrence Expressway.  Right on Kern Ave.  If coming north on Lawrence make a U turn at Oakmead Pkwy, then go right on Kern Ave.

Good News – This is another Shopping Party at the Sports Basement before our regular meeting.  Not only is there free beer and snacks, but also a 20% discount on anything in the store.  To participate just come and identify yourself as a PCS member when you enter.

If you haven't been to the Sports Basement before, they have just about everything you need for hiking, biking, running, snowboarding, camping and all things outdoors.  Plus their prices are already 30-60% below retail so this will be a very good night to save money on all your sporting needs.

From the Chair

When I first showed up at a PCS meeting in 2004, I didn´t know anyone and didn´t know what to think.  I had been spending lots of time doing fast and light backpacking trips, and saw the peaks above.  I found the PCS from the website, and immediately found people who had that climbing passion.  I admired the climbers and learned so much from the leaders. 

When Charles Shafer, in February 2006, asked a group of us at the North Face in Palo Alto if they were interested in the Leadership Development Program of the Sierra Club, I joined.  I served as your vice-chair in 2007, and led a dozen official and 5 private trips into the High Sierra.

So now I am serving as your chair, and I think our club is in a "grow" or die situation.  We need new members, both to bring in new ideas, to reinvigorate our group, and to have more fun.  To do that I´ll need your ideas, suggestions, and participation.  I seek to make our decision making process open and complete – And I have an immediate need for help – We´re I´m looking to fill 2 slots – a publicity/social chair, and a training committee chair -  If you´re interested, or know someone who is – drop me a line.


Trip Planning Meeting

Happy New Year, climbers!  Lots of new climbs are heading your way this year.  The planning meeting in February will generate our summer schedule.  Trip leaders please plan now for your trips for this year to be ready for the meeting.  We may hold the meeting early to enable publication of our schedule in the chapter´s Loma Prietan newsletter.  Publicity will help us to have some new people join us on our trips.



Article from the Seattle Times, Dec 4 2007:

Bodies of two hikers found near Snoqualmie Pass

The bodies of two hikers who were apparently crushed by an avalanche last weekend were found today by a search-and-rescue team near Snoqualmie Pass.

A 33-year-old woman, her 38-year-old husband and another man, described as a family friend, went a hike near the Alpental Ski Area in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area on Friday night, said King County sheriff's spokesman John Urquhart. When they didn't return home as planned on Sunday, the father of one of the hikers drove to Alpental Monday and found their vehicle in the parking lot. He then contacted the Sheriff's Office.

The search was hampered by weather on Monday. Today searchers found the bodies of the woman and the family friend, 38. The woman's husband survived the avalanche, suffering a broken leg, and was rescued, Urquhart said.

Their identities were not immediately released.

Search-and-rescue crews are looking for another group of hikers who also disappeared in the Cascades over the weekend. The group of four — three men and a woman ranging in age from 22 to 55 — went hiking near the Denny Creek trailhead on Sunday, Urquhart said.

Search-and-rescue crews have made cellphone contact with the second group, but haven't been able to reach them, he said.

Urquhart said they believe the heavy snow followed by pounding rain created a perilous conditions for the two groups of hikers.

Post on the pct-l http://tiny.cc/OjTx1. Dec 5 2007

Actually, the bottom paragraph in this article IS about me.  The first group was in fact avalanched.  We opted to leave the trail and go cross country (down and away) to avoid this very situation.  We left on a short overnight hike with a forecast of 3 to 5 inches of snow followed by rain and wind.  Perfect to test new gear.  What we got was 3 to 5 FEET of powder followed by torrential rain.  We just couldn't make it out without snowshoes.  Took 7 hours to go 1 mile.

So it ended up with 4 of us in a 2 man Sierra Designs tent for 2 nights.  We immediatly went on reduced rations and pulled together.  We had one synthetic sleeping bag.  The other 3 were down and worse than useless, everything being thoroughly soaked by this time.  I had my alcohol stove and a full Capt Morgan bottle of fuel.  We used that for cooking, melting snow, and warmth every hour during the night.  We also all had to cuddle.  BTW, I'm the 55 year old.

The first night, the snow beneth my butt kept sinking and water came in through the tent floor.  Next morning a river appeared on our left about 10 feet away.  Another appeared on our right also about 10 feet away.  We packed up and I postholed into a third river directly under where the tent had been.  Hypothermia was also a big concern along with dehydration.  I got to witness a couple of avalanches, new waterfalls, mudslides etc.  There is no way to describe the power of water in these conditions.  Unbelievable!  It takes big trees and boulders along on the first wave like nothing.  Sounds like a turbine engine on take off.

It took 3 hours to move 100 yards across the river and up 100 feet to a tree where we again set up camp.

SAR took 36 hours to reach us on snowshoes.  A helicopter made 2 passes Monday but didn't see us.  One came yesterday and we flipped our Thermorest pads at it and were spotted exactly where we told them we were.  In the meantime we had made a path to a clearing so we could get out and do that quickly when we heard them coming.

SAR arrived on foot about noon Tuesday with dry clothes, med gear and food including Gummy Bears and snowshoes.  They did first aid to my feet, and we set off.  We all walked out!

We all had adaquate gear for the conditions.  What happened was I had waterproof socks.  Unbeknownst and unexpected by me, they got full of water from postholing (above waste) and actually froze on my feet.  I couldn't get my shoes off.  This was Sunday about noon.  I had 4 pairs of dry wool socks.  Didn't help.  We chose NOT to warm them with any heat (body, stove) for fear of it happening again.  That was the right choice.

I will probably not loose any toes.  When we got out, between the 12 or 14 hikers that came in, 2 helicopter crews, 2 ambulances, command post, snow plow, sherriff, there were more than a hundred volunteers involved in this rescue.  The hospital fed me twice and I was a celebraty there because most of the staff had never seen frostbite!  Anyway, they also gave me warm IV, blankets, and hung all my clothes to dry.  The also gave me morphine even though I was in no pian.  My toes felt like they had a shot of novacane.  No feeling at all.  Then they put them in 85 degree water.  Cool to the heal but OMG did it burn my toes.  This went on for several hours with progressively warmer tap water.

This morning most of the purple color, waxy appearance and white colored nails are gone.  My feet have both swelled to near twice their normal size and they hurt.  Its also very hard and painfull to walk.  Doc says it will take several days or a couple of weeks to regain normal size and feeling.  Got some good drugs though....  Taking today off work (hate when THAT happens!)

Bottom line, $hit happens, even to me!  Be prepared!  This was only a 4.4 mile and 2000' gain hike.  Don't ever wear waterproof socks in freezing conditions.  It was only about 20 degrees.  We were all warm other than me feet, although very cramped in the tent but we survived a great adventure.  Each of us had some piece of gear that contributed to group survival.  Synthetic bag, alcohol stove with pleanty of fuel. A 2 man tent, one ice axe, one set of hiking poles, 2 orange sleeping pads, one cell phone (low battery), we pooled the food and shared everything equilly.  The one thing we lacked was snowshoes.  Even with them on we postholed and fell a lot on the way out.  Even the SAR team did that.  We all pulled together as a team, no one got scared, mad, or even testy.  Even moral stayed good considering..  A grand adventure!  BTW, the differance between ordeal and adventure is attitude.  That helped a lot.  Thanks everyone for your concern.  We did have to cashe some gear on the mountain.  It was just too wet and heavy to get it all down.  Confidence is high that it will be there when we go to retrive it.  Its 100 yards off trail and well hidden in a rugged area.  It will probably be a couple of weeks to months before we can get back up there to get it.


Best Kept Secrets

Cross Country Skiing in the Tahoe Basin

By Louise Wholey

Imagine the beauty of trees laden with brilliantly shining snow sparkling under bright blue sunlit skies.  Winter in the Tahoe Basin brings many such days for pure enjoyment.  Where are the people?  They crowd the downhill resorts by the droves, paying large daily fees to ride up the mountains on high-speed lifts, in preparation for joining hundreds of others on meticulously groomed slopes.  Those successfully avoiding collisions may still end up on the ski patrol toboggan, a prelude to 6 months of shoulder rehabilitation.  It is fun to be outside in the winter, but there are better ways to experience those crisp cool days that abound with beauty.

Why would one want to use cross-country skiing for physical fitness?  To quote Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian Arctic explorer who revolutionized polar travel by skiing across Greenland on cross country skis in 1888, "Nothing hardens the muscles and makes the body so strong and elastic.  Nothing gives better presence of mind and nimbleness; nothing steels the will power and freshens the mind as cross country skiing. This is something that develops not only the body but also the soul — it has a far deeper meaning for people than many are aware of."  

The traditional form is called classic skiing or diagonal striding is a sport that originated in the Scandinavian countries thousands of years ago.  Today our modern resorts groom trails with large machines to create deep smooth tracks that guide the skis along the trails.  While it is possible and many people do simply walk on skis, it is far more exhilarating to stride with a vigorous kick.  The trick is to apply the right kick wax, or, as is commonly done in the Tahoe region, to use waxless skis.  Properly waxed skis on cold freshly fallen snow provide an extraordinary feeling of power and grace for moving through the pristine woodlands.  Shops that sell equipment also offer waxing advice and clinics.

A more recent innovation is skating on skis.  This sport is actually an American invention!  Bill Koch, silver medallist in the 1976 Olympics, began using an early version of this technique by taking one ski out of the tracks to get a better push.  The technique has evolved to a sport similar to speed skating, allowing one to glide over much longer distances with a much less technically demanding form than classical skiing.  A big advantage in California is that the waxing is simple.  One applies a glide wax to the ski base appropriate to the outside temperature.

To get started, one needs some warm clothes such as a jogging suit with a hat and medium weight gloves.  Begin by renting ski equipment at a cross country ski resort or an equipment supply store.  Good quality equipment that glides easily can make a huge difference in the pleasure of skiing.  For skating, racing equipment is well worth the slightly higher rental fee.

Another recommendation is to plan a trip for more than a weekend.  Even one extra day makes a huge difference.  Roads leaving the Bay Area on Friday are unbelievably crowded, but Thursday evening after dinner enables a quicker and easier trip to the winter wonderland of Tahoe.  While lodging may be the greatest expense, the cross country skier has a big advantage over the downhill skier – a day´s trail pass costs around $20 rather than $60!  For accommodations, search the web for Lake Tahoe or Truckee lodging.

Now let´s delve into the "secret" places.  Many people have heard of the largest cross country ski resort in the country,

Royal Gorge http://www.royalgorge.com/, which offers 330 Km of trails with many spectacular viewpoints — great for long outings on clear days.  Fewer people other than local residents know about the wonderful smaller resorts, such as

Tahoe Donner Cross Country http://tinyurl.com/247jch,

Bear Valley Cross Country http://www.bearvalleyxc.com/, Auburn Ski Club http://tinyurl.com/ysz94y,

Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area http://www.tahoexc.org/, Kirkwood Cross Country Center http://tinyurl.com/2q5zrf, or

Spooner Lake Cross Country http://www.spoonerlake.com/.  Trail passes are inexpensive while the service, grooming, instruction and scenery are first class. 

The umbrella organization behind many Tahoe cross country events and the development of our Far West Junior Olympics Ski Team is the Far West Nordic Ski Education Association (http://www.farwestnordic.org/).  People who are new to the sport who enjoy meeting others may join the "turtle brigade", a friendly group of non-competitive skiers who participate in the local citizen class race series known as the Sierra Ski Chase.  They may enjoy the social aspects of cross country skiing and earn a colorful T-shirt.  For details see 

http://tinyurl.com/3xg6me.  For the hard core among us Far West puts on a citizen class race every weekend.  See http://www.farwestnordic.org/raceschedule.html

Special weekend long events include the Yosemite races February 23-24, 2008 where you can race for the triple crown by winning three races: the 17 km classic, a 2-run Telemark race on the NASTAR course, and the 34 km round trip to Glacier Point.  Another is the Bjornloppet Festival at Bear Valley on March 8-9, 2008.  The big fun races are the Great Ski Race March 2, 2008 and the new Tahoe Rim Tour & Race on January 27, 2008.  The serious skiers there are the California Gold Rush on March 16, 2008 and the Mammoth Marathon on April 6, 2008.



PCS Trip Calendar

Jan 6 – Juniper Serra

Leader: Lisa Barbosa, Arun Mahajan

Jan 18 – Backcountry Ski Series (#2)

Leader: Louise Wholey

Feb 15 – Backcountry Ski Series (#3)

Leader: Louise Wholey

Mar 21 – Backcountry Ski Series  (#4)

Leader: Louise Wholey

Apr 11-13 – Mt. Morgan (N)

Leader: Louise Wholey

Apr ? – Sawtooth, Owens

Leader: Charles Schafer

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.

December 8, 2007 – Mt. Inyo

Mid-January 2008 – Kilimanjaro - Tanzania

February 5, 2008 – Copper Canyon Backpack

March ?, 2007 – Mt. Lassen Climb

March ?, 2007 – Round Top

May, 2008 – Nepal – Kailash - Tibet

PCS Trip Details

Junipero Serra

Peak:      Junipero Serra (5862), King City
Date:       Jan 6, Sunday
Leader:   Lisa Barboza  (pcs-vice@att.net)
Co-Leader: 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.

Backcountry Ski Series

Peak:      Tamarack Peak, Castle Peak, or Mt. Judah
Date:       Dec 28, Jan 18, Feb 15, Mar 21
Leader:   Louise Wholey (louisewholey@yahoo.com)
Co-Leader: 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 required.  Location determined each day by snow conditions.  We seek powder snow and will climb and descend multiple times.  Limit 6.

Mt. Morgan (N)

Peak:      Mt. Morgan (N), cl 2, ski mountaineering
Date:       Apr 11-13
Leader:   Louise Wholey (louisewholey@yahoo.com)
Co-Leader: Lisa Barboza (pcs-vice@att.net)
This graduation trip is an extension of backcountry skiing – ski mountaineering in the High Sierra.  TH is Rock Creek if open, else Hilton creek.  Ski to base of peak, snow camp, ski up and down peak, snow camp, ski out.  Requires advanced skiing skills, avalanche training.  Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe required.  Expect a hedonistic experience.  Limit 6.

Trip Reports

Backcountry Ski Series #1, Dec 28, 2007

By Louise Wholey

Backcountry conditions were less than ideal – firm crust partially skied, then frozen with only a dusting of new snow on top.  Rather than suffer this less than totally pristine skiing, we, Alex Sapozhnikov, Jim and Louise Wholey, joined friends for a couple of days skiing downhill at Northstar.  The snow was good and the cover adequate.  We had a great time tuning our skiing skills!

Gangstang (6162m / 20220+ft), Alpine D- with pitches of Scottish grade III/IV

Thirot Shivling (5324m / 17460+ ft), Alpine PD-

September 12 to October 9, 2007

 By Arun Mahajan


(Continues from part-1 which was in the December issue of the SCREE)

26th September: Hike to ABC (4850m)

Except for two members of the team, Frank, who was not feeling acclimated and David, who was down with a bug, we all set out to ABC which was to be at the base of the couloir on the west face of Gangstang. We were all carrying full packs and we had all the HAPs carrying the group tents and other heavier sundries. The going was tough as we hiked past the Shivling and then it got harder as we started to gain altitude on the moraine ridge. It was steep and slippery on the loose damp scree and talus. We dropped down into the bowl-like area under the west face and set up camp in the snow. It had been a hard six hours to get to ABC from BC. In front of us was the broad west face of Gangstang with the summit area at the left apex from which the SW ridge went down and then horizontally to rise up into another set of peaklets and then did the same thing again further west/south-west. These three summits form the Gangstang group with the left summit being the true one. On the left side of the face were large seracs but further south/west, there were a few couloirs of varying steepness. Some showed signs of avalanche activity. The one that we had choosen seemed to be a bit less steep but the entry to it, on the bottom side, was guarded by a rock band with three ice filled clefts. Martin had decided on the center one as the best way to get into the couloir. As the sun went down, were greeted by a spectacular alpen glow on the west face but the early shade caused by the shadow of Nainghar Choti behind us brought the temperature down quickly.

Couloir in alpenglow. The rockband below the couloir is in the lower-center-right

Sorting out the couloir. Rope fixed on lower pitch.

The next day, we stayed at ABC getting acclimated but Martin and James, our strong guides, went with the two HAPs, Tenzing and Govind and the always strong LO, Luder, to sort out the couloir. We were able to see them as tiny dots on the couloir and later on, to watch them descend. They fixed a rope on the first pitch. Also, David and Frank came up from BC and they were feeling much better.

Climb of the Thirot Shivling (5324m). First 'summit' of the trip.

This was to be the day we would have tackled the couloir as a team but when we woke up at 3am, it was snowing, so we stayed in. At daylight, the snowfall had stopped so Martin suggested that we use the day to tackle the Thirot Shivling and get some more acclimatization. So, at 9.45am, off we went, Martin, Luder, David, Frank, Alan and I. Peter, John, James and Gustavo elected to stay on at ABC. With the fresh snow on the scree, it was a bit painful to gain elevation and the angle was also steep. We had fantastic views of the seracs on the west face of Gangstang and also Nainghar Choti and we came to the realization that even if it would have been good weather all the time, NC, from this side, had too much objective danger. One of its ridges was a high angle rock and snow arÍte and the other had a long and corniced ridge with delicate curtains reminding one of the peaks of the High Andes. All these ridge systems were guarded by crevassed glaciers.

It was mostly class-2 (Alpine PD-, per Martin) on our climb of the Shivling till the final ridge where, after some careful traversing, we found ourselves looking at a rock horn. It was exposed but not very hard to climb on this horn but the final portion was a little more daunting as there was only a thin horizontal crack for the feet. It was good for the hands, however and there was severe exposure on either side.

Summit area of the Thirot Shivling (Luder and Frank in the picture)

Martin climbed unroped to the top but then we all went, one after the other, on belay. It felt very exhilarating to finally stand on the top of something after all these days of bad weather, even though this was a spur summit off from the west ridge of Gangstang itself. The summit clocked in at 5324m, just under 17500 ft. The towering summit of Gangstang was right behind with the sheer north face dropping off on the left. We soon left the summit and while the thin layer of snow had melted away from the scree, the steepness of the slopes still had us down climbing with care. The round trip had taken us about five hours.

Arun on Thirot Shivling with Gangstang beyond. David/Luder in the right corner.

Couloir climbed to ridge top (5600m) and high camp. Knackered!

I learned many new Scottish words to describe tiredness from all my new friends from UK who were on this trip, almost all of whom were from Scotland, either native Scots or now making Scotland their home. Of these words, the one word that stuck with me was ´knackered´. Strangely, the next three days continued to remind me of this word, time and again.

James, Luder and Govind woke up at about 1.30am and after a quick breakfast, started off. We couldn´t sleep any more with all that bustle and after a quick breakfast, were off ourselves. We had agreed that James and Govind would turn back after fixing ropes on the upper part of the couloir, near the headwall. Martin, myself, Luder, Peter, John and Gustavo would be in the first summit party and then James would come up with Frank, Alan and David on the next day and form the second summit party. Under the light of our headlamps and with almost full packs, we trudged in the dark on the approach to the rock band. We had crampons, plastic boots and helmets on. It was cold. We got to the base of the rock band pitch via some steep neve. The rock-band pitch was hard to climb as it was mixed. Despite the fixed rope, the uneven climbing in the darkness, the ice mixed in with the rock and the heavy packs, not to mention that we were at 5000m, made it challenging. I was already exhausted at the top of this pitch and there was still almost 600m of the couloir to go! The headlamps of James, Luder and Govind were visible up ahead. It was just Peter and me on the rope. Martin was bringing up John and Gustavo. We plodded on silently in the dark. The angle was high and in many places the soft snow was replaced by rock with a thin layer of icy snow on top so we could not let our guard down. As we climbed up, we finally began to see the headlights of Martin´s team below us. Eventually, Martin´s party also came up and we climbed together. James and Govind, their work done, started rapelling back. James was to bring Alan, David and Frank the next day. As we got to the base of the final pitch, we found two tents and a shovel waiting for us, left there by Govind and James. I added one of the tents and the shovel to my already heavy pack and we finally climbed the last pitch to get over the headwall.

It was getting to be late evening now and a wonderful sight greeted us. A huge glacier loomed in front with the peaks of the Indian Himal behind.We were at 5600m and very tired. Just a short distance away, Martin, John, Gustavo and Luder were clearing a trench in the snow for camp. Weaving our way past a couple of crevasses, Peter and I also joined them. It was 5.30pm, a 14.5 hour day. We set up the tents, I had carried my own bivy so I used that and Martin made a quick stew of noodles and smash. Smash, a camping delicacy from the UK, is dried and powdered mashed potatoes.

Summit! Back to HC. Knackered again.

Since we had planned to go to the summit and get back to HC, we decided that we did not need an alpine start (neither would we have been able to), so we slept in a little bit and it was as late as 8.30am when we started walking out of high camp. It was relatively deep snow under a layer of breakable crust. Luder, me and Peter formed one rope team and Martin, John and Gustavo, the other. Right away, we encountered a steep rise for which we had to do some front pointing. It was also hard to break trail in the deep snow so we alternated leads. We were all slowing down due to the altitude and the fatigue (I was, anyway). Martin kept a steady pace and we followed his lead. It was a beautiful day nonetheless. We approached the final summit ridge and only now did the summit seem attainable.

John, Gustavo and Luder, Arun and Peter on the summit ridge. Nainghar Choti behind

The final ridge had a corniced edge on either side and then there was a hard class-3/4 step on the summit block but finally, at 4.30pm, we all stood on the tiny summit and enjoyed the view from there. There was some sort of a post with prayer flags wrapped around it, lying prone and partially covered with the snow at the top. Row upon row of peaks, probably several of those, unclimbed, stretched out on either side. We could see the great Tibetan plateau in the distance. We could also see into the valley towards the east (the town of Keylong) from where the normal routes for Gangstang start. Gangstang is comparatively easier from that side, being a 3-day glacier-snow climb.

Summit of Gangstang. Gustavo in the front, Luder, Peter, Arun (fussing with the gear) and John in the back.

We took a few hasty pictures and left summit at 5.15. Martin hurried us on as it was getting late. We had to down climb, front-pointing, at a few places and in the dark too, on the way back and those were the parts that got all our attention and care. We were treated to a fantastic sunset as we climbed down but then it got quite dark and we finally stumbled into camp at about 7.30pm. This had been another hard day, eleven hours and we were all knackered again.

Martin got a call from James at ABC on his satellite phone that neither David nor Frank nor Alan were feeling up to the hard couloir climb on the next day. We were all a little saddened to hear that since they were all strong climbers, especially James.

HC to ABC and some come back to BC. Knackered, the operating word, yet again.

We were walking, roped up, out of high-camp by 9am the next day. We did a few rappels to get down below the head wall and then had to apply a lot of concentration to down climb the couloir and then did the final rappel on the rock-band pitch. A huge feeling of relief came over me. In the distance, we could see some activity at ABC. Our HAPs, Govind and Tenzing had come up from BC and seeing that we were down the couloir, started climbing towards us with some hot water. There are times when something as simple as hot water tastes like manna from above!

I unloaded my pack and prepared to sleep but Martin announced that he was returning to BC right away. So, Luder and I decided to join him. The tireless Luder and the HAPs galloped away. Martin also took off while I hastily repacked and stumbled after him. Every step was painful and I was mindful of the fading daylight, so I hurried along. Peter, John and Gustavo, perhaps having the greater nous, decided to stay the night at ABC and hike out to BC only on the next day. There was yet another beautiful alpine glow on Gangstang´s north face as we got to the proximity of the Shiva shrine. After that it got dark again but by now, the way was clearly etched in my mind and getting to BC was not a problem. It was a cheerful re-union there with Navin, the HAPs and James, Alan, David, and Frank and we were welcomed like returning heroes.

BC days.

We spent the next three days at BC since the porters were set to arrive then. It snowed and hailed quite a bit but we did have periods of sunshine. David, James, Frank and Alan made an attempt on a peak just left of BC and across the valley from Gangstang and their route was moderately technical but they had to abort due to snowfall. James, Frank and Ajay set out to forge a way out of the valley from a different direction than Nainghar, our trailhead, with the intention of meeting our jeeps on a town along the way but they too were forced to abort due to the storms. I simply stayed back at camp, rested, recovered and ate copious amounts of Navin´s excellent cooking!

30 porters come. Hike out to Nainghar. Navin's food for the last time.

After three days of gadding about, the charms of BC were beginning to fade and our thoughts were turning to our homes. It must surely take a lot more fortitude to do the 8000m peaks where the climbers spend five to six weeks, sometimes more, away from their homes. Our day of return arrived. There was some light snow fall too. But despite the weather, the porters arrived as per schedule. We broke camp, burnt our trash and said goodbye to BC and began our hike out. We got to Nainghar village in about four hours and pitched our tents for the last time.

Jeep over Rohtang to Manali. Now the Rohtang is in snow.

The next day, packed up in a couple of jeeps, we began our clattering road journey to Manali. This time, getting over the Rohtang Pass was a lot more exciting because it had snowed a lot and this had caused accidents, slides and so on. Luckily, the delays were not a lot and we continued to marvel at the skill of the drivers of the small cars, lorries and jeeps and the cheerful bonhomie that prevailed all around, despite the stress of driving in bad conditions and narrow roads. We got to Manali in the evening and to our hotel rooms and to some much needed showers. Later, in the night, we had a very nice group dinner at the busy downtown shopping area of this quaint hill station town. This town was also a great place to shop for wool clothing made by local artisans and the weave and patterns of these wool clothes are unique to this part of the country.

Manali to Chandigarh and then by train to Dehli.

This time around we were not returning via Simla so our jeep journey was much faster and it took us through the verdant state of Punjab and to the city of Chandigarh. Chandigarh was built from ground up as a modern city by the French architect, Le Corbusier, the so-called founder of modern architecture. Our road journey ended at the Chandigarh train station. Alas, we only got to see it from the jeep. A fast express train took us to Dehli and then a chartered bus took us all to our rooms at the YWCA hostel.

Final good byes and back home.

We all had flights out the next night so we spent the day taking in the sights. Martin went to the IMF offices to finish off the de-briefing of our trip along with Luder, our liason officer. With John and James, I shopped for knick-knacks and used books in the Dehli markets. The others stayed in their rooms, packing up and needless to say, watching yet another cracking game of cricket on the telly. In the end, it was all about the cricket, really.

All thanks to Martin and James for their patience, their kindness and their climbing and organizing skills and to Mr Pandey of Himalayan Run and Trek for perfectly handling the India logistics. Thanks are also due to all my new found friends from the UK who have honed their skills in the icy gullies of Scotland for showing me how it is done. It is a tribute to Navin´s cooking that there were no leftovers. Our humble and tireless HAPs, Govind, Ajay and Tenzing served beyond the call of duty, literally doing all our heavy lifting.

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.

Mid-January 2008 Kilimanjaro - Tanzania

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

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

February 5, 2008 Copper Canyon Backpack

Contact: Liz Harvey 925-323-4202  (meharvey03@yahoo.com)

For experienced backpackers with the time, energy, and sense of adventure. Come explore part of the world´s largest canyon system and its unique culture.

Minimum 1 week to and from Creel.  Backpack from Batopilas up to Urique 4 days.   Day hikes can also be arranged.  Pack animals available. You pay providers directly.

I return yearly because I love it there.   For more details please call or email me.

March ?, 2008 Mt. Lassen Climb

Contact: Stephane Mouradian (smouradian@hotmail.com)

Overnight snow camp, ski or snowshoe. Crampons and ice axe required. 

March ?, 2008 Round Top

Contact: Arun Mahajan (arun.mahajan@att.net)

Annual day trip from Carson Pass on skis or snowshoes. Crampons and ice axe required. 

May, 2008 Nepal – Kailash - Tibet

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

We´re off again for one of Warren´s great trips!

Elected Officials

    Lisa Barboza / pcs.chair@lomaprieta.sierraclub.org

    664 Canyon Road, Redwood City, CA 94062-3022


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
    Rod McCalley / rodmccalley@sbcglobal.net

    3489 Cowper St., Palo Alto 94306


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
    Alex Sapozhnikov / alex.sapozhnikov@intel.com

    4616 Cabrillo, San Francisco, CA, 94121


Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:
    Louise Wholey/ screeeditor@gmail.com

    21020 Canyon View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070


PCS World Wide Web Publisher:
    Joe Baker/ pcs@joebaker.us

    1524 Hudson St, Redwood City, CA 94061


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

Email List Info

If you are on the official email list (lomap-pcs-announce@lists.sierraclub.org) or  the email list the PCS feeds (pcs-issues@climber.org), you have a free EScree subscription. For email list details, send "info lomap-pcs-announce" to "listserv@lists.sierraclub.org", or send anything to "info@climber.org". EScree subscribers should send a subscription form to the Treasurer to become voting PCS members at no charge. The Scree is on the web as both plain text and fully formatted Adobe Acrobat/PDF.

Climbing Classifications

The following trip classifications are to assist you in choosing trips for which you are qualified. No simple rating system can anticipate all possible conditions.
    Class 1: Walking on a trail.
    Class 2: Walking cross-country, using hands for balance.
    Class 3: Requires use of hands for climbing, rope may be used.
    Class 4: Requires rope belays.
    Class 5: Technical rock climbing.

Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Monday,  January 28th. Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month.

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

"Vy can't ve chust climb?" - John Salathe                                         First Class Mail - Dated Material