October 2010     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 44 , No. 10


General Meeting

Date          October 12, 2010

Time          7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA    

Program   Climbing the High Peaks of Bolivia

Presenter Eszter Tompos

In August 2010 Eszter Tompos arrived in Bolivia to climb three high peaks of the Cordillera Real, a subrange of the Andes mountains: Pequeño Alpamayo (17,600+ ft), Huayna Potosí (19,900+ ft) and Illimani (21,100+Ft) In the process she learned about moving on ice-covered glaciers, stepping over crevasses and placing ice-screws. She also learned some unexpected things, like what the difference is between a llama and an alpaca, how do those Bolivian women keep their top hats on and most importantly, what does it feel like to be the last man (woman) standing at the end of a guided expedition. Come and enjoy the pictures and we’ll guess together where the snowfields end and the clouds start when looking out and down at 20,000 ft.

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 so much to everyone who submitted trip reports. Hard to believe summer is officially over, but check out the fall/winter/spring Trip Planning meeting at Louise's house on October 19. Judy

Chair column

Well, by the common definition summer is supposed to be over. Sure does not seem like it. Must have been around 100F over the last two days. Anyway, I hope that you have all had a good summer climbing season.

With snow and cooler temperatures coming to the mountains soon we will have a winter trip planning meeting on Oct. 19. SEE BELOW! Time to think of good peaks to climb in winter. Offering to lead trips is best, but convincing leaders to lead trips to your favorite missing peak is also allowed.

Talking about trips. Is the mix of trips we offer what you are all interested in? Do we need more beginner trips? Shorter trips? Easier ones? We have noticed that few members go on a lot of trips and many hardly ever go. Please let me or one of the other section officers know if you have suggestions for improving how we do things.

It is also time to think of electing a new leadership. Have some good ideas for what we should do differently? Want to shake things up a bit? If so, please volunteer yourself or someone else.

Finally, Christmas is coming up. This year's party will again be at Aaron Schuman's place. Details to follow.


Fall/Winter/Spring Trip Planning Meeting

Tuesday, October 19, 7 - 9 pm

Meeting Location (click for directions): 

Louise's House

The time has come to meet and plan our trips for the next 6 months.  It is hard to believe that summer is gone and winter, with all its

spectacular beauty, is soon to arrive.  We

need snowshoe and ski trips as well as local
peak-bagging trips. Bring your calendar and your appetite. We will have pizza, salad and wine.  Please bring a dish to share or a $5-10
(depending upon your consumption) contribution to the kitty.

This meeting is targeted at trip leaders, but others are welcome to come andrequest trips you want to do!  If you cannot attend, send email to louisewholey AT gmail.com with your proposed trips or trip requests.  I will
place them in a shared Google spreadsheet.

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.


October 1 - 3 - Vitamin & Mineral King

Leader - Aaron Schuman

PCS Trip Details

Vitamin and Mineral King

Goal:  Mineral Peak (11,550') and Needham Mtn (12,520')

Location: Mineral King, Sequoia NP

Dates:            October 1 - 3

Leader: Aaron Schuman   

Difficulty: Class 3

During the month of October, the aspens of Mineral King are clothed in gold. On Day 1, we'll hike 4 miles from the trailhead (7,830') to our camp at Crystal Lake (10,800') and make a side jaunt to nearby Mineral Peak (11,550'). On Day 2, we'll cross the tricky third class col (11,500'), drop down to Amphitheater Lake (11,100'), go up to Needham Mountain (12,520'), and finally return to camp the way we came. On easy Day 3, we'll hike out and drive home. Contact Aaron Schuman: <a.j.schuman@gmail.com>

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.

October 2010 – Nepal

Leader: Warren Storkman

October 23 - 24 - Trans-Sierra Dayhike

Leader: Jeff Fisher

Private Trip Details


Location: Tibet

Dates:            October 2010

Leader: Warren Storkman

Climb both Gokyo Ri and Kala Patar. 19-day camping trek, $1600.00 For more details, contact Warren Storkman: email dstorkman@aol.com or phone 650-493-8959.

Trans-Sierra Dayhike

Goal: From Rock Creek to Lake Thomas Edison (or west to east)

Location: Rock Creek or Lake Thomas Edison

Dates: October 23 - 24

Leader: Jeff Fisher

Difficulty: Class 1 but lots of altitude gain and loss

Trans-Sierra Dayhike, Oct. 23-24 Level  5D or F. Lake Thomas Edison to Rock Creek. 22.5 miles. 6,000ft + or- gain on Saturday going west to east, or 3,600ft + or - gain going east to west on Sunday. We will be going over Mono Pass at 11,000ft. going either direction. There will be 2 groups. One on Saturday Oct. 23 going from Lake Thomas Edison to Rock Creek trailhead(west to east). They will be picked up at the Rock Creek trailhead by the group that will be traveling east to west the next day, Sunday Oct. 24. Everyone will camp together Saturday night. After dropping the Sunday group off at the trailhead the

Saturday group will drive the Aast to west groups' cars back to the Bay area. The east to west group will pick up the other cars and drive home Sunday evening. The West to east group will have to have 2 sets of sleeping gear, one that they will bring to the trailhead on Friday night and one the second group will bring over for them to use on Saturday night. Please contact me if you want to go and which direction. Also if you can drive, carpool or either.Jeff  Fisher 650-207-9632,
e-mail; jeff_fisher_5252@sbcglobal.net

Trip Reports

South Guard, 13,224'

August 22 - 31, 2010

By Debbie Bulger

The advantage of a west side entry to the Sierra is the shorter drive. Richard Stover and I arrived at Road’s End in Kings Canyon National Park at 2 p.m. and started hiking at 2:30 p.m. That afternoon we were able to hike 4 miles and 2000' up to our first campsite along Bubbs Creek.

As we ate breakfast the next day, a large buck walked right by us. Naturally, our cameras were by the tent 20 feet away. That day we hiked 10 miles to beautiful East Lake. We crossed roiling Bubbs Creek in bare feet since we hadn’t brought our surf shoes so late in the season. The water was higher than expected.

East Lake

Our third day was a doozie. Our goal was Longley Pass. We made only 3 1/2 miles. First we hiked the poorly maintained trail to Lake Reflection, which lives up to its name. Our decision to hike around the lake on its southeast side was a big mistake; we recommend the other side.

It was only a mile and a half, but quite an obstacle course. First talus (saw the first of many pikas), then brush, then more talus. At times we followed deer trails in the thick willows that towered over us and entangled our feet and my hiking poles. Deer are relatively short and tunnel under the brush. Their long legs step delicately over the tangle of trunks. Our large packs kept getting hung up. Once we emerged at the top of a waterfall that dropped to the lake. We had to retreat and cross above the falls.

We were almost at the inlet when we spotted the cliff. Smooth and vertical, about 40' long with no way around even by climbing up. What to do? It was too late to go back, not to mention very difficult. How could we go on? We could swim, but that wouldn’t get our packs across.

I explored the shoreline. There were some submerged rocks. Perhaps I could wade. I slipped off my pack, took off my socks and shorts and took out my insoles, then put my boots back on and entered the lake. The water got deeper. One section required a big stretch grasping handholds on the cliff wall. In a 12' section it became chest deep. Then I could climb out.

We decided that Richard could ferry the gear in four trips since he was taller and could keep most of it dry. But it was a race against time. Traversing the crux took some climbing skill to keep from pitching backwards into deeper water.

As soon as Richard brought a load across, I carried the pack to a staging area and unloaded the gear. Then I returned the empty

pack for another load. By the fourth trip, Richard knew where all the handholds were.

Richard ferrying packs at Lake Reflection

It was getting colder. We repacked the packs, crossed the inlet and found a campsite. Supper was by headlamp.

We took next day as a layover to dry our boots. At last we headed over Longley Pass. Dark billowing thunderheads threatened rain, but we lucked out. There was some talus and, in places, the remnants of an old trail. Ahead in the distance we could see a wall of snow even at this late date (August 26) blocking the pass.

Would we be able to make it over the pass? We did not have ice axes or crampons. When we got there, the 10-foot snow wall loomed above us. The rocks to the north looked unstable. There was a sort of ramp in the center where it looked like some people had come down a month earlier. I tried climbing it carefully, but the snow was hard and slippery except for a thin veneer. Worse, about six feet up the slope became vertical. I would need crampons and ice axe.

At last we ventured to the south edge. We walked carefully on a sandy ledge. At the very end, the upsloping ledge was only about three feet wide before the major drop off. But it went! Almost at the exit, Richard touched a huge boulder, about the size of a large-screen

TV, and it teetered. He backed off quickly. I kicked it, and it crashed into a stable stance. We scrambled across and emerged at the top of the pass.

It was 5:20 p.m. Not enough time to climb South Guard and find a camp before dark. We descended about 600' and set up camp. Another candlelight dinner.

We climbed South Guard as a dayhike the next day. What a view. We could see south to Triple Divide Peak; Brewer was just to the north. The smoke from the Sheep Fire filled Kings Canyon, but did not cloud our view.

On the way down South Guard we climbed back over the pass to photograph an unusual lupine that was missing its blue color. There were only two plants, which were mostly pink.

By now it was clear we did not have enough time to follow our original plan to descend into Cloud Canyon, go over Colby Pass, and climb Kern Point. Instead we decided to return via Sphinx Col.

McAdie, 13,799'

September 4 - 5, 2010

By Linda Sun

Scott Kreider and I climbed McAdie over Labor Day weekend.  I didn't get the Whitney permit through lottery, so we went to camp at Meysan Lake.  From there, we first climbed

the class 2 east chute of Irvine to Richins Pass.  Then we dropped down to Arc Pass, and then mostly followed Secor's route description to the peak.   Instead of getting up to the tunnel (which is just 50 feet below the middle peak), and then chimney and downclimb to the notch between middle and north peak, we found a traverse about 150 feet below the middle peak just below a cliff band.  We first traversed about 50 feet horizontally, then downclimbed a class 3 section that is a bit loose, the most exposed part.  Then we followed an easy, loose ramp to the notch.  This part matches more to Bob Burd's route description.  From the notch, we followed Secor's description of traversing upward left to a horizontal ledge for 150 feet, then scrambled to the summit.  Overall a very enjoyable route.

We left Meysan lake at 6am. Summit at 11am.  Back to camp at 3pm.  Car 7pm.

Mount Tom - 13,652'

September 18 - 19, 2010

By Linda Sun

Every time I drive out of Bishop, there is this huge mountain that stares right at me, and it's Mount Tom!  Finally I said enough is enough, I need to get to the top of this thing.  So Harry and I drove to Horton Lake trailhead in our Subaru.  I lost my nerve and parked about half a mile before the trailhead at the spring at 7800'.  From there it was hot and dry four miles to Horton Lake with very little shade.  I think the driving is the worst part of this trip.  It got really windy overnight, I considered bailing, but didn't want to do the drive again, so finally decided to give it a try.  We left camp at 6:30am, followed the trail to the plateau at 11,700' and Harry turned around. 

I continued to the tungsten mine and went up straight east from there.  It was loose talus till I gained the ridge, and followed the fun ridge to the top with lots of cairns to guide me.  I got to

the top around 10:30am, and bolted after three minutes due to the wind.  Once I got back to where I started on the ridge, going down the talus field all the way around the mountain didn't look very appealing.  Since I could see the lake directly 3000' below me, I went due south on the talus field, then on a sandy slope.  I couldn't see the bottom of the chute I was in, so after a third of the way, I went over a rib to the next gully to the right, and it was all good down from there to the bottom.  I wished there was snow.  Back at camp 12:30pm.  Car 3pm.  

Tunemah Peak and Tehipite Dome

September 11 - 13, 2010

By Louise Wholey

This trip was known to be a tough one; Tunemah is a very remote peak; there is no easy access! Unlike Bob Burd, the fellow who started the effort of day-hiking all 248 SPS peaks (peaks list issued by the Sierra Peaks Section of the Angeles Chapter), we had the luxury of doing it in multiple days. Not that it becomes easier, just fewer hours a day. Bob Burd did it in a 20.5 hour day, his longest at the time, in 2009. He finished the list this past Thursday, Sept 23, by day-hiking Table Mtn via Shepherd Pass! His incredible numbers are posted at http://www.snwburd.com/bob/sps/.

We followed his great trip reports for these two peaks. See

http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/tunemah_1.html and http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/tehipite_dome_1.html

A very special feature of this trip was participating in the SPS “Western Sierra Medley” trip, this year’s “Old-timers” series trip celebrating SPS’s 55th anniversary. We joined them for Friday dinner (etc.) and met some great climbers with quite familiar names from early registers, many of whom had completed the SPS list a long time ago. A very special surprise for me was that the fellow, Roger Gaefcke, with whom I had sailed many years ago for a week in Tahiti was one of the founders of the SPS! I had no idea at the time (had not heard of the SPS), but what a great reunion! Many new faces, familiar names: Barbara Lilly, Jerry Keating, Ret Moore (finished the list at 80 years old!), Vicky Hoover (whole family did the list), Rich Gagney, Gene Mauk, Terry Flood, etc. Not all are from SoCal, many are from NoCal. This is an annual event I hope to always attend!

The plan was to hike about 12 miles to a camp at the base of Kettle Dome the first day and climb Tehipite Dome (maybe 16-18 miles). The second day was to be a 20 mile day-hike to climb Tunemah. The final day would be hiking out – easy! A few hardy souls sounded very interested, but as has been my experience altogether too often this summer, not interested enough to actually go. Except for the stalwart Alex Sapozhnikov! Thank you Alex for going! We had a truly great time!

Well, as things go, the trip plan did not work. We found ourselves 12 miles from the TH at the base of Kettle Dome with no campsite near water. It was 4 pm. To prevent having to bivouac, we skipped Tehipite Dome and continued hiking into Blue Canyon. We found a nice campsite at 7400’ and 14 miles.

We rose at 4 am and were on the dark trail by 4:50. Around 6 am daylight was helping us through the wet meadows at Big Meadows.

We luckily found a “use” trail up Blue Canyon which we fastidiously followed as the easiest path, though not always so easy to find. You have to kind of blur your vision and ask “If I were a trail, where would I go?”. We lost it at the end of the canyon but I am pretty sure it continues up around the bend to the right to the lake cluster at 10,000’.

Above the right hand side of the main 10,000’ lake we climbed a gully to another beautiful lake at 10,400’. Above that we climbed some great rock directly up from the right hand side of that lake to a saddle at 11,000’, but it was not Dykeman Pass, which is at 37.0001369 N, 118.7157613 W. Our downclimb was harder than it would have been from the correct spot. Bob Burd’s route was much further to the left, which I would recommend, not that the gully and climbing above it were bad, but the left side is better lined up with Dykeman Pass.

Our route traversed across above a pretty lake to a meadow and across talus to the loose sandy west slopes of Tunemah Peak. On the awkward scree climb of Tunemah we kept going left to avoid sand and trees and ended on top of the NW ridge for a 3rd class traverse to the summit, which we reached at 1:15 pm. For the descent we chose to follow Bob Burd’s route, a shortcut to Big Meadows. We dropped straight down the SW slope of Tunemah to slabs and a creek crossing at 9,800’. From there we climbed up to 10,000’ and crossed a ridge. Wow! The terrain opened up! It was a sparsely populated forest and super smooth travel! How unbelievable! We went for each gap in the terrain, then through Grouse Meadow and down the steep forest to Big Meadows. It had only taken 4 hours, so much faster than our ascent. In another hour we were at camp, the end of a long day, 18 miles and at least 4,200’ of climbing.

We made no plan for rising early the next day.

Alex had said he did not want to climb Tehipite Dome on the way out, but that was before the thrill of reaching the summit of Tunemah swayed his rational thinking. After climbing to the height of land above Blue Canyon at 8,600’ I suggested climbing Tehipite. What a trouper! Alex went for it! We followed Secor’s route description, a great route down the ridges to the south, almost directly to the dome. The key is to not drop into the drainages to the right, despite how tempting it is. The canyon of the Middle Fork of the King’s River is to the left and the views across the canyon are spectacular.

We had heard that maybe the 3rd class on Tehipite Dome was a bit hard. People asked if we would take a rope. In the end I decided to take a 30 m 8 mm line. The 2,000’ exposure is really intimidating. This dome is an enormous structure rising out of the canyon – got to visit this some day! Alex was very excited to lead it, so we roped up and soon stood on top. The register went back to the 60’s, so I scanned for my previous ascent. I did not find it, so I concluded that I had climbed Kettle Dome rather than Tehipite Dome in 1969. We rapped off for safety and hiked back up to our packs for the final 12

miles to the car. It was long and got us out late but we did not care; we were very happy climbers!

Merced Peak

September 25 -26, 2010

By Louise Wholey

The trip was slated to go with six enthusiastic climbers, leaving me a bit worried about permit space, of which I had 4 spots. Often last minute things cause people to drop, but this time the whole trip nearly collapsed. One sole participant reassured me that he really did want to go. So Eddie Sudol, bless his heart, and I, took off from the Bay Area for the rough windy dirt road to Quartz Mountain Trailhead just outside the southern boundary of Yosemite National Park. I wondered if my low clearance sports car would make it, but it did, in just under 2 hours. We arrived at the TH at dark, about 7:30 pm after a filling Mexican dinner in Oakhurst where we got our permit from the friendly people at the visitor center.

It seemed far too early to bed down for the night in a yucky dusty parking lot so we packed our gear and hiked for an hour to a fine spot to sleep just off the trail. One of the

regulations on our permit was to camp at least a mile from the road, so we were legal! The next morning we set off at 6:30 am for the long hike to camp. The plan was to go to Upper Ottoway Lake, but Eddie requested camping at the lower lake because his somewhat heavy pack was beginning to make his hip hurt. I had my ailments as well; my knee did not feel great, nor did my heels, so it sounded fine to me to dump our camp gear at the Lower Ottoway Lake.

It was still very early in the day, about 12:40, after our 13 mile backpack to camp, so we decided to climb the peak, despite feeling a bit weary. The first mile and a half has a trail leading to Red Peak Pass. To climb the peak one travels cross country past Upper Ottoway Lake to the pass just left of the tree in the photo, then up the ridge to the right to the summit, which is at the far back right side.

Merced Peak beyond Lower Ottoway Lake

The tricky part is getting beyond Upper Ottoway Lake. We chose to go around the left side of a lower lake and then climb the ridge to the actual Upper Ottoway Lake, then ascend a gully to the left of that. A couple GPS waypoints, Lake 1 and Lake 2, were key to avoiding cliffs that drop into the lake. Most of the route was across slabs with some talus in between. It took us 3 hours from camp to the summit. After a half hour on the summit

we descended the same route in an hour and a half.

{ Lake 1 37.6419917 N, 119.4052805 W, Lake 2 37.6440804 N, 119.4015140 W }

The view of the setting sun from the little lake near Upper Ottoway Lake is spectacular. The view is unobstructed to the west. We greatly enjoyed the sunset as we watched for the mystical green flash when the sun drops below the horizon (not seen).

Sunset over Lower Ottoway Lake

Eventually we hiked the last bit to camp to finish our 18 mile, >4000’ day. We happily slept a full 8 hours that night! Sunday, after a lazy start, we packed the 13 miles out, quite delighted for our success on such a beautiful Indian Summer weekend.

Elected Officials

    Jesper Schou / schou@sun.stanford.edu


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

    Louise Wholey / louisewholey@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 Thursday, October 28. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.