Feb 2009     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 43 . No. 2


General Meeting

Date:           February 10, 2009

Time:          7 – 9 pm – Note earlier time!

Where:        Sports Basement

                    1177 Kern Ave

                    Sunnyvale, CA

Program:     Mustagh Ata attempt (24751 ft)

Presenter:    Arun Mahajan

Translating to 'father of the ice mountains' in the Uighur language, the native tongue of the original inhabitants of the Xingjiang, Mustagh Ata  is an enormous peak, 43rd in the world, that sits in the geological knot formed by the mountain ranges of the Pamir, the Tien-shan, the Kun Lun and the Krakoram-HinduKush-Himalaya groups. It is in an extremely romantic region of the world, steeped in history, conflict and intrigue, lying as it does just off the Karakoram Highway and near the junctions of China with Tajikistan, Kyrgyztan and Kazakhstan and is also very close to the Silk Road city of Kashgar where the Russians and the British played the 'Great Game'.

PCS member, Arun Mahajan, lured by the wiles of the hourie wandered into this region.  He never really summitted but thinks that he came away with a great story.  However, the hourie remained, like what often happens to weary travelers of the Taklamakan,  a mirage in his altitude addled brain.

Come and find out for yourself if all this is really true or a yarn worthy of Omar Khayyam, the Tentmaker!

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.  To become a member just add your name to our roster using our website at http://peakclimbing.org.


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. Google map is at http://tinyurl.com/9snt7g.

Editorís Notes

Help!  We need a Scree Editor!  It is actually fun to throw together articles from various people and toss in a few tidbits you have noticed here and there.  You also become a member of the PCS executive committee and get to have dinner meetings several times during the year.  If you would like to edit this newsletter for the coming year, please contact Louise at PCSchair@gmail.com or call her at 408-867-6658.

Scree Features

Page Trip Report

5     Lone Pine Peak by Lisa Barboza

6     Backcountry Skiing by Mike Snadden


February Trip Planning Meeting

Monday February 23 at 6:30 pm

Jeff Fisherís House

15064 Charmeran Ave., San, Jose

Home phone 408-879-9892

Cell phone 650-207-9632

Come one, come all!  We will have a great time while we put our collective heads together to come up with a suite of trips for the coming climbing season.

Trip leaders please start thinking now about your trips for this year and plan to attend the meeting!  If you want to do something but are not sure what, come and we will help you decide!

Leaders-in-training should also attend and sign up to co-lead trips as the last requirement to become approved as a leader.

Non-leaders, please come and help us choose trips that you want to do, such as that peak you have wanted to climb for years!

Pot luck dinner!  Bring whatever you want to share.  Please bring your own plate, glass and utensils.

If you cannot make it to the meeting, please send your thoughts to Jeff Fisher at jeff_fisher_5252@sbcglobal.net, or call Jeff ahead of time at 650-207-9632.

Women on Top: Lessons for Life and Business from the Mountains

Emilie Cortes speaks Thursday, Feb. 12, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Charles Schwab Auditorium, San Francisco


Chair Column

Trip Scheduling

By Louise Wholey

The trip schedule is key!  This is what we are all about – trips! We have two planning meetings each year, one in February to plan spring, summer, and fall, our main climbing season.  Then another one is held in the fall to plan the latter part of fall, winter, and early spring.  These meetings are not symmetric; summer season is longer and stronger.

Your big chance to get an early start planning 2009 climbing trips comes Monday, February 23 at 6:30 pm at Jeff Fisherís house, 15064 Charmeran Ave., San, Jose 95124. Home phone 408-879-9892, Cell phone 650-207-9632.

An advantage to attending the meeting is getting to claim a spot on that trip you have coveted for years.  One easy way to get on a trip is to co-lead it!  We have numerous people who have taken leadership training and need to finish the requirements by co-leading.  These people should definitely join us.

We will publish the list as an Advanced Trip List in the March issue of Scree.  Not all of these trips happen as originally anticipated; some happen at different times; some, unfortunately, not at all.  Occasionally someone will graciously rescue a trip when the leader is called unexpectedly out of town. 

Some people have concluded that the PCS wants only tough, fast trips.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We want to get out into the mountains to enjoy them and to climb to their tops for the best views of the magnificent Sierra landscape, as well as the physical and mental challenge of the ascent.  We want leaders to lead more casual trips.  We want participants - thatís you! - to beg for such trips.

The SPS list-baggers are an intrepid group of dedicated climbers who keep offering trips because they seek companions.  These trips are fast and demanding, and not for everybody.  This year I hope we will include in our trip descriptions an over-all commitment rating, such as easy, moderate, strenuous, or extreme (ie., a ďLisaĒ trip).  We will also try to include distance and elevation gain information to help people decide if a trip is appropriate for them.

Happy Climbing!


PCS Trip Calendar

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 19-20 – Glacier Point Ski Tour

Leader:  Louise Wholey

Feb 28-Mar 1 – Mt. Tom

Leader:  Lisa Barboza

Mar 6-8 – Split Mtn.

Leader:  Lisa Barboza

Mar 13-15 – Koip Peak Ski Mountaineering

Leader:  Louise Wholey

Mar 14-16 – Mt. Shasta via Sergeants Ridge

Leader:  Kelly Maas

Mar 22 – Roundtop Peak ski or snowshoe

Leader:  Arun Mahajan

Mar 28-29  – Mt. Reba Ridges – Ski with Alpine Ski Patrol

Leader:  Charles Schafer

Apr 11-12 – Mt. Shasta Casaval Ridge

Leader:  Lisa Barboza

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.

March 22, 2009 - Roundtop Peak Ski or Snowshoe

February 6-8 – 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 near Ostrander Lake

Peak:      Whatever high point we can find near Ostrander Lake
Date:       January 31 – February 1
Leader:   George Van Gorden  (gvangorden@gmail.com)
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.

Snow Camping Course – field training

Peak:       This course will enable you to climb peaks in winter
Date:       January 31-Feb 1
Leader:   Chris MacIntosh (cmaci@sbcglobal.net, 650/325-7841)
Co-Lead: Steve Sergeant (steve.sergeant@lomaprieta.sierraclub.org, 408-937-8116)

This is the final part of the snow camping training course described earlier in the Scree.

Ski Tour to Glacier Point

Peak:      Lots to see at Washburn Point, no climbing this time
Date:       February 19 – 20, 2009, Thu – Fri
Leader:   Louise Wholey (louisewholey@yahoo.com)
Co-Lead: Jim Wholey

Ski 17 km to a European style hut at Glacier Point. Meals and sleeping provided.  Cost TBD.  Call leader for further details. 

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.

Mount Tom (14,042)

Peaks:     Mount Tom (1)
Dates:     Feb 28 - Mar 1 2009, Sat-Sun
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com)
Co-lead:  Emilie Cortes (ecortes@axiomainc.com)

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 in time by the MOC.

Split Mountain (14,042)

Peaks:     Split Mountain (14,042)
Dates:     March 6-8 2009, Fri-Sun
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com)
Co-lead:  Emilie Cortes (ecortes@axiomainc.com)

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 in time by the MOC.

Koip Peak Ski Mountaineering

Peak:      Koip Peak from the east
Date:       March 13-15, Friday - Sunday
Leader:   Louise Wholey (louisewholey@yahoo.com)
Co-Lead: Jim Wholey

Climb Koip Peak from the east and ski down it. Requires excellent physical condition, advanced skiing skills, avalanche training, snow camping, Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, ski crampons, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.  This is a phenomenal ski descent under good conditions – 5000 feet vertical.  Of course, that means a big fast climb is needed to get up as well as down the peak in a day.  The recently published guide to skiing the eastern Sierra has great photos.  Richins guide has a good description.

Mt. Shasta via Sergeants Ridge

Peaks:     Mt. Shasta (14, 179)
Dates:     March 14-16 2009, Fri-Sun
Leader:   Kelly Maas (kamaas444@sbcglobal.net)

This is serious winter mountaineering.  Contact Kelly for details.

Mt. Reba Ridges - Ski with Alpine Ski Patrol

Peaks:     Mt. Reba Ridges
Dates:     March 28-29 2009, Sat-Sun
Leader:   Charles Schafer (c_g_schafer@yahoo.com)

Join Charles for some fun skiing in the Bear Valley area.  Overnight in the Alpine Ski Patrol cabin.

Mt. Shasta via Casaval Ridge

Peaks:     Mt. Shasta (14,179)
Dates:     April 11-12 2009, Sat-Sun
Leader:   Lisa Barboza (lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com)
Co-lead:  Emilie Cortes (ecortes@axiomainc.com)

Two day climb Mount Shasta from the Bunny Flat TH via the spectacular Casaval Ridge.  Conditions permitting as there must be sufficient snow on this route. This is a snowshoe trip; crampons and ice axe proficiency required, no exceptions. 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 with recent experience at altitude and carrying heavy pack. This climb is strenuous and not a beginner route.  Trip will be private if not approved by the MOC.  Difficulty: Winter, crampons and ice axe.

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.

Roundtop Peak Ski or Snowshoe

Peaks:     Roundtop Peak
Dates:     March 22 2009, Sun
Contact:    Arun Mahajan (650-327-8598, arun.mahajan@att.net)
Contact:  George Van Gorden (gvangorden@gmail.com)

Day hike on snow, ice-axe, crampons, skis or snowshoes.  Skis with skins or snowshoes needed for the approach then ice-axe and crampons for the summit area. 

Meet at 8am at Carson Pass Sno-Park on Highway-88, ready to go.  To park there you will need a sno-park permit. 

Call/email to sign up.  Must have experience with ice-axe and crampons.

Difficulty: Snow/winter conditions but otherwise intermediate level skiing and you have to have some experience with axe/crampons and be able to handle the altitude of over 10k ft, early in the season.

Mt Kailsh, Nepal/Tibet

Peaks:     Mt Kailsh – Lhasa
Dates:     May 2009
Contact:  Warren Storkman (650-493-8959, dstorkman@aol.com)

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, dstorkman@aol.com)

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, dstorkman@aol.com)

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



Trip Reports

The January Lone Pine, January 16-18

By Lisa Barboza

Abstract: January 16-18, 2009 Participants: Emilie Cortes (co-lead), Julius Galwas, Peter Hawkins, and Enrique Rodriguez

Trip Abstract:

Jan 16th TH to camp: 3.0 miles, 4010 feet 11am – 5pm

Jan 17th camp to summit 1.8 miles, 2300 feet 630 am-noon summit – 230 camp

Jan 18th – hike out 900 am – 1230 pm

Equipment used: Ice axe, crampons, helmets, winter conditions – melt water

Our noble band wanted a winter climb to prepare for higher peaks around the world, and to test ourselves in winter high altitude conditions.  So we left the Bay Area on a warm January Thursday afternoon, got to Lone Pine in 6.5 hours via Tehachapi Pass, and found ourselves jointly at the Lone Pine campground, and the Best Western Hotel in Lone Pine.  Waking in the morning, I have to say that the impressive east face of Lone Pine looked like a very interesting climb, and we could actually see the route on the face.  Actually, I was a bit intimidated but remembered that peaks always look steeper from far away.  But itís a steep climb, no matter what!

What looked like a steep couloir from 10 miles away turned out to be a 25 degree snow-filled 2nd class chute, which was our route above our camp.  Steve Eckert previously wrote up a great trip report, and we modified his route a bit, but followed his directions:


Following Steve Eckertís excellent directions to the OLIVAS Ranch Trailhead, Julius had a 4WD and we saved about 1.3 miles and 700 feet of walking. Two-wheel drive cars can easily get to a small unmarked parking area (LPCAR1), and we left one car there, piled our packs into the 4WD and Julius carefully navigated up to the actual TH.  Yes, itís really a 4WD road and a high clearance vehicle wouldnít have negotiated some of the snowier portions of the road and some true off-road type rock outcrops.

Day 1: TH to high camp (LPCAM7)

We started at 11am, late for us, in sunny, warm weather in the 40s.  We followed the drainage up to P8KSAD, which is the saddle to the north of the very obvious large knob that is closest to the Trailhead parking area.  You can go over this saddle in 3 spots; the P8KSAD is the northernmost spot to go over.  But donít get to close to the south side of the saddle.   You will see a myriad of use trails all over the place. Our conditions were part snow, part sand, Pinyon pine and sagebrush desert.  Once you drop over the saddle, there is a use trail on the west side of the creek.  We found that staying close to the creek bed was best, but the use trail can be followed.  Eventually, we crossed the creek to the east side and started climbing toward waypoint CLIF2C.  This is a CL2 route that avoids some of the CL2 and CL3 climbing that Steve and Daryn mentioned in their excellent trip report. 

We had absolutely zero desire to climb CL2 and CL3 with snow on the ledges and full packs, and the camp spot that Steve noted (CLIFFB) didnít have enough snow to dig a tent platform. Most of the climbing is on sand, and in a few places we got up on the slabs to avoid the dreaded one-step/two-step sand crunch. In the chute between CLF2C and LPCAM7, the snow was 4-5 feet deep, soft, and difficult going.  So we stayed to the right, somewhat on rocks and snow, and at 5pm found a good basecamp. We kept climbing until we reached 10,600 where we found snow deep enough to dig.  We dug snow platforms (although Julius and Peter comically managed to sleep with their tent at a 10 degree angle), melted water, watched the afterglow, moon rise, and a long line of cars going north from LA to Mammoth for the MLK day skiing.  Emilie enjoyed sleeping outside in a nook under a granite boulder without a bivi. It got down below freezing at night, to about 15F, but warmed up to 35F during the day. We were all in bed early.  Note that we essentially climbed to the same altitude as Steve noted in his report; our campsite was 500 feet north of his waypoint CLIFFT.

Day 2: High Camp to Summit

Up at 5am melting water, eating Oatmeal, getting ready.  We started out from camp and immediately started breaking trail.  The snow was deep, not well consolidated, and we rotated between all of us to keep the trail open.  We gained about 700 feet through the snow, although we were tempted to get on some of the rocks. Our route was just on the south side of the ridge that separates our small, unnamed drainage, from the larger drainage on the NE side of the peak. The larger drainage on the NE side can be seen from Lone Pine town and goes all the way to the summit plateau, but we didnít have any beta on it and didnít go that way.  We stayed at the trail breaking, taking very few breaks until we reached the summit plateau (LPLATU).  We didnít take snowshoes, betting that the summit plateau would be wind-scoured and that the snow would be scant.  We were rewarded: We walked mostly on sand on the plateau, surprised 8 Bighorn Sheep ewes, which bounded away on a crag, keeping their distance while we respectfully hiked on a path away from them. 

But it was beautiful.  We could see the North side of Corcoran, LeConte, Sharkís tooth, Mallory, Irvine peaks, and the broad summit of Mt.Langley.  After a scramble up some CL2 very typical High Sierra sand-rock-ledge stuff, we were on a higher summit plateau and we saw the summit before us.  The whole time, we didnít want to displease the mountain gods and decided to never say that we were actually going to make the peak.  But at 1145 AM, after 5 hours of climbing, we made it.  The view of Whitney was fantastic – we could see Russell, all of the Whitney region peaks and we had brilliant, sunny weather.  We didnít find a register, although it could have been buried in the snow.  But the view was just grand.  We tarried for about 30 minutes and headed down.  No sign of the Bighorn.  Retracing our steps, we headed back to camp, arrived at 2:30 pm and spent the remaining 2 hours of daylight drying out cloths and socks in the weak winter sun before the cold night crept up on us.  Most said that our 2nd night out was colder than the first, and indeed my water bottles froze in our tent.

Day 3: Hike out

We had a liesurely breakfast and started hiking at 830, at the TH by 1230PM.  This time, we went right down the center of the snow chute that we climbed on rocks on the right on the way up. Enrique broke trail, and we had a really fun time going downhill through the deep snow.  Itís a lot easier to break trail when youíre going downhill.  Then we stayed mostly on sand and found a descent use-trail on the east side of the creek that brought to an easy place to cross the creek.  From there, we stayed on the west side of the creek close to the center, and found a spot near PK8SAD to cross over into the Trailhead drainage.  Once on the sand, it was an easy jaunt to the 4WD.

In town, we dined on well-deserved Venison and Buffalo burgers at the Mt. Whitney restaurant, and Julius, Peter, and Enrique even had ice cream sundaes.  All in all, a great winter trip with great participants!

 WAYPOINTS: TOPO! GPS Data Format Deg NAD83 ElevFeet Local-Time

From our Trip:


030,36.56092,-118.20748,10848,01/19/2009,16:53:30,17-JAN-09 7:55:19AM



From Steve Eckertís Excellent trip report:

CLIFFB,36.56090,-118.20297,NA,01/19/2009,16:53:30,CHUTE AT BOTTOM OF CLIFF BAND

CLIFFT,36.55992,-118.20546,NA,01/19/2009,16:53:30,PLATEAU AT TOP OF CLIFF BAND

P8KSAD,36.55715,-118.19288,NA,01/19/2009,16:53:30,PT 8080 SADDLE

PT8080,36.55607,-118.19118,NA,01/19/2009,16:53:30,GO NORTH OF PT 8080

Backcountry Skiing, Jan 17-18 2009

By Mike Snadden

I have posted some photos from the weekend. I hardly took any pictures on Saturday climbing Houghton as the group was moving so fast, but I took quite a few on Sunday on the climb of Silver Peak. The snow was better on Sunday, we were able to make turns! 


Elected Officials

    Louise Wholey/ PCSchair@gmail.com

    21020 Canyon View Road, Saratoga, CA 95070


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler:
Jeff Fisher / jeff_fisher_5252@sbcglobal.net


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes):
Jesper Schou / schou@sun.stanford.edu


Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:
    Open/ screeeditor@gmail.com

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://peakclimbing.org

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,  February 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