January 2009     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 44 , No. 1


General Meeting

Date          January 12, 2010

Time          7:30 – 9:30

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA             

Program   Climbing Aconcagua

Presenter Gulnur Tumbat

Gulnur Tumbat is the first Turkish woman to climb Aconcagua (22,841ft). In January 2009, she reached the summit solo, the highest point in South America and outside of Asia. She also was the first Turkish woman to reach the summit of Denali (20,320ft) in June 2007, the highest peak in North America. She has been a climber for more than 15 years and has climbed in Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Nepal, Argentina, and the US. She is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at SFSU where she researches risk marketing and risk consumption and uses her expeditions also as sites for data collection. In her presentation titled "A Distant-Solo-High-Altitude-Climbing Experiment," she will talk about her experiences on Aconcagua as a solo woman climber.

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

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2010 the best year ever for the PCS!  Judy

Chair column

Happy New Year! I assume that you have all resolved to climb many peaks.

It seems early, but it is time to start thinking about summer trips. Inyo National Forest accepts reservations six months before the start date of the trip http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/wild/permitsres.shtml

while Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks start accepting applications on March 1:


so we will have a trip planning meeting in February. Time and place will be announced later, but start contemplating those death marches and multi-peak day hikes. Same goes for persuading leaders to lead trips to peaks you would like to bag, perhaps by offering to co-lead. And of course you are welcome to submit trips to the trip scheduler Louise Wholey before the meeting.

I have a couple of people lined up to give slideshows in the beginning of the year, but could use a few more. Let me know if you have been on an exciting trip and have some good pictures or know others who have.


             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.


Jan 9 – Junipero Serra

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Jan 16 – 17 – Tahoe Backcountry Skiing #2

Leader: Louise Wholey

Feb 13 – 14 – Tahoe Backcountry Skiing #3

Leader: Louise Wholey

March 12 - 14 – Sierra Ski Mountaineering

Leader: Louise Wholey

PCS Trip Details

Junipero Serra

Goal:  Junipero Serra

Date:  January 9, 2010

Leader: Lisa Barboza        

Difficulty: Class 1

Carpool: Morgan Hill, 7:00 AM - Carl's Jr. Dunne Ave Exit

Greet the New Year with a fun conditioning hike to the summit of Junipero Serra Peak. It's a 10 mile round trip, 3900 feet gain to the summit. This peak is the 2nd highest in the Santa Lucia range. On the summit, we'll find exotic ponderosa pine, white fir, and other plants normally associated with the Sierra. We'll start at the trailhead at 10AM, summit by 2PM and be back at the cars by 5PM. This is a class 1 day hike open to all.

Carpool: 7:00 AM: Meet at Carl's Jr. at Dunne Ave exit from 101 in Morgan Hill and caravan from there.

Note: The requirement for an adventure pass was suspended for this area in 2005. See this link:http://www.lpfw.org/news/0506adventurepass.htm For more information, call Lisa @ 650/493-8099 or email at pcs.chair@lomaprieta.sierraclub.org

Tahoe Backcountry Skiing #2

Goal:  Tamarack Peak, or other, depending upon snow.

Location: Tahoe Basin

Dates:            Jan 16 - 17

Leader: Louise Wholey     

Difficulty: Advanced skiing skills

Come join us for our second of the Tahoe Backcountry Skiing Series.
We will ski wherever we can find the best snow, with the target always being fresh deep powder.

Requires advanced skiing skills (resort black diamond+), avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.

Tahoe Backcountry Skiing #3

Goal:  Castle Peak, Jakes Peak, Mt. Judah, or other, depending upon snow.

Location: Tahoe Basin

Dates:            Feb 13 - 14

Leader: Louise Wholey     

Difficulty: Advanced skiing skills

Come join us for our third of the Tahoe Backcountry Skiing Series. We will ski wherever we can find the best snow, with the target always being fresh deep powder.

Requires advanced skiing skills (resort black diamond+), avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.

Sierra Ski Mountaineering

Goal:  To Be Determined

Location: To Be Determined

Dates:            March 12 - 14

Leader: Louise Wholey     

Difficulty: Advanced skiing skills

Come join us for our grand finale of the Backcountry Skiing Series, skiing in the high Sierra. The peak will be announced at the beginning of winter.

Requires advanced skiing skills (resort black diamond+), avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.

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.

Jan 22 – 24 – Ostrander Hut

Leader: Tim Hult

Jan 29 - 30 – Jim Weaver Memorial Ski Trip

Leader:  John Cordes

Feb 5 – 7 – Mt.Shasta Winter Ascent

Leader: Tim Hult

Feb 12 – 15 – Mt. Silliman

Leader: Tim Hult

March 6 – 7 – Yosemite-Glacier Point

Leader: Terri Michel

March 25 – 30 – Mosquito Flats Hut and Rock Creek Lodge

Leader: Terri Michel

April 1 – 4 – Late spring Ski Tour – High Sierras

Leader: Tim Hult

May 2010 – Annapurna Loop

Leader: Warren Storkman

October 2010 – Trek into Tibet

Leader: Warren Storkman

Private Trip Details

Ostrander Hut

Goal: Ostrander Hut

Dates:            Jan 22 - 24

Leader: Tim Hult

Difficulty: Intermediate Backcountry

3 day ski touring trip with destination at Ostrander. Tim Hult will organize another trip this year with Gourmet food for up to 6 people. Must be an intermediate backcountry skier with gear to match. Weather can be nasty going in and out, but the cabin is classic. Fee is TBD but is probably $70+/night. Contact Tim to be on the list.
timdhult at sbcglobal dot net
650-966-2215 (w)

Jim Weaver Memorial Ski Trip

Location: Clair Tappan Lodge

Dates:            Jan 29 – 30

Leader: John Cordes

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced Beginner

Learn the joys of cross-country skiing on gentle terrain in the Soda Springs/ Norden/ Donner Lake Area. This trip honors the late Jim Weaver, long time Sierra Club trip leader, who faithfully lead this trip annually. We’ll stay at the Sierra Club’s Clair Tappan Lodge in Norden. On Saturday we’ll ski the groomed trails around Clair Tappan. On Sunday, we will venture into beginner level backcountry in the area. People completely new to cross country skiing are encouraged to take a lesson from the lodge staff. Gear rental is available at the lodge. Sign up by contacting the leader, but please make your own lodging reservations by calling Clair Tappan Lodge (530-426-3632). The cost is $55+tax/nite-person for lodging and 3 meals. For more information about Clair Tappan, visit the Sierra Club website http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/lodges/ctl/ ... For more information about the trip, contact the leader. We will meet at the Living room at 9:30 AM. Saturday morning.

Leader: John Cordes 650-288-9645 email: johncordes@yahoo.com

Mt. Shasta Winter Ascent, 14179’

Peak: Mt. Shasta

Dates:            Feb 5 - 7

Leader: Tim Hult

Difficulty: Solid Snowcamping Skills

This trip will go on a 3-day expedition to one of the ridge routes on Shasta. Weather is always a factor so we will play it by ear starting at the beginning of February. Solid snow camping skills are required as is ownership of extreme weather gear (boots, mittens, outerwear, sleeping bag, etc.). Good training for McKinley. Ice axe and crampon required. Contact Tim Hult for more information. timdhult at sbcglobal dot net;
650-966-2215 (w)

Mt. Silliman, 11,188’

Peak: Mt. Silliman

Dates:            Feb 12 - 15

Leader: Tim Hult

Difficulty: Class 1

Kings Canyon, President's Day weekend. Ski trip (snow shoes acceptable if there are more than one of you.) Another ski tour with a peak. May be done as a two day trip, but we'll reserve 3 to be sure. Contact Tim Hult for more information: timdhult at sbcglobal dot net
650-966-2215 (w)

Yosemite – Glacier Point Turnaround

Location: Badger Pass, Yosemite

Dates:            March 6 – 7. 2010

Leader: Terri Michel

Difficulty: Intermediate Skiing Skills

We'll ski from Badger Pass to Glacier Point and back in one day -- for those of you with stamina! Our lodging for Fri and Sat nights is a recently remodeled charming mountain A-frame cabin in Yosemite West (convenient to Badger Pass), with great views and a hot tub on the deck. Saturday we'll ski the 22-mile round trip to Glacier Point for the spectacular views of Yosemite Valley. Sunday's options include trails near Bridalveil Creek, Dewey Pt, or tele-skiing at the Badger Pass ski area. Other options are available if there is either too much or not enough snow. Cost est for two nights lodging, one dinner and two breakfasts is $140 (based on avg 6 people). Due to new Sierra Club rules, you cannot write STS leaders checks for more than $50 in advance. So please send a check for $50 now and pay the remaining amount when you arrive at the trailhead. The $50 deposit is nonrefundable unless a qualified replacement is available. Limit = 8 participants. All participants must sign a Sierra Club Liability Waiver and a Sierra Club Medical form and send both completed and signed forms to the leader prior to the trip. Send your email address to obtain the forms and mail the $50 check made to: Terri Michel, 131 Ortega Ave, Mtn View, CA 94040. Leader: Terri Michel, 650 965 8456 .

Mosquito Flats Hut and Rock Creek Lodge

Location: East side - Tom’s Place

Dates:            March 25 – 30, 2010

Leader: Terri Michel

Difficulty: Strong to Advanced Intermediate Skiing Skills

Five lucky people will enjoy early Spring skiing and take Thursday off work so they can have a leisurely drive to Tom's Place (near Mammoth) for Thursday night the 25th; then on Friday the 26th ski the 5 miles from the Rock Creek SnoPark to the Mosquito Flats Hut. We'll spend 3 nights at the hut so we can take advantage of glorious backcountry in the incomparable Little Lakes Valley and beyond, then return for Monday night to modern cabin accommodations (including good food, hot showers and sauna!) at Rock Creek Lodge . The next day after breakfast, we'll tour back to our cars at the trailhead for the drive home. Cost est for five nights lodging, four dinners and four breakfasts is $325 (based on 5 people). Due to new Sierra Club rules, you cannot write STS leaders checks for more than $50 in advance. So please send a check for $50 now and pay the remaining amount when you arrive at the trailhead. The $50 deposit is nonrefundable unless a qualified replacement is available. Limit = 5 participants. All participants must be comfortable skiing 5 miles and 1,500' elevation gain with an overnight pack, bring metal edged skis, climbing skins, a winter sleeping bag and and avalanche transceiver. Our tours all start > 10,000' so high altitude endurance will be necessary. Participants must also sign a Sierra Club Liability Waiver and a Sierra Club Medical form and send both completed and signed forms to the leader prior to the trip. Send your email address to obtain the forms and mail the $50 check made to: Terri Michel, 131 Ortega Ave, Mtn View, CA 94040. Leaders: Terri Michel, 650 965 8456 and Janet Hoffmann, 408 374 0435

Late Spring Ski Tour – High Sierras

Route: TBD

Dates:            April 1 - 4

Leader: Tim Hult

Difficulty: Excellent Skiing Skills and Winter Camping Experience

The route is TBD, but I'd like to do a 3 to 4 day ski traverse, possibly Mammoth to Yosemite, or Rock Creek to Mammoth. Otherwise open to suggestions. Mid April to Mid May are the target dates, weather and conditions dependent. Excellent skiing skills and winter camping experience required.
Contact Tim Hult for more information: timdhult at sbcglobal dot net
650-966-2215 (w)

Annapurna Loop

Location: Nepal

Dates:            May 2010

Leader: Warren Storkman

Kangchenjunga North Base Camp – 17,500’. For more details, email dstorkman@aol.com or phone 650-493-8959.

Trek into Tibet

Location: Tibet

Dates:            October 2010

Leader: Warren Storkman

An 18-day trip including Mr. Kailas and Lhasa. For more details, email dstorkman@aol.com or phone 650-493-8959.

Trip Reports

  The AAIRE Level 1 Avalanche   Course, December 26 - 29 2009

             by Arun Mahajan

AAIRE stands for the American Institute for  Avalanche Research and Education and was founded in collaboration with international and American mountain guides to have a consistency in avalanche education especially among mountain guides who are otherwise certified by a uniform method (AMGA or IFMGA). There is a lot more information about AIARE at http://avtraining.org/About-Us/ but suffice to say that it is a well recognized place to get avalanche education from.

We all get out into the backcountry a lot and sometimes some of us even lead trips to climb mountains and sometimes do not let the seasons deter us. This means that we all are out skiing, hiking or mountain climbing from spring to fall and sometimes in the winter as well and this brings us into situations where we have to make decisions about terrain traversal and avalanche safety. One of the things that I wanted to learn was the ability to make decisions when in terrain that was susceptible to avalanches or at least one that was snowbound on the slopes.

I had been pointed to the excellent guide service, Sierra Mountain Guides (SMG) by my good friend Scott Kreider who had used their services on some complex and high peaks in the Alps and this had led me to sign up for their email alerts and a few weeks back, I got an email from them about their AAIRE Level-1 class which was over a 3-day period and during the end days of December. This agreed very much with my schedule and so I braved the long drive into the Eastern Sierra (over Carson Pass, then 395 and then south, about a 100 miles or so...a drive not to be taken lightly in winter and one that needs about 8 hours) and met the group at the meeting place near the June Mountain Ski resort in the very European ski town of June Mountain (10 miles north of Mammoth Lakes).

The course itself was spread out over three days with equal amounts of class and field work, probably a bit more field work, actually. These courses, Level 1 to Level-3 get more and more advanced and richer and complex in their field content but a lot of fundamentals are well covered in the Level 1 course itself.

The course then, is broadly classified into a rescue component and a decision making component with the decision making encompassing a study of the terrain, analysis of the snow. a study of the types of avalanches, the actual anatomy of a decision as it were, the layering of the snow pack, observing and clue gathering on avalanche dangers, the link to weather reports, correct interpretation of avalanche forecasts, route planning and preparation based on reading of the topo map of the targeted area of travel and most importantly, group management and the human element. The rescue component taught us about the tools of the trade (avalungs, shovels, probes, beacons etc and also a description of the advances in the same).

The first day was spent equally in the classroom and in the field (slopes right above the classroom). After class, we went to a nearby slope and put into practice the skills of discovering trapped avalanche victims and then on performing the rescue. The second day was also in the class as well as the field but a bit longer in the field where we went on a tour (skis+skins, snowshoes/boards) with the instructor pointing out avalanche prone terrain, describing the granulation of the snow etc as we climbed up. We dug pits in the snow and put into practice the techniques we had studied in class about snow pack analysis. The third day was mostly in the field where we had planned out, as a group, the route of a typical ski tour and then implemented, with due safety precautions, the same route, doing further avalanche tests. 
That concluded this wonderful class. Having taken this course with SMG, I would recommend them without hesitation. All our instructors, Howie Schwartz, Neil Statterfield and Jed Porter were very experienced and mainly, good teachers as well. Howie has also been instrumental in the actual design of the AIARE course, so we were getting from one of the founders of this course.
They are on the web here: http://sierramtnguides.com/administrative/about.htm

If any of you have questions about this course, please do not hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to assist.

Be safe in the mountains!

If you’re not convinced yet, here’s a message from Emilie Cortes, PCS Treasurer:

Just a couple of reminders about avalanches -

1. how scary they are - this video is absolutely chilling and a must watch for anyone feeling complacent - http://vimeo.com/6581009
2. that MAS is extending a 15% discount on avalanche training to PCS members.  the discount code is PCSMEMB2010. More info at: http://www.mtadventure.com/pages/avalanche.html
3. leaders get a special promotion code for a 30% discount.  email me directly to get that code.

Thanks to Aaron Johnson for helping support the PCS climbers in having safe and enjoyable climbing experiences!

·  AIARE Avalanche Level I Seminar – 1/8-10, 1/16-18, 1/29-31, 2/13-15, 2/19-21, 3/13-15, 3/26-28

·  Avalanche Level I Refresher Workshop - valanche 1/15, 1/23, 2/12

·  AIARE Avalanche Level II Seminar  1/23-26

·  AIARE Avalanche Level III Seminar  1/25-31

Backcountry Ski Series #1, Tamarack Peak

December 29, 2009

By Louise Wholey

Photos by Jim Wholey and Andrea Snadden

After numerous people changed plans, a group of 4 enjoyed a spectacular bluebird day skiing the 14 inches of fresh cold powder on the slopes of Tamarack Peak, near Mt. Rose.  Participants were Andrea Snadden, Xavier Cambou, Jim and Louise Wholey.  Jim says it was the best day ever skiing there.

Our day started at 9 am at the parking immediately below the slopes.  A track made by the early birds who had to work that day allowed us to easily climb Tamarack Peak. 

At the top the early birds told us that the skiing was awful - powder flying everywhere on descent.  Well, we will just have to put up with the excessive amount of snow!  The view over Carson Valley was delightful as we carved our own tracks.

Jim took a video of Louise skiing the Hourglass Bowl.


Andrea Snadden has more photos on Picasa.


Climbers’ Holiday Parties

                        By Emilie Cortes

December is always a hopping month for holiday parties, but this PCSer had a tough time balancing all the climbing holiday parties.

Rock Rendezvous

Saturday, December 5 was the annual holiday party for Rock Rendezvous, a Bay Area social rock climbing club.  I have to admit that after running my first 10k trail run early that morning, I was not in much condition to be social and my usual paparazza self.  But I’d still recommend it for the friendly crew that makes up Rock Rendezvous, the delicious pot luck, and the impressive running slideshow of members’ trips from the past year.

American Alpine Club SNS

Sunday, December 6 was the American Alpine Club Sierra Nevada Section annual party. AAC members were treated to a special pre-reception to meet the speaker of the evening, Jack Tackle. 

Jack is a long time alpinist specializing in putting up tough new routes, particularly in Alaska.  He has also been dedicated to the AAC and served on the board for many years.  Jack wasn’t talking that night about two well known epic climbs – one where his partner had to be left behind while Jack went for help nor when he had to be rescued by a helicopter off a wall in Alaska (covered in Alpinist 1). 

Emilie with speaker Jack Tackle, who was kind enough to sign her Alpinist 1 issue in which an epic climb of Jack’s is featured.

Jack returned to Alaska in May 2009 with his partner, Jay Smith, and the duo had one of their most prolific sessions ever - three new routes on the SE side of Mt Huntington, 2 new routes on the Scottish Wall, and one new route on Thunder Mountain.

PCS members John Gray and Emilie Cortes hobnobbing with Royal Robbins

The evening wound up with the ever popular raffle and a silent auction to fund the toilet at the Buttermilks to help reduce human waste impact.  I won the one day of private ice climbing instruction and was happy to both get a great deal and help the cause.

American Himalayan Foundation

Tuesday, December 8 was the annual American Himalayan Foundation dinner.  Alas, this is the one that conflicted with the PCS Holiday Party, but having purchased my $200 tickets back in October, I chose to check out the AHF dinner for the first time.  It was held in the posh Westin St Francis in Union Square in SF.  There was an amazing spread of AHF memorabilia for sale for fundraising including a poster signed by Sir Edmund Hillary, prints from William Thompson (the Everest aerial photographer akin to Bradford Washburn), and copies of the AHF funded documentary on the Mustang region.

During dinner, Richard Blum, the founder of AHF, introduced Richard Gere, a long time supporter of Tibet who then introduced the honoree of the evening – Lodi Gyari Rinpoche.  Lodi Gyari is the special envoy to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington D.C. He is also one of the founding members of the Tibetan Youth Congress and the Executive Chairman of the Board of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). He fled Tibet with his family in 1959 and spoke of forgiving the Chinese for the suffering he saw in order to cease suffering in the future.

A spirited auction occurred after dinner including a special trekking adventure in the Everest region that fetched over $20,000.  It was certainly an evening to remember and I’m even more inspired to try to make my way to Nepal in the near future.

                                    Elected Officials

    Jesper Schou / schou@sun.stanford.edu


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

    Louise Wholey / PCSchair@gmail.com

    21020 Canyon View Road, Saratoga, CA       95070


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

    Emilie Cortes / mountaineerchica@gmail.com


         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.

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 Friday, January 29. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.