May 2008     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Clu b   Vol. 42 No. 5

General Meeting

Date:         May 13, 2007

Time:        7:30 pm

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

Program:  Climbing Mt. Elbrus

Presenter:  Bill Tyler

Join Bill Tyler on this trip to Europe's highest peak. Logistics, climbing details, and photographs will be shown. 

Bill not only does great climbs, but has a very entertaining style of presentation with great sense of humor.  Join us for the fun of this, the second in the seven summits series.

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

Editorís Notes


For those that are just waiting for the right time to do a PCS trip, here is some wisdom:

"Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- 'WOW, what a ride!!!'"



We published an advanced list of trips in the March issue of Scree which may be found online at  Each month during the climbing season we will publish details including contacts for the trips planned for the next two and a half months, plus some advance information for longer trips that require some investment in personal and/or vacation time.  That means the May issue has trips for May and June plus some early July trips and a couple of extended trips.  Note that the trips on the advanced list are preliminary and may fail to materialize due to permit or other problems.

The Last Page of Scree:

The last page of Scree has contact information for the volunteers that keep the section running.  It also contains the URL of the PCS website and information on how to subscribe to the LOMAP-PCS-ANNOUNCE listserve.  The latter enables you to stay up-to-date on any changes to trips, to learn of new trips not listed in Scree or on the website, to find out when the latest Scree is posted on the website, and to gain timely information on section activities.  Posting to the listserve requires special privilege available only to section volunteers, so you will not be bombarded by useless broadcasts.  Your email address is also protected from Spam.

From the Chair

Lisa Barboza

Happy Spring!

Measuring our progressÖ.

April has been a busy month – First, hats off to Jeff Fisher and Rick Booth for a very successful Pinnacles climbing session with several new members attending.  A safe, good time was had by all.  This is an annual event, spring and sometimes fall and is always well attended.  Itís a chance to get outside on some 100 foot walls instead of those indoor climbing gym walls.

Weíve launched the Seven Summits series – we have the inimitable Bill Tyler coming back in May to tell us of his adventures on Mt. Elbrus, and another climber scheduled for August to tell us of tales of climbing Vinson Massif in Antarctica.  Weíll round out the rest of the 7 Summits over the course of the year.

My goal this year is to grow our club – for growth is the best way that I know of to sustain the PCS.  Our 2008 goals are: 50/50/10 - 50 trips, 50 new members, and 10 new leaders.

We have 14 new people who have either attended our meetings, come on a climbing or hiking trip, or just started to hang out with us – And to all of you – Welcome!  We need your ideas, and be sure to sign up for our trips.  Last year we averaged about 20 attendees at our monthly meetings.  This year we had 38 in January, 54 in February, and 34 in March (Yes I do count) for an average of 42 attendees. 

Website:  Our Webmaster, Joe Baker, will soon unveil a new website that automates many of the functions of the webmaster and enables wiki-like participation for club officers, leaders, and members.  Itís pretty cool and I think youíll like it.

Leader Training; We started our very successful OLT 201 class, with training by Tim Hult, Louise Wholey, and yours truly.  We have 20 attendees for this class, which is necessary for leaders who were qualifed by the section as leaders after March 1st, 2006.  Itís also very useful and fun, and weíre offering the SPS chapter leader book at our cost.

Finally, Iíd like to thank our core group of contributors who do so much to make this club run.  Rod McCalley as vice chair, Louise Wholey as Scree Editor, Joe Baker as webmaster, Kelly Maas as training chair, Alex Sapozhnikov as treasurer, and Charles Shafer as mountaineering committee chair are a strong team and I really appreciate all of their, and your, support.  See you at the next meeting or on the trail.

PCS Trip Calendar

May 9-11 - Olancha (12123)
Lisa Barboza

May 23-26 – Mineral King Backcountry Skiing
Louise Wholey

May 30- June 1 – Striped, Cardinal, Goodale
Louise Wholey

June ? – Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
Kelly Maas

June 7-8 - Dunderberg, Excelsior

Leader: Lisa Barboza

June 13-15 - Eisen, Lippincott (Mineral King)

Leader: Lisa Barboza

June 28-29 - Disaster, Highland (car camp)

Leader: Charles Schafer

July 2-7 – West of Whitney (Choice of Guyot, Hitchcock, Young, Hale, Chamberlain, Newcomb, Joe Devel, Pickering, McAdie)

Leaders: Lisa Barboza, Louise Wholey

July 4-6 – Pilot Knob, Geothe

Leader: Tim Hult

July 26-27 – Mt. Morgan (S)

Leader: Joe Baker

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.

May 17-18, 2008 – Mt. Shasta

May 17-18, 2008 – Ice Axe Practice (tentative)

May 23-27, 2008 – Thompson, Powell, Wallace

Aug 16-24, 2008 – Wind Rivers

October, 2008 Kanchenguna Trek

PCS Trip Details

Olancha (12123)

Peaks:     Olancha (12123)
Dates:     May 9-11
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (

Trailhead is Sage Flat 5770, 1 night backpack over Olancha Pass 9130, to climb Mt. Olancha (class 2).  Camp near Bear Trap Meadow; be prepared for snow.  Bonus Peak: Dayhike Cartago (class 2 with class 3 summit block) if there is time and interest.  Day 1 covers 5 miles, 3500 ft gain.  Day 2 has 4 miles, 2800 ft gain. Send climbing resume with conditioning and recent experience.  Carpool from Bay Area.

Mineral King Backcountry Skiing

Peaks:     Florence, Vandever, and Sawtooth
Dates:     May 23-26 (choose your days)
Leader:   Louise Wholey (

The bowls of Mineral King have been coveted for commercial development for years.  Now is a chance to visit them and their accompanying peaks for great spring skiing.  Stay in Silver City (make your own arrangements) and do day trips on one or more days over this long Memorial Day weekend.  See Paul Richins book Ski and Snowboard Summits for details on skiing Florence, Vandever and Sawtooth. 

Intermediate skiing skills required for bowl skiing.  Peak-bagging is likely to require advanced skiing skills on more difficult terrain.

Striped, Cardinal, Goodale

Peaks:     Striped, Cardinal, Goodale
Dates:     May 30-June 1
Leader:   Louise Wholey (

Spring is a great time to access many beautiful peaks from the lower trailheads in the Sierra.  This trip will attempt to climb all three peaks after a long approach.  Excellent physical condition and some altitude experience required.  There may be some snow. Permit: 4.

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

Peaks:     Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
Dates:     June ?
Leader:   Kelly Maas

Details coming...

Dunderberg, Excelsior

Peaks:     Dunderberg (12374), Excelsior (12446)
Dates:     June 7-8
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (

These class 2 peaks are in the boundary region northeast of Yosemite.  Start at trailhead near Virginia Lakes (9800) for a 1-night backpack with climbs on each day.  Trip is suitable for beginners.  Depending on conditions, we might decide to day-hike these peaks and stay at the campground.  Peaks are 2-5 miles of hiking, about 2500 feet of gain. Send climbing resume with conditioning and recent experience. Carpool from Bay Area.

Eagle Scout, Eisen, Lippincott (Mineral King)

Peaks:     Eagle Scout 12000+, Eisen 12160+, Lippincott 12265
Dates:     June 13-15
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (

Trailhead is Mineral King on this 3 day trip to class 2 peaks of the Western Sierra.  We'll camp near Little Five Lakes. Day 1 is 12 miles, 3500 ft gain to camp.  Day 2, climb Eagle Scout, 10 mile RT, 1500' gain.  Day 3, climb Eisen, possibly bonus peak Lippincott, then hike out.  Send climbing resume with conditioning and recent experience. Carpool from Bay Area.

Disaster, Highland Peaks (car camp)

Peaks:     Disaster Peak (10047), Highland Peak (10935)
Dates:     June 28-29
Leader:   Charles Schafer (, 408-354-1545)

Co-leader: needed

These are relatively slow-paced day-hikes, suitable for beginners.  Both peaks are class 2 (See the last page of Scree what that means).  We will car-camp near Sonora Pass for one hike, then move to Ebbetts Pass for the other.  This is an area of the Sierra that we donít often explore, so the hikes should be enjoyable.

South/West of Mt. Whitney

Peaks:     Guyot (12300), Hitchcock (13186), Young (13176), Hale (13494), Chamberlin (13169), Newcomb (13422) , Joe Devel (13327), Pickering (13474), Newcomb (13422), McAdie (13799)
Dates:     July 2-7
Leaders:   Lisa Barboza (

                Louise Wholey (

We'll attempt to climb several peaks ranging from the south to the west of Mt. Whitney on this 6 day trip. From Cottonwood Lakes trailhead, we'll go over New Army Pass and drop down to head north on the PCT or into the Sky Blue Lake basin, depending on which peaks people want to climb.  The peaks are all class 1 or 2, except McAdie, which is class 3.  

This will be a great trip to start the summer climbing season if you are in or near good physical condition. For the western peaks option: Day 1 is 15 miles with 3800 ft gain. Day 2&3: camp at Crabtree Creek, climb Hitchcock, Chamberlin, Newcomb. Day 4: climb Hale, Young.  Day 5&6: climb Guyot & hike out. Send climbing resume with conditioning and recent experience plus peaks of interest.  We will carpool from Bay Area.  Permits for 10.

Mt. Morgan (S)

Peaks:     Mt. Morgan (13748)
Dates:     July 26-27
Leader:   Joe Baker (, 650-261-1488)

Co-leader: Judy Molland.

This is a great introduction to climbing Sierra peaks.  The views from Mt. Morgan (S) are spectacular, with Bear Creek Spire, Mt. Humphreys, and the Pioneer Basin in sight.   On Saturday morning, we will meet at Rock Creek Lake in the Eastern Sierra, hike to Francis Lake, and set up camp.  On Sunday, we will climb the ridge to Mt Morgan at a moderate pace, return to camp, and head back to the trailhead.  The peak is quite high, so you should be in good condition and have spent some recent time at altitude. 

Trip Reports

Backcountry Ski Series

Mt. Morgan (N), April 11-13, 2008

By Louise (text) and Jim (photos) Wholey

The Grand Central Couloir looked like a great way to climb this peak as I scouted it a week before the scheduled trip.  Many people had inquired with great enthusiasm for the trip, but taxes, work, family and other things brought the actual group to four people, Barbara Munker, James Rosen, Jim Wholey and me, Louise, the leader.

Access to the mountain utilized the Rock Creek winter Sno-Park service 6 miles from Hwy 395.  I had found a beautiful snow slope at 0.85 miles up the closed and groomed road.  We reached the ridge crest above the road easily, had a great view of the mountain,

and skied gentle rolling hill terrain to our camp at Davis Lake where we were able to find very scenic snow-free sites for our tents.  We skied a bowl above camp that afternoon, saving the mountain for our full day, Saturday.

The climb was 3200 feet from camp to the summit.  Only a short part required carrying skis.

The couloir was quite wide, steep, and long.  Less than optimal snow cover near the top made the last couple hundred feet more difficult, with post-holing on foot,

but the views made it all worthwhile.

Skiing was good, though demanding because it was not corn snow.  The strangely colder weather in the Sierra this spring has not allowed corn formation, but we cruised it anyway.

Camp was great!  We were at the side of Davis Lake on gravel (not snow!) with a phenomenal view of mountains.  Early sun brought us warmth.  The first evening after our incredible and almost edible (just kidding) backpacker feasts, the sun fell behind all the peaks, and we quickly jumped into our cozy down bags to avert the chill.  With our increased wisdom, on the second evening, knowing that we were at only 9843 feet MSL, we sought fire.  What a difference!  We could stay up way past the 8 pm sunset!

The next in the backcountry ski series is an outing to Mineral King.  The conditions as of this writing are perfect.  We hope it will stay good for the Memorial Day weekend when we expect to do several day trips to enjoy the bowls and peaks.

Owens and Sawtooth, April 19-20, 2008

By Cecil Anison

This was an early-season car camping trip to the Southern Sierra west of Ridgecrest.  Our group rendezvous was at Powers Well, 2.6 miles up a dirt road off  Hwy 14 where most of us spent the night. The trip consisted of leader Charles Schafer, Tom Driscolll, Rob Rennie, Jeff West, Dean Shough, Louise Wholey and myself, Cecil Anison.  After consolidating from four to two cars, we left for the trailhead up the 4wd section of the road.  We wove through a maze of roads but the way was always clearly signed.  Our eyes feasted on an expanse of color in all directions; yucca loaded with creamy blooms, a multitude of bright yellow composites, pink flowered chaparral we have yet to identify, and dark purple lupin.  The trail first led us through a forest of Gray Pine (formerly named Digger Pine until the name was changed due to the political incorrectness of using a derogatory term for Native Americans). We ascended a well marked trail, rockier as we continued on until we came to a talus field.

The trail continued in and out of rocks for awhile, some of it quite steep.  We were climbing 2800 feet in less than three miles. Here, numerous cairns marked different routes - some of which we were sceptiical. We were warned by earlier trip reports to avoid the flow of light talus leading up to a ridge.   Instead, we stayed on the darker rock and finally reached a level area about 200 feet from the summit.  From there, an easy trail led us to our destination at 8,400+ feet.  Spectacular views of the mountains and desert formed the backdrop of our mid-day meal and after a short period, we headed down.

Happy Hikers on Owens Peak

The wind had picked up during the day and was quite blustery, with gusts that would have blown off our hats if they weren't tied on.  Cooking dinner in the wind didn't appeal to anyone and someone suggested that we meet at the brewery on Hwy 14 for dinner.  Not one objected.  Dinner at the adjacent Indian Wells Cafe was surprisingly satisfying and kept us fortified for our drive back over Walker Pass to the campground that would be the next day's launching pad for Sawtooth Peak.

Joshua Tree in Bloom

At 7,900+ feet, Sawtooth Peak is a relatively easy climb with a bit of minor route finding after leaving the trail.   After spending a rather windy night at Chimney Creek Campground, we walked back Canebrake Road 0.2 miles to the spot where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses it.  We started hiking on the PCT just as the sun came up behind the rise to our left.  It was still 37 degrees out and we didn't need a "layer" break for some time due to the wind-chill factor.  This is a perfect time of year to climb this peak as purple, white and yellow wildflowers appear in abundance on both sides of the trail. Very soon, we reached the saddle at 6200' between Sawtooth and the adjacent peak.   Here, the summit of Sawtooth was visible as a rocky crest in the distance. At this point we left the trail and proceeded to ascend the soft dirt of the hill in the foreground until we arrived at a sandy plateau forested with pinion pine and juniper. 

Just as we were leaving the plateau we were surprised by the whoosh of a large, light-colored raptor, swooping down close to us and then up and out of sight.  Members of the groups suggested that it was a startled barn owl. As we traversed up and right to a ridge, we could look behind us to see the nearby summits of Lamont Peak and Spanish Needle. The view beyond them was obscured by the dust that the windstorm stirred up.  We followed the ridge and finally summited the rocky outcropping.  We were the third group to ascend this year and were interested to find that only a few parties climb, or at least sign in, each year. A superior view in all directions greeted us, especially of Olancha, Whitney, and Langley. The North Face of Owens Peak, which we climbed yesterday, looked completely different from this perspective with its deeply corrugated flanks. After a short lunch out of the wind, we descended the soft dirt back to the PCT and retraced our route.

Many thanks are due to Charles for leading our trip to this scenic area.  Photos are by Charles (summit) and Louise.

Editorís note: Sunday Louise climbed Lamont Peak via a trail from the height of land on Canebrake Road.  The trail climbs steeply until some of the summit rocks are in view, then traverses to a lower saddle and northeast (marked by ducks) to the actual summit crag at the intersection of three ridges.  My map showed this route clearly, but all I looked at was my GPS, which identified the highest point as the summit.  This is east of the SPS-designated summit.  Oh well, climbing each of the summits east of the correct peak was mostly fun class 3 with some icy snow on the north side of the ridge.  Upon realizing there was no register on any of these peaks, I finally pulled out and checked my map.  Eureka!  I bypassed the designated peak!  Back I trotted to the official summit.

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.

May 17-18, 2008 Mt. Shasta   14160 feet

Contact: George Van Gorden (

We will climb Mt. Shasta by the West Face gully.  This route is very beautiful and only a little more difficult that Avalanche Gulch.  We will climb up to our camp in Hidden Valley at about 9500 feet on Sat. and climb the mountain on Sunday and return to our cars before darkness.  Experience with ice axe and crampons is required including some instruction in self-arrest.

May 17-18, 2008 Ice Axe Practice (tentative)

Contact: Kelly Maas (408-378-5311)

This trip is for climbers of all abilities who want to practice their ice axe and cramponing skills.  We'll choose a location with good snow conditions, seek out an appropriate slope with good run-out, and refresh our skills.

May 23-27, 2008 – Thompson, Powell, Wallace

Contact: Lisa Barboza  (

Our Trailhead will be Lake Sabrina.  We will camp in the Echo Lakes region, climb these 3 peaks, Thompson (13494), Powell (13360), Wallace (13377), and probably Haeckel (13418), on successive days, pick the easiest one for last, hike out and drive home.  Send qualifications to leader.

Aug 16-24, 2008 – Wind Rivers

Contact: Bob Suzuki (,

Tim Hult (650-966-2215)

Class 3-4, ice ax, crampons, rope used. Sun-Sat, 7 days.

Gannett, Fremont, Arrowhead, Lester, Ellingwood, Stroud Ö

Maps: Bridger Teton N. F.: Pinedale R.; Wind River Range, north half

More than just a dash up Titcomb Basin to bag the state highpoint of Gannett, we'll hike a loop over Knapsack Pass and climb a mixed bag of peaks with an eye toward variety and views (not just the highest ones around). The scenery should be great and greatly varied. Most of the backpacking will be on trail and the gain with full packs will be moderate. Some peaks will be rock, some snow, probably some with steep ice sections. Rope, tools, recent climbing resume, and confidence required. Leaders will be driving from San Francisco, Participants from other areas welcome. See

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.

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 fully formatted Adobe Acrobat/PDF and html (for better searching).

PCS Official Website

Our official website is

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,  June 23th. 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