February 2012     Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club   Vol. 46 , No. 2

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General Meeting

Date          February 14, 2012

Time          7:30 – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA

Program   Climbing in the shadow of the great Kanch: A Sikkim climbing adventure


Presenter Arun Mahajan

In the fall of 2011, PCS member Arun Mahajan journeyed to the western part of Sikkim, the land-locked Indian state bordered by Nepal, Tibet Bhutan and West Bengal, for some trekking and climbing along with one leader/guide and another climber. Their group trekked in from Yuksom, the historic capital city of the Chogyal Kings of Sikkim along the Goecha La trekking route. From base camp, they made three forays into the small range of relatively unknown peaks nearby. There, they set up advanced base camp, explored routes and then eventually climbed three peaks of over 5000m, all in the shadow of one of the most beautiful and magnificent massifs of the world, Kangchenjunga.

Come and enjoy some of the photographs of the wonderful flora of Sikkim, of climbing the craggy peaks of the Aaralang Valley and of course, of Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.

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

It must be time for a trip scheduling meeting since, as you will see, there are very trips scheduled as of now. Do plan to attend this important gathering on February 21, when we can get fired up for the spring and summer. (Which this year, will be awfully like winter!)

Hope to see you there!


Chair Column

Welcome to active PCS members, and to all those who have an interest in the mountains of the world, and especially our Sierra Nevada. For the Feb.14 meeting at the Peninsula Conservation Center, Arun Mahajan will present a show about his climbing expedition to the Himalayan state of Sikkim last fall. At the start of the meeting, before the refreshment break, there will be descriptions of upcoming PCS trips, as well as short reports of any of your recent peak climbs. Maybe we can finally hear about some climbs on snow this winter! Before the recent welcome storms, one of our members told me about driving to Tioga Pass this January with the Tenaya Lake area feeling a lot like summer.

At present we don't have any programs for the March 13 and April 10 meetings, so if you have a possible show (recent or ancient!), please let me know  -- call (650) 493-2378, or e-mail at rodmccalley@sbcglobal.net

The planning process for spring and summer trips will soon be underway. Trip-Scheduler Terry Cline has set the trip-planning meeting for 7:30 PM, Tuesday, Feb. 21, at my house in Palo Alto (details below).  Climbers who aren't official leaders are still very welcome at the meeting -- you can let us know what trip types and destinations are desired, and even offer to co-lead a trip. You are welcome to submit trips to Terry before the meeting.

Rod McCalley

Trip Scheduling Meeting

Feb 21, 2012, 07:30 PM to 09:30 PM

The time has come to meet and plan our trips for the spring and summer.  We need a mix of beginner and experienced trips, easy and moderate approaches, and maybe a few death marches for those that revel in them.

Bring your calendar and your appetite.  We will have pizza, salad and wine.  Please bring a dish to share or a $5-10 (depending upon your consumption) contribution to the kitty.

This meeting is targeted at trip leaders, but others are welcome to come and request trips you want to do!  If you cannot attend, send email to terry_cline AT yahoo.com with your proposed trips or trip requests.  I will place them in a shared Google spreadsheet.

The meeting will be at Rod McCalley's home.  Here's where it is:

3489 Cowper St

Palo Alto, CA 94306

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.


February 18, 19 - Backcountry Ski Mount Rose

Leader: Louise Wholey

March 17, 18 - Backcountry Ski Sierra Buttes

Leader: Louise Wholey

March 24, 25 - Cone Peak

Leader: Joe Baker

April 14 - 15 - Backcountry Ski Bridgeport

Leader: Louise Wholey

May 12, 13 - Backcountry Ski Sierra

Leader: Louise Wholey

PCS Trip Details

Backcountry Ski Mount Rose

Goal:  Tamarack Peak 9897'), Mt. Houghton (10,490'), Mt. Rose (10,776')

Location: Near Lake Tahoe

Dates: February 18, 19

Leader: Louise Wholey

Come join us for our fourth of the Tahoe Backcountry Skiing Series. This tour is long and strenuous, definitely not designed as a first tour of the season! Requires advanced skiing skills (resort black diamond), avalanche
training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing

skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.

Leader: Louise Wholey (louisewholey at yahoo.com)

To sign up send $8 for leader training to Louise Wholey, 21020 Canyon
View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070.

Backcountry Ski Sierra Buttes

Goal:  Sierra Buttes (8591')

Location: North of Lake Tahoe

Dates: March 17, 18

Leader: Louise Wholey

Come join us for our fifth of the Backcountry Skiing Series, this one slightly north of the Tahoe area. Depending on conditions this may be an overnight ski trip or a long one-day outing. Requires advanced skiing skills (resort black diamond), avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.

Leader: Louise Wholey (louisewholey at yahoo.com)

To sign up send $8 for leader training to Louise Wholey, 21020 Canyon
View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070.

Cone Peak

Goal:  Cone Peak (5155')

Location: Ventana Wilderness, Limekiln Campground

Dates: March 24, 25

Leader: Joe Baker

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

The trip is on-trail but somewhat strenuous. On Saturday, we'll take a leisurely hike up to our camp spot at Vicente Flat, where we'll spend the night. Then we'll climb our peak on Sunday morning, about 14 miles round-trip, before hiking out. This should be an excellent time to see lots of wildflowers.

Contact Judy Molland: judy@judymolland.com for more information.

Backcountry Ski Bridgeport

Goal:  TBD

Location: Bridgeport, Eastside of the Sierras

Dates: April 14, 15

Leader: Louise Wholey

Come join us for our sixth of the Backcountry Skiing Series, this one in the wonderful Bridgeport area. Expect multiple one-day

outings, such as Crater Crest. Requires advanced skiing skills (resort black diamond), avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon,

shovel, and probe.

Leader: Louise Wholey (louisewholey at yahoo.com)

To sign up send $8 for leader training to Louise Wholey, 21020 Canyon
View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070.

Backcountry Ski Sierra

Goal:  Mt. Tom, Elderberry Canyon

Location: Mt. Tom, Eastside of the Sierras

Dates: May 12, 13

Leader: Louise Wholey

Come join us for our grand finale of the Backcountry Skiing Series, skiing a classic route in the high Sierra. Requires advanced skiing skills (resort black diamond+), avalanche training. Randonee or Telemark skis, climbing skis, avalanche beacon,
shovel, and probe.

Leader: Louise Wholey (louisewholey at yahoo.com)

To sign up send $8 for leader training to Louise Wholey, 21020 Canyon
View Drive, Saratoga, CA 95070.

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, 2012 - Nepal

Leader: Warren Storkman

January, 2013 - Argentina

Leader: Warren Storkman

Private Trip Details


Goal: Rara Lake

Dates: October, 2012

Leader: Warren Storkman

If you are interested in Nepal, October 2012, and going to Rara Lake in the remote Mugu District, contact Warren Storkman: dstorkman@aol.com.

No obligation, but I need your email address.


Goal: Aconcagua (22,841')

Location: Argentina

Dates: January 2013

Leader: Warren Storkman

If you are interested in visiting Argentina and climbing Aconcagua in 2013, contact Warren at dstorkman@aol.com and he will send you an informational letter.

Trip Report

White Mountain, the Rodney Dangerfield of California Fourteeners.

White Mountain Peak (14246 ft, class-1)

January 14

By Arun Mahajan

It gets no respect.

In order to attempt a winter 14-er in the so- called winter that we had been having so far, Julius convinced me on this MLK weekend to try Mt Langley with him. He already had four winter 14-ers under his belt and I had none, so I decided to join him.

Since it was Langly, another Dangerfield-ish peak and one which I had climbed before, and extrapolating that the road to the Horseshoe Meadow trailhead would be open just because Tioga Road was open, we set out driving for it from Lone Pine, early morning on Saturday, without so much as checking with the rangers a few days before about road conditions.

This was a mistake. Road closure decisions are not necessarily based on the obvious and we discovered that the road was gated shut, just a short distance after we had taken the turn off from the Mt Whitney Road. There seemed to be no reason for this closure as there was absolutely no snow.

We weighed our options and decided to head to the peak that has always been the bridesmaid, the Rodney Dangerfield of peaks (here I would like you to pause and contemplate the venerable comic as a bridesmaid), the one that is always a fall back option; in short, one that gets no respect. The first time I had climbed it a few years ago was also because of bad weather causing a cancellation of our attempt on Mt Goddard.


Julius and White Mtn

I however, respectfully off course, would differ. It is a beautiful peak and has wonderful scenery and it frequently gets windy and the fourteen miles to the summit on a jeep road from a locked gate can be challenging.

We got to the trailhead a few minutes before 10am and decided that despite the late starting time, would strike for it. A few people at the trailhead, who were planning a shorter outing than the summit itself, kindly warned us that we would be hiking out in the dark but since we were prepared for a winter backpack anyway and had all sorts of warm clothing, headlamps etc, we decided that we would take that chance. The fact that we were not acclimated, having done the long drive from

the Bay Area the night before, did give us pause but we were prepared to turn around as well.

It was indeed cold despite the sunlight and there were a few people in front of us on the trail. We kept walking and two miles later, got to the Barcroft Lab. It seemed to be deserted and after a break there, we kept walking. The trail climbs steadily and after a dip, switchbacks gently to the summit, which has a fairly large hut-like structure. As we got to the final switchbacks, we were pleasantly surprised to see a flock of bighorn sheep and they were quite bold and we got to within perhaps fifty feet or so of them and were able to snap a few quick photos.


Bighorn sheep

At 2.30pm, after about 4 hrs 20 mins, we were at the summit. The cold winds drove us back after a few quick pictures and a short chat with three other hikers who had made it there a few minutes before us.


Arun+Julius at the summit

As usual, the walk back seemed long and hard (we were in our heavier winter boots) but we were blessed with a fantastic sunset as we got closer to the trailhead. We got back at 5.30pm, just as it got the point where headlamps would have been necessary.


Sunset on white

Of the three hikers we met at the summit, one had gotten back to the car but was worried about the other two and requested that we wait till they got back, so we did. Finally the other two came back, with one of them supporting the other. This third fellow was hypothermic and was slightly incoherent. We waited till they wrapped him up in a sleeping bag and one of them quickly brewed a hot drink. It appeared that he was recovering so

 we left, making sure that they knew the way down and the ailing person was well enough. We figured that dropping altitude was probably their best bet.

So, all in all, it was a great trip and it was nice to say that we got a fourteener in winter and we both agreed that it was undeserving of any slights. It is definitely not like Rodney Dangerfield but more along the lines of that song that Aretha Franklin once covered.

Afterword: I later contacted one of the two people who were bringing their ailing friend down and he reported that their friend started feeling better once they got down to Bishop.

Elected Officials


    Rod McCalley/rodmccalley@sbcglobal.net


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

    Terry Cline/ terry_cline@yahoo.com

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

Sassan Hazeghi/sassan.hazeghi@hp.com

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor

    Judy Molland / screeeditor@gmail.com

PCS World Wide Web Publisher
    Joe Baker/ pcs@joebaker.us

    1975 Cordilleras Rd, Redwood City, CA         94062


Scree is the monthly newsletter of the Peak Climbing Section of the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter.  Current and back issues are posted on the web in PDF and HTML.

Our official website is http://www.peakclimbing.org.  Joining the PCS is easy.  Go to   http://www.peakclimbing.org/join

PCS Announcement Listserv

If you join the PCS Announcement Listserv you will receive announcements and updates of trips and meetings. Use the http://lists.sierraclub.org/SCRIPTS/WA.EXE?A0=LOMAP-PCS-ANNOUNCE&X=&Y= web page.

Climbing Classifications

The following trip classifications are to assist you in choosing trips for which you are qualified. No simple rating system can anticipate all possible conditions.
    Class 1: Walking on a trail.
    Class 2: Climbing using hands for balance.
    Class 3: Climbing requires the use of hands, maybe a rope.
    Class 4: Requires rope belays.
    Class 5: Technical rock climbing.

Trips may also be rated by level of exertion: easy, moderate, strenuous, or extreme

Deadline for submissions to the next Scree is Wednesday , February 29. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.