February 2013†††††††††††† Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Vol. 47 No. 2

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

General Meeting

 Date††††††††††††††††† February 12, 2013

Time††††††††† 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Where ††††† PCC

††††††††††††††††† 3921 E. Bayshore Road

††††††††††††††††† Palo Alto, CA

Program†† Peaks and Crags of the Cascades: A Slideshow

Presenter Sarah Sternau

Sarah Sternau, longtime climber of Pacific Northwest peaks and crags, presents a slide show of climbs in the Cascades that are achievable by anyone with talent and fitness which are occasionally inversely proportional to their enthusiasm. Sarah will outline the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer with pictures and stories from Cascades climbs she has experienced firsthand. Routes included range from crags and multi-pitch rock climbs to multi-day mountain and snow climbs, with beta from climbs with oblivious students, eager novices, and impatient experts. She will also talk about resources for choosing and planning climbs in the region, as well as for acquiring forgotten gear or finding additional climbing partners when visiting.

Sarah Sternau began climbing in 2001 after relocating to Seattle. She taught for several years with the Boeing Alpine Society, teaching the club's basic and intermediate mountaineering classes and starting its popular Basic Rock Climbing class, which introduces the fundamentals of multi-pitch trad climbing. She has climbed on four continents and lived in three countries, but now calls San Francisco "home."

Prusik Peak in the Enchantments

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/28ng

Editor's Notes

Thanks so much to Aaron and Sonja for their awesome trip reports. You'll see from our announcements that we are almost out of trips, so it's time for a Trip Planning Meeting, on Tuesday, February 26, at Rod McCalley's house.

Enjoy February!


Chair Column

As we enter the home stretch of winter (seems like it just got started), it's time to start thinking about climbs you want to do this coming season.  Rod McCalley is hosting a trip planning meeting at his home the evening of February 26; see the accompanying announcement for time and location details.  Come with your great ideas for climbs to lead.  If not a leader, come with ideas for others to take up the gauntlet to lead.  I'm still looking for a Trip Scheduling Chair to take over for Rod, who has graciously offered to serve temporarily through this planning meeting.  Let me know if you'd like to help.

We also need to expand our leadership roster. Let me know if you'd like to become an official leader and I can work with you on meeting the Club's requirements.  Being a leader doesn't bring monetary rewards, but does give the rewards that come with helping others enjoy the fabulous wilderness that we are privileged to live so close to and with the opportunity meet and develop friendships with a diverse set of interesting people.

This month's presentation is about climbs in the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest by Sarah Sternau.  It's one of my favorite mountain regions outside the Sierra Nevada. Please come and enjoy a glimpse of this wonderful wilderness playground.

Terry Cline

Trip Planning Meeting

From Rod McCalley:

There will be a Trip Planning Meeting on Tuesday, February 26, 7:30 PM (to 9:30 or so), at my house (3489 Cowper St., Palo Alto).  People should e-mail me any planned trips if they can't make the meeting.  Directions for getting to my house were published in last October's Scree. Hope to see you there!

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 22 - 24

Leader: Bobbie Morrison

(Co-sponsored with Loma Prieta Ski Touring Section)

PCS Trip Details

Pear Lake Hut Backcountry Ski Trip

Goal: Pear Lake Hut

Location: Sequoia National Park

Dates: February 22 - 24

Leader: Bobbie Morrison††

Difficulty: Advanced Intermediate

Ski to Pear Lake hut in Sequoia National Park on Friday Feb 22, have a layover day for finding good downhill ski runs, more skiing in the morning on Sunday the 24th before we leave for the descent back to the cars. The trip starts at 7,200 feet at Wolverton and climbs a steep 6 miles to the hut at 9,200 feet. All participants must be in good physical condition, have telemark or AT skis with wide climbing skins, be able to consistently link turns on steep downhill slopes, must have an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe, and

know how to use them. We have the whole

hut reserved, sleeps 10.  Cost is $84 for the hut plus the cost of food (to be calculated later.) Contact Bobbie Morrison, bobbiemorrison@sbcglobal.net, 408-269-2903. Co-leader is Dave Marancik.

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.

March 11 - 26: Ojos del Salado, Chile

Leaders: Jesper Schou, Jeff Fisher

March 29 - 31: Telescope Peak

Leader: Sonja Dietrich

August 31 - Sept 9: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Leader: Emilie Cortes

Private Trip Details

Ojos Del Salado, Chile

Goals: Ojos del Salado (22,615') and Friends

Location: Northern Chile

Dates: March 11 - 26

Leader: Jesper Schou, Jeff Fisher

Difficulty: Class 2 and 3

Organizers: Jesper Schou (schou at sun dot stanford dot edu) and Jeff Fisher. Description: We will fly to Copiapo, Chile and meet up on March 11, 2013. We will spend several days acclimatizing, mostly by dayhiking smaller (up to 20000ft or so) peaks and going sightseeing. Once we feel that we are sufficiently acclimatized we will drive to the lower refuge on Ojos at 17000ft. From there we will carry equipment to the higher refuge at 19000ft and return to the car. Next day we will go back to 19000ft and camp. Morning after we will attempt the summit. Plans are, of course, flexible and subject to change as we see how things develop. Note that at least one of the participants is only planning on doing the

warmup peaks and not Ojos. You are free to pick and choose and go sightseeing or go home instead. While the peaks are technically easy (Ojos has a short class 3 section) and while we will not be many days from the car, the altitude presents a significant challenge. Also the peaks are quite remote. If interested please email Jesper with information about dates you can go, previous experience at high altitude and so forth. This trip is not official in any way and is neither endorsed by the PCS or SAC. We are not guides and are not responsible for your safety.

Telescope Peak

Goals: Telescope Peak

Location: Death Valley

Dates: March 29 - 31

Leader: Sonja Dietrich

Difficulty: Class 2, may require crampons, ice axe

On Friday, we will meet at Shorty's Well (-245 feet) and hike up to Hanaupah Springs (10 miles, 4000 feet). Dropping our packs there, we will explore the first narrows of Hanaupah Canyon. Saturday, we will carry daypacks and our 10 essentials to climb 7.8 miles and 7000 feet to Telescope Peak (alpine start!). Participants should bring crampons and ice axe for the likely case of snow on the peak. We will return back to our camp at Hanaupah Springs. Hike out and drive home on Sunday. Contact Sonja Dietrich: honukaimi@gmail.com

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Goals: Kilimanjaro (19, 341')

Location: Tanzania

Dates: August 31 - Sept 9

Leader: Emilie Cortes

Difficulty: Class 1

This is an all female expedition to the roof of Africa with Emilie's new company, Call of the Wild Adventures, Inc. Emilie will be guiding this trip personally. Kilimanjaro is one of the seven summits and stands at 19,340ft. We will ascend via the Machame route over 7 days

total. The Machame (aka "Whiskey Route") is a bit more challenging due to its rolling nature and scramble up the Barranca Headwall, but has a better summit success rate. Climbers typically try to ascend over 5, 6, or 7 days. The more days you take, the better your chances, so why fly all that way not summit because you tried to save a day of vacation? While this peak is "just hiking," you will need to train in order to handle 7 days of trekking without rest days and to prepare your body to acclimatize as best it can. This trip is scheduled over the Labor Day holiday weekend to help those who are vacation constrained. There are additional optional extensions to do a camping safari and a trip to the island of Zanzibar. Cost is $3995 (compare to other outfitters!) with a 10% discount for current PCS members. Contact Emilie Cortes at 415-260-3618, emilie@callwild.com, or sign up at http://www.callwild.com/trip.php?id=64.

Trip Reports

Just A Narrow Bridge

August, 2011

By Aaron Schuman

August 2011 was a scalding summer month, so we crept thirstily up the parched trail to Taboose Pass on the eastern edge of Kings Canyon National Park. Our party consisted of Sonja Dieterich, Larry Jang, Chris Prendergast, Frank Martin, Carol Petrelli, and myself.

 With packs containing an entire weekís worth of food, we began on the morning of the 13th at the desert trailhead (5400), and rested that night just below the Pacific Crest (11400). On the 14th, we climbed Striped Mountain (13120). There we delighted in the nievas penitentes.


Carol wasnít satisfied with our pace on the hike to the pass, and on the peak climb, she tore ahead. We never saw her again, but weíre convinced she survived, because we found a note from her days later in the Mt Prater summit register.

 We settled in that night to camp at Lake Marjorie, and we stayed for a while. Sonja set a personal record for altitude swimming there, at 11400 feet.

 From Lake Marjorie, Chris, Frank and I made day hikes of Mt Wynne (13179) and Mt Pinchot (13495). We didnít like the look of the traverse between the two peaks, so we did them separately. Larry and Sonja climbed Mt Crater, because it looked cool, and they didnít know of anybody who had been there before. The five of us went together over Pinchot Pass (12500), down a thousand, up to Mt Perkins (12591), then back.

Next day, we backpacked north to Upper Basin and camped by a pretty unnamed lake (11599). The five of us hiked up to Mt Prater (13329). This peak is known for an exposed class one summit. The description seemed contradictory. Class one peaks are big broad

hands-in-the-pockets rounded humps. How could a class one peak expose a climber to a long fall? But the description is accurate. There is a sidewalk of the sort that anybody would stroll, but it has a cliff on either side. Sonja, who can climb just about anything when top-roped in a gym, crawled gingerly to the summit area. But with encouragement and a brave heart, she made her return from the summit standing tall. Chris provided the photographic evidence.


The whole wide world is just a narrow bridge. But above all, is not to fear at all.

 Sonja, Chris and Frank made a side trip from Mt Prater up to Split Mtn (14005), the trip high point. Our trip plan had us crossing Mather Pass and climbing more peaks.

But time got the best of us, and we were done, except for the hike down Taboose Pass and the drive home.

†The Need Never Stops

September 16 - 18, 2011

By Aaron Schuman

September 16, 2011, we returned to Needham Mountain, after being washed off in 2010. Terry Cline, Sandra Hao, co-leader Joe Baker, and I started out early Friday afternoon, hiking from Mineral King trailhead (7830) to Crystal Lake (10800).

Saturday we crossed Amphitheatre Col (11500) with its interesting class 3 move, dropped to Amphitheatre Lake (11100), and ascended Needham Mountain (12520). There is a class 2 route on the summit block, and although we didnít find it on the way up, it was a fun discovery for the descent. We made a quick hike out Sunday morning.


Photo by Joe Baker: A romantic look back at Amphitheatre Col at sunset

Tenaya Canyon

September, 2012

By Sonja Dietrich

Sonja Dieterich (Leader), Sarah Geneser, Sarah Sternau, Christophe Vivensang, Louise Wholey, Terry Cline, and Jim Wholey/Larry Jang (drivers/pizza orders and fishermen)

There I was, in 1999, standing on Glacier Point seeing Yosemite for the first time in my life. Looking at the map, I saw the chasm

across from me was called Tenaya Canyon. Labels on the map saying "dangerous - do not enter" could as well read "come here, adventure!".

Six years later I was back for my second trip to Yosemite, my first weeklong backpacking trip. Again, I looked into Tenaya Canyon, this

time from Half Dome and Clouds Rest. Two years ago, I was too late to sign up for a trip. This year, I was not going to let it go. Unusually low water levels were an additional incentive. I chose the last weekend of September, being closest to the full moon, to finally explore that intriguing place.

We all met at camp on Saturday night, talked logistics (3 cars, two drivers), sorted out

gear, and enjoyed dinner. Terry had a nice waterproof alpine climbing rope from Petzl, at 8.6 cm diameter fairly thin, but very light to

carry. Some of us chose to wear helmets, especially the author who had been

reminded by her boss that she needs her brain to earn her salary.

Sunday morning, we got to the trailhead at 6 am and started hiking around 6:30 am. For an excellent trip report and route description, I

recommend Christopher Brennen's website:

http://www.dankat.com/swhikes/tenaya.htm. The only caveat is that it is sometimes hard to sort out which direction he refers to as "left"

and "right". It is not to the left or right of the canyon main axis, but referring to your left or right side as you hike.

All of us started out on the hike until we came to the first large granite bowl above the Lone Boulder. Larry and Jim turned around at this point to set up the car shuttle and go

fishing. Louise had originally also planned to turn around because of concerns about her

swollen knee, but once she saw granite there was no way she wasn't going to come with us!


Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome: Louise and Geneser admiring Tenaya Canyon from the Lone Boulder

The upper canyon is quite magnificent, and we had no problem navigating until we got to the Lone Boulder. There, we got ourselves

confused a bit and traversed high way too far over the ridge onto steeper granite, but found our way back, helped by spotting another guided group.


Steep Descent: Geneser, Sarah and Sonja backtracking to the correct ridge for the steep descent

Here is how to avoid those extra 90 minutes: In Brennen's report, take a close look at the picture labeled "Yosemite Valley from Lone Boulder". You can see a half a dozen small pine trees on the ridge abutting the scree

slope. Head across the scree slope towards those trees, but stay on the up-canyon side of them. Once you reach this group of small pine trees, you should be able to easily spot the single large pine tree mentioned in the report. The description of the steep granite slope sounds slightly intimidating, but I honestly did not find it in the least bit concerning. I admit to occasionally sliding down on my butt, which was probably more for the fun of it than concern about slipping. Of course I ripped my pant bottoms while doing this, flashing the rest of the group with my maroon underwear for the rest of the trip. Later, two more pants gave way and 50% of us sported glimpses of our undies.


Entrance to the Inner Gorge, where one commits to do all of the Canyon. Geneser is the first to rappel

At the bottom of the steep slope we had to bushwhack a bit before we found the pool of water, which is the first water after the trailhead. From then on, we continuously had

running water until we left the Inner Gorge. By now, it had gotten very warm, with sun bouncing off the granite slopes. At some point, I gave up on rock hopping and just walked through the stream, which kept me cooler. Sometime while boulder-hopping, Terry unfortunately strained the ACL in one of his knees. He was a very good sport about

it for the remaining eight hours of the hike, never complaining and only occasionally requiring more ibuprofen from Geneser's supply.


Into the water: Geneser provides a fireman's belay for Louise at the 3rd rappel station. Thanks to the low water levels, it was not too wet.

We found the first and subsequent rappel anchors quite easily. Geneser went first and set up a fireman's rappel, which was very helpful in keeping us out of the water and directing us toward the easiest angle.

Sarah went last, cleaning up. The Inner Gorge is a truly unique place; I am not sure something similar even exists anywhere else in the Sierra Nevada. Rock scrambles, rappels, short wades through water, all

amidst impressive huge granite walls with views on Cloud's Rest, Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. I went swimming twice, which led Geneser to comment I must be a cross between eskimo and water dog. We only had to set one additional sling, provided by Louise, to get over an awkward downclimb.

The exit from the Inner Gorge came way too soon. Up to then, the guided group had been directly behind us, but we soon lost sight of them.† We hiked down the stream bed for a while more, until we found big cairns guiding us off toward the use trail through the forest. About a half mile before that, I spotted the

right end of a bear (tail, according to Louise) running away from us, nimbly climbing

over a fallen tree trunk. The use trail was at times very hard to find, but thanks to Geneser's experience in following climbers' trails we made good progress. We reached the Mirror Lake trail about 15 minutes

after nightfall, the headlamps of climbers on the face of Half Dome above us adding their twinkles to the stars. It was quite a long slog

until we hit the road. Larry, driving Christophe's trusted van Betsy, was greeted with cheers. Shuttled to Curry Village, we found that Jim Wholey had ordered a huge pizza for us, which we washed down with cold

beer provided by Sarah Sternau.

All in all, we really had a good time despite some busted knees, ripped pants, scratches and bruises. Thank you to my five adventurous canyoneering buddies for being a wonderful group! Special thanks also

to our two drivers, Jim and Larry, without whom the logistics wouldmhave been so much more difficult. There was one more task: a vote. What to wear to work the next day: long pants to hide the damage, or a short skirt for bragging rights?

Without the detour after Lone Boulder, we would have taken about 10 and a half hours for the trip. Tenaya Canyon is a rugged place, requiring constant attention and focus. The wildness and beauty of the place was certainly worth the effort. Would I do it again? Sure! Sign me up!!!

Junipero Serra

January 20, 2013

By Sonja Dietrich

Trip Leader: Lisa Barboza

Participants: Mei, Larry Jang, Dara and Sassan Hazeghi, Sonja Dieterich

Rain and low elevation snow forced a two-week delay of the climb to MLK Sunday. This worked well for the contingent from Davis, who had to get up at 4 am to get to the meeting point. We arrived at the Mission San Antonio de Padua with enough time to walk around, admire the 200-year old olive tree in front, and witness a special confirmation ceremony taking place.

Lisa's car read a temperature of 24 degrees at the trailhead around 9 am. We got started at 9:30 and soon the sun warmed us up. Amazing sandstone formations beckon the boulderers among us to explore another time. Soon, two trails joined and we encountered the first boy scouts for the day. There was a large group on the trail, broken up in three subgroups by speed. We would catch up, be overtaken, and hike along with them all day. Still on the flatter trail, there is an old tractor which our group of engineers and car buffs inspected thoroughly.


That old tractor is still there!

After about 2 hours, we reached the traditional 2nd breakfast spot, a small meadow with the burned remainders of a trail sign reminding of the big Indian Fire on Memorial Day 2008. Starting from this spot, the trail got steep, hot and brushy. The oaks are recovering nicely, but are just at the height that one wishes for a machete at times. Reaching the top of the steepest switchbacks, there is a small saddle from where the peak with the old fire lookout can be spotted. Lisa warned us not to sit down, or our backsides would soon be joined by swarms of fire ants who have made their nest there.

Another push, and we reached the sometimes icy, sometimes foot-deep snow which graced the north side of the mountain at the bottom of the remaining pine grove.


Dara enjoying the snow

We got to the peak at 1:30 pm, had a late lunch and enjoyed wonderful views from this high point of Monterey County all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Climbing the still stable stairs to where the platform of the fire lookout once was, Lisa confirmed that the Sierra Nevada still stood where expected. We left the

peak at 2:30 pm and made it down around 4:45 pm. Total mileage: 11.5 and total gain 4900 feet.

At the end of the hike, we met a father-son pair who turned out to be very experienced climbers and hikers. They joined us for the post-hike refreshments.

Climb Mt. Shasta and Fight Liver Disease

Each year in June the American Liver Foundation sends a team of climbers to Mt. Shasta to climb, have fun, and raise money to fight liver disease.  To date, the Liver Life Challenge Mount Shasta Climb Team has raised over $650,000 to support liver-disease research and education. 

This is a great opportunity to do something you love while helping others in need. 

If you're interested, go to alfshastateam.com for more information, and send an email to our climb team leader, Dave Hinman, at dave@alfshastateam.com.


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