June 2011     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 45 , No. 6

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

General Meeting

Date          June 14, 2011

Time          7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA    

Program   Mountain Climbing In The Indian Himalaya

Presenter Arun Mahajan

In September 2010, PCS member, Arun Mahajan, joined up with an expedition from the UK, to climb in the Indian Himalaya. They journeyed into the magnificent mountain ranges of the Gangotri Glacier, which includes the peaks of Shivling, Meru and Bhagirathi in the Garhwal region of the Indian Himalaya. They made an attempt on their main objective for this trip, Satopanth, the iconic chisel headed 7000m+ peak, in challenging weather conditions because of the monsoons not releasing their hold in the plains and the mountains. Along the way, they passed by Gaumukh, the source of the mighty Ganga (Ganges) at the terminus of the Gangotri Glacier.

Come and experience the beauty and power of the Himalaya, the wonderful scenery and the incredibly helpful and humble people that that inhabit this beautiful corner of the world.

A view of Satopanth (7075m / 23212 ft) and its north flank from the Chaturangi Galcier.

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

Please check out Emilie's column - we need more leaders! And then check out our amazing Trip Reports!

See you on the rocks! Judy

Chair Column

Musings on PCS Trips and Leadership

What is leadership, anyway?  Is it the authoritarian style of barking orders with confidence or gently encouraging and mentoring someone to work through their limits?  I have spoken with many about leading trips and what makes a good leader.  Most are afraid to lead, yet they describe characteristics they possess when talking about others that lead trips.

Trips are the lifeblood of the PCS and we need trip leaders to run them.  Leading trips can be time consuming – they involve scouting a route (physically or virtually), securing permits, writing up descriptions, screening and tracking participants, and of course, leading the trip itself. 

Leaders are also expected to have a minimum skill level and specific training.  Thus, leaders also invest personal time to stay current on Sierra Club Outdoor Leader Training (OLT) 101 which is required every 4 years, taking 201 once, and keep current on Wilderness First Aid.  Other climbing disciplines may require additional training, such as Avy 1 for snow climbs.  All the requirements are straightforward and listed on our website - http://peakclimbing.org/leaders

Why would anyone invest so much time, and in some cases, money, to lead trips on a volunteer basis?  This is what we heard from some of our 2011 survey responses:

      I like to share the wilderness peakbagging experience

      I would lead unofficial trips only. No reason really.

      I am just not fast enough for the average trip although I get there eventually. I could lead a beginner climb.

      I would also like to get more people involved in climbing/conservation and expose them to the beauty of the Sierra.

      My club needs me.

      Nice to have others along. Not always so hard if already going.

      I get to go on the trip I want to go on.

      I've taught Boy Scouts for 10 years. Love teaching, it helps me learn more.

      Contributes to the section.

      I think I should be giving back.

So if these reasons resonate with you, but you are lacking just a wee bit of confidence in putting yourself out there as a leader, let Lisa Barboza or me know.  It痴 a great way to stretch yourself and build skills that make you potentially not only a better climbing partner, but a better contributor to your work environment. 


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.


June 3 - 5 - North Palisade

Leader: Kelly Maas

June 18 - 19 - Zinfandel and Chardonnay

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

North Palisade

Goal: North Palisade (14,248')

Location: Near Big Pine, East Side, Inyo National Forest

Dates: June 3 - 5

Leader: Kelly Maas

Difficulty: Rating 3E3 (class 5 +snow/ice)

From the "Glacier Lodge" trailhead above Big Pine, hike up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek to a camp at Sam Mack Meadow. From there, cross the Palisade Glacier - the largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada - and climb the U-Notch Couloir (snow and possible ice, to 40 degrees).

From the notch, climb two pitches up the 5.4 "chimney", then the follow the easier class 3+ ridge to the top. Return home on the 3rd day.
Participants must have proven skills and must be known to the leaders. Trip currently full, but waiting list is being kept.

Contact: Kelly Maas kamaas444 (at) sbcglobal.net, Louise Wholey

Zinfandel and Chardonnay

Goal: Red & 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値l 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値l 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
Co-leader: Joe Baker

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値l 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値l move to the lovely and little visited Upper Basin (11599), from which we値l be in position to climb Mt Bolton Brown (13538) and Mt Prater (13329). We値l 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値l camp near Lake Marjorie (11440), from which we値l be set up to climb Mt Wynne (13179), Mt Pinchot (13495), and Mt Perkins (12591), with a day hike over Pinchot Pass (12500). We値l 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 12 - 12

Leader: Louise Wholey     

Difficulty: Moderately difficult, 2D2

The climb of Iron Mtn will be on Saturday August 13 with a celebration following the climb in Mammoth, location TBD. This trip will be an overnight for some people and a day trip for others. We have permit space for 12 people to stay at Anona Lake Friday night.

To reserve a spot on the wilderness permit for camping at Anona Lake, send $5 to Louise at 21020 Canyon View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070.

Overnight participants: 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 slope (class 2)to the south ridge and walk the final ridge to the summit.

Day-hikers: The route is the same. We will leave camp ahead of you but expect to meet you on the summit.

We plan to reserve some campsites near Mammoth for the night of the party. Louise will collect in advance a reservation fee for a spot there.

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.

June 11 - 12 - Norman Clyde Peak

Leader - Terry Cline

June 27 - Mount Shasta

Leader - George Van Gorden

July 7 - 19 - Rocky Mountain High Points

Leader - Tim Hult

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

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痴 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

Rocky Mountain High Points

Goal: Kings (Utah high point) class 2, 3-day hike; Borah (Idaho high point) class 2, 3-very-steep-day-hike; Granite (Montana high point) class 3, 3-day-hike

Location: Utah, Idaho, Montana

Date: July 7 - 19

Leader: Tim Hult     

Difficulty: Class 2, 3 and possible use of ice axe and crampons.

Tim Hult will be climbing the high points of three states in this period: Utah (Kings peak), Idaho (Borah Peak), Montana (Granite). All are worthy peaks in spectacular settings. None of these are walk ups, Kings and Granite will require multi-day backpacking trip, and Borah is a stiff day hike. I plan to fly to some convenient start / stop point, rent a car and drive to all of the destinations. I'm looking for someone to share the expenses, and enjoy

the climbs with. We will be meeting Steve Eckert for the Montana climb. Please contact Tim Hult: tim d hult at sbcglobal dot net (no spaces, use appropriate substitutions)

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 Messi.
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

Split Mountain

April 30 - May 1

By Julius Gawlas

Early Saturday morning on April 30th Mike Snadden and Julius Gawlas (scribe) took a turn of 395 on Fish Springs Road following *alternative route* to Red Lake trailhead. Neither of us has driven there before so we had printed directions, several maps and GPS handy. The road turned out to be really straightforward to follow but indeed required a high clearance vehicle. After 50 minutes we parked the car at the dry, dusty trailhead at 6600 ft, hoisted our packs and headed towards Red Lake.

The trail was at first dry and had a desert feel with occasional cacti plants. Soon we crossed over into the canyon and we started seeing occasional snow. Maybe half way up to the Red Lake we put on snowshoes. It was slow and steady going with improving views. Finally we reached lower Red Lake and started to actually see Split Mountain. Lower Red Lake was basically covered with snow but there was a breakage in the ice and one could get water. We continued higher into Red Lake basin.

At the end of April it was magnificent winter theater. Frozen lake, wide snow fields and Split rising 3500' above us. Snow field gullies, broken ar黎es with huge gendarmes, no other human beings in sight – truly harsh alpine scenery. It was interesting to see that all the snow gullies had obvious traces of recent avalanches coming down the slope. East couloir was pretty bare and St Jean痴 looked like it was recently scraped of snow. The avalanche debris was visible 1500' below the entry and one could see blue ice in the lower third. We were both happy with our decision not to climb it and instead go on the snow slope.

We found a good sheltered camp site at ~10500' among few trees above the lake. The weather was good; Mike took a well earned nap and we build a platform, secured the tent, and made a nice place for our kitchen. Snow melting and cooking activities filled the afternoon. Once the sun was hidden behind the huge split silhouette of the mountain it got cold so we retired to our tent early.

split mountain.jpg

On Sunday morning it was sunny but cold and windy. After a quick breakfast we put on the crampons at the campsite and headed out at 7:30. Nice going in the almost ideal snow – only the occasional wind gusts made us worry how is it going to be once we got to the ridge. When we got higher we realized that the standard easy route to the ridge had a huge, iced cornice on the top. Instead we opted to go to the left, directly aiming at the Sierra crest, where the snow was steeper (40 to 45 deg at the top) but it naturally flowed into the ridge. Huffing and puffing we marched up.

split DSCN0743-3.jpg

Once on the ridge we realized that the wind was not that bad and we continued to the summit. The first half was devoid of snow but for the final push we put our crampons back on and reached the summit (14058' ~ 4285 m) at 11:15. Clear and sunny but cold and windy at the same time. Looking west it felt like middle of the winter – still lots of snow as far as we could see. Just a few pictures and we started going down, since the wind was not letting up. Nice plunging steps all the way to the steep snow slope. Looking down it was quite intimidating, no fall zone with run out at the rocky outcropping below. We both down climbed the steep part facing the slope and vigorously kicked the steps and plunged the ice axes. Soon it got mellower and we quickened the pace, reaching the tent site at 2 PM.

We quickly packed and started the long slog down. Got to the car in good time so we drove back to the Bay Area. Felt good to nail a fourteener still in winter conditions in total solitude. Trip pictures can be found at https://picasaweb.google.com/snaddens/SplitMountainApril2011?authkey=Gv1sRgCM7n0f7h-sWL2gE.

Backcountry Ski Trip

May 20 - 22

By Louise Wholey

What makes perfect skiing?  Perfect snow.  What makes perfect snow?  Perfect weather.  What makes perfect weather?  Luck!  This winter had lots of weather, especially the kind that makes deep snow.  What an incredible snowpack - still well covered above 10,000 feet.

Alex Sapozhnikov and I had saved the dates for this trip since the scheduling meeting in February but no others expressed interest.  We happily went anyway.  Between jury duty and company meetings the trip was limited to Friday - Sunday, too short for the Deerhorn NE face.  The second option was day trips, which we did - Cloudripper Friday, Rock Creek Saturday, and Dunderberg Peak Sunday. 

Day ski trips are very cool; you get to eat lots of great food in first choice restaurants.  Saturday dinner was our best buy.  At 5:30 pm we hit the bar at Whiskey Creek in Mammoth for dinner of salmon, double order of green beans, large spinach salad, and a pint of ale; $21 included tax and tip!

The weather forecast was obscure about the weekend weather, but Friday and Sunday were outstanding - sunny and cool, great for corn snow.  Saturday was not great but we got in a couple runs anyway, too late for the best snow as it warmed fast after minimal overnight freezing.

Cloudripper is a long day ski trip, but the views are wonderful.  Here is one that shows how much snow is still out there on the peaks behind South Lake.

DaySkiing 006-3.jpg

And the snow in Yosemite, seen from Dunderberg, is totally amazing!  No wonder they do not expect to open Tioga Road until June 30.

DaySkiing 013-3.jpg

The run down Dunderberg was so phenomenally good that we wanted it to last forever.  It was glorious corn snow in perfect condition - fantastic smooth cruising.  We were at the bottom too soon, but we scooted out to Bridgeport for yummy lunches at the Hayes Street Cafe and still made it home for dinner Sunday.  What a great weekend!

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, June 25. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.