Jan 2009     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 43 . No. 1


General Meeting

Date:           January 13, 2009

Time:          7 – 9 pm – Note earlier time!

Where:        Sports Basement

                    1177 Kern Ave

                    Sunnyvale, CA

Program:    A Tale of Two Ecuador Trips

Presenter:    Emilie Cortes

Emilie Cortes will compare and contrast two climbing expeditions to the high volcanoes of Ecuador.  The first expedition in 2006 was guided by Alpine Ascents and the objectives were Cayambe (18.3k ft), Cotopaxi (19.3k ft), and Chimborazo (20.5k ft).  After unsuccessful attempts on all three, Emilie returned in November 2008 with two friends to test a new acclimatization schedule and continue to explore Ecuador.  Emilie will share spectacular photography of Ecuador's highest mountains and countryside as well as her lessons learned.

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.

Editor’s Notes

The Scree editor position is still open.  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     Homer’s Nose by Lisa Barboza

7     Backcountry Skiing, Tamarack Peak by Louise Wholey

Chair Column

PCS Meetings

By Louise Wholey

PCS meetings are always held in the evening of the second Tuesday of the month.  They include meeting people who have just climbed what you might like to climb, talking with the leader of an upcoming trip that sounds interesting to you, and seeing remote places where we would love to climb if your lives were not already so full!  The following programs have been scheduled for the early part of 2009:


Emilie Cortes

Ecuador volcanoes


Arun Mahajan

Mustagh Ata, China


Marcus Libkind

Entertaining ski history movies


Julius Gawlas

Lobuche East,  Ama Dablam

I also hope to have programs on Mt. Vincent, Everest, the Alps, Canada, etc. so stay tuned to our website, http://peakclimbing.org or the Scree newsletter for details.  One format change at meetings will be to limit our past and future trips discussions to just introducing the leader with a few words about where the peak was located.  Social time during refreshments should give attendees a chance to inquire about these places.

The meetings in January and February will be at the Sports Basement in Sunnyvale, http://www.sportsbasement.com/, from 7 – 9 pm.  Note the earlier start time; the store closes at 9 pm.  Before our meeting you can join our shopping sprees and save 20% on what you buy.  Other meetings this year will be at the PCC (Peninsula Conservation Center), the local Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter headquarters in Palo Alto.  Two exceptions: we have a picnic in a park with a gear swap in July and our Christmas party with a few slides from everyone in December.


February Trip Planning Meeting

It is time again to start thinking about trips for the summer months.  This meeting in February will generate our summer schedule.  Trip leaders please start thinking now about your trips for this year and plan to attend the meeting.  Non-leaders are also welcome to attend and beg leaders to lead a trip up whatever peak you have wanted to do for years.  Leaders-in-training should also attend and sign up to co-lead trips as the last requirement to become approved as a leader.  Refreshments will be served.


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, cmaci@sbcglobal.net, or Steve Sergeant at 408/937-8116, steve.sergeant@lomaprieta.sierraclub.org .

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

PCS Trip Calendar

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

Feb 28-Mar 1 – Mt. Tom

Leader:  Lisa Barboza

Mar 6-8 – Mt. Whitney via Mountaineers Route

Leader:  Lisa Barboza

Mar 13-15 – Koip Peak Ski Mountaineering

Leader:  Louise Wholey

Mar 14-16 – Mt. Shasta via Sergeants Ridge

Leader:  Kelly Maas

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.

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

Mt. Diablo (3849) from the north

Peak:      Mt. Diablo (3849)
Date:      Jan 10, Saturday
Leader:   Kelly Maas (kellymbase-pcs@yahoo.com)
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 (louisewholey@yahoo.com)
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 (lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com)
Co-lead:   Emilie Cortes (ecortes@axiomainc.com)

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.

Snow Camping Course – classroom training

Peak:       This course will enable you to climb peaks in winter
Date:       January 24
Leader:   Chris MacIntosh (cmaci@sbcglobal.net, 650/325-7841)
Co-Lead: Steve Sergeant (steve.sergeant@lomaprieta.sierraclub.org, 408-937-8116)

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

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.

Split Mountain (14,042)

Peaks:     Split Mountain (14,042)
Dates:     February 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 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 (louisewholey@yahoo.com)
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.

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

We will attempt to climb Koip Peak from the east and ski down it. Requires excellent physical condition, advanced skiing skills, avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe. 

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 (ecortes@axiomainc.com)
Contact:  Lisa Barboza (lisa.barboza@gd-ais.com)

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



Trip Reports

Final Fall Fling

Homer’s Epic Nose, December 12, 2008

Abstract: December 12, 2008. Participants: Lisa Barboza, Louise Wholey

Trip Abstract: TH to Homer’s Nose – 24.2 miles RT, 8005 feet of gain~13.5 hours of hiking

530am start, 900a at Trail to Homer’s Nose, 100p summit, 120p left summit, 400pm back at road, 500pm Case Mt Junction, 700pm at the car

We somehow had the wonderful idea that we could get in one more peak before the snows came.  Even though a storm was headed our way, we thought we could climb our peak and be in a cozy place before it hit.  We had read Mark Adrian’s report (see http://climber.org) of climbing Homer’s Nose from the northwest side by driving up the Mineral King road and stopping at the cement bridge that crosses the East Fork of the Kaweah. We liked the idea of a longer hike for better conditioning (as if we need the exercise), and we really liked the idea of not having to throw away our clothes by bushwhacking through dense stands of poison oak, leaves on or not.  While the southern face route is shorter, the dense upward climb through brush and P.O. was something we definitely wanted to avoid! Mark’s report has all of the forest service roads well listed and this report will focus on GPS waypoints.

Essentially, this is a hike on forest service roads for 17.5 miles and about 4950 feet, followed by 6.7 miles and 3100 feet of gain on a little-used trail, involving considerable bushwhacking and route-finding.

After a great dinner at the Orange Blossom Restaurant (highly recommended) on Hwy 198 with our friend Bruce Berryhill, we drove up the road to Mineral King.  Just after the bridge which crosses the East Fork of the Kaweah, there is an asphalt drive. TRNOFF  We were able to drive up that road, cross the river again when the road turned to dirt, and camp on the roadside just before the locked gate, elevation 2750. There were signs indicating that camping was OK, so we didn’t worry about it and made our camp. Up at 430 AM, we wrapped up camp, made coffee and oatmeal, and started walking in the dark at 530 AM.  HGATE1

Sunup wasn’t until 7:30 AM, so we hiked in the dark for a few hours.  The moon was up and we had bright walking without headlamps.  By 7:15 AM we reached the junction of our forest service road with the Case Mountain Road, and proceeded east on a contouring section of the road.  The road follows the contours of the ridge on the north side.  We passed through several gates (indicated below as HGATE2, 3, etc.) always keeping to the well-traveled path.  In a few places, we were fooled and had to backtrack about 300 feet.  We saw plenty of bear scat and berries on the road, and also some large lion prints in the frozen mud. (Yes, we were on the north side of the ridge and some of these placed didn’t melt out).  But there wasn’t any snow.  After passing through a total of 10 gates, all locked, but easily squeezed through, we came to the end of the road.  We looked for a use trail to the summit and found it, not marked, but you could see that animals and humans had walked on it. Waypoint RD-2TH  See below for a complete list.

Much of the terrain afterwards is heavy bushwhacking but if you stay on the ridge or on the north side of the ridge you can avoid most of it.  But you’ll have to cross early and often.  We followed the use trail as best we could, but found that it petered out often, and then we found other trails, mostly animal trails to follow.  On the way up, we made the mistake of spending too much time on the south side because there are two extensive rock outcrops of 100 feet high or more that we wanted to avoid.  But on the way down, we found that it was best to stay to the north side as much as possible, cross south when you can’t traverse the granite cliffs, and then cross back to the north when you can.  We stayed about 30 feet below the ridge on the north side for most of our return.  There’s not much brush on the north side. But on the south side, much of the brush consists of Manzanita and chinquapin.  Now you’ll be surprised to hear me say that the Manzanita was relatively easy to bushwhack.  But the chinquapin is another matter entirely.  It grows downhill, with long stems above the roots, and easily blocks progress when traversing, or heaven forbid, going uphill. We were above the level of poison oak, but going uphill in chinquapin was enough to cause Louise to declare that she couldn’t go any farther and that I should leave her where she was (not happening).  But it truly is yucky to try to go uphill in this stuff.  What hopeful trails we found soon disappeared in mounds of brush.  Until we tried the north side on the way back, leading to the motto, below:

Our motto:  “Stay as high as you can on the ridge and drop to the north side when it’s too brushy, to the south side when it doesn’t go, and return to the north side as soon as possible”. 

We summited at 1:00 PM, had great views of Florence, Vandever, Black, Red, and Big Kaweah, ate a fast lunch, signed into the register and were on our way down by 1:20 PM.  We were the 5th party to summit in 2008, and it looked like most took “our” route.  It was time to go.  We headed down, (see our motto above), and reached the road at 4:00PM.  From there, there was about 500 feet of gain on the road to Case Junction, then all downhill to our car, which we reached at 7:00 PM. 

Lisa on Summit

Louise in front of the real Homer's Nose

In the dark, we met our friend Bruce hiking up to meet us. He had previously offered us a night indoors in his cabin in Silver City.  So we beat the snow – or so we thought…After a long day of hiking and bushwhacking, it was great to be indoors in his chalet, sipping wine and enjoying hearty soups and a warm woodstove.  In the morning, there was a very soft light outside, and first light revealed 6” of snow at Silver City and we had a slow (we had chains but didn’t use them) drive down the 40 mile road from Silver City to Three Rivers. Bruce unlocked the double gates for us.

This is a great fall hike, lots of fun, and as long as you follow ‘our motto’, you will avoid much of the brush.  But long pants and long shirts are advised because I still have a few scratches from our hike of 3 weeks ago!

GPS WAYPOINTS: A few of these are Steve Eckert’s, the gates are noted as well as the TH off of the forest service road.

TOPO! GPS Data Format Deg NAD83 ElevFeet Local-Time


HGATE1,36.45078,-118.78889,2735,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 6:57:44PM

HGATE10,36.40030,-118.78721,5913,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 8:25:59AM

HGATE2,36.42308,-118.78623,5190,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 5:30:37PM

HGATE3,36.42086,-118.79091,5252,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 5:24:01PM

HGATE4,36.41826,-118.79505,5583,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 5:11:40PM

HGATE5,36.41683,-118.79504,5336,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 7:36:41AM

HGATE6,36.41397,-118.79249,5477,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 7:45:22AM

HGATE7,36.40675,-118.79541,5537,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 7:58:25AM

HGATE8,36.40476,-118.79406,5606,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 8:08:40AM

HGATE9,36.40204,-118.78820,5900,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 8:23:13AM

THTRN,36.39836,-118.77725,5812,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 3:54:16PM

RD-2TH,36.39764,-118.77567,5869,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 9:07:08AM


HX02,36.39077,-118.77044,6476,12/15/2008,19:39:52,12-DEC-08 3:23:46PM


PT7163,36.38816,-118.76177,NA,12/15/2008,19:39:52,POINT 7163 SALT CK RIDGE

SD7163,36.38782,-118.76012,NA,05/25/2005,09:03:18,SADDLE NEAR PT 7163



HOMNOS,36.38467,-118.73897,NA,12/15/2008,19:39:52,HOMERS NOSE 9023

Backcountry Skiing on Tamarack Peak December 29, 2008

By Louise Wholey

(Photos by William Mueller and Louise Wholey)

December is unpredictable for snow.  Some years there is not enough for backcountry skiing.  This year there is some snow, not deep, but deposited with lots of wind, thus forming a crust.  The avalanche hazard the day of our trip was low, the first clue that we would be lucky to find any deep powder to ski.

We met at the Backcountry store in Truckee so that William Mueller could rent skis.  While he maintains a good personal supply of recent vintage downhill equipment, it has been a while since he ventured into the backcountry.  My hope was to show him some great powder caches, but that will have to await another day.

Silvie Hubert from France and Josef Schwarzl joined Jim, William and I for the day.  While we were preparing our gear at our cars, Josef surprised me by saying “Now I know who you are!”  It seems we have a common friend with a gift of gab who had spoken of each of us, so it was like old friends meeting!

After parking at the base of Tamarack Peak just beyond the summit of Mt. Rose Hwy (431) we climbed through trees and up open slopes, sometimes steeply, to the summit of Tamarack Peak. 

Tamarack Peak in far back behind bare face

The day and views of Lake Tahoe were beautiful, unlike the prevailing weather during the preceding week.

Group on Tamarack Peak

As we climbed and skied we had quite spectacular views of Mt. Rose displaying far too little snow to offer skiing in its gullies.

Mt Rose

William was not having the best of days and requested to descend to the cars mid-afternoon.  Once at the cars the others decided to end their skiing and drive home to the Bay Area.  Jim and I chose to climb the peak a second time and to ski the routes we bypassed earlier.  Most of the snow was rather wind-blown but Jim enjoyed the climbing and I enjoyed the skiing.  What a synergy!

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:
    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,  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