May 2011     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 45 , No. 5 |

General Meeting

Date          May 10, 2011

Time          7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA    

Program   Mountain Rescue War Stories

Presenter Bay Area Mountain Rescue

We'll have a representative of Bay Area Mountain Rescue share mountain rescue war stories, how to avoid being the subject of a rescue, what to do if you are involved in one.

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.


Editor's Notes

Welcome to the May issue of Scree. As you probably know, our President tore her ACL in April, and you can read all about her five stages in her Chair Column. Hum, last year it was Arun, this year it's Emilie. Do we have to have an ACL accident every year?

Enjoy the trip reports, and be sure to read all the way to the end to take in the Spoken Coast announcement from Emilie.

Happy trails and don't forget your crampons! (Thank you, Stephane!)   Judy

Chair Column

"Emilie has fallen and she can't get up."  Photo credit Chris K

THE FIVE STAGES OF INJURY (or “How to Avoid Getting Whacked with a Crutch”)

It’s the curse of the outdoorsy and adventurous type to injure oneself from time to time.  I’ll count myself as one of the experienced ones now, having dealt with a wicked case of plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture in my L5, a broken collarbone (plus resulting surgeries and frozen shoulder), and now a complete ACL tear.  I have also lost my fair share of loved ones over the years and I have been noodling how similar the injury recovery process is to the grieving process, especially how well meaning folks seem to say all the wrong things!  J

Stage 1 – DENIAL

This first stage of grieving helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. You become stronger, and the denial begins to fade. But as you proceed, all the feelings you were denying begin to surface [1] .

Couldn’t have been a more mellow, relaxing day snowshoeing along Lewis Creek on relatively flat trail.  As my knee popped and searing pain flooded my joint, I knew

something had gone terribly wrong…BUT maybe it WAS just a knee strain.  I stayed lying down in the snow for a bit to let the pain dissipate, and once it did, my friends helped me stand up.  Amazingly I could weight it without too much pain, but it felt strangely and disconcertingly unstable.  Thankful to be with one of my favorite climbing partners and two mountain rescuers, we made our way back to the car over just under a mile of snow, branches, and bridges to cross – all much bigger obstacles than on the way in!   I kept my weight off the affected leg with hiking

poles, but once I had to put my left foot down to stabilize myself stepping over a log and felt the knee totally buckle. All along both my friends and I entertained ourselves with “it’s probably nothing” and “maybe you’ll have to take it easy for a couple of weeks” and “don’t freak out until you know more.” Anytime my mind would drift to what I really thought (I truly suspected an ACL tear and knew the implications), I would snap right back to the denial phase in order to cope.


Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits.

Anyone see my Facebook posts of obscenities like “f@#$ing mother f@#$er!!!” when I got confirmation of the diagnosis?  You guessed it- this was the anger phase!  After learning that I had sustained a complete ACL tear and there is no other option than surgery (to regain a stable knee), I was furious to say the least.  The surgeon warned that with the cadaver ligament replacement, I might start to feel good around 4 to 5 months post-surgery, but that is when the ligament is weakest as the body re-vascularizes it and when patients are most likely to sustain a re-tear. My

surgeon firmly imposed on me that I should get it in my head that there will be no “uneven terrain” for a minimum of 6 months to ensure a complete recovery. What? No uneven terrain?  That’s my definition of fun!  I aim to get a gold star in my rehabilitation, so I set out cancelling and unwinding 6 months of plans – Split Mountain, Yosemite, Memorial Day Trilogy (Cathedral, Matthes, Tenaya), Shasta Girl Power, Desolation Death March, Trinity Alps, Whitney East Buttress, and the mother of all my 2011 goals, the John Muir Trail.


We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements. We want life returned to what is was; we want our loved one restored. We want to go back in time: find the tumor sooner, recognize the illness more quickly, stop the accident from happening…if only, if only, if only.

My bargaining phase was limited. I have played that scene over and over again and wished I could go back in time to do things differently…but I’m not sure I would have.  It was such a freak accident that a slow motion cushy fall would twist my body just right to transfer all the force to my knee.

However, I have been dealing with feelings of regret and guilt related to putting work as a top priority over the last 9 months.  I love my new job as it’s rewarding, challenging, and intellectually stimulating. I threw myself into the steep learning curve.  As a result, at every decision point where I could pick going the extra mile for work or taking care of myself, I have chosen work.  I knew I would not do this forever and just a week before the accident, I made a conscious decision to reprioritize my health.  This makes the injury particularly frustrating – it’s the first one I’m going into out-of-shape and it's my own fault. So this is where most of my “bargaining” is focused.  If I can just get through this injury, I promise myself never to let work be a higher priority than my own health.


After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness.

OK, OK, so I’m not THAT depressed, but there have been some tears and some dark moments.  It doesn’t help that my right knee seems to be giving out under the strain and I’m scheduled to get an MRI to see what is developing there.  I know I’m usually pretty energetic and optimistic so I think it really freaks people out to see me in a depressed mood.

But for anyone, and in particular someone who derives the joy of living from the outdoors and gets her “zen” from the moving medication of hiking and climbing, it can be particularly challenging to lay on the bed or couch, watching the second hand of a watch tick painfully slowly by knowing that others are out there enjoying themselves while you watch your muscles waste away. Each day feels like an eternity and there are quite a few more days and some really hard work in physical therapy to get back out there. I feel that depression is a natural part of processing the negative aspects of the situation and moving toward acceptance.


Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to

reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves.  We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies.

Acceptance is the most difficult stage to reach and the injured are the only ones that can make progress toward this stage on their own.   You can’t push them toward it – they will only resent your insistence to accept it and “look on the bright side.”  There is often, but not always, a bright side but it’s up to them to find

it.  In my case, I don’t view down time on the couch a bright side at all.  Sure, I’m working on some skills – reading NOLS Wilderness, spending quality time with The Outdoor Knots Book and some cordelette, brushing up on my Russian with Rosetta Stone. I would ALWAYS pick the outdoors over any of these activities.

My bright side is the Shasta Girl Power 2011 climb.  Some gals want to wait until I’m better in 2012, but others want to go on and want me to help them lead it.  In a way, to help empower women but helping them lead their own trip is so much more fulfilling that just getting them to follow me up a mountain.  I can’t think of a better outcome compared to my initial vision for the climb.  Sonja, Abi, and Sarah, I am very proud of you for stepping up to the challenge!  I am so very looking forward to supporting you from Bunny Flat!

So what do we do with all of this processing and grieving of lost physical ability, lost time, and lost opportunities?  First, sugar coating it does no good unless your injured friend is still in the denial phase.  You are more likely to get a good whack from their crutches!  Better to listen, commiserate, and ask how you can help. I have been most appreciative to those that answered my call to help bring hand weights, healthy food, and chip away at the weeding that needs to be done in my yard. 

Your injured friend’s energies are best directed at getting better and you will be appreciated for supporting that.  Just remember to ask what THEY need.

Safe climbing!


[i] All quotes from “Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance” by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler

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.

May 20 - 23 - Ski Day Peaks or Deerhorn

Leader: Louise Wholey

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

Goal: Day Peaks or Deerhorn (13,281')

Location: Eastside of the Sierras

Dates: May 20 - 23

Leader: Louise Wholey     

Depending on road openings and interest we will either ski to and climb Deerhorn or do Cloudripper and some other peaks. The descent of the ME gully of Deerhorn is 35 degrees. Winter camping for Deerhorn; Bishop lodging or camping for Cloudripper et al. Contact

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’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
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’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 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)

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.

May 1 - Mount Lassen

Leader - George Van Gorden

May 7 - 8 - Ice Axe and Crampon Practice

Leader - Kelly Maas

May 27 - 29 - Perkins

Leader - Lisa Barboza

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

Leader: Steve Eckert

May 29 - June 1 - Memorial Day Peak Baggers Special

Leader: Lisa Barboza

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

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

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 or 408-378-5311

Mount Perkins

Goal: Mt. Perkins (12,566')

Location: Eastside of the Sierras

Dates: May 27 - 29

Leader: Lisa Barboza        

Difficulty: Proficient on snow; experience with ice axe and crampons

Friday, 5/27/11 Camp up the Armstrong Canyon Road – either hike in, or drive on 4WD road, depending on conditions.
Saturday, 5/28/11 climb Perkins, near Armstrong Col, and traverse ridge to Perkins
Sunday, 5/29/11 drive or hike out.

Participants must be proficient on snow, helmet, iceaxe, crampons required. Co-leader wanted.
Contact, or 650/493-8099

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

Memorial Day Trip Peak Baggers Special

Goal: Goode (13085'), Gilbert (13106'), Johnson (12,871'), Giraud (12,608')

Location: South Lake, Eastside of the Sierras

Dates: May 29 - June 1

Leader: Lisa Barboza        

Difficulty: Proficient on snow, and experience with ice axe and crampons

Join us in this intermediate trip to peaks near Bishop Pass, on a spring trip. There will be snow, so be prepared for snow camping.
Sunday, May 29th, hike in partway to Bishop Pass.
Monday, drop packs in northern Dusy Basin at camp, climb Goode.
Tuesday, climb Gilbert, Johnson via traverse route.
Wednesday, climb Giraud, hike out

Participants should be in excellent condition,, proficient on snow, helmet, iceaxe, crampons required. Be prepared for snow. Co-leader wanted.
Contact, or 650/493-8099

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

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

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.

The trip will begin by flying to the N. Rockies where we will drive between the Utah and Idaho high points and do hike / climbs of both.
Then we then will join Steve Eckert for Granite trip in Montana. Use of Ice axe and
crampons is possible on all three peaks.
However, we will avoid the technical routes requiring protection.
If interested call Tim Hult 650-966-2215 for more details.

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

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:

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.


Leader and contact info: Tom McDonald;

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

Cone Peak

April 2 - 3

By Dara Hazeghi

Participants: Joe Baker (leader), Judy Molland (co-leader), Karin ?, Ken Feltrop, Dara Hazeghi, Sassan Hazeghi, Chris Prendergast, Ronny Saghera, Sonia Singh, Eddie Sudol and Tom Wagner.

Located on the central coast midway between Big Sur and Morro Bay, Cone Peak has a reputation for offering one of the steepest sea-to-summit slopes of any California mountain (5155 ft. elevation gain, less than 3 miles as the crow flies).  Heavy rains throughout March had left 3 separate sections of Highway 1 closed so reaching the trailhead at the Kirk Creek Campground required a long detour through the Fort Hunter-Liggett military base

and over narrow, winding Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd.  On account of Judy’s latest book, the trip’s date had been pushed back a week from its initial announcement, which as we also discovered was an excellent choice in terms of weather (much better) and creek crossings (much easier).

We set off around noon for Vicente Flat under heavily overcast skies.  Although we ascended rapidly, the views of the ocean were soon obscured by a thick mist that proceeded to condense rapidly on all available surfaces.  Thick shrubs gave way first to long grass, then to steep slopes shaded by oaks.  An hour or so along, we passed a trail crew shoring up a section that seemed ready for a landslide.  We also saw a great variety of wildflowers and a healthy quantity of poison oak.

After reaching around 2000 ft., the trail leveled off and began to traverse inward away from the ocean.  With thick layers of fog limiting visibility to less than fifty feet, it was impossible to tell how far above the bottom of the canyon we were.  We took a few breaks and reached Vicente Flat around 3:30PM having encountered only the trail crew and two brave bicyclists.

We made camp at Vicente Flat under the trees, not far from Hare Creek.  It was not actually raining, but the big trees were very good at condensing water from the mist and depositing it on us in the form of large droplets.  After several tries, Chris and Sassan managed to coax damp twigs, pine

needles and kindling into a roaring campfire.  The combination of dinner, the warm fire and Karin’s contribution of a drink called Southern Comfort meant that nobody was in a hurry to go to sleep.

Sunday morning we had a quick breakfast and set off for Cone Peak around 7:30AM with daypacks.  The first mile or so of the trail forced us to cross the creek nearly a dozen times as we proceeded up the narrow canyon. Nobody was entirely dry when we made the final crossing and began switchbacking up the hill towards Cone Peak Rd.  We emerged above the morning fog first to a view of Cone Peak and then to one of the hills going out to the coast.  At 9:30AM we joined Cone Peak Rd. and for the next hour we were treated alternately to vistas of Junipero Serra Peak and the Pacific Ocean.  On the ridges between us and Junipero Serra Peak we could see snow.

We left the road with 2 miles still to go, following the trail around the west side of the peak.  A lot of the brush showed signs of a recent fire but the trail was in good shape.  Downed bushes and two small slides aside, we had no significant obstacles.  A few hundred feet below the peak, we joined a ridge that seemed to be coming up straight from the ocean.  Just before noon we rounded the last of a dozen switchbacks and reached the summit’s lookout, from which we could admire the central coast for thirty-plus miles in each direction.

Following a pleasant lunch on the summit, we started our descent.  The coastal fog had burned off completely, replaced with a slight haze and some high clouds.  It took us 2 hours from the summit down to the first creek crossing.  We had an easier time staying dry than in the morning.  At Vicente Flat, we paused to pack up our tents and gear.  Leaving, we met a group of boy scouts from San Diego who were happy to take our place.

The return trip from Vicente Flat was much different from the day before.  Without the fog, we could see not only the canyon as it dropped away below us, but Cone Peak behind us and the coast, including highway 1, ahead.  Eddie and Chris kept a running tally of the wildflowers we encountered on the way down and counted more than 60 different types.  Also plentiful was poison oak, which we had a hard time avoiding on the final stretch of trail.  The trail crew had left before we reached the area they were working on but we did pass their collection of tools and giant 2-gallon water bottles.  We reached the trailhead a little before 7PM, amidst lengthening shadows and the beginnings of a colorful sunset.  Congratulations to Judy on finishing her new book and to Karin, Ronny, Sonia and Tom on their first trip with the PCS!

Basin Peak (13,181') and Peak 13,240' ("South Basin")

April 15 - 17

By Stephane Mouradian

On Friday, Craig Haupt and I drove the very bumpy dirt road to Horton Lake TH and we gave in at 7400' just before it became impassable.

At 9:30am, we strapped our skis to our packs and hiked in through the sage brush until we hit snow at 8000'.  We reached Horton Lake at 12:30.  We felt "up for it", so we quickly pitched the tent then took off for the SW class 2 face of Basin.  We did not ski the classic east couloir because one of us (me!) wanted to summit and the east couloir has a class 4/5 face to summit, which is not easy to do in teleboots with no rope.  On the SW face, there were some bare spots but we could skin up snow slopes almost to the summit, which we reached at 4:45pm.  We skied back down and reached camp 6:30pm.  It was a 6000' day after the long drive the night before and we were pretty spent.

Next day Saturday was supposed to be easier but it ended up being another full day. We left camp 8:15am toward unnamed Peak 13,240' (aka "South Basin"). We skied up 3 miles via Upper Horton Lake and left our skis just below the SW ridge of the peak.  We had left our crampons in the car and we could have used them to gain the ridge up some 45 deg, hard slopes.  Instead, we found some mostly rocky class 2 slope which took us to the ridge proper.  The ridge was solid class 3 and narrow. At one point, we decided to drop right (South) to avoid a difficult section that seemed past class 3.  Dropping right to a notch allowed us to continue climbing while staying on the right and eventually regain the ridge proper and the summit after tackling a few large blocs. 

It was 2:15pm, a 6h climb from camp.  This unnamed peak climb was much more "interesting" than the named peak the day before. No wonder nobody comes here.  Down climbing the peak took a while until we

could finally get back on skis and we reached camp at 5:15pm. 

Day 3 was supposed to be Mt Tom from Horton Lake but there were a couple issues: #1 the steep slopes from Horton lake were hard in the morning and having no crampons would have required us to have a late start if any, #2 we could clearly see the previous days that the summit plateau on Mt Tom was quite bare and we wanted to ski and #3, we could come back later and ski the classic Elderberry Canyon on the east side which has a class 2 route to the summit (different TH).  So we just headed out and hung out on the east face of Mt Basin to carve a few in the very good corn snow.

Great trip, perfect weather. Always take crampons.  Need to ski Elderberry Canyon next, it is only a 7000' day :)

Mount Muir

April 16 - 17

By Julius Gawlas

Friday afternoon April 15th Linda Sun and Julius Gawlas (scribe) left the Bay Area with eyes set on summiting Muir without crowds, permit lottery and in snowy spring conditions. We left early and were able to get to Lone Pine ~10:30 PM. We got our self-issued permit and promptly checked into Whitney Hostel. This hostel is highly recommended: for $23 per person we were able to sleep in comfort, divvy up the gear and pack in warm room.

Saturday morning we took off from Lone Pine, drove, and parked the car at Whitney Portal overflow parking. We left the car at 7:30 with beautiful, sunny weather. We were not sure how high we wanted to camp – we were going to make that decision on the fly depending on the conditions. The trail was dry until the turn to North Fork, than it was firm snow. It was quick going in amazing snowy spring scenery.

We met only one guy on the trail and saw two tents set up at Outpost camp. It was hard to believe there were no people and we had the mountain practically to ourselves. Somewhere along the way we put on snow shoes, took a few long breaks and reached trail camp in the mid afternoon. Linda found nice spot for the tent – a little bit sheltered from the wind on dry rocks. We set up the tent, really securing the lines in anticipation of wind later on. A relaxing evening followed: nap in the sun, dinner. We watched several people literally stagger down the trail. Once the sun hid behind the crest it got really cold and we quickly retired to the tent. During the night wind was coming and

going but it was not too bad and we both slept well at 12000'.


dscn0728.jpg Sunday morning we got up once the sun reached our tent, ate breakfast and left for Mt Muir a few minutes past 7 AM. There were foot tracks leading to the snow slope to the right of the switchbacks – lucky for us we did not have to work too hard to break the trail. We put crampons on at the camp site and were walking on nice, firm snow with excellent grip. 1500' of vertical gain to the notch was a good, hard cardio workout. We were both glad when we reached it.

Once there, an absolutely amazing view of countless snowy peaks opened up. We took a short rest and continued on the windswept, almost snow-free trail. At first we missed the turn into a gully that leads toward Muir, and “big cairn” was nowhere to be found.

Eventually we found the right chute towards the summit – easy going on just rocks, no snow/ice. We dropped our packs at the beginning of the final third class section. A short super easy (even in big boots) but fun scramble to the top and we made our summit at 14015'just past 11 AM. Linda read in Secor that the first winter ascent was made by Norman Clyde on April 30th, 1927 – so we figured that our hike counted as a winter ascent. We signed the register and it turned out we were the first ones to summit Muir this year – nice bonus.

The panorama of snowy peaks was amazing, and many pictures were taken. We wanted to stay and freeze that special moment in time but we started heading down at 11:30, easy going to the notch. The snow had softened and it was straightforward to either plunge step or glissade down. We packed up the camp and headed down the trail. In the soft snow snowshoes were saving the day and we were moving fast. On Sunday we enjoyed the solitude all day long – we did not meet anybody on the trail. We reached the Portal at 5 PM and without much delay headed for home, reaching the Bay Area at 12:30 am.

An almost perfect trip: efficient plan, great weather, fantastic company and the reward of a winter summit in solitude.


The Spoken Coast: 

Stories of hope from Alaska to Chile

Have you ever gone through a major life challenge and not felt supported? Have you ever wondered how some people seem to thrive during these hardships, while others suffer?

The SpokenCoast project gathers personal stories of successful transformation to those struggling from a major life challenge. The SpokenCoast project will capture these stories, along the coastline of both North & South America, and offer them in a book anthology.

While on this quest, Marissa Krupa – the project's creator and interviewer, will summit several significant peaks to honor her mountaineer brother who was recently lost to cancer. A memorial will be left at the top of each peak. In this way, Marissa hopes to transform her loss into something that can benefit others, via the documentary film of the journey.


Twitter – @TheSpokenCoast

Website – coming soon!

Marissa’s blog -

I first met Marissa Krupa in January 2010 when she participated in the annual SFBay Sierra Club Snowcamping Training series. Marissa was memorable at first because she was one of two students we had to treat for mild hypothermia.  Happens every year and in Marissa’s case, her ski wear turned out not to be so water resistant and caused her body temperature to drop.  Marissa was also a rock

climber dipping her toe in snow sports and backcountry skiing and it turned out we had a number of friends in common.

Marissa is self-described as “a 30-something professional woman whose mother & brother were both diagnosed with Grade 3 Astrocytoma tumors within about a week of each other.”  Both situations were terminal. What made Marissa most memorable and inspirational was her positive attitude through this challenging situation.

Her brother, Mickey, was an accomplished mountaineer who had climbed all around the world.  They sat together and created a list of 11 peaks, throughout the Pacific Coast of both North & South America that he never had the chance to climb.  Marissa would climb them for her brother, to have the experiences he was not able to.

When her brother, Mickey, passed this past February, Marissa had lost her job just a few weeks beforehand.  Now, I’m sure Marissa has had some really difficult moments that are difficult for most of us to even imagine, but instead of retreating and wallowing in self-pity, she has become very focused on creating something inspirational out of her experience and taking advantage of her time off.

While she travels from Alaska to Chile, climbing the 11 peaks along the way for her brother, leaving memorials from his friends and loved ones at the top of each peak, Marissa will interview the people she meets and find out how they have coped with major life challenges, tragedies and transitions.  She will seek to find a message of strength and hope from those she meets along the way to help with her own coping process, as well as spread the message as far as she can to help others that are facing their own challenges.

Her project will be called “The Spoken Coast.”  She intends to write a book and produce a documentary from her experience.

Marissa needs your help.  She is looking for a videographer, gear donations, and funding.

She’ll be at Kelly Maas’ Carson Pass self- arrest practice weekend and at the Shasta Girl Power climb if you would like to meet her and talk about her project.  You can also learn more at

We’ll look forward to tracking Marissa’s progress as she prepares for her transformative journey and supporting her along the way!

-Emilie Cortes

Wilderness First Aid

* Wilderness First Aid class offered by ASI:

* Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter WFA

class for $100 in Palo Alto Apr 30-May 1; contact Tom Morse 650-593-5123.  

* Sierra Club Wilderness First Responder class at Clair Tappaan Lodge, Donner Summit, May 21-30,

Both are done by the excellent Bobbie Foster of Foster Calm,  

These Sierra Club sponsored

classes are probably the least expensive way to get this very important training.

* NOLS WFA courses in Sausalito Apr 30-May 1, Santa Cruz May 7-8, and Berkeley May 21-22.

Elected Officials


    Emilie Cortes /


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

    Louise Wholey /

    21020 Canyon View Road, Saratoga, CA       95070


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

  Sonja Dieterich/

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor

    Judy Molland /

PCS World Wide Web Publisher
    Joe Baker/

    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  Joining the PCS is easy.  Go to

PCS Announcement Listserv

If you join the PCS Announcement Listserv you will receive announcements and updates of trips and meetings. Use the 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, May 26. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.