July 2013             Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                                    Vol. 47 No. 7

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

General Meeting

 Date                  July 9, 2013

Time          6:00 – 9:00 pm

Where       Wildwood Park

                  Saratoga, CA    

Annual BBQ and Gear Exchange                        

The July meeting is our annual BBQ and gear exchange on July 9 at 6:00 at Wildwood Park BBQ area A.
Bring a dish to share, your own specialty, OR choose according to first letter of your last name:

BBQ should be hot by 6 pm for families on an early dinner schedule. Bring your own beverage (alcohol is ok), $3 to cover reservation and BBQ coals, dinnerware, friends, family, and used gear. Bring the kids to climb on the play structures.

Bring whatever gear you find cluttering your garage or closet. Someone may want or need it. You can even charge something for it, but experience indicates that the lower the price the more likely for a sale. Free is best!

Directions from 280

Exit at De Anza Blvd; go south for about 5 miles, crossing Hwy 85 about half way to Saratoga. The road changes name at Prospect Rd to Saratoga Sunnyvale Rd. At the village traffic light at the intersection of DeAnza Blvd, Big Basin Way, Saratoga Ave and Saratoga Los Gatos Road, turn right on Big Basin Way and drive part way through downtown Saratoga. Turn right on 4th St, the first through street on the right. The park is at the bottom of the hill on your right. Park in park parking (appears to be mostly hotel parking for Saratoga Inn), or park across the road, or along the road, whereever parking is allowed.  Google       http://tinyurl.com/6cpch4

Editor's Notes

Trip Reports and Upcoming Trips - Lisa Barboza is the theme this month. We wish her well on her quest to complete her SPS List Finish this year. Go for it, Lisa!


Chair Column

I received a notice about an event celebrating the Loma Prieta Chapter's 80th Anniversary (details below), and it reminded me that the Peak Climbing Section is going on 45 years, perhaps a year or two more (a copy of the 1967 by-laws are in the Chairman's binder).  I first joined in 1973 and how things have changed since then!

Scree was typewritten and reproduced on a mimeograph (aka "ditto") machine in an insurance office in Los Altos after business hours.  The section was small and informal but active and many members were also active in the now essentially defunct Rock Climbing Section.  Even by then founders like George Barnes had already drifted away from climbing, at least with the section (I understand he resurfaced a decade or two later).  

This got me thinking about how little our history is documented (but there is a hard-to-find brief article from George on the website about the process of forming the section) and how little current members know about it.  So I'm wondering if anyone would like to assist in putting together a little history of the PCS to be hosted on our website.  I'm volunteering to write and edit and do much of the research, but I need help from our old timers with information and stories, especially about the earliest days and the 1980's and 90's when I lived out of the area or was not going to the mountains or participating with the section.  Let me know if you have any contributions or want to help.  

Now for that 80th Anniversary event for the Chapter in September.  Megan Fluke Medeiros of chapter office has called for volunteers to help in any capacity.  You can contact her at megan.fluke.medeiros AT sierraclub.org.  Here is a brief description of the event and a link to more information: 

Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter - Celebrating 80 Years of Protecting the Environment. 

Join us on September 21, 2013 for our 80th Anniversary Celebration over delicious food, local wine, a silent auction, and live music. Have some laughs with our master of ceremonies, State Senator Jerry Hill, and hear what our keynote speaker, Dr. Nina Roberts, has to say as we look forward to our next 80 years. More information and tickets here.


Preliminary Trip List For Summer (still tentative)

July 20, Kelly Maas -- Mt. Acrodetes, from Baxter Pass

July 28-31, Lisa Barboza -- Triple Divide Pk. (Seq.), Lion Rock, Mt. Stewart

August 9-12, Kelly Maas -- Center Basin, from Onion Valley

August 24, Kelly Maas -- Tenaya Canyon descent.

Sept. 6-8, Lisa Barboza, Rick Booth, & Linda Sun -- Mt. Humphreys (E. arete)

Sept. 14, Lisa Barboza & Daryn Dodge -- North Peak (& LIST-FINISH Party, Saddlebag Lk.)

Sept. 21, Aaron Schuman -- ?

Sept. 23-29, Bob Summers -- Spiller & Whorl Mtns (+?), from Virginia Lakes

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.


July 1 - 3 - Julius Caesar, Hilgard, Gabb

Leader: Lisa Barboza

July 4 - 6 - Foerster Peak

Leader: Lisa Barboza

August 3 - 4 - Mount Winchell

Leader: Liza Barboza

August 7 - 8 - Giraud Peak

Leader: Lisa Barboza

August 30 - September 1 - Deerhorn, W Vidette, E. Vidette

Leader: Lisa Barboza

PCS Trip Details

Julius Caesar, Hilgard, Gabb

Goals: Julius Caesar (13,200'), Mt. Hilgard (13,361'), Mt. Gabb (13,780')

Location: Near Bishop, east side of the Sierra

Dates: July 1 - 3

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Day 1: From Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, hike in past Honeymoon Lake to Julius Caesar pass.  Climb Julius Caesar (13,200) and descend to camp at Lake Italy.  The distance is 9.6 miles with 5700 feet of gain.

Day 2: From our camp at Lake Italy – attempt two peaks -  Climb Hilgard, then Gabb.  5200 feet of gain and 10 miles.

Day 3: Climb any peaks missed, and hike out – 1300 gain, and 9.6 miles

Leader: Lisa Barboza Co-lead: Robert Wyka. I have secured permits for 6.

This is an intermediate/strenuous trip on CL2 terrain. Participants must be in superb physical condition to complete the significant elevation gain and mileage.  Be prepared to be self sufficient in lodging, mess, stoves and other gear.  We will decide at the TH on sharing gear.

Sierra Club policy is not to arrange carpools; but I will send out a list of participants as the time get closer. Please send climbing resume and recent experience to Lisa.barbozaATgmail.com

Foerster Peak

Goals: Foerster Peak (12,057')

Location: Granite Creek Campground, Yosemite

Dates: July 4 - 6

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Day 1: Starting at Isperg Pass TH (Granite

Creek Campground) hike 9.5 miles with 3300 feet of gain to camp at McGee Lake at 10,100' and enjoy a Happy Hour.

Day 2: Climb Foerster Peak: Trail/Cross Country: 2500 feet of gain and 6 miles RT to climb peak. Our route will be over Long mountain, then return to camp.   Expect to encounter CL2 terrain, and some snow, bring along gaiters.  Work to get back to the TH (9.5 miles) and drive home.  If needed, a 3rd day to get home.

Leader: Lisa Barboza Co-lead: John Cheslick.  I have secured permits for 8.

This is an intermediate trip on CL2 terrain.  It is intermediate because participants must be in excellent physical condition to complete the significant elevation gain and mileage. 

Be prepared to be self-sufficient in lodging, mess, stoves and other gear.  We will decide at the TH on sharing gear. Sierra Club policy is not to arrange carpools; but I will send out a list of participants as the time get closer.

Please send climbing resume and recent experience to Lisa.barbozaATgmail.com

Mount Winchell

Goals: Mt. Winchell (13,775')

Location: Big Pine, east side of the Sierra

Dates: August 3 - 4

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Day 1: On Trail: From Glacier Lodge TH, proceed up the North Fork of Pine Creek to camp at 5th lake.  If interest, we will have a Happy Hour.  The hiking distance is 6 miles with 3400 feet of gain.

Day 2: Climb Winchell: glacier travel and CL3 climbing: 2600 feet of gain and 4 miles, glacier

travel probable.  Return to camp, hike out 6 miles.

Leader: Lisa Barboza Co-lead: Aaron Schuman.  I have secured permits for 4.

This is an advanced trip with CL3 climbing and glacier travel. Be prepared to be self-sufficient in lodging, mess, stoves and other gear.  We will decide at the TH on sharing gear. Sierra Club policy is not to arrange carpools; but I will send out a list of participants as the time get closer. Please send climbing resume and recent experience to Lisa.barbozaATgmail.com

Giraud Peak

Goals: Giraud Peak (12,608')

Location: South Lake, east side of the Sierra

Dates: August 7 -8

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Day 1: On Trail: From South Lake TH, proceed up to Bishop Pass and camp in upper Dusy

Basin below the peak.  2400 feet of gain, about 6 miles to camp on Lake 11340 near the Dusy Basin Trail, enjoy Happy Hour.

Day 2: Climb Giraud, gain of 2500, 6 miles RT back to camp, hike out 6 miles to TH.

Leader: Lisa Barboza Co-lead: Aaron Schuman.  I have secured permits for 6.

This is an intermediate trip on CL2 with some CL3 terrain.  It is intermediate because participants must be in excellent physical condition to complete the significant elevation gain and mileage.  Be prepared to be self sufficient in lodging, mess, stoves and other gear.  We will decide at the TH on sharing gear.

Sierra Club policy is not to arrange carpools; but I will send out a list of participants as the time get closer.

Please send climbing resume and recent experience to Lisa.barbozaATgmail.com

Deerhorn, W. Vidette, E. Vidette

Goals: Deerhorn (13,281'), W. Vidette (12,533'), E. Vidette (12,356')


Dates: August 30 - September 1

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Day 1: On Trail: From Onion Valley TH, climb over Kearsarge pass, drop down to Bubbs Creek, cross the creek near Vidette Creek.  About 3800' of gain and 8.5 miles over the pass to our camp at the Vidette Lakes up Vidette Creek. If we have time, climb West Vidette from our camp- about 1900 of gain.

Day 2: Climb Deerhorn – CL3 climb, about 5 miles RT with 2800 gain.  This is a CL3 climb up the ridge.

Day 3: Climb East Vidette about 6 miles RT, 3000 of gain.  Hike out to Onion Valley TH.

Leader: Lisa Barboza Co-lead: Needed.  I have secured permits for 4.

This is an advanced trip on CL2 with some CL3 terrain.  It is advanced because participants must be in excellent physical condition to complete the significant elevation gain and mileage.  Be prepared to be self-sufficient in lodging, mess, stoves and other gear.  We will decide at the TH on sharing gear. Sierra Club

policy is not to arrange carpools; but I will send out a list of participants as the time get closer.

Please send climbing resume and recent experience to Lisa.barbozaATgmail.com

Private Trip Calendar

Important: Private trips are not insured, sponsored, or supervised by the Sierra Club. They are listed here because they may be of interest to PCS members. Private trips may be submitted directly to the Scree editor.

July 8 - 14 - Mt. McAdie

Leader: Robert Summers

July 22 - August 2 - The Evolution - West Side Story

Leader: Robert Summers

August 1 - 3 - Cirque Peak (12, 900')

Leader: Rod McCalley

August 17 - 18 - Mt. Goode and Cloudripper

Leader: Matt Blum

August 19 - 30 - Peaks Along the Great Western & Kings-Kern Divides

Leader: Robert Summers

August 31 - Sept 9 - Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Leader: Emilie Cortes

September 12 - 15 - Muir Gorge Swimming

Leader: Robert Summers

November 7 - 23: Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal

Leader: Emilie Cortes

Private Trip Details

Mt. McAdie

Goals: Mt. McAdie (13,680')

Location: Cottonwood Pass, east side of the Sierra

Dates: July 8 - 14

Leader: Robert Summers

We will hike in from Horseshoe Meadow, by way of New Army Pass and Sky Blue Lake. Mt McAdie will be climbed from the west, above Crabtree Pass. After Mount McAdie, we will descend the north side of Crabtree Pass and camp at the Crabtree Lakes. The tour will continue around the west and north sides of Mount Whitney and out by the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek.

I will be bringing an ice axe and crampons. 

I have a permit for 6.

Leader:  Robert Summers    rsummers@usgs.gov      650 329 4823  w/msg,  650 324 2341 h  w/o msg

The Evolution - West Side Story

Goals: Mt. McGee (12,969')

Location: Courtwright Reservoir

Dates: July 22 - August 2

Leader: Robert Summers

For this trip to the Evolution Basin we will go in from Courtwright Reservoir, crossing the LeConte Divide at Hell For Sure Pass. We will then go up into the Evolution Valley, leave the trail near Colby Meadow, and camp at the

McGee Lakes.  Then we will cross into the

Evolution Basin and camp at Davis Lake. From Davis Lake we will climb Mount McGee.  From just below Davis Lake we will follow the string of small lakes to Martha Lake. We will then recross

the LeConte Divide at Confusion Lake, and go out by way of Bench Valley where there are stories of excellent fishing.  There will be significant off-trail travel.

Leader:  Robert Summers    rsummers@usgs.gov      650 329 4823  w/msg,  650 324 2341 h  w/o msg

Cirque Peak (12,900')

Location: Cottonwood Lks TH, above Lone Pine on east side of the Sierra

Dates: August 1-3, 2013

Leader: Rod McCalley -- (650) 493-2378, rodmccalley@sbcglobal.net

Backpack on Thursday (from a July 31 car-camp at the Cottonwood Lakes TH), branching left past South Fork Lake to camp at Cirque Lake at 11,100' (about 5-6 miles).  On Friday, August 2, climb Cirque Peak directly up to west from camp (Class 1 in Secor), with possible loop return via New Army Pass trail.  The loop route is about 5 miles RT with 1800' of gain.  Rod's 70th birthday will be celebrated back at the Cirque Lake camp after the climb.  Hike back out Saturday.

Be prepared to be self-sufficient in food, stoves and camping gear.  We can decide at the TH about sharing gear. Sierra Club policy is not to arrange carpools; but I will send out a list of participants as the time get closer.

Mt Goode (13,085'), Cloudripper (13,525')

Location:  South Lake TH, east side of Sierra

Dates:  August 17-18

Leader:  Matt Blum

We will do both these peaks as day-hikes starting from South Lake near Bishop.  We will camp at South Lake or nearby depending on availability of campsites.  Given the high elevation of the starting point at South Lake, these peaks are moderate length day-hikes.  Climbing difficulty is class 2.   Details on summitpost are at:

http://www.summitpost.org/mount-goode/151070 - we will probably go up the class 2 slope from Bishop Lake

http://www.summitpost.org/cloudripper/151202 - we will probably do the north slope from Green Lake

Peaks Along the Great Western & Kings-Kern Divide

Goals: Thunder Mtn (13,588'), Mt. Jordan (13,344'), Genevra (13,055'), Mt. Ericsson (13,608'), Deerhorn Mtn (13,265')

Location: Onion Valley, east side of the Sierra

Dates: August 19 - 30

Leader: Robert Summers

The trip will go in and out over Kearsarge Pass.  From East Lake we will go to a high camp below Thunder Col. We will cross over Thunder Col and climb Thunder Mountain (4th class).   Then we will move to a camp below Mount Jordan.  The next objective is Mount Jordan (4th class) and Genevra.  Mount Ericsson will be climbed on the way to Harrison Pass, Deerhorn Saddle, and a camp below Deerhorn Mountain, in the upper part of Vidette Creek.  We will climb Deerhorn Mountain and then descend past the Vidette Lakes to the Shorty Lovelace Cabin on Bubbs Creek.

An ice axe is required for the north side of Thunder Col and crampons are recommended.  A rope will be brought for Thunder and Jordan. There will be strenuous off trail travel.

I have a permit for 6.

Leader:  Robert Summers    rsummers@usgs.gov      650 329 4823  w/msg,  650 324 2341 h  w/o msg

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Goals: Kilimanjaro (19, 341')

Location: Tanzania

Dates: August 31 - Sept 9

Leader: Emilie Cortes

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.

Muir Gorge Swimming

Goals: Have fun swimming!

Location: Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite

Dates: September 12 - 15

Leader: Robert Summers

The Muir Inner Gorge is 15 miles downriver from Toulumne Meadows. The gorge can be descended in late season.  The upper part of the gorge is easy wading and swimming.  The lower part is blocked by a rock step that can be down climbed (difficult), rappelled, or jumped.  Below the step the deep pool continues down the gorge and around the corner.  A rappel rope will be available.

Leader:  Robert Summers    rsummers@usgs.gov      650 329 4823  w/msg,  650 324 2341 h  w/o msg

Annapurna Base Camp

Goals: Anna Purnapurna Base Camp (13,550')

Location: Nepal

Dates: Npvember 7 - 23

Leader: Emilie Cortes

This is an all female expedition to the famous Annapurna Base Camp in the Annapurna

Sanctuary.  Emilie will be guiding this trip personally.

This challenging trek is one of the most popular in Nepal and for good reason! Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) is surrounded by a cirque of awe-inspiring peaks, including the awesome south

face of Annapurna I (8,091m), in a natural amphitheatre which is quite simply mind-blowing.

Our trek starts from Pokhara with a short drive to the road head. A short diversion up to Poon Hill

(3,190m) offers us a chance to obtain great views of Himalayan giant - Dhaulagiri (8,167m).

The sunrise views from here are

legendary. As we climb through ancient oak and

rhododendron forest, across sparkling streams and past waterfalls, the world of snow and ice starts to unfold above us. This combination of villages and terraced fields of millet and rice, coupled by the majestic splendor of Machapuchare (6,993m), Annapurna I and Himchuli (6,441m) make this an extremely rewarding trek. Climbing up the Modhi Khola valley towards the sanctuary, we are teased with views of towering peaks and dizzyingly high rock walls with waterfalls tumbling down into the roar of the river below.

We ascend to Machapuchare Base Camp (3,700m) on the lateral moraine of Annapurana South glacier. The steady climb up to ABC reveals the full splendor of this natural amphitheatre. When we reach our destination, we are spoiled with a 360-degree views of Himalayan peaks, the 'Throne of the Mountain Gods'. 

Cost is $3295 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=66.

Trip Reports

Post Peak, 11,009' and

Triple Divide Peak (N) 11,611'

June 6 - 12, 2013

By Debbie Bulger

Richard Stover and I had intended to climb Mt. Florence in Yosemite, but weather, need for trail maintenance, and pure exhaustion, caused us to focus on other goals. Our plans were to take the Walton Trail in Sierra National Forest to the Post Pass Trail, descending into Yosemite National Park and head northwest high above the Merced River Canyon to the slopes of Mt. Florence. I had passed very close to the summit of Mt. Florence on my way to climb Electra Peak in 1994, but trudged on by.

The first clue that this trip was not to be an easy backpack on good trails as anticipated was the fact that the Walton Trail was buried under downed trees and debris. Although bits of trail were visible in a few spots and the route ducked in places, there was no path for most of the three miles to the Timber Creek and Post Pass Trails. Climbing over fallen trees with a full pack is not easy.

We briefly thought we were home free when we emerged from the forest tangle at Madera Creek. Here was a trail. Alas, it was only for a moment; the Post Pass Trail was even worse. Apparently the wind event of November 2012, which blew down thousands of trees near Mammoth also downed a lot of trees on the West Slope. After two days of floundering around in the forest, we set up camp near Porphyry Lake, so named for the blotchy igneous rock surrounding it. The impression is of rocks dressed in camouflage.

We saw a coyote, deer, and a bear. At an unnamed lake southeast of Joe Crane Lake, the Sierran Tree Frogs were noisily calling. Our attempt to backpack directly to Post Pass from above Joe Crane Lake also met with failure since we didn’t have a topo map of the area.

From our viewpoints we could not tell that there was an easy route; instead we hiked the ridge,

which quickly proved too difficult with full packs. We bailed to the south and ended up in a meadow we dubbed “Porcupine Meadow” after the dead animal we found there.

It was time for a change of plans; we were tired and two days behind schedule. To further complicate things, the north side of Post Pass was covered with snow, masking the route, and presenting an invitation to break an ankle from postholing. Instead of Mt. Florence, we decided to climb Post Peak and Triple Divide Peak, North.


Debbie climbing north ridge of Post

On June 8 we climbed Post Peak at the top of Post Pass. This little peak is not on any list to my knowledge, but is a parcel of fun. Getting to Post Pass from our campsite proved a bit of a puzzle. The rotten snow hid the route in many places. I tried to stay on the more stable ridges of the sun cups. Once at the pass we gingerly crossed more snow and moved up to the exposed rocks of the north ridge. The easy second class gave way to third class, then more challenging third class, as the blocks got bigger and bigger. The summit is topped by a huge milk bottle rock that I wouldn’t climb without a belay. After hasty photos, we descended just in time to almost reach the pass again before the marble-sized hailstones started pelting our heads, our shoulders, our arms. It hurt!


Richard and Debbit on summit of Post

We dived beneath a welcoming Whitebark Pine, covered our heads with a space blanket and waited out the storm, glad to be off the summit. Returning to camp was more like stand up paddle boarding than hiking because of the increased run off and snow melt. The bits of trail not covered by snow became a raging torrent.

The next day we hiked on poor-to-nonexistent trails to Slab Lakes to climb Triple Divide. On the way I spotted an uncommon Fritillaria atropurpurea (Spotted Mountain Bells), an exquisite brown lily.

At Slab Lakes we were greeted by a persistent marmot that had obviously been fed by humans. Not wanting to encourage it, we threw a few rocks to little avail. Having previously had packs, trekking poles, and more, gnawed on by its relatives, we carefully hung everything in trees.

The next day dawned gray and dreary. At 11 a.m. the hail and sleet began. For the next four hours Richard and I lay in the tent trying to stay dry. Hail bounced off the tent fly. Sleet made the vestibule fly sag under its weight. There must have been a small leak in the tent floor, because it soon became wet under our sleep pads. I spread a space blanket underneath to keep our sleeping bags dry.

Lunch was 20 soggy feet away in a bear can. We emerged at 3 p.m., hungry and ready to pee. It rained again during the night. We were camped in a puddle.

The next day we took down the tent, dried everything out, and set it all up again. The forced layover gave us a chance to rinse out our clothes (no soap) and walk around the largest lake.

June 12 dawned clear so we headed for Triple Divide Peak. The summit is not visible from the lake, and we didn’t have the topo. Richard had maps of Florence on his GPS, but not of Triple Divide. The Tom Harrison map I had of the Ansel Adams Wilderness was at too large a scale to be helpful. The lack of a suitable map delayed us, but we eventually made the cold and windy summit.


View from Triiple Divide (N)

The view was fabulous. To the north was the entire Clark Range: Merced, Red, Grey, and Clark. There were great views of Ritter and Banner, Lyell and McClure. The view was made sweeter with the knowledge that I had climbed most of the peaks I saw and led many of them.

Recess Peak, 12,813'

June 12, 2013

By Lisa Barboza

We were at Lake Edison for a glorious week of climbing and listening to the birds in early spring mornings – and had, on our list, Recess Peak and Izaak Walton to finish completing all peaks

accesible from the Lake Thomas A. Edison trailheads.  After a few cancellations, Bob Wyka and I started on our dayhike of Recess Peak. At about 18.5 miles, and 5700 feet of gain, it didn’t seem terribly intimidating.  And we had lots and lots of wonderful summer daylight and fantastic weather.

After a wonderful breakfast at Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR), stopover for PCT thru hikers, JMT hikers, fisherfolk and assorted climber folk, we drove to the east end of the dam to the Bear Ridge Trailhead at 7650 feet elevation. Jim Smiley has done a great job with a recent remodel of the dining area – the food is good, store well-stocked, prices are reasonable, and the clientele is varied and interesting with lots of thru hikers and great energy. 

We started hiking at 7:30 AM.  The trail went well for the first 3.5 miles, and improved once it joined to the Bear Creek Trail, which is in better condition.  Soon, we were at the junction of the Bear Creek Trail, and the JMT at 9850 feet where a sign pointed north, down to Quail Meadow, and south to Selden Pass.  


Within 50 feet of the junction, a faint use trail heads southeast to a meadow with a snow survey log cabin, and snow survey poles.  Although faint, the trail can be followed reliably to the meadow at 10,300 feet.  The meadow was decked out in spring green with abundant

 wildflowers, and the stub of volcanic knob stood out above us.  This is an area where the Merten volcanics of 10M years before present intruded on the landscape and the ground was carpeted with millions of small reddish volcanic bombs spewed during the eruption those many years ago.  The Merten volcanic primarily affected the northern Sierra.  From the meadow, it’s cross country to the opening ridge to Recess, across a few small meadows, over two rises of pine forest, and finally to the start of the actual climb. 

As we crossed a dry meadow just south of two lakes to the west of the summit ridge, a short 150 foot climb brought us to just below the ridge.

We stayed about 100 feet below the ridge – the going was clean, CL2 sand with few boulders to hop over and quite pleasant.  As we got closer to the impressive semi-circular ridge below the summit rise, we moved closer, hopping over 2nd class boulders among the white bark pines (Pinus Albicauli). 

At the semi-circle, the climbing became really fun.  The climber has a choice of a spicy class 3 climb next to the exposed west face, dropping several hundred feet and cloaked in the remnants of winter’s snow; or for the cautious, you can keep it class 2 by hewing closer to the eastern slope.   After about an hour, we ascended close to the exposed drop, finding the climbing class 2 and very enjoyable with many boulders to surmount.  Again, for those in the mood for a deluxe route, a sandy slope can be found just east of the spicy edge.  We summited at 2PM, looked for, but did not find, a register.  There was some question about which was the higher of the two summits and we did run over to both, but still no register.  We decided that the western summit was somewhat higher.  On the way up, I was smacked with a small boulder that caused a contusion on my thigh, but as we say in the climbing community, I grinned and bore it on the long hike back to the cars.  Later on that night I could hardly walk.


We enjoyed the stupendous views – Bob and I were a bit tired but knew we had managed the peak; and after a short while, headed back to the TH.  We debated downclimbing directly down the southwest face of the peak to the JMT, but decided we would lose too much elevation – but the sand sure looked tempting. We were able to retrace our steps well and finally got back to the JMT, and from there, to the car at 6:45PM for an 11.5 hour day.  There we met several PCT thru hikers, and in fact drove one to VVR – where we enjoyed a well prepared and scrumptious dinner.  All in all, a fun climb and quite doable in a dayhike if you set a consistent pace.  I recommend it and in particular, the semicircular ridge is great fun and impressively beautiful.  There are not many in the Sierra quite like it.

On A Silver Platter

Silver Peak (11, 878')

June 15 - 16, 2013

By Aaron Schuman

The Silver Divide separates the Middle Fork and the South Fork of the San Joaquin River. It is a grand sweep of granite, looking down in one direction on the Southern California Edison waterworks of the Sierra National Forest (Wishon, Courtright, Florence, and Edison Reservoirs), and in the other direction on the

long, steep descent of the Western Sierra Nevada into California’s Central Valley. Silver Peak is the high point of the divide. We set out to climb that mountain.

Lisa Barboza led our party to Silver Peak on June 15 & 16, 2013. Linda Sun, Sandra Hao, Stephane Mouradian, Greg Johnson, Chris Wahl made up the group, along with your reporter, Aaron Schuman. All the photos in this report are Greg’s.

I had attempted the peak previously, but I found that the hiking distance was too great for a two-day weekend. Our plan was still for a two-day trip, but we were going to push further than the lake on Saturday, and be better positioned on Sunday to complete the expedition.

We started out at around 7:00 a.m. at the trailhead just beyond Vermilion Valley Resort (VVR), at 7500 feet, near Lake Thomas A. Edison. We hiked seven miles up the trail to Devil’s Bathtub in just a few hours. We walked cross-country counter clockwise to the beach on the north side of the lake, and took a swim in the mild water. We continued past a meadow and some slabby granite, up to the timberline and the headwaters, at around 10000 feet. There we made camp among the last of the pines and the mosquitoes. Although there was still time, advancing further didn’t make much sense because there weren’t good campsites beyond.


Linda and Chris in the Little Loose Chute

We awoke in the dark at 4:00 a.m., and started our climb in first light at 5:00. We followed the route advice of Bob Byrd instead of the guidebook by R.J. Secor. We aimed for the divide a little higher and a little further east than the saddle; in order to avoid the steep snow that we knew would be on the opposite side of the saddle.

The chute we selected had an interesting chockstone obstacle and quite a bit of loose rock. We were disciplined about only moving one at a time in dangerous spots, and we minimized our risk from rock fall.


Summit of Silver Peak

We cleared the ridge at 11000 feet, dropped down 500 feet on a talus face to a frozen tarn, gained the class 2 southwest flank of the mountain, marched on up, and reached the summit at 10:00 a.m.

We lingered only briefly to admire the view and to read the summit register, because we knew we still had a long day ahead. Stephane surprised us by finding a cell signal at the mountaintop, and telephoning his wife Kirsten.


Stephane and Lisa swimming in Devils Bathtub

We returned the way we came, down the slope to the frozen tarn, up to the ridge, down the loose chute, and into our camp at 1:00 p.m. We struck camp, descended the slabs, crossed the meadow and reached the lake, where we had another enjoyable swimming party. We hiked the other shore of the lake and found it easier going. We found the trail and descended back to the trailhead at 5:00 p.m.

We decided to try out the kitchen at VVR. The waitress went by the nickname “Molasses”, and so we can’t say we weren’t warned! But the tasty, hot meal was just the way we needed to celebrate a great late spring climb in the Western Sierra.

Bear Creek Spire In A Day

June 22, 2013

By Sonja Dietrich

Our leader was Lisa Barboza, and Sonja Dietrich, Sandra Hao, and Corinne Livingston, were the participants.

We met at the Mosquito Flat trailhead and started the long hike to BCS around 7:30 am. The trail was well maintained, and we used the easy stretch to catch up about life, friends, and other things. Unfortunately, Corinne was not

feeling well and had to turn around early. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and cool with no clouds in the sky. We soon left the trail to go cross-country toward Cox Col. There were a few snowfields left, softened by the sun already and with moderate sun cups. For the steep snowfield just below Cox Col we decided to use ice axe and crampons. A chute just to the right of us kept chucking rocks, which was a bit unnerving although the rocks flew down at a safe distance from us. We had our lunch break at Cox Col, and then made our way up the sandy slope toward the headwall of BCS.

Having just come from 20 ft above sea level and only monthly excursions to modest altitude, I was quite short of breath and certainly not a speed demon. With the encouragement of Lisa and Sandra, I dug deep and made my way up. The climb was quite enjoyable, especially since the rock on BCS is so nice and solid. Near the headwall, we encountered three technical climbers who just seemed to wander about the summit enjoying the good climbing. A shadow across the sun caught our attention - there was a glider plane doing a flyover maybe 200 feet above us. A very beautiful sight. And, guess what? This was Lisa's fiancé, Brian, up there, watching over us!

Lisa expertly led the class 4/5 summit wall and set a belay for us. The class 4 section is quite easy, but that last chimney ... especially at a short 5'5"!!! On my 3rd attempt, I let my inner sailor loose with a hearty mixture of English and German words not to be repeated here. Lisa did an LOL, which got me just mad enough to send the chimney, I don't know how. Once I got my hands set for the mantle move, I was ok. Sandra of course found the one handhold I had overlooked and mastered the chimney elegantly. We spend some time enjoying the view before rappelling down and making our way back. 

Very unfortunately, once down at the lakes I had an onset of nausea and dizziness. First thinking

of delayed altitude sickness, I kept going and budgeted my water for a regular hike out. As we descended and I slowed down, I was getting worse instead of better, nausea leading to dehydration. Lucky for us, we were still able to reach the trail just before sunset. The full moon illuminated our hike out beautifully. Lisa and Sandra very patiently supported me, and even overnighted with me at the trailhead because I was in no shape to drive safely. Sunday found me a bit better, and I managed to get home to nurse a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Talk about bad timing for getting a stomach flu ... Nevertheless, I loved (almost) every minute of the trip, the great climbing experience, and Lisa's expert leadership.

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