January 2011     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 45 , No. 1

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General Meeting

Date          January 11, 2011

Time          7:00 – 9:00 pm

Where       Sports Basement

                  1177 Kern Avenue

                  Sunnyvale, CA

Program   10 for 10: A Woman's Place in the Sierra Challenge

Presenter Laura Molnar

Bob Burd describes the Sierra Challenge as something he “conceived… as a personal challenge that was at the edge of my own abilities, and wanted to share the experience with others who might similarly enjoy a good workout. Besides, suffering is more fun if you have someone to share it with.” 10 days, 10 peaks.

In ten years running this informal event, a number of women had participated, but none had completed the full ten days or climbing all ten of the selected peaks for that year. As a new hiker and mountaineer in 2007, Laura Molnar had heard about the marathon hikes and climbs of the peaks each summer, and never dreamed she would consider those sorts of goals for herself. Please join Laura as she describes the trails that led her to test herself in the realm of extreme day hiking; the training she underwent – both physically and mentally – to be ready for the event; the highs and lows of exploring both the great Sierra Nevada and the boundaries we seem to place on ourselves.

Travel with her as she runs the range from Bridgeport to Lone Pine, in the effort to become the first woman to go 10 for 10.

Editor's Notes

Welcome to our all-female leaders for 2011! Not so many trip reports in this issue, but I know we all have lots of resolutions for 2011. It's going to be a great year!

Chair Column

The New Year is always a great opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming one.  Most of us set personal and professional goals, and I am in the midst of that contemplation myself.  Many of you know that I am attracted to international high-altitude glacier climbs.  Beyond an expedition to the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda in July, 2011 will be my year of Sierra peak bagging.  Believe it or not, I am not very comfortable on 3rd and 4th class terrain and my goal is to address that. 

In terms of goals for the PCS, they are currently a work in progress.  I have identified some, with the help of the Executive Committee (EXCOMM), but I will be looking to the PCS membership to help shape our goals for the year.  Please keep your eyes peeled for a membership survey mid-January where we’ll be looking for your honest feedback about what is working and what is not.  I have already heard some great ideas so far and I hope to share those and more with you in February.

Until then and subject to the appropriate changes to the bylaws, we have created two new positions.  The first is a Membership Chair whose sole responsibility will be to think about how to attract and retain members.  We felt that the Treasurer, who is currently responsible for “maintaining the membership list” is primarily focused on the Section’s finances and having a dedicated person thinking about membership needs would be ideal.  Until that role is better defined and

 filled, I will be serving as the Membership Chair and my first order of business is the aforementioned survey.

The second position is a Conservation Chair.  If you did not already know, part of John Muir’s mission in creating the Sierra Club was to get people out into the wilderness.  His hypothesis was that those who experience the splendors of beautiful places like the Sierra Nevada are more likely to protect it.  Although we achieve the primary goal of getting people out there to climb, and further, we are conscientious about our impact and practice Leave No Trace, I believe we could do much much more to protect and serve the areas we cherish.  It is with that idea that we created the new Conservation Chair and Louise has enthusiastically offered to serve in addition to her duties as Vice-Chair.  Stay tuned for more exciting developments there.

Finally, I’d like to extend a hearty welcome and expression of appreciation to Laura Molnar for being our first speaker of the year.  She hails from Belmont but now makes her home in Bishop, CA.  She’ll be sharing her experiences in the 2010 Sierra Challenge, during which she became the first woman to complete all 10 peaks in Challenge.

Happy New Year!  Emilie

John Wilkinson Memorial

A memorial will be held for John Wilkinson on January 9, 2011, 4:00 p.m. at San Jose Friends Meeting House, 1041 Morse St., San Jose. CA., followed by a pot-luck reception  at 5:00 p.m.  Directions are at http://sanjosefriends.org/directions.html.  

John was a long-time PCS member and leader, who died on August 16.  An obituary for John was published in the last issue of the Loma Prietan:


For further information, and RSVP, contacrt Wmk@wmkirkpatrick.com.

Here is a brief tribute to John from Aaron Schuman:

When we climbed Mt Clarence King, the most daunting summit in the Sierra Nevada, John was unflappable. I appreciated his calm in an alarming setting.

When the Loma Prieta Chapter was helping gather ballot signatures for proposition 21, the state parks initiative, John provided us with his leadership as our area coordinator. This was only the last of his conservation projects. He devoted himself for many years to protecting Henry Coe State Park from crazy development ideas.

Please send your remembrances of John Wilkinson for inclusion in the next issue of Scree

New Trip Rating System

(with thanks to Louise Wholey)

We are extending the system for rating for PCS trips to include a rating that will describe the effort required.  The new PCS rating system is a series of three designations from the following groups:

Miles (to summit the peak)

1 = Less than 5 miles of total distance

2 = 5 to 10 miles

3 = 10 to 15 miles

4 = 15 to 20 miles

5 = 20 to 25 miles


A = Less than 1000 feet of total elevation gain

B = 1000 to 2000 feet

C = 2000 to 3000 feet

D = 3000 to 4000 feet

E = 4000 to 5000 feet


T = Trail

1 = Limited/easy X-C

2 = Moderate X-C

3 = Strenuous/difficult X-C

A trip rated as 2D3 means that the trip will be five to ten miles long to reach the peak with nearly 4,000 feet of climbing at times over

strenuous/difficult cross country terrain.

Peak climbs typically have three phases:

1) backpacking to camp (often on a

trail), 2) the peak climb (usually only a few miles but X-C with lots of

climbing), 3) the return to the trailhead.

Rather than make this too complex for leaders, we will start by using this system for an over-all rating of the trip.  If a trip, however, has one day that is particularly strenuous, the leader should identify that day as having special demands and give a separate rating

for that day as well as the over-all trip.  Longer

trips climbing multiple peaks probably require a rating for each day, but leaders may wish initially to rate just the hardest day of the trip.

Class ratings will continue to be used to describe the technical difficulty of a climb.

Class 1: Walking on a trail.

Class 2: Walking cross-country, using hands for balance.

Class 3: Requires use of hands for climbing, rope may be used.

Class 4: Requires rope belays.

Class 5: Technical rock climbing.

Please note: most trips listed below do not yet follow the new system (except for Emilie's - thank you!), but these new ratings will be in place for upcoming trips listed here.

Tim Hult Request - Please Read!

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

1) I am willing to act as coordinator for a one night weekend trip to Ostrander.  Payment must be advance ($60 night) before I submit names for the lottery.  Please contact me at: timothy.hult(at) gd-ais.com to discuss your interest.

2) 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.

3) 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.

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.


January 8, 2011  - Junipero Serra

Leader: Lisa Barboza

January 18 + other dates - Loma Prieta's  Snow Camping Seminar

Leader: Chris MacIntosh

February 12, 13 -  Donner Summit Dayhikes

Leader: Joe Baker

March 20 - Round Top

Leader: Arun Mahajan

March 26, 27 - Cone Peak

Leader: Joe Baker

March 26, 27 - Sandy Point, Last Chance Mt.

Leader: Daryn Dodge

PCS Trip Details

Junipero Serra

Goal:  Junipero Serra (5,862')

Location: Junipero Serra, King City

Date: January 8, 2011

Leader: Lisa Barboza        

Difficulty: Class 1

This is an annual January Loma Prieta Peak Climbing Section tradition. It's a 12-mile round-trip to the summit of the peak. We'll be carpooling from San Jose for this trip as it is a

150 mile drive to the trailhead.

This peak is the 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 4PM. This is a class 1 day hike open to all.
Contact Lisa Barboza at Lisa.Barboza(at)gd-ais.com

Loma Prieta's Snow Camping Seminar

Goal:  Preparation for Camping Happily in Snow!

Location: Junipero Serra, King City

Date: January 18 + others

Leader: Chris MacIntosh  

Snow camping allows you to backpack in all seasons. By snowshoeing or skiing far into the wilderness, you can visit the Sierras with its thick layer of snow and enjoy the scenery far from the crowds; no competition for the "best" campsites! The skills obtained from the Loma Prieta's Snow Camping Seminar prepare you for camping happily in the snow, and give tips

for day skiers or snowshoers caught out overnight. Participants must be experienced summer backpackers as this course will give you winter information and tips but doesn't teach basic backpacking.

Three evenings, held in the Stanford Palo Alto area on Jan 18, 20, & 25, and one weekend field trip on Jan 29-30, 2011. Limit 40 participants for the evening classroom sessions, and 25 participants on the outing.

$40 cost includes books, instruction, and some common equipment used on field trip.

To sign up, send $40 check, payable to BSCS, to P.O. Box 802, Menlo Park, CA 94026. Include name & email of each person, phone #, Sierra Club member number (if oversubscribed, preference will be given to members). Upon receipt, we will acknowledge and send info and directions.

Questions? Contact Chris MacIntosh at 650/325-7841, cmaci@sbcglobal.net , or Steve Sergeant at 408/937-8116, steve.sergeant@lomaprieta.sierraclub.org .

Donner Summit Dayhikes on Skis/Snowshoes

Goals: Mt. Judah (8,245'), Boreal Ridge

Location: Donner Summit, near Truckee

Dates: February 12, 13

Leader: Joe Baker  

Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate Level Skiing

We will stay at the Southbay Ski Club lodge at Donner Summit, and do day trips. One day, we will climb Mt. Judah, and the other day we will do a loop from Highway 80 to
Highway 40, following the PCT on the way there and coming over Boreal
Ridge on the way back. Destinations may change based on snow conditions. Contact Judy Molland at judy@judymolland.com.

Round Top

Goal:  Round Top (10,381')

Location: Carson Pass

Date: March 20

Leader: Arun Mahajan       

Difficulty: Intermediate Level Skiing

Day hike 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 8am at Carson Pass Sno-Park on Highway-88, ready to go. To park there you will need a sno-park permit.

Difficulty: Snow/winter conditions but

otherwise intermediate level skiing and you have to have some experience with axe/crampons and be able to handle the altitude of over 10k ft, early in the season.

Contact Arun Mahajan at arun.mahajan(at)att.net

Cone Peak

Goal: Cone Peak (5,155')

Location: Ventana Wilderness, Limekiln campground

Dates: March 26, 27

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.

Sandy Point and Last Chance Mountain

Goal: Sandy Pt, Last Chance Mt.

Location: Death Valley

Dates: March 26, 27

Leader: Daryn Dodge

Another DPS- sponsored trip. More details to follow.

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 22 - 24 - Split Mountain

Leader: Lisa Barboza

June 30 - July 16 - Uganda Trip

Leader: Emilie Cortes

October - Mt. Kailash, Nepal/Tibet

Leader: Warren Storkman

Private Trip Details

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

Uganda Trip

Goal:  Mountains of the Moon

Location: Uganda

Date: June 30 - July 16

Leader: Emilie Cortes       

Difficulty: TBD

Trip to Uganda: includes trekking and climbing in the famous “Mountains of the Moon” – the Ruwenzoris, gorilla tracking, and rafting the Nile. Planning is in early stages and tentative dates are 6/30/11-7/16/11. Contact Emilie Cortes at mountaineeringchica(at)gmail.com directly to be kept apprised of details.

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

Trip Reports

Above Yosemite

June 18 - 20, 2010

By Aaron Schuman

Ron Karpel led a spring climb of Mt. Lyell (13,114'), the high point of Yosemite, and Mt. Maclure (12,880'), the neighbor of Lyell, on June 18-20, 2010. I assisted Ron as co-leader. We were joined by Terry Cline, Ted Lenzie, Monique Messié, and David Altmar.

We made the long, flat hike up the Lyell Canyon through the springtime mud, until we reached continuous snow cover at 9800 feet. We made our camp in a bare patch near the headwaters. Our rustic meals were enlivened by the Brie cheese and burgundy wine provided by Monique; she embodies savoir-faire. Ted blended cocktails out of rubbing alcohol and Gatorade™: non savoir-faire.

By the early solstice sunrise, we were on the move. We relied on our snowshoes as we approached the peaks. As the terrain grew steeper and the footing grew icier, most of the team switched to ice axes and crampons. I hadn’t brought crampons, so I hefted my weight onto the snowshoe cleats. With the exception of a rocky band above the bergshrund, we were on snow all the way to the Lyell summit.

I had climbed Mt Lyell once before, in 1986. We wondered if I could recognize the

recession of the Lyell Glacier in the intervening years, but I couldn’t really find the edges of the glacier under the spring snow.

Half of the party returned to camp, and the rest of us traversed in softening snow to Mt Maclure. The trip photo, taken by Monique, shows Mt Lyell from Mt Maclure, as your faithful reporter approaches the Maclure summit.

Because the Pacific Crest Trail was buried in snow from Donohue Pass, the PCT through-hikers followed our footsteps instead. Even though we were camped far from the trail, they walked right through our camp. I fed one particularly starved hiker. He astonished me by devouring the food like a bear freshly emerged from hibernation, as fast as I could pull it out of my canister.

We didn’t see any actual ursine bears on this trip, but we did see a beautiful young buck with velvet still on his antlers. We also met marmots, pikas, a golden eagle at the summit, rosy-breasted finches scavenging on the snow, and chickadees in the canyon.

Mexico Volcanoes

Thanksgiving Week, 2010

By Linda Sun

I signed up with Orizaba mountain guides to climb Iztaccihuatl (17139')

and Pico de Orizaba (18430') over Thanksgiving week.

Here is their published Itinerary:

Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City airport to hotel.

Day 2 Transfer Mexico City to la joya base camp.

Day 3 climb to a hut at 15,500'.

Day 4 Summit day!!! And return to Puebla City.

Day 5 Transfer Puebla City to Tlachichuca,

Day 6 Transfer Tlachichuca- Piedra Grande hut

Day 7 Summit day!!! And return to Tlachichuca,

Day 8 Transfer to Mexico City, hotel.

Day 9 Transfer to airport and go home.


United Airlines has a direct flight from San Francisco to Mexico city. I arrived Saturday

and the guide Oso picked me up from the

airport and dropped me off at a very nice hotel in Mexico City named Maria

Cristina.  There were other climbers from different groups staying at the same hotel

On Sunday Oso drove us out of the city, and we had lunch in Amecameca.   Then he

drove to Paso de Cortes, where he paid the permit and we went up a dirt road for a couple of miles, and stayed at the Altzomoni hut,

about 13,000'.

Monday we drove one mile to the trailhead at La Joya, hiked to the rustic Grupo de Los Cien Hut at 15,500'.  We went extra slow, and took

about 4 hours.  Oso hired Miguel the hut keeper at Altzomoni to bring some more water for us.  This was the fastest ascent I've ever done in terms of acclimatization.  I had a light headache that night, but it went away overnight.

Tuesday we started hiking at 4am.  It was full moon, but we still used headlamps.  Iztaccihuatl is known as the "white woman" and it looks like a woman lying, with the "breast" as the summit.  First part to

the "knees" at 16,000' has a bit of second class scrambling.  And then there are quite a few ups and downs along the ridge.  We came across some hardened snow at the "belly"; we carried crampons but didn't need

them.  It was surreal to see sunrise in the east, while the full moon was still up high in the west.  

We summitted around 8am, took some pictures, and came all the way down to La Joya around 1130am. Then we drove to Puebla, staying at Hotel Puebla Plaza, about one block  from the town square. There we found a nice church, some good shops

and restaurants, and the Internet two blocks away at 6 pesos an hour.

Wednesday we drove to the town of Tlachichuca, about 8,500'.  It's a

very small town, at the foothill of Pico de Orizaba.

Thursday Oso drove a big truck with our gear to the Piedra Grande hut at 14,000'.

Friday we started hiking at 1am.  The weather had been really nice and warm early in the week, but a cold front was coming in toward the weekend from the gulf coast.  We reached snow at 16,000' about 4am, and the wind

picked up there.

 I had leather mountaineering boots which were fine, but I had only brought a light down jacket with no hood, and gloves instead of

mittens.  My face and hands were cold.  We summitted around 8am, although the wind

was so strong we only stayed a few minutes.

 As a result, I didn't take many pictures which is unfortunate, since I've seen many others'

beautfiul sunrise pictures.  Even though we were roped, there were no crevasses on the route, and it's not that steep.  I think I would have been comfortable  going unroped.  We had a very mellow pace. (I read on

Summitpost that some people get to the top in only five hours.)  We got back to the hut about 11am, drove out to Tlachichuaca,where we spent the night.

Saturday we drove back to Mexico city, and on Sunday I flew home.

If I had a choice, I would spend another night at Altzomoni hut, do a short hike to further acclimatize.  And I think Wed and Thu can be

combined into one day easily.  Also, if you are in a time crunch, it's possible to drive to Mexico City after summitting Orizaba to shave off another day.

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 Friday, January 28. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.