October 2009     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 43 , No. 10


General Meeting

Date          October 13, 2009

Time          7:30 – 9:30

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA             

Program   Climbing in the Mont Blanc Range – French, Swiss and Italian Alps

Presenter Isabelle Peyrichoux

This past summer, Isabelle set out to Chamonix (France) to do a 6-day mountaineering course and fulfill her longtime dream to climb Mont Blanc, highest peak in the Alps (4,810 m - 15,781ft). During these six days climbing several 3000m/4000m peaks, traveling on glacier, ice, snow and rock, hanging in a crevasse, and traveling from huts to huts across France, Switzerland and Italy, Isabelle fell in love again with the amazing beauty of the Mont Blanc range. Through inspiring pictures, Isabelle will share with you her journey going back to her native country to climb in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world and one of the places where alpinism all began!

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.

Google     http://tinyurl.com/28ngaw

Editor’s Notes

Thank you all for your contributions! We have some great trip reports this month. Read on!

Judy Molland

Chair Column

Changing Seasons

New schedule

Fall is here and with it colder weather and shorter days, but we still have lots of trips scheduled!  Check the advanced trip planning calendar in this issue.  We certainly hope the wonderful Indian summer weather will continue.  

We maintain lists of trips in multiple on-line places.  We start with a preliminary list, the Advanced Trip planning Schedule, published following our scheduling meetings twice a year, March and October.  Trips for which leaders have obtained permits as well as planned out their routes and other logistics are published in our newsletter, Scree, typically a couple of months in advance of the trip.Our website, http://www.peakclimbing.org/,  is usually updated from the listing in Scree, although today I discovered that leaders may enter trips directly on the website, saving others from having to beg for descriptions!

The Advanced Trip planning Schedule is also entered on-line as a Google doc spreadsheet.  The current schedule is at

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Asyx5IPWGbrUdGpmRGpkLVcxVHo4cXh3SkdmZGF4dlE&hl=en.  I update the Google doc periodically, so it, plus our website, http://www.peakclimbing.org/, are the most recent sources of information on-line.  We also broadcast updates, so definitely subscribe to those.  See http://lists.sierraclub.org/SCRIPTS/WA.EXE?SUBED1=lomap-pcs-announce&A=1for instructions to become part of that listserve.

Winter is coming!

We hope for a large amount of precipitation this winter, so greatly needed.  The forecast is for an El Nino year, which may mean cancelled trips due to warmer wetter weather.  We always hope for the best and earliest snow ever; we do remember some fine skiing on Halloween one year.

The PCS offers some ski trips to climb peaks this winter.  Requirements for such trips are generally good quality Telemark or Randonee skis, avalanche beacons and training to use them, shovels, probes, and lots more warm clothes than for other times of the year.  There are only a few local sources of backcountry equipment now.  Among them are The Backcountry Store in Truckee, Mammoth Mountaineering in Mammoth, Alpenglow in Tahoe City, Marmot Mountaineering in Berkeley, and Outback Adventures in San Jose (after they move) and soon Fremont. 

Sometimes snowshoers may join ski trips, but please check with the leader.  Downhill speeds are so different that it is a difficult combination.   Boarders, on the other hand, match well except that they have to break a wider trail.

Happy Climbing/Skiing/Snowshoeing/Boarding



**The Tioga Pass Resort (located just outside of Yosemite National Park) may be open this year January - March.  The issue is whether their water is considered to meet new standards.  They may get a grandfather exemption.

They have a website with details on winter fun at http://www.tiogapassresort.com/winterhome.shtml.  To find out their status contact them by email, reservations@tiogapassresort.com.

**Wool is definitely making a comeback as a base layer.  Check the number of vendors of wool from Backcountry:


 PCS Trip Calendar

These are required statements.

Note: CST 2087766-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Note: All Sierra Club trips require you to sign a Liability Waiver.


Oct 2 - 4 – Virginia and Twin Peaks

Leader:  Louise Wholey

Oct 2 - 4 – Mt. Winchell

Leader:  Jesper Schou

Oct 10 – 11 – Langley

Leader:  George van Gorden

PCS Trip Details

Virginia and Twin Peaks

Peak:    Virginia (12,001’) and Twin Peaks (12,323’)

Date:    October 2 - 4

Leader:  Louise Wholey

Difficulty: Class 3

Join us for a moderate-paced trip to climb Virginia and Twin Peaks from the Green Creek trailhead just south of Bridgeport.
Day 1 hike 7 miles to camp via Virginia Pass, trail and crosscountry.
Day 2 climb Virginia Peak (~1 mile, 1500 ft), traverse to Twin Peaks on class 3 ridge, return to camp (1+ mile, -1800 ft)
Day 3 pack out and drive home.
See http://climber.org/TripReports/2007/1611.html for a previous trip report

Mt. Winchell

Peak:    Mt. WInchell (13,775’)

Date:    October 2 - 4

Leader:  Jesper Schou

Difficulty: Class 3

Day 1: Start at Glacier Lodge head up North Fork of Big Pine Creek, camp at Sam Mack Meadow. 8-9 miles, 3300ft gain.
Day 2: Climb Mt. Winchell via East Arete. 2800ft gain. Return to camp.
Day 3: Pack up and return to the trailhead.
May throw in another peak for good measure depending on weather and participants.


Peak:    Mount Langley (14,000+)

Date:    October 10 - 11

Leader:  George van Gorden  

Difficulty: Class 1

This is a good beginner trip. On the first day we meet in late morning at the Cotton Wood trailhead (10000feet) and hike into Long Lake, about 5 to 6 miles. We will have a beautiful camping site by a lake. The next morning we get a moderately early start and climb the mountain by way of New Army Pass. We will have about 5 miles and 3000 vertical feet to the summit. We should get back to our camp by mid-afternoon. After a short break we will break camp and return to our cars. We should reach the cars before dark.

Private Trip Calendar

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.

Oct 1 - 20 – Nepal - Mera Peak 21,300 ft

Nov 6 - 8 – Telescope Peak

Nov 14 – 15 - Pinnacles

Jan 2010 - Kilimanjaro

Private Trip Details

Mera Peak 21,300 ft, Nepal

Peaks:     Mera Peak (21,300 ft), Nepal
Dates:     October 1 - 20, 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

Telescope Peak

Peak:    Telescope Peak (11,050’)

Dates:   Nov 6 - 8

Leader: Jeff Fisher (jeff_fisher_5252@sbcglobal.net) (650-207-9632)

Difficulty: Class 2

Car shuttle needed.
Will camp at Shorty’s Well at -250 Ft on Friday night Nov. 6. Get up Saturday morning at 3AM and be on the trail by 3:30AM. After summiting we will hike to Mahogany Flats to the waiting car shuttle. There is a spring in Hanapai Canyon at 3,500ft and 9 miles into the hike. But should bring
at least 4 liters of water. Hopefully those going in group #2 will camp with us and shuttle the cars around for their start at Mahogany Flats.

Group #2
Class 1
14 miles
3,000 ft of gain
Leave from Mahogany Flat at 8 or 9AM hopefully reaching the summit around the same time as group #1. Returning to Mahogany Flats and shuttling Group.

Leader Jeff Fisher Co-leader needed (650) 207-9632, E-mail; jeff_fisher5252@sbcglobal.net
Leader needed for Mahogany Flats start.


Peak:    Your choice

Dates:   Nov 14 - 15

Leader: Jeff Fisher (jeff_fisher_5252@sbcglobal.net) (650-207-9632)

Co-Lead:  wanted

Difficulty: Class 1 – 5, your choice

Come down for a weekend or just for a day of climbing or if you prefer hiking or even biking. There will be climbers of varying abilities. We have reserved group campsite #134 at the Pinnacles campground on the east side of the park. Camping cost is usually about $8 per person. Shoes, harness and helmet needed if you are going to be climbing. We will meet at the Bear Gulch visitor center at 9AM on Saturday. Carpools meet Saturday morning at 7AM at Cottle Rd. and Hwy 85 park and ride.

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:



2009-10 Fall, Winter, Spring

Advance Trip List

This is a tentative list of trips planned for Fall, Winter and early Spring. Please do not contact the leaders until the trips are officially announced in the Scree  or on the website.







Jesper Schou


Virginia *

Louise Wholey


Red, Grey and Merced #

Louise Wholey


Langley *

George Van Gorden


Morgan North #

Lisa Barboza


Baldwin #

Lisa Barboza


Petit, Volunteer, Piute #

Louise Wholey


Cleaver Peak !

Pat Callery


Trans-Siera Day Hike !

Jeff Fisher


Mt. Tom & Basin Peak #

Lisa Barboza



Telescope Peak

Jeff Fisher


Kennedy & Harrington #

Lisa Barboza


Pinnacles Climbing *#!

Jeff Fisher



Gould, Rixford car camp !#

Lisa Barboza


Tenaya Solstice (ski trip) !

Pat Callery


Tahoe Backcountry Skiing

Louise Wholey


New Years on Mt. Clark #

Pat Callery



Junipero Serra

Lisa Barboza


Tahoe Backcountry Skiing

Louise Wholey


Ostrander Hut

Tim Hult



Tahoe Backcountry Skiing

Louise Wholey


Mt. Silliman

Tim Hult

> mid Feb

Shasta winter ridge climb

Tim Hult



Sierra Ski Mountaineering !

Louise Wholey



Sugar Bowl to Squaw Ski

Tim Hult


Ski Mineral King, Vandever !

Louise Wholey

> mid April

High Sierra Ski Tour

Tim Hult

Key to annotations:

  * Beginners

  # Intermediate


Trip Reports

Mt. Goddard (13,568') and Scylla (12,956'), July 30 – August 5

              by Rod McCalley

From almost everywhere in the Sierra, a summit view includes a dominating hulk of a mountain in the near or far distance:  Mt. Goddard is a true landmark of the interior regions of the range.  Reaching it has been a goal of your scribe (Rod McCalley) for almost 40 years, with three attempts that didn't even come close enough to get onto the mountain ('73, '93, '95).  So I was very pleased to join leaders Joe Baker and Judy Molland on their long backpack trip up Goddard Canyon to the mountains around its head, with Mt. Goddard as the primary goal.

On Thursday afternoon, the three of us thought we were on schedule to make the last (4:30) ferry across Florence Lake, when a car ahead of us on the 1-lane road was amazingly slow about getting around each one of the many oncoming vehicles.  After we finally reached the dock at 4:25, there weren't any other passengers, so the ferry operator was able to hold the boat while we got our gear ready -- whew!  We hiked into a developing thunderstorm, making camp near Blayney Meadow after the rain stopped.  The next day got us most of the way up Goddard Canyon, camping across from the outlet of N. Goddard Ck after another thundershower.  By early afternoon on Saturday, we reached the perfect high-camp on a stream bench above Lake 11,960+, just south of Mt. Goddard itself.   We were also fortunate in passing the end of the thunderstorm cycle -- no rain at all on Saturday or the next 3 days!

From our well-situated camp, we quickly climbed the southwest ridge, and the minimal "class 3" between the two summits, and were atop Mt. Goddard by 9:30 AM on Sunday, August 2 -- a great way to celebrate my 66th birthday!  Just as one can see Goddard from almost everywhere, it seemed  we could see everything in the whole Sierra.  After a lunch down in Goddard Col, we strolled along the west end of Ionian Basin to Lake 12,040+ below the northwest face of Scylla.  At this point, the birthday boy was getting a little slow, so I found a patch of grass in the shade (both rare commodities in Ionian Basin) while Joe and Judy did a quick round trip (2 hours) to the summit of Scylla.  They were the first visitors since last fall!  Under a completely cloudless late-afternoon sky, we were back at camp by 5:40, with two great summits in one day by Joe and Judy.

On Monday, after moving camp down to about a mile below Martha Lake, we tried to climb Pk. 12,265 on the LeConte Divide across the canyon, just north of the saddle (Gunsight Pass) leading west to Bench Valley.  We had casually started referring to nearby unnamed peaks by our first names, so this was "Judy's Peak", with "Joe's" being the sharp one just behind it.  We quickly climbed the talus slope to the pass (11,600'), then up the peak's SSE face and ridge (better) to steep slabs just 150' below the summit.  Unfortunately these slabs were definitely class 3 and awkward for an official PCS trip, so we turned around.  For some reason, I couldn't seem to remember the route that I had taken up or around these slabs on my August 1973 climb.

Tuesday evening we got down to a nice camp right on the South Fork, just past the JMT junction going north.  On our morning hike out to the 1 PM ferry, we had a nice chat with a man and his 10-year old daughter who had started 10 days before from South Lake (over Bishop Pass, through Dusy Basin, up LeConte Canyon to Muir Pass, and through the Evolution country), and to be met the next day at Florence Lake.

Norman and the Crest

Norman Clyde (13,855’), Palisade Crest (13,520’), Aug 28 - 31

by Lisa Barboza

Photography by Lisa Barboza

Participants: Daryn Dodge, Samantha Olson, Louise Wholey, Shane Smith, Lisa Barboza

Trip Abstract:

Day 1: TH to Lake Elinore

Day 2: Lake Elinore over Scimitar Pass, climb Palisade Crest, camp on West side of pass

Day 3: Climb Norman Clyde – via West face chute route

Day 4: Hike out to TH (Glacier Lodge)

Friday, August 28 – 5.1 miles, 3300 gain: Glacier Lodge TH to Elinore Lake (11006)We had picked up the permit the night before, so we had an early start at 8:00 AM. We hiked up the trail from Glacier Lodge – a beautiful, bright morning, full of promise – The trail is easy to follow until the junction that leads to the Brainerd drainage to the south, marked by a sign.  Then it gets a bit sketchy.  Heading west up the Temple Crag creek drainage, we crossed the creek numerous times until we headed up another branch of the creek at waypoint JC10370,37.10158,-118.47601,10373, which will lead to Lake Elinore EL 11005.  We arrived at the lake at 3:00 PM, and spent the glorious sunlight left to us swimming (cold) and sunning (warm).  We had a delightful happy hour as well.

Saturday, August 29 – 4.4 miles, 3500 gain Scimitar Pass (13,200) and Palisade Crest (13,553) CLIMBING to the PASS: We broke camp at 6:30 and were soon heading up to the pass.  Louise and Samantha decided to climb Temple Crag and meet us at the lake on the west side of the pass CAMP29,37.07792,-118.49866 at 11,700 feet.  There is no trail to Scimitar pass, one climbs slabs, then a moraine field, to the pass located near waypoint PA11860,37.08740,-118.48206, and drop down about 50 feet to an area dominated by glacial moraines and boulder fields – you’re in for some boulder hopping.  We found it best to move south on the steeper parts (and the ‘sandy slopes’ were surprisingly firm, leading to slipping instead of stepping), and then move to the north side of the snowfield and progress onto the ridge leading up to Scimitar Pass.  Above the snowfield, it’s mixed sand and boulders to Scimitar Pass.  From the pass, Mt. Jepson rears its proud and distinctive head, where Corrine went to commemorate Michael Jackson’s birthday by lighting a candle in the wind.  Corrine went to climb Jepson, and Daryn, Shane, and I climbed Palisade Crest.  There are a few cairns at the pass – we stashed our food and gear in deep holes.  We carried 2 ropes – a 70 m and a 50 m for the rappel down the Palisade Crest Slab.

CLIMBING PALISADE CREST:  From the pass, traverse on the west side of the peak until it gets steep – and move to the ridge.  You will end up moving back and forth on either side of the ridge, but generally, stay on top of the ridge, and west of it.  When you get to an overlook, where you can see the 50 meter slab above the notch – the real climbing begins.  Many have had trouble finding the correct route down from the ridge to the notch.  Once you can see the slab, you are going to downclimb the east side of the ridge.  Descend a very short notch 70 feet above the slab, head immediately east, and start to downclimb a CL3 route to the notch.  You will see somewhat sandy ledges below you, and it’s best to use a downward traverse to the notch. It’s a steep downclimb, many will call this CL4, and some will want a belay.  All will say that the approach to the slab is more difficult than the slab itself.  But there are good handholds and footholds; as they say, “It goes”. 

Once down to the notch, there is a small chockstone, easily crossed, and then you set up a belay for climbing the slab.  The slab itself is planar, inclined at 40 degrees, and peppered with 3” deep cracks – no place to set pro on the slab itself.  Prepare to climb 100 feet without protection.  You can go to the left side to set pro, where there is a book, but the climbing is harder there.  We all had rock shoes – but hiking boots would have been fine.  Daryn led it, and set his first pro (#1 camalot) at 100 feet, and then a webbing based anchor station at the upper right of the slab where there is a good horn.  I belayed Daryn from below – on the left side ledge is a large crack with several boulders in it that make for a good anchor station for the belayer.  The summit, Gandalf, is 50 feet of CL3 to the summit register. A good pictogram reference can be found in the SPS Echo, Bob Hartunian’s sketch, Volume 28 No. 6 of the route.  There is a good rappel point near the top of the slab – but take care with rope handling – some have had to cut their rope because it was stuck in a crack.

The climb back to the pass was similar – but it’s easier to climb up the 3rd class than descend.  The entire climb of Palisade Crest took us 3.5 hours from Scimitar pass.   Once back at the pass – we saw a flock of ravens with white items in their beaks – they had found Shane’s food stash – and made off with cheese sticks.  All of his dinners were gone – so if you stash at the pass – keep it in a bear can or odor proof sacks out of sight.  From the pass, we descended Scimitar to the lake at 11, 700.  There is a steep CL2 drop-off below the pass, best negotiated by staying left (south of the drop-off).  Louise and Samantha showed up just after dark from a bonus climb of Temple Crag.

Sunday, August 30th 7.6 miles, 4300 gain CLIMBING NORMAN CLYDE (13,855) – South FaceWe left camp at 6:15 AM and made our way to nearby Chimney Pass, CL2, 12,400 ft.  Waypoint CHIMNY,37.07205,-118.49327After the pass, the route drops 800 feet into a small valley before the climb of the Norman Clyde Chute.  This is a delightful small valley – filled with tadpoles of the Sierra Yellow-legged frog, Rana Sierrae. We even saw some babies.

 From there, head up to the head of the valley headed for Norman Clyde’s summit, and work around to the north where a talus slope leads to the eastward trending chute leading to the summit of Norman Clyde.  Waypoint NCBAS2. This chute has a V notch at its top.  It’s composed of lots of loose rubble, and is a waterfall chute in spring, judging by the consistency of the granite, some of which is worn quite smooth.   We all had helmets, and we climbed the chute.  The chute proper starts at 12,950 and goes up for about 700 feet.  Before the notch is reached, move to the south (right) over a high 3rd class Crux move.  This is the crux move of the route.

Above the crux move, traverse south across two high gullies, on 2nd and 3rd class rock.  Eventually, you will enter a high bowl, with the summit block on the right (south), and the approach from the NE face on the left (north).  Cross the bowl, CL2, and climb the summit block (CL3). 

After a short time on the summit, and a great view of a high rock glacier – -we down climbed very carefully - keeping close together and taking care to not loose rocks on the leaders – and returned to camp over Chimney Pass.  We got back to camp at 5:30 PM; the entire climb took about 11 hours. At camp, it was party time!  The sun went down early.  We realized that our happy summer climbing was coming to an end.  But not yet.

Monday, August 31st – Hike out: An uneventful hike to the Trailhead, over Scimitar Pass, and back to Glacier Lodge.  And then back to the wheels of civilization and the cares of the world.






Taboose Pass, Sept 11-15

By Louise Wholey


Day 1: hike up Taboose Pass (6000 ft, 8 mi), climb Cardinal (2000 ft, ~2 mi), descend to camp at the Kings River (-1400 ft, 3.5 mi)

Day 2: move camp to lake at 10860 below Cartridge Pass (1500 ft, 5 mi), climb Marion Peak (2300 ft, 6 mi).

Day 3: climb Ruskin via Cartridge Pass (2000 ft, 4 mi), descend to camp (-600 ft, 1 m), pack over Cartridge Pass and Vennacher Pass (+900, -700, +1400, -800 ft, ~5 mi) to lake at 10700

Day 4: descend to JMT in Upper Basin (-400 ft, 1 mi), drop pack, climb Prater (2300 ft, 8 mi), camp with others there!

Day 5: hike to Taboose Pass (2000 ft, mi), climb Striped and Goodale (1800 ft, -1200 ft, 800 ft, -1400 ft, ~5 mi), descend to camp above waterfall (-1200 ft, 3 mi) to camp with others

Day 6:  descend to TH (-4800 ft, 5 mi)

If you are crazy enough to try to do the list (the Sierra Peaks Section list of 248 Sierra peaks) then you have the problem to get to a lot of remote places.  Earlier this summer I claimed to be doing the list (pre-broken ribs) and found other peak baggers needed the same peaks – such as Marion and Ruskin.  Lisa Barboza suggested I join her and several others, Daryn Dodge, Corrine Livingston, John Cheslick and the intrepid Steve Eckert, to hike over the dreaded Taboose Pass to climb these and other remote peaks.

To get ready for this serious undertaking we started with a party at Corrine’s house and a good night’s sleep (for some) in beds.  Rising early to beat the heat of the day we tackled Taboose Pass with food for 6 days.  It went surprisingly easily.  We were at the pass so early I decided to go for Cardinal, then descended in the last light to join others at camp at the King’s River.

The following morning we packed up camp and headed down the Kings River on a “use” trail to the base of Cartridge Pass, then up to camp at a lake at 10800.

Another group from the SPS was climbing Marion that day and we sort of joined together.  We climbed high on the pass above our lake and headed across numerous ups and downs to Marion Peak.  Corrine blitzed on ahead at a stiff pace.  The weather held for a while, but ultimately turned gloomy with pellets from the sky.

Storm descending Marion Peak

We were actually very lucky as the storm seemed mostly to stop before reaching us.  This was the only stormy weather for our whole trip!

The following day we hiked toward Cartridge Pass and climbed Ruskin.  This was not the classic east ridge route but there was some nice 3rd class. 

Near the top of Ruskin

The others continued across the pass while I descended to camp.  I considered how bad my hay fever had been in the brushy Kings River basin and decided to go high across Cartridge and Vennacher Pass.  Sp I packed and went back up Cartridge, then dropped into the very beautiful Lakes Basin.

Lakes Basin

The route up Vennacher Pass looked pretty obvious, pleasant easy cross country, then up to the right with a cross to the left at the top.  I found a 3rd class move near the top and a cairn on top - hooray!  I quickly descended to a lake to camp. 

In the morning fog was in all the valleys.  I used waiting for it to clear so that I could find my way better as an excuse to have scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast.  On my own time now while the others went to climb Observation, I could enjoy the luxury of a late start while enjoying Mother Nature’s great display.

Valley fog over the Kings River

Alas, I had to go; there is another peak to climb today, Prater, and it is not a short hike – though it was harder than I expected over tons of boulders.  I descended to the Kings and left my camp goodies, then hiked up the JMT/PCT until it looked smooth to cross to the peak.  I chose badly at one spot where I should have descended to a lake but stayed high on boulders.  Yuk!  The peak climb goes on forever on loose boulders until the final traverse to the summit takes your breath away.  You cross a narrow flat rock about 8 feet long with at least 1000 foot drop on each side.  Whew!  Made it.  But I left my camera in my pack, so I ended up crossing it four times!

I descended a better route directly past a large lake to the JMT/PCT.

Mather Pass is the dip in the ridge above this lake

From the trail I stared at the ridges where I expected the others to cross and saw no one.  Oh well, it seemed cool to try to meet the others.  After all, this spot below has been magic for me more than once.  I finally quit looking and continued down the trail; I magically encountered the others ¼ mile before my camping gear!

The following day I headed for Taboose Pass to climb Striped and Goodale while the others climbed Bolton Brown.  Striped was much better (less loose) boulders than Prater.  Goodale was fun, especially near the top. 

Striped is a long boulder dash

We met at the pass after our climbs and hiked down to a campsite almost at the end of the hideous trail rocks. 

My 2 person tent squeezed in a 1-person spot

The morning sun was spectacular.

Eastern exposure leads to great sunrises

We packed it all up once again and hiked out in a couple of hours.

Banner Peak (12995 ft), class 3 + snow, Sept 19 – 20

by Arun Mahajan

On the last weekend of summer, the three of us, Ron Karpel, Stephane Mouradian and I, Arun Mahajan, walked to the top of Banner Peak in the Ansel Adams Wilderness (the Minarets area near Mammoth). While waiting in front of the ranger's station at Mammoth Lakes, we saw the sign that the Red's Meadow shuttle was closed for the season and this was good reason to cheer as one is forced to take that shuttle ($7 a person) if entering that region after 7am. The ranger, Mike Johnson, who used to be a PCS-er in the early 90's but has since then pulled up his stakes and is living in Mammoth, told us that we would possibly encounter some snow in the high country. After gathering the permits, we were off from the Agnews Meadows trailhead at about 9.15am on Saturday morning. This was the Shadow Lake trail taking us past Shadow Lake and then beautiful Lake Ediza after meeting with and then leaving the JMT. Even now, it was a popular trail, for people as well as horses. It was 3.5 hrs to Ediza.

After lunch, we decided to head further up (camping on the left side of Ediza is NOT allowed!) to the bench above Ediza by skirting right on boulders till a small tarn fed by glacier melt streams right under the imposing twin towers of Ritter and Banner.

It was cold and windy and there wasn’t much protection and after a quick dinner, we were in the tents at 6pm.

After a long and restful night, we were walking in the lifting dark on Sunday morning at 6.15 am. Some miserable talus and scree slogging later, we hit a large snowfield right under the Ritter-Banner (RB) saddle. The snowfield, at this time of the year, curved right and formed a chute that funneled between two walls and ended on the right-hand part of the saddle. We put on crampons and took axes out for this section and we really needed them as the snow got steeper and was quite icy.

We had to concentrate a little bit as we approached the 'headwall' and very soon we were at the saddle.

Leaving fang and claw, we climbed over class-2 talus for what seemed to be a long time, encountering some class-3 as well, heading approximately leftwards and straight up and at 9.30 were at the flat-topped summit of Banner. Ritter, impressive as always, dominated the view.

Unlike on Saturday, Sunday was cloudless and warm. We spent 30 mins at the top and left the summit at 10am. We had to crampon-up once again to descend the chute which had grown a bit soft by now but we had to concentrate quite a bit more on the down climb and had to resort to facing into the snow, using the pick of the ice-axe in a dagger position and front pointing cautiously down. A slip here would certainly have not been nice! We got to camp at noon after another horrible struggle with the scree/talus below the snowfield.

After lunch and packing up, we were walking at 1 and at the Agnews Meadow trail head at 5 under some lovely fall colours.

Thanks to Ron and Stephane for their companionship and for making this a truly banner weekend!

Koip Peak (12,962’), Sept 19-20

by Louise Wholey


Day 1: hike from Mono TH 6.5 miles to camp just past Parker Pass

Day 2: climb Koip Peak (1200 ft, 7 mi), hike out 6.5 mi.

Indian summer weather has made September a great time to be in the mountains.  While I have been out regularly and finding snow on every trip, Jim had not been to snow yet this September.   We could not give up the game Jim and I have been playing for over 35 years – to get into snow at least once every month.

Alas every drive along the east side showed me that Koip Peak still had lots of snow.  Since neither of us had climbed it, we decided it was exactly what we should do.

Koip Peak mid-September

A secondary objective was to catch and eat some fresh fish.  Jim swung into action at Parker Pass Lake but there were no fish except for the wild salmon fish packet from REI.

Parker Pass Lake

The climb is a long hike up a set of trail switchbacks.  The early morning light made some sharp contrasts in my view of Jim ahead.

Koip Peak switchbacks

The final part of the climb was over class 1-2 boulders and sand.  The view on top was great!


View of Jim and Mono Lake

Ritter and Banner on left, Davis on far right

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

    15064 Charmeran Ave, San Jose CA 95124


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


Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor:

Judy Molland / screeeditor@gmail.com

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

    1975 Cordilleras Rd, Redwood City, CA 94062


Scree is the monthly newsletter of the Peak Climbing Section of the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter.  Current and back issues are posted on the web in PDF and HTML.

PCS Official Website

Our official website is http://www.peakclimbing.org.  Joining the PCS is easy.  Go to   http://www.peakclimbing.org/join

PCS Announcement Listserv

If you join the PCS Announcement Listserv you will receive announcements and updates of trips and meetings. Use the http://lists.sierraclub.org/SCRIPTS/WA.EXE?A0=LOMAP-PCS-ANNOUNCE&X=&Y= web page.

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: Climbing using hands for balance.
    Class 3: Climbing requires the use of hands, maybe a rope.
    Class 4: Requires rope belays.
    Class 5: Technical rock climbing.

Trips may also be rated by level of exertion: easy, moderate, strenuous, or extreme.

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