September 2011     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 45 , No. 9 |

General Meeting

Date          September 13, 2011

Time          7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA    

Program   Great Climbing Destinations: Coast to Coast

Presenter Jim Thornburg

The most published climbing photographer of the past 20 years, Bay Area native Jim Thornburg is a master at capturing the profound interplay between climber and crag. His photos have graced the covers of numerous magazines and catalogs, including Climbing, Rock and Ice, Patagonia, and Black Diamond.

Tonight, Jim will share highlights of his life’s work, featured in Stone Mountains: North America’s Best Crags, his new large format photo book showcasing 35 climbing areas spanning the continent. Join Jim for a visual tour of treasured crags, including the fantastic granite boulders of Joshua Tree; the perfect limestone of El Potrero Chico (Hidalgo, Mexico); the spectacular overhangs of Red River Gorge (Kentucky) and the Gunks (Shawangunk Ridge, New York state); off-the-track destinations here in the greater Bay Area; and more.

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

First off, I want to dedicate this issue of Scree to Louise Wholey, and congratulate her on her SPS list finish. As you read her three trip reports, you will see that she was VERY determined to finish off this list!

Next, check out our new column starting this month: The Food Column, featuring recipes for good and light-weight backpacking meals provided by our very own PCS members.

Thank you, Sonja, for the suggestion and the first contribution. And yes, this month it really is here!

Finally, Louise had hoped to organize a conservation trip over Labor Day, but she's been busy with a few other things. However, she is interested in hearing from PCSers who might have ideas on how to help with conservation in the Sierra or elsewhere.


The Food Column

Inside the Bear Canister

By Sonja Dieterich

Every decent newsletter needs a food column: welcome to the inaugural version! I have always enjoyed seeing the various dinners and breakfasts being cooked on our PCS

trips. National Outings provided me opportunities not only to hike in new areas, but pick up recipes and ideas as well. We've had stove side discussions on what works for breakfasts that first morning after getting to altitude, when your stomach is not happy but your muscles need fuel. I hope that some of you will contribute as well. Anything food related goes, ranging from a recipe to a simple one-liner of a new snack food you discovered.

For next month, I'd like to write on snacks. What do you snack on during your summit attempt? And where do you store it while climbing?

To close this column, I am going to share a recipe for the food dehydrator.

Clean-Air Chili

Portion size may vary

1 pound of ground meat (I replace 1/2 with textured soy protein)

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 onion

1/2 pound of red lentils

1 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoons of your favorite Chili powder



Garlic, crushed (plenty, or as much as your tent mate will tolerate)

Soak the lentils in water for a few hours. Sautee onion and meat. Put all ingredients in crockpot and let simmer for about three hours to blend flavors. The chili should have a very thick consistency. Spread the chili on fruit leather sheets. These are thin silicone sheets that go over the more open-mesh like regular dehydrator racks.  I use three soup ladles per sheet for my Excalibur, which is the equivalent of 2 portions for me if I serve it without rice, and three portions with rice. If I happen to be

at home when the crockpot is cooking, I throw in the rice about 30-45 minutes before I plan to take the chili out. Dry at 130 F for about 12-16 hours. You can speed up the process by flipping the drying chili halfway through. To do this, take one sheet out of the dehydrator, place a second sheet above the chili, flip around, and pull the formerly bottom, now top, fruit leather sheet off the chili.

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.

Sept. 2 - 5 - Labor Day Weekend Trip

Leader: Tim Hult

Sept. 8 - 13 - Barnard and Friends

Leader: Jesper Schou

Sept. 10 - North Peak

Leader: Arun Mahajan

Sept. 16 - 18 - Needham Mountain

Leader: Aaron Schuman

October 1 - San Joaquin Mountain

Leader: Daryn Dodge

PCS Trip Details

Labor Day Weekend Trip

Goals: Seven Gables (13,080'), Hooper Mt (12,349'), Senger Mt (12,286'), Gemini (12,880')

Location: Florence Lake, Westside of the Sierras

Dates: September 2 - 5

Leader: Tim Hult     

Difficulty: Class 2-4

Our group of four will enter the John Muir Wilderness at the Florence lake trailhead (west side) with the intent to climb a grouping of
these class 2 - 4 peaks: Seven Gables, Hooper, Senger, and Gemini.
Depending on group comfort, we may use a rope on Hooper. This trip promises to be long but with very good peaks as objectives.

Contact Tim Hult at 650-966-2215 (work)

Barnard and Friends

Goals: Trojan, (13950'), Class 2; Versteeg, (13470'), Class 2; Barnard, (13990'), Class 2; Peak 4180+, (13680',) Class 2; Carl Heller, (13211'), Class 3; Morgenson, (13920'), Class 2S3; Carillon, (13552'), Class 2; Tunnabora, (13565'), Class 2; The Cleaver, (13355'), Class 3

Location: Eastern Sierra, North of Whitney

Dates: September 8 - 13

Leader: Jesper Schou       

Difficulty: Class 2 and 3. Strenuous. Hardest day probably 3E3

We are going to take advantage of the fact that the George Creek drainage is now open all year to climb a bunch of peaks from an unusual direction. While we will enter via George Creek the plan is to exit via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek.

We are planning to do the peaks roughly in the order listed. Enter via George Creek, climb Trojan, Versteeg, Peak 4180+ and Barnard
from the Barnard/Trojan saddle, descend Barnard to Wallace Lake, climb Carl Heller, go towards Tulainyo Lake, climb Morgenson, Carillon, Tunnabora and The Cleaver, exit via Russell/Carillon saddle and North Fork Lone
Pine Creek.

Our plan is to keep the details on where to camp and which days to do each peak flexible. If we run out of time we may drop peaks of the list, especially the ones towards the end of the list.

Maps: Mount Whitney and Mount Williamson (Manzanar and Mount Langley for

North Peak

Goals: North Peak (12,242')

Location: Saddlebag Lake, near Tioga Pass, Yosemite NP

Date: September 10

Leader: Arun Mahajan       

Difficulty: Class 2

A dayhike of a nice 12k+ ft peak in the beautiful Saddlebag Lake area of eastern/northern Yosemite. This trip is suitable for fit and acclimated peak climbers who have had some experience in peak climbing.

The route will take us to some spectacular scenery and we will have views of the Yosemite high country including some nearby 13k and 12k ft peaks.

Starting time: We start walking at 7am, Saturday morning. Please be there, ready to hike.

Starting place: The right side of the dam over the Saddlebag Lake, almost at the very end of the Saddlebag Lake Road.
Route: From the starting point, we will walk across the dam to the west shore of the lake and make our way past a beautiful waterfall to a saddle on the ridge line and will scramble over class-2 talus to the summit.

Preference will be given to relative new comers to the PCS.  We will take 6 participants (besides the two leaders).

Since this is an official trip, all participants will be required to sign a waiver.

All participants must contact the leader(s) to be signed up and if they have not climbed with the leader before, provide some information about their recent climbing experience/fitness/acclimatization.
Contact: Co-leader Ron Karpel

The Need Never Stops

Goal: Needham Mountain (12,520')

Location: Mineral King, Sequoia NP

Dates: September 16 - 18

Leader: Aaron Schuman   

Difficulty: Class 2 with one class 3 move

During the month of September, the aspens of Mineral King are clothed in gold. On day 1, starting in the early afternoon, we’ll hike 4 miles from the trailhead (7830') to our camp at Crystal Lake (10800'). On day 2, we’ll cross the tricky class 3 col (11500'), down to

Amphitheater Lake (11100'), up to Needham Mtn (12520'), and finally return to camp the way we came. On easy day 3, we hike out and drive home.

Leader: Aaron Schuman a.j.Schuman AT gmail DOT com
Co-leader: Joe Baker joe AT joebaker DOT us

San Joaquin Mountain Quadruple List Finish Celebration

Goal: San Joaquin Mountain (11, 598')

Location: Eastside of the Sierras, Mammoth area

Date: October 1

Leader: Daryn Dodge        

Difficulty: Class 1

This trip is sponsored by the Sierra Peaks Section of the Sierra Club.

Louise Wholey and Chris Libby have just completed the SPS list. In addition, John Hooper and Greg Gerlach will coincidentally both complete the list on Mt.Gardiner by the end of summer. We will have a celebratory list finish dayhike climb for all 4 list finishers on San Joaquin Mtn (about 2700' gain and 9-12 miles from Minaret Summit area, or 1600’ gain and 5 miles from Deadman Pass via 4WD road) on Sat Oct 1. Immediately following the climb will be a potluck party at John's place in Paradise. Send e-mail or SASE with conditioning and experience to Leader: Daryn Dodge, Co-leaders: Kathy Rich, Bob Wyka
Contact Daryn Dodge: Daryn.Dodge 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.

October - Mt. Kailash, Nepal/Tibet

Leader: Warren Storkman

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

Leader - Tom McDonald

Private Trip 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:

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

A Wet Odyssey

Table and Picket Guard

July 28 - August 1

By Louise Wholey

Shepherd Pass permits in summer are not hard to reserve, but turning a reservation into a permit without visiting the rangers’ station at 8 am may take some gyrations.  Corrine Livingston had planned to get our permit but was stuck in traffic on the 405.  Jim flew me to Bishop barely in time Wednesday afternoon; I got it!  Ultimately we rallied around dinner at Corrine’s house in Independence for our last fresh food for a while.  Daryn Dodge, the remaining participant, arrived near bedtime, a bit too late to open a fresh bottle of wine – fortunately!  It tasted great at the end of the trip!

Rising at 5:30 am, packing, and driving to the trailhead took time, but finally we were hiking in quite pleasant conditions.  Despite numerous refreshing stops we were at the pass in 7 hours, 1 hour per 1000 feet.  We dropped to Tyndall Creek for our first camp.  The weather was typical of fine Sierra weather; little did we know what was in store for us on the remainder of our 5 day trip.


The second day we hiked over to the Kern River where some large fallen trees at the outlet (south side) of the lake that is reached at the trail junction still provide a dry safe crossing.  The river in other places was a torrent with the melting snow.  We set up camp at the lake and at 9 am donned our day-packs to climb Table.  During our approach we watched intensely dark clouds form over Whitney, a storm that ultimately closed the trail, campground and Whitney Portal Road.  At Table we hoped we would be spared.

Our climb started by hiking the “use” trail into Milestone Basin, then turning toward Table.  There was snow from the lake at 19,200 feet to the ramp on the SE side of the peak.  There was also snow higher on the route, which Daryn thought would be a show-stopper, blocking the keyhole which allows access to the plateau of the mountain.  Though both Daryn and Corrine had previously climbed this route, we still had some trouble finding the right way.  At one point I found a weakness that went up and slightly left, ending in a right ascending ramp, likely the crucial ramp for climbing the peak.  We continued climbing as the rain intensified.  The sky was uniformly dark gray; Whitney was being pelted.

Corrine suggested waiting it out, but when the lightning came too close I wanted to descend.  A wait could be quite long and dangerous, judging by the extent of the storm, and I had too few warm-when-wet clothes.  Large hail hurt our hands and faces as we descended.  Back in camp I found my tent sitting in pools of water.  So much for having a protective footprint!  Condensation on the inside of my tent kept everything damp for the remainder of the trip.

On the following day people offered to go back to try Table again, but thoughts of snow blocking the route and the red skies in the morning, sailors take warning, made it seem more promising to continue to Picket Guard.

This was a bad decision for learning more about the route on Table, but it may have been the key reason we succeeded with Picket Guard.

On the trail next to the Kern River we found the cascading white water totally fascinating.  At one place we saw a large cinnamon-colored bear.  Quick-thinking Corrine called out to it causing it to scamper away.  Noise prevents surprise.  Down-stream Tyndall Creek joins the Kern.  Both were raging torrents.  We hunted up along the creek for a place to cross, but the terrain above is very steep.  At the normal crossing there is a tree down, but it is several feet from the closest shore.  Finally we decided to build a bridge to the tree using some long logs that had previously been used to section off grazing land.  It worked!  We got across the log by crawling.  Daryn graciously carried our backpacks.  On the next crossing I lost one of my trekking poles to the raging Kern.

We camped on the Colby Pass Trail just short of the Kern River.  The river splits into about 5 different paths on this flatter area, but it was still a challenge to cross it.  The deepest part wet our shorts.  Our afternoon was dedicated to finding a way to cross the Kern-Kaweah River, also cascading torrentially down the canyon.  Daryn found a spot he was willing to cross but Corrine would not do it.  I “needed” the peak and was getting accustomed to crossing creeks with my one remaining trekking pole.  Daryn and I went for Picket Guard early on our 4th day while Corrine tried unsuccessfully to hike to the Kern Hot Springs, stopped by the crossing at Whitney Creek.

We made the crossing of the Kern-Kaweah successfully and ascended to the east ridge by moving diagonally up to the left on vegetation and some slabs.  As we climbed I occasionally took GPS waypoints, which were crucially important for the descent.  As usual

the weather was far from pristine; we raced the coming rain to the summit.  On the summit at last – with no broken bones unlike past attempts – I relished the victory.  Briefly!  Suddenly fog and clouds surrounded us, totally obscuring our descent route.  Ah yes, I am glad I took those GPS waypoints! 

We pretty much followed our up-route on the descent despite the now slippery wet slabs that could no longer be used; we found our river crossing.  I almost failed to get across; a submerged log was pushing into me and my trekking pole. I had no idea what was happening but finally escaped past the end of it!  Wow!  Without the pole it would have taken me down.  On the far shore where the trail is the hundred mosquitoes coating my body mattered little.  I was so happy!  We descended through the avalanche debris (not much trail cleanup this year) to camp, packed, and hiked out on the High Sierra Trail. 

We saw no one else once we left Tyndall Creek below Shepherd Pass, not even along the popular High Sierra Trail, probably due to impossible creek crossings. 


We had our own epic creek crossing when we came upon a cascading Wright Creek, just a few feet above the white water of Wallace Creek.  It looked impossible, but Daryn demonstrated that he could do it wearing his backpack.  I crossed with no backpack,

struggling to keep my too-big Crocs on my feet over the rough rocky bedding below the surface.  Corrine reluctantly followed while Daryn ported our packs.  We camped at a higher location on Wright Creek along the JMT/PCT.

The fifth and final day was Corrine’s last chance for a peak on this 70+ mile odyssey.  She and Daryn rose early and climbed Tyndall from Shepherd Pass while I leisurely dried my stuff to make it lighter weight and hiked to the pass.  Timing was good; they reached the pass after their climb just as the clouds burst yet again.  We quickly scooted over the pass and down the trail.  Five hours later we happily jumped into the car to try to find some dinner.  Subway was the only choice, but Daryn’s waiting bottle of “” wine made a fun party at Corrine’s house.  A shower and bed could not have felt better!

Shall we drink a toast to the end of the Pacific Northwest weather in the Sierra?  We have to admit it is very good for the water supply!

Goddard Canyon

July 30 - August 6

By Linda Sun

I’ve always wanted to climb Goddard, but I wasn't sure we could climb over Lamarck Col in a day with a heavy pack.  So when Judy suggested that we go in from the west side via Florence Lake, I was in.

Day 1: We arrived at the trailhead at Florence Lake, around 11am.  As we were packing, thunder and lightning started.  Interesting day tostart an 8-day trip.  The lady at the store said the ferry could not run until the storm  had passed because it’s too dangerous.  Sure enough, I got hit by a lightning while standing in the door way of the store. That was scary.  

Eventually the storm reduced to a drizzle, and we were ferried over around 2pm.  We started

hiking with hail on the ground.  After only a few hours, a second thunderstorm started, and it got us pretty wet.  We camped about 6 miles in.

Day 2: We started hiking around 8am, with the clouds gathering quickly.  After three hours of hiking, a thunderstorm started again. But we had learned our lesson from the previous day, and we immediately set up our tent and took a nap.  The rain stopped around 3pm, and we hiked a couple more hours, making a total of 10 miles before we camped around 9,500 feet in Goddard Canyon. There were lots of waterfalls, pretty trails, and a couple of interesting creek crossings.


Day 3: Another 3.5 hours of hiking got us to Martha Lake, where we’d spend the next three nights.  There was still floating ice in the

lake, but we were able to get water.  Itching for peaks, I took off to climb Reinstein.  I was racing against the clouds again, but it never

rained that day.  The weather was finally getting better.  I went from the east side of Martha Lake, and came back via the west side.  The east side was longer, and the west side had snow; it took about the same

effort.  It was snow-covered all the way to Reinstein Pass, then I followed the 3rd class northeast ridge to the summit.  The start of

the ridge was about 50 feet below the pass on the north side, a bit steep and loose for about 200 feet, then it was all solid and fun.

The roundtrip from Martha Lake took about 3.5 hours.


Day 4: We started around 6:30am for Goddard.  We went east from Martha

Lake, stayed left of the notch, over talus and snow fields. We first reached the tarn at 11,960 feet.  From there, we went north, and

stayed left of Lake 12240.  To reach the southwest ridge of Goddard, we had to go

northwest, climb a bit of snow, then over some steep scree/talus.  I brought my ice axe, but the snow was soft enough for Harry

with trekking poles, and the run-out was good. The southwest ridge was tedious: a huge pile of rubble.  However, the short 3rd class between the south and the north summits was kind of fun, and Harry was very happy to

have reached his objective for the trip.  We summited at 11am, left around 11:30am, and came back to camp at 2:30pm.


Day 5: I started around 6:15am, and went east from Martha Lake, following the previous day’s footsteps.  I got to the saddle east of

tarn 11960 around 8:45am.  From there, I went southeast, skirting the west side of lakes 11818, over the next ridge, and climbed the

northwest slope of Scylla.  On the way back, I was able to hop over stones between the 11818 lakes, saving some distance.  By now the sun cups were soft, and it was very tiring to walk over them.  I summited around 11:45am, and got back to camp around 3:45pm.


Day 6: Harry and I left camp at 6:30am again. We hiked 2.5 hours around peak 12434 until we could see closely at McGee.  I took a REALLY LONG look at the south slope and chickened out.  I couldn’t figure out how

this ice-filled steep loose gully could be class 2.  We went back to camp, and hiked back to where the JMT and Goddard Canyon meet.

Day 7: From the bridge, I went west on the JMT for about 0.1 mile, until I could cross over a log the creek that drains Lake 10280.  Then

I went up west along the creek.  The first 600 feet of gain or so wasvery brushy.  Ugly.  Then it widened somewhat, and I reached over the notch around 9,800 feet.  From there it was easy terrain to the lake. From the lake, I went northwest to the northeast ridge of Henry, and followed the ridge to the summit:

4 hours up, 2 hours 45 min down. Then we hiked 2.5 hours back to our first day’s camp.


Day 8: We got up early, hiked 6.5 miles, caught the 9am ferry, and drove home.

Deerhorn and Table

August 5 - 10

By Louise Wholey

Oh no!  My List Finish for the list of 248 best peaks in the Sierra Nevada (selected by the Angeles Chapter Sierra Peaks Section of the Sierra Club) is scheduled for August 13, 2011, my 70th birthday.  That date is a little more than a week away.  I am missing two peaks, Deerhorn and Table.  How can I manage to climb these peaks?  These are not easy peaks; climbing solo is not recommended. 

While out spring skiing with Terry Erickson and Helga Zimmerer I had talked to them about climbing and maybe skiing Deerhorn.  They are ardent third class rock climbers as well as very capable skiers.  Deerhorn has a beautiful 35 degree snow chute between the two northeast buttresses.  None-the-less such an outing did not happen.  Finally they could go for the trip August 5-7.  Great!  I spent much of my 3 days of home preparation time trying to find a way to be sure to get a permit for the popular Kearsarge Pass trail.  They issue 36 reservations, all of which were taken, and 24 walk-in permit spaces.  With no luck finding a better option we tried for an 8 am walk-in permit; it worked!  Whew!

Meanwhile, during those 3 days at home while I was organizing my birthday “list finish” trip I took the wild step of contacting every guide service in Bishop seeking someone to climb Table mid-week during the week before my birthday.  SMI (Sierra Mountaineering International) found a guide, Chris Werner, who could squeeze in a trip Monday to Wednesday.  It just might work.  I got the details about 4 pm Thursday and quickly packed for 6 days rather than 3.  The guide would come to meet me and bring breakfast and dinner meals, but I needed lunches.  I also threw in a harness and locking biner.  Wow!  It is unbelievable that this might actually happen!  The plan was to meet Chris at a little lake on the Upper Kern Cut-off near the trail to Lake South America on Monday around 3 pm.  After Deerhorn I planned to hike over Forester Pass from Vidette Meadow. Chris would hike over Shepherd Pass.  I supplied small radios for making contact.  OK!  It is a plan!


Deerhorn was fun!  The hike to the base of the peak is about 11 miles and 4500 feet of elevation gain, all on maintained trails except for the last few miles.  A late start after our morning visit to the Bishop Ranger Station and a long talk with my guide about our Table plans put us on the trail at 11 am, but we did fine.  Crossing Bubbs Creek was much easier than 2 weeks earlier.  We also located most of the “use” trail up the valley between the Videttes and hiked to the highest large lake for

our camp.  Despite some altitude and mosquito issues we were set for the climb. We eyed with dismay another party camped at the lake; how strange that two parties should be here to climb this rarely climbed peak.

We rose at 6 am and were underway by 7:15.  First we scaled talus and scree to a small tarn nestled in the snowpack, then continued up toward the northeast buttress on a large snowfield.  Crampons were helpful on the firm snow.  Happily we were much faster than the other group.  We passed through a bit of loose stuff moving onto the buttress above the steep lower portion.  From there it is a classic 3rd class climb on solid rock.  We enjoyed a beautiful day on great rock!  Jim Ramaker’s excellent report,, tells how to cross to the higher southeast summit following an S-shaped path across the gap between the two summits. Hooray!  We are on top of my peak # 246! 


I failed to note the time, but it was before lunch.  We stopped for lunch on the way down and chatted at length with the other climbers, one of whom had retired to New Mexico while others were from the LA area.  We stopped for many chats on our descent, while fully enjoying the fantastic environment.  Back in camp around 4 pm we decided naps had more appeal than hiking out into the world of dense mosquitoes.

In the morning we reveled in yet another day of wonderful clear weather.  My plan was to hike out to Vidette Meadow with Terry and Helga before heading off on the JMT/PCT for my Table adventure.  We parted at the creek crossing near the historic cabin.  Scenery grew better (more alpine) as I ascended between Center Basin and Mt. Stanford.  The north side of Forester Pass was covered by an amazing amount of snow for this late in the season.  Many hikers had neither boots nor trekking poles, but I was happy to use my trekking pole.  The south side of Forester Pass also had significant snow.  At one point I simply chose to go cross-country to the lake where I would meet my guide rather than to try to find the trail again.  In the morning I was the lady of leisure, cleaning my clothes and body, eating a relaxed breakfast, and chatting with a fellow hiker who also camped at the lake.


My guide for Table arrived shortly after 2 pm following his hike over Shepherd Pass.  We continued over to the Kern headwaters where fallen trees made a fine bridge across the Kern River.  Camp was familiar from a week earlier.  We awoke at 5 am and left for the peak at 6.  The “use” trail to the lake 19,200 on the southeast side was easy to find.  We arrived at the lake at 7:30 am, then followed some diagonal grassy ramps to the base of the snow.  Crampons enabled good footing on the firm snow.  Above we wandered up the ledges to about 13000 feet, then we moved to the right and pretty much stayed at the same

elevation but moved up and down various steps until we were able to climb directly upward.  Cairns were abundant.


There was a large patch of snow on the route that we first went below, then climbed past on rock on its right side, and finally cross back over with a couple of steps at its top.  The keyhole was still a bit above us and was completely free of snow.  I do not think it can fill with snow.  The guide scrambled around it and announced that the climbing was above the grade level for the climb.  I was curious enough about the keyhole that I wanted to go through it.  What a squeeze!  We both came down through it, which is still not easy, but gravity helps.

We went to the right above the keyhole through the rubble to reach the summit plateau, which was totally covered with sun-cupped snow, tedious travel.  At the far edges the snow had melted back a bit from the warm rock on the sides of the table, so I rounded the east side going to the summit and the west side returning, the grand tour of the Table!  Unbelievable, I made the top!  Peak #247!  All that is left is my “list finish” peak, Iron Mountain!

We spent a long time on the summit in wonderful and typical Sierra weather, so different from the horrible weather a week earlier.  Finally it was time to go.  We descended the climbing route, hiked back to camp, packed up, and hiked over Shepherd

 Pass to Anvil Camp.  In the morning we were out in 3 hours, a short day, but I really wanted to get home after a successful 6 days in the mountains and a birthday party to finish organizing.  Fortunately Jim was willing (with some begging) to fly me home for dinner that evening.

Long's Peak, Colorado (14,259')

August 9- 10

By Judy Molland

On Tuesday, August 9, I set out with my family, Joe Baker and Will Molland-Simms, to climb the beautiful Long's Peak in Colorado. This is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the only fourteener north of the I-70. Having done almost no mountaineering this summer, I was both psyched and nervous.

There are lots of options for this peak: we chose the non-technical Keyhole Route. The trailhead, situated about seven miles from Estes Park is at 9,400.' We set out around 10 am, following an easy trail. Although we had hauled ice axes, crampons, helmets, with us, the ranger (that would be my son!) assured us that we didn't need them, so our packs were not too burdensome.

We were climbing 5.9 miles to the Boulder Field, at 12,750,' on a trail that is very easy to follow, although it gets pretty steep at times. (Some peak baggers make alpine starts, choosing to do the whole trip in a day, but we preferred to break up the ascent.) We were above timberline after a couple of miles, and took a side trip to Chasm Lake where we ate lunch.


There were plenty of other hikers around: this is a very popular route. There were also three llamas near Chasm Lake, as the poor things are used to carry down the contents of the privies, once they are emptied. What a great job!

There was a slight wind, but otherwise the weather was clear, sunny, perfect, with none of those afternoon thunderstorms. We took our time, got to the Boulder Field around 4, and found our tent sites: small sandy areas cleared of boulders, but surrounded by a circular rock wall, to provide protection. Above us we could see the Keyhole where we were headed next day, at 13,150'     295289_2367930757561_1229203563_32981000_6574701_n.jpg

Setting off around 7:30 next morning, we climbed up to the Keyhole (I hate talus, and there was lots of it. Ugh!). From there the route definitely got trickier, but we followed the red-and-orange bulls-eyes painted on the rocks, so no problems. And lots of fun! There are four sections before you get to the summit: first we scrambled about a third of a

 mile around, on some pretty exposed Ledges, which brought us to a large couloir called the Trough. This was the most arduous part of the climb, about 800' straight up until we got to Long's west ridge. However, I had read all about a chockstone, supposedly the most difficult move on the climb, but then didn't even notice it.

Once we reached the top of the Trough, we stepped around to Long's south side and traversed along the Narrows, an easy walk, but very exposed. Finally, we got to the base of the Homestretch, which is a really fun vertical scramble up slabs, for about 200.' And at the top, a 100' walk to the summit.

Joe and I were exhausted but exhilarated; Will was just exhilarated. As a park ranger, he is paid to hike trails every day, and this was just another day's work for him!


A quick note on the return route: be sure to follow those bulls-eyes: there is a false Keyhole, really easy to mistake. Don't go there! We got back to the Boulder Field and then back to the trailhead by mid-afternoon. What a gorgeous day! Colorado is beautiful!

Iron Mountain, 70th Birthday List Finish

August 13

By Louise Wholey

At last the climb of my final peak on the list of the 248 best peaks in the Sierra Nevada (selected by the Angeles Chapter Sierra Peaks Section of the Sierra Club) was at hand.  The complexity of first completing all of the pre-requisite 247 peaks, then having an over-night climb of the peak as well as a day hike, and a car-accessible party at a local campground took lots of planning.  Some of my planning was in March, long enough ago that I lost all my records of permits and reservations.  The rest of it conflicted with climbing the last few peaks.  But it all happened!


Signing the Iron Mountain Register

There are several trip reports of my adventures and misadventures during the three weeks prior to this outing.  East and West Vidette went easily, but I missed the chance to climb Deerhorn when others were unable to do that.  A long-planned outing to climb Table and Picket Guard had the worst weather I have seen in the Sierra and dangerous challenging river and stream crossings, but we did climb Picket Guard during our 70+ mile odyssey.  Soon afterward I returned to Deerhorn with a couple friends for a successful climb followed by a guided climb of Table.  Here is a list of my reports.

East and West Videttes, July 22-24, 2011

A Wet Odyssey, Table and Picket Guard, July 28 - August 1, 2011

Deerhorn and Table, August 5-10, 2011

Iron Mountain is an interesting peak.  My climbing friends told me it would make a good list finish peak, easy enough for many to participate.  The climb is not easy, nor is it short!  Maybe it was the easiest of what I still needed to do!  It certainly was an adventure for everybody who came out for it!

The original over-night group of Mary Wholey (my daughter), Jim Wholey, Bob Suzuki, Terry Cline, Greg Johnson, Alex Sapozhnikov, and Bruce Berryhill began hiking from Devil’s Postpile after their disorganized leader, me, finally finished breakfast and got her gear together.  Along the way to our camp at Lake Anona we unexpectedly met Rod McCalley resting on the trail.  He had been off climbing peaks on his list, the high points of each section delimited by latitude-longitude divisions.

My over-night group chose to climb the East Chute route starting on the rocks to the right of the chute just above camp.  The climbing was a mix of class 2 and 3 rock with some snow.  Bruce and Bob led the rock, quite pleasant climbing.  This was my daughter Mary’s first mountain climb; she is very strong and did great!  When the terrain steepened we moved left until we entered the chute below the steepest rock.  Some people had brought ice axes and crampons for the trip.  Others were offered an assortment of spare gear that Jim and I had.  In the end everyone had ice axes and all but one had crampons.  Greg Johnson led the snow in the chute.

The crux of the climb was a narrow slot above the snow.  One side of the slot was bare rock; the other was snow.  With little warmth in the tight slot the snow had made poor progress melting.  I went up to chop away snow with my ice axe until there was enough space to chimney between the snow and rock.  It was a one-at-a-time climb due to very loose scree just below the chimney. 


Mary in the Slot

Once on top we had easy boulder-hopping to the summit where we had a great celebration.  I brought some Paleo-style chocolate birthday cake and we shared many other goodies.  We waited for the other group but saw no sign of them.  Kelly had said they were all “tentative” so we decided maybe they were not coming.  We began our descent only to meet a very large group who told us that others had turned back due to the length of the hike.  The day-hikers were Kelly Maas, leader, Ron Hudson, Bob Bynum, Paul Garry, Shane Smith, Bo Meng, Eddie Sudol, Sabine Schirm, Craig Boyak, Chris Kerr, Dara and Sassan Hazeghi,


Day-hikers meet the Over-night Group

Our descent was via Daryn’s variation on the East Chute route in Secor.  It was an easy snow route at the top, happily avoiding the slot.  Lower we went too far to skiers left and found lots of loose rotten rock.  We were quite late getting back to camp, but the first group to hike out bought goodies at Von’s to barbecue

 at the campground for the tired hungry folks that followed.  A large group awaited us there, happy to finally sing “Happy Birthday”.  It was a splendid 70th birthday!  Many thanks to all who joined me for my celebration!

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 Monday , September 26. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.