April 2011     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 45 , No. 4

http://peakclimbing.org | http://www.facebook.com/peakclimbing

General Meeting

Date          April 12, 2011

Time          7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA    

Program   David Riggs: The Student Alpinist

Presenter David Riggs

Dave Riggs will share images, anecdotes and a regular guy's perspective on the path to climb and ski in all terrain and all conditions.

Dave lives in Truckee. He's been fortunate to call the Sierra home and visit the Alps, Andes, Himalaya, and Alaska. He currently serves as the board chair of the Community Committee for the American Alpine Club and was formerly the chair of the Sierra Nevada Section of the American Alpine

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

We're ready for summer! Check out all the trips listed here, as well as the Advance Trip Schedule. And then take a look at Emile's survey results - pretty interesting!

See you on the rocks! Judy

Chair Column

In addition to being passionate about climbing, I’m an intensely analytical person.  Additionally, I’m still relatively new to the PCS (comparatively speaking!) so I felt the best way I could get to know the membership’s needs and guide the ship accordingly would be to start 2011 out with a detailed member survey. I’ll be drawing from the survey results in the coming months and commenting here.

Given we had the Spring/Summer trip planning meeting at the home of Louise Wholey (who serves as Vice Chair) on March 1, trips are on everyone’s minds.  We had a great turnout of existing and potential leaders and we started the meeting with the results of the trip section of the survey to guide the meeting.  This is what we shared…

Trip Rating System

The majority of members (75%) knew about the new Trip Rating System (can be found at http://www.peakclimbing.org/about_trips), which will be implemented for the first time this spring. Some love it and some hate it (both survey respondents and trip leaders)…so we’ll give it a try for the year and solicit feedback at a later date whether it was helpful.

Guidelines for Participants

The majority of members (72%) DID NOT know about the new Guidelines for Participants (also found at http://www.peakclimbing.org/about_trips).  We borrowed most of these from the Angeles SPS chapter and the intent is to provide some basic guidelines to address some recent issues (i.e., cancellations, sharing carpooling costs, expectations of leaders, etc.)

Types of trips

We had some interesting findings around kinds of trips PCS members want:

-       The greatest demand is for intermediate trips although comments indicate that more beginner trips may help folks new to PCS to get comfortable with the group.

-       The Sierras win by a landslide, Eastern followed by Western, but healthy demand exists all over California.

Interestingly, despite the Eastern Sierras being the favorite for location, people overwhelmingly asked for two day trips. I surmise that they must be vacation-constrained like myself and want to fit in as much as they can over the weekend.

True to the nature of the PCS, third class won out followed by fourth and second class neck and neck.

 Rock was #1, but snow was a surprising second.  Demand for snow climbs is high and we’ll work on developing more winter trips and leaders in the future.

The leaders heard your feedback, responded accordingly, and as a result we have OVER 50 trips on the advanced trip planning schedule!!!

Check the website and the Scree in the coming months as the details of those trips are released. 

Happy planning!!!


Tim Hult Request - Please Read

(Posted separately since dates will vary, depending on snow conditions.)

1) Shasta winter ascent.  Doing a winter ascent of Shasta can be a tricky affair involving waiting and watching for the perfect weather window that matches your schedule. Contact me to be put on an email / discussion list.   We will do either the Cassaval or

Sargent's ridge route.  Participants must have arctic appropriate gear.

2) Also but with no descriptions:  I'd like to try another spring tour this year, or, simply do some spring yo-yo skiing as well.  This past

year would have been a terrific one to do some of the high trail head passes on skis as day trips and I feel bad that I missed them.

Please contact me at: timothy.hult(at) gd-ais.com to discuss your interest in either of these.

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.


April  2, 3 - Cone Peak

Leader: Joe Baker

April 8 - 10 - Cloudripper

Leader: Louise Wholey

June 18 - 19 - Red and White Mountain

Leader: Aaron Schuman

July 9 - 17 - Mather's Day

Leader: Aaron Schuman

August 13, 14   - Iron Mountain - Louise's 70th Birthday and List Finish

Leader: Louise Wholey

PCS Trip Details

Cone Peak

Goal: Cone Peak (5,155')

Location: Ventana Wilderness, Limekiln campground

Dates: April 2, 3

Leader: Joe Baker  

Difficulty: Class 1

We will climb Cone Peak from Highway 1. Cone Peak is the most spectacular mountain on the Big Sur coast of California. It is the second highest mountain (Junipero Serra Peak is higher) in the Santa Lucia Range.

The trip is on-trail but somewhat strenuous. This will either be a dayhike, or we'll camp at

Vicente Flat and do the longer loop. I'm leaning toward the second option because Lime Kiln Campground (trailhead at the ocean) is still closed due to the fire. With the second option, we can take a leisurely hike up to our camp spot, where we'll spend the night on Saturday, then climb our peak on Sunday morning, before hiking out. This should be an excellent time to see lots of wildflowers.

Contact:  Judy Molland judy@judymolland.com


Goal: Cloudripper (13,625')

Location: Big Pine, Eastside of Sierras

Dates: April 8 - 10

Leader: Louise Wholey     

Difficulty: Class 2 snow climb, Class 3 summit block

Plan to ski up the north fork of Big Pine Creek to a campsite somewhere between First Lake and Seventh Lake, depending mostly on how far the road is open. Snow camp Friday night, climb Cloudripper Saturday, ski out and return home Sunday. Leaders will be on skis.

Requires high altitude experience (camp will be 10-11,000 ft), excellent physical condition, avalanche safety training, winter snow travel and climbing skills.

Leader: Louise Wholey, louisewholey@yahoo.com

Co-leader: Stephane Mouradian, smouradian@hotmail.com

Zinfandel and Chardonnay

Goal: Red and White Mountain (12,816')

Location: South of Mammoth, John Muir Wilderness

Dates: June 18 - 19

Leader: Aaron Schuman   

Difficulty: Class 2 snow climb

From McGee Creek trailhead (8100) we’ll hike up the trail to Big McGee Lake (10400), probably encountering spring slush before we make camp. We have the option of climbing the big southeast snow slope of Red & White Mountain (12816) on Saturday or Sunday. Previous climbers promise that we’ll enjoy the impressive summit that rises hundreds of feet above the ridge, looking tough, but turning out to be a pleasant scramble up a colorful mass of unexposed rock.

Leader: Aaron Schuman 650-968-9184

Mather's Day

Goals: Striped (13179'), Bolton Brown (13491'), Prater (14471'), The Thumb (13356'), Birch (13602'), Wynne (13179'), Pinchot (13494'), Perkins (12566')

Location: Above Independence, Kings Canyon National Park

Dates: July 9 - 17

Leader: Aaron Schuman   

Difficulty: Class 2 with possible snow

Devote an entire week to exploring the High Passes region of the Sierra Nevada and climbing many of the spectacular, rugged peaks in the area. We’ll begin with a grunt up Taboose Pass, from its desert trailhead (5400) up to the Pacific Crest (11400). We can climb Striped Mtn (13120) there. We’ll move to the lovely and little visited Upper Basin (11599), from which we’ll be in position to climb Mt Bolton Brown (13538) and Mt Prater (13329). We’ll pack over Mather Pass (12080) and camp at Upper Palisade Lake (11767), in order to climb The Thumb (13665) and Birch Mtn (13665). Then returning over Mather Pass, we’ll camp near Lake Marjorie (11440), from which we’ll be set up to climb Mt Wynne (13179), Mt Pinchot (13495), and Mt Perkins (12591), with a day hike over Pinchot Pass (12500). We’ll return the way we came, down the long, dry Taboose trail. The days will be strenuous, but the rewards will be incomparable.

Leader: Aaron Schuman 650-968-9184

Louise's 70th Birthday and List Finish

Goal: Iron Mountain(11,149')

Location: Mammoth area, Eastside of the Sierras

Dates: August 13, 14

Leader: Louise Wholey     

Difficulty: Moderately difficult, 2D2

Backpack from the ranger's station at Soda Springs (7400') to Anona Lake (9100') via

Fern Lake, about 8 miles. Bring a treat
to share for our pre-dinner party. Next day, climb the east chute (class 2-3) to the south ridge and walk the final ridge to the summit.

Everyone is welcome. If we have too many people we may make it a day trip and party at camp near Mammoth.

Contact: louisewholey(at)yahoo.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.

April 17 - Round Top Redo

Leader - Arun Mahajan

April 22 - 24 - Split Mountain

Leader: Lisa Barboza

April 29 - May 1 - Diamond on the Soles of Your Shoes

Leader: Steve Eckert

May 1 - Mount Lassen

Leader - George Van Gorden

May 7 - 8 - Ice Axe and Crampon Practice

Leader - Kelly Maas

May 27 - 30 - Senator, You are no Mount Kennedy

Leader: Steve Eckert

June 11 - 12 - Shasta Girl Power

Leader: Emilie Cortes

June 11 - 12 - Norman Clyde Peak

Leader - Terry Cline

June 27 - Mount Shasta

Leader - George Van Gorden

July 2 - 4 - Desolation Death March

Leader - Emilie Cortes

July 29 - 31 - Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak

Leader - Terry Cline

October - Mt. Kailash, Nepal/Tibet

Leader: Warren Storkman

October 8 - November 6 - Makalu Base Camp to Khumbu Trek

Leader - Tom McDonald

Private Trip Details

Round Top Redo

Goal:  Round Top (10,381')

Location: Carson Pass, Hwy 88

Date: April 17

Leader: Arun Mahajan       

Difficulty: Intermediate skiing, ice axe and crampns

This was slated to happen on the spring weekend in March but the weather did not cooperate. I am hoping for a better weather window this time around.

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

Meet at 8.30am at Carson Pass Sno-Park on Highway-88, ready to go.To park there you will need a sno-park permit. They are strict about this and you will be cited (heavy fine) in case you do not have a sno-park permit.

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

Contact Arun Mahajan: arun.mahajan@att.net

Split Mountain

Goal:  Split Mountain (14,042')

Location: Big Pine, Eastside of the Sierras

Date: April 22 - 24

Leader: Lisa Barboza        

Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced; 2D3 with class 2 winter climbing

Another prized winter 14er. Winter backcoutry travel and snowcamping skills highly recommended.

This is an intermediate/advanced trip and you must have previous crampon/ice axe experience. You should have a solid

backpacking/hiking foundation to carry a

heavy pack, a proven ability to acclimatize,

and an adventurous attitude as winter climbing can be challenging and require tough decisions. Many winter attempts do not result in a summit as conditions typically must be ideal. Possibly includes Prater and Tinemaha. Led by Lisa Barboza, co-led by Emilie Cortes. Contact Lisa Barboza at Lisa.Barboza(at)gd-ais.com

Diamond on the Soles of Your Shoes

Goals:            Diamond Peak (13,127'), Mt. Mary Austin (13,040')

Location: Pacific Crest, Kings Canyon NP

Dates: April 29 - May

Leader: Steve Eckert          

Difficulty: Class 2 Snow Climb

We’ll start low at the end of the Oak Creek Road (6,000') and hike the Baxter Pass trail from desert up into spring slush. The snow will be firmed up by the time we reach our camp at Summit Meadow (10,800'). We’ll ascend the southeast face of Diamond Peak (13,127'), which RJ Secor calls “a splendid snow climb in the spring”. If we have time, we’ll also attempt the often seen but rarely visited Mount Mary Austin. Participants are

skilled with ice axe for self-arrest and use of crampons on a mid-angle slope. Some members will choose skis; others snowshoes. Leader: Steve Eckert 650-508-0500.

Co-leader: Aaron Schuman 650-968-9184

Mount Lassen

Goal: Mt. Lassen (10,462')

Location: Mount Lassen

Dates: May 1

Leader: George Van Gorden        

Difficulty: Snowshoes or skis; experience with crampons

We will climb the peak in one day. Snowshoes or skis will be necessary. We will bring crampons because they might be useful on the summit block. We will start at the old ski chalet at 8 am and be back before dark.

Contact George Van Gorden at gvangorden@gmail.com.

Ice Axe and Crampon Practice

Goal: Carson Pass

Location: Carson Pass, Hwy 88

Dates: May 7 - 8

Leader: Kelly Maas

Spend the weekend practicing with ice axe and crampons at Carson Pass. Camp
overnight at Cyrstal Springs Campground on the other side of the pass. The
second day we will climb a peak. For those who want to come for Saturday only,
that is possible. Bring your own gear, including a waterproof layer since self
arrest practice involves lying down in snow. Coaching is provided, but participants are expected to have studied the skills in advance.

Contact Kelly Maas at kamaas444@sbcglobal.net or 408-378-5311

Senator, you are no Mount Kennedy

Goals: Mt. Hutchings (10,785'), Kennedy Mtn (11,433'), Slide Peak (10,915')

Location: Monarch Divide, Kings Canyon NP

Dates: May 27 - 30

Leader: Steve Eckert

From Cedar Grove (5,035'), we’ll hike up the Copper Creek trail. When we meet snow,

some of us will switch to skis and others to snowshoes. We’ll set up camp in Upper Tent Meadow (9,189') and make a side jaunt to Mt Hutchings (10,785'). Saturday, we’ll pack over Granite Pass (10,673') to the north side of the Monarch Divide, traverse up and down through the Volcanic Lakes basin, and make camp at East Kennedy Lake (10,100'). Sunday, we’ll climb Kennedy Mountain (11,433') and the rarely visited Slide Peak (10,915') and return to our camp. Memorial Day, we’ll pack out all the way back to Cedar Grove and head home.

Leader: Steve Eckert 650-508-0500
Co-leader: Aaron Schuman 650-968-9184

"We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." – John F. Kennedy

Shasta Girl Power

Goal: Mt. Shasta (14,104')

Location: Mount Shasta

Dates: June 11 - 12

Leader: Emilie Cortes       

Difficulty: Class 2 snow climb, PCS rating 2E3

This is a private trip for women only and is designed to provide a supportive environment for beginning to intermediate level climbers to summit Shasta if conditions permit. We will camp at Helen Lake and climb the Avalanche Gulch route. We will practice self-arrest and crampon technique, but previous experience and proven ability to carry a heavy pack and

acclimatize is definitely recommended. Pace will be slow to moderate. I will hold a training hike on June 4 on Mt Diablo that is required to participate on the trip. Anyone is welcome on the hike.

Leader: Emilie Cortes (mountaineerchica at gmail dot com)

Norman Clyde Peak

Goal: Norman Clyde Peak (13,855')

Location: Big Pine, Eastside of the Sierra

Dates: June 11 - 12

Leader: Terry Cline

Difficulty: Class 3, snow climb, Ice Axe and Crampons required

We will take advantage of the early season snow to see if we can find Norman Clyde’s intricate route up his namesake peak. Saturday we will hike up the S. Fork of Big Pine Creek into the vicinity of Willow Lake and then cross-country up to a camp near Elinore Lake. Sunday we will climb the 700’ snow couloir on the North Face and move around to the South side of the peak and cross a number of chutes up to the summit, return to camp and hike out. Ice axe and crampons required. Rating: 3E3 and AI1/WI2, Class 3. Leader Terry Cline.
Contact Terry Cline at terry_cline@yahoo.com

Mount Shasta

Goal: Mount Shasta (14,104')

Location: Mount Shasta

Date: June 27

Leader: George Van Gorden        

Difficulty: Strenuous, must be experienced with ice axe and crampons

We will attempt to climb the peak in one day. We will start from Bunny Flat at 2 am. We will plan to be on the summit by 11 am. We will be back at our cars before dark. We will be doing the standard route up Avalanche Gulch. An

ice axe and crampons will be required. Hands-

on training with the ice axe is necessary and everyone must have used an ice axe for self-arrest.

Contact George Van Gorden at gvangorden@gmail.com

Desolation Death March

Goals: Pyramid (9,983'), "Aarons," Agassiz (13,183'), Price (10,717'), Jacks Peak (9,856'), Dicks Peak (9,974'), Tallac (9,735'), Ralston (9,235')

Location: Desolation Wildernress (near South Lake Tahoe)

Dates: July 2 - 4

Leader: Emilie Cortes       

Difficulty: Class 2 with some short Class 3 sections, PCS rating 3D2

This is a private trip I’ll be doing as training for the JMT. Total mileage over the three days will be ~30 and altitude gained ~11,000ft. Pace will be slow to moderate. You should be a very experienced backpacker with good endurance and a great attitude.

Leader: Emilie Cortes (mountaineerchica at gmail dot com)

Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak

Goals: Mt. Ritter (13143'), Banner Peak (12,936')

Location: Near Mammoth, Eastside of the Sierra

Dates: July 29 - 31

Leader: Terry Cline

Difficulty: Class 3, Ice Axe required

On Friday we will hike from Agnew Meadows up to a camp just above Ediza Lake. Saturday we will climb to the saddle between Ritter and Banner, climb Banner (class 2), descend back to the saddle and climb the North Face of Ritter (class 3), and then descend the class 3 Southeast side of Ritter to camp. Sunday we will hike back out to the cars. Ice Axe required. Rating: 2E3, Class 3. Leaders Terry Cline and Monique Messié.
Contact Terry Cline at terry_cline@yahoo.com

Mt. Kailash, Nepal/Tibet

Goal:  Mt. Kailash - Lhasa

Location: Nepal/Tibet

Date: October 2011

Leader: Warren Storkman

October is generally the best month to travel in Nepal and Tibet - for weather and holiday

events and particularly for the Kora around  Mt Kailash.

Reason for starting the plans early:

To give the opportunity to arrange vacation time for the 21 day trek, the 7 days in KTM and air travel.

There will be two separate flights within Nepal. The first flight will take us west to a large lowland airport with a hotel overnight.  The second day we'll fly in a smaller (20 seat) plane and upon landing will start the trek. There will be 6 nights of camping then on the 7th day the group crosses into Tibet with an interesting army border check. This entry is by foot - no roads in this area.

The group will then stop camping and use a hotel on the 14th night.

For those wishing to skip Lhasa a return to KTM is  on the 16th day. The Lhasa group will return to KTM on the 21st day by international air.

Without a commitment or obligating yourself just let me know if this trip is of interest to you. If you change your mind, I'll drop your name.  

I'll e-mail more information and try for an early trip cost.    Contact Warren Storkman (650-493-8959) or email: dstorkman@aol.com

Makalu Base Camp To Khumbu Trek Over East Col, West Col, and Mera La (6000+m passes x2)

Goal: Mera Peak (optional ascent) 6476m

Location: Nepal

Dates: October 8 - November 6

Leader: Tom McDonald    

Difficulty: This is a rigorous 4-week trek, with sustained altitudes over 5000m

I'm trying to put together a small group of like-minded folks for the "world's highest trek" in Nepal- the traverse from Makalu base camp to the Khumbu. Two passes over 6000M, option of ascending Mera 6476M. I'm a physician at PAMF and have no commercial interest in any trip. A few of my "patients" (fitter than me!) are members of the Loma Prieta peak climbing section. I will provide medical backup in route but will not be in any official role- just a participant. I have contacts with several Nepali guides and and will act as intermediary for setting up the trip *without* any financial interest at all. I've recently trekked with a large mixed group that was ill-suited for the challenges we faced- I'm hoping to put together a great group with a good Nepali Sherpa crew.

Trek info: A rigorous 4 week technical trek with sustained high altitudes over 5,000M. Two passes over 6000m and option of ascending Mera Peak at 6400+M. Roped descents of two passes. Alpine experience with fantastic view of Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Chamlang. and Baruntse. The road much less traveled into the over-traveled Everest area. Experience at altitude and glacier travel essential.

Maps: http://www.nepaltravelandtour.com/Trips/Nepal/Makalu+Arun+Valley/Trekkin...

Leader and contact info: Tom McDonald; mcdonald_tw@yahoo.com

Advance Trip Schedule

In addition to all these amazing trips, you can check out future trips on the advance trip schedule:


Thanks, Louise!

Trip Reports

How Sonja Earned Her Antlers

Labor Day Weekend, 2010

By Aaron Schuman

We gathered at Twin Lakes Resort, a few miles south of Bridgeport, on Labor Weekend 2010, intending to climb three elusive peaks in Northern Yosemite. Our group was trip leader Louise Wholey, Chris Prendergast, Sonja Dieterich, and as co-leader and trip reporter, yours truly, Aaron Schuman.

Because of the relatively low elevations of the area, we chose to make the trip late in the season, after the mosquitoes had done their dirty deeds for the year. 

Twin Lakes (7081) is a cozy fishing retreat, with RV parking, a store, and a café. They sold us parking permits for $10 per car, with no time limit attached, and politely gave us hiking directions into Toiyabe National Forest. There are two trailheads at Twin Lakes; the popular one south to Sawtooth Ridge and the Matterhorn of California, and the less traveled Robinson Creek Trail west to Peeler Lake (9500) and beyond. Users of the 1956-era fifteen-minute quadrangle map should be aware that the trail has been moved.

After passing Peeler, we crossed into Yosemite National Park. This part of the park is accessible only by a very long trail, and it sees few visitors. We met a few people who were hiking the Tuolomne to Tahoe leg of the Pacific Crest Trail, but mostly we had the wilderness to ourselves.

Our route flattened out through Kerrick Meadow and down into Rancheria Creek. By the end of the day on Friday, we reached Seavey Pass (9200), which divides Rancheria Creek from Piute Creek, both in the Hetch Hetchy watershed. There are several tarns

near the pass, and as the twilight approached, we settled at an attractive spot not too far from fresh water. This would be our camp for the next two nights.

Saturday, carrying only daypacks, we continued down the trail almost to Benson Lake (7600), then turned east on a trail toward Smedberg Lake. We left the trail at its high point, and then scrambled over scree and talus to nearby Pettit Peak (10788). Pettit Peak has a lovely long view down the canyons, all the way to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Pettit; it don’t bite!

Climbing two peaks was going to be quite a chore, and so Sonja wisely returned to camp and arrived while there was still some daylight. We other three traversed as high as we could to Volunteer Peak (10481). We made a beeline cross-country back to the trail. We dropped almost all the way down to Benson Lake, then made the long grind back up to camp, returning by headlamp.

Sunday we headed back down the trail, about 1000 feet down, to a place where we could easily cross Piute Creek and head up the lower slopes of Piute Mountain. At the top of the northeast ridge, we matched up the view ahead with the helpful annotated photo from Steve Eckert’s 1999 trip report. We ascended sandy, down-sloping ledges, gained the summit ridge, crossed the class 3 bump, and made our way through evergreen brush to the summit block (10541). Near the top, Sonja found a pair of antlers. She posed with her cranial accessories for this summit photo.

We varied our route on the descent, dropping down a canyon that led us into some dense brush. But we find a way out of our unfortunate shortcut, across the stream, and back to the trail. For the final time, we grunted back up that hill to our camp. Since we still had a little daylight, we decided to move our camp a mile or two to the north, to a sandy spot near Rancheria Creek.

Monday was our easy day. We only needed to hike about 15 miles on trail, mostly downhill, and drive home. We were at Peeler Lake by midmorning. We were tempted by that crystalline water and glorious sunshine. Louise declared, “Peeler Lake is well named – peel off the clothes and jump in!” Here’s a photo of Chris swimming contentedly. 

Back at Twin Lakes, we discovered that the bar at the fishing resort had English beer. Chris approved of the selection, and we consumed the bartender’s entire inventory. It’s noteworthy that on the drive home, we stopped for dinner at Kennedy Meadows, where the inn has been rebuilt and reopened after its devastating fire.

Lee Vining Ice Climbing Poem

January 29 - 30

By Arun Mahajan

Participants: Rick Booth, Misa Giesey, Linda Sun, Scott Kreider, Mike Snadden and Arun Mahajan

Inside the cold canyon, filled with lows and highs, we gazed up in wild surmise,

Would the ice be at all nice?

But saying this would suffice, that when on it, we never had to swing twice

And I say, for the price, the ice was exceedingly nice!

            Arun Mahajan

Some photos:

While Mike was doing a very nice lead on a WI-3, on the far right wall,Scott belayed him and then followed/cleaned after him.


And Arun climbed on other routes

Rick led a spicy W1-4

And Misa belayed

which we also top roped, and then we all did each other's routes as well.

Matterhorn Peak

March 12 - 12

By Juius Gawlas

Friday March 11 Jeff Fisher and I left the Bay Area heading to the East side targeting a winter climb of Matterhorn Peak. This trip was a sort of a make up for a trip planned in the middle of February that got cancelled by the MLK weekend snowstorm. This time the forecast was for partly sunny with possible

wind and storm for late Sunday – we were hoping we could outrun the weather.


We started from the trailhead at Twin Lakes around 6:40 AM. Snow was covering the ground and the upper lake was completely frozen. We actually put on snow shoes 50 feet from the car and started walking up alongside Horse Creek, following a ski/snowshoe path in the snow. The weather looked nice and it was relatively easy snowshoe walking on semi frozen crust. Once we got out into the open bowl we got to see the range and Matterhorn – beautiful sight in full winter glory. We continued at a decent pace, given that we were walking with full winter packs.

Around 10:40 AM we reached a flat spot at 9400 ft. There were two tents set up with a nice kitchen built in the snow. Later it turned out that this was a guided winter mountaineering trip. Unfortunately they took the best spots so we had to work a bit at setting our winter camp. Wind gusts picked up so we took time digging a platform between trees and securing the tent. We had to improvise a bit since we did not have snow tent anchors. We got a bit cold so we warmed up for a while in the tent before proceeding.

Around 12:40 we set up for our summit bid. It was beautiful winter scenery, the sky cleared and the wind died down. We were still snowshoeing on reasonably firm snow. Close to the glacier at the base of Matterhorn we met with the guided trip going down. We asked them to build snow walls and kitchen for us as well but they politely declined (just kidding).  They went up half way the gully on the East side but turned around. The guide was a bit concerned with the weather and with avy danger – there was a “wind event” preceding Monday.    


We continued and the weather got a bit worse. Clouds covered the sky and the wind increased. We decided to move forward up the snow gully to reach the ridge. The snow was softer and steeper; we left our snowshoes and started kicking steps, no crampons were needed. Hard work with just two people but we were moving up at ok pace. After we reached the ridge around 3:50 PM we traversed a bit to rocky outcroppings at the other side. Wind was hauling and seemed like weather was moving in. We were at 11850 ft, just 400 short of the summit. Jeff estimated that we were around 45 min shy of summit but with the short winter day and deteriorating weather we turned around.


We got back to camp a bit before 6, and normal winter camping activities ensued: snow melting, cooking, keeping warm. Tent held well with wind gusts and we both slept well. Next morning we took our time having breakfast and packing up the camp. When we left the camp (~8:30) the skies were gray and the weather were moving in. We walk out in quite different scenery than the day before – now all looked black and white with various shades of gray. When we reached the car the mountains were covered with clouds and it looked like it might be snowing up there. Drive home was easy and we got home in time for dinner. Excellent winter outing in a great company.  

Elected Officials


    Emilie Cortes / mountaineerchica@gmail.com


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

    Louise Wholey / louisewholey@gmail.com

    21020 Canyon View Road, Saratoga, CA       95070


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

Sonja Dieterich/ honukaimi@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 Wednesday, April 27. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.