div class=WordSection1>


Nov 2013             Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                                    Vol. 47 No. 11

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

General Meeting

Date          Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time          7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA

Program   Climbing Denali

Presenter Charles Schafer

Charles Schafer is going to present the slide show this month on his 2004 trip, along with 2 other PCSers (Bob Evans and Will Hearst), to Denali. Hear why climbing Denali is sometimes referred to as an advanced snow camping trip, and the tale of how his pants ultimately made the summit.

For those who don’t know Charles, he has been with the PCS since 1990, and was very actively leading trips up until 2009 when he was elected to the Chapter’s Executive Committee and he wound up with all of his free time being sucked up by Chapter governance activities. He is also a semi-pro photographer, with a stock house selling some of his images, so the slide show itself should be enjoyable.

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

I have a question about English Mountain: Will and I were planning to climb there (near Truckee) a couple of weeks ago, but the approach road was truly awful, so we gave up. I'm curious to hear if others have been able to climb this peak recently. Let me know! Judy

Chair Column

It is election time. The nominating committee has been busy identifying candidates, but we still need good people. If you have not been contacted and would like to serve, it is not too late! Please contact myself or Lisa Barboza (lisa.barboza AT gd-ais.com), Arun Mahajan (arun.mahajan AT att.net), or Rod McCalley (rodmccalley AT sbcglobal.net) for more information.

We have been discussing how we can improve the frequency and content of our meetings, attract new members, increase participation, and grow new leaders. We'd like to hear your ideas! We will share our recommendations for changes soon.

The results of the winter trip planning meeting are available on the web site via a link to a spreadsheet. Descriptions and some dates still need to be nailed down. But winter conditions being unpredictable, so expect changes and additions as conditions become known. Leaders, we can use more trips of all levels, please sign up.  Terry

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.


November 2 - 3 - Spanish Needle, Sawtooth

Leader: Lisa Barboza

December 7 - 8 - Cone Peak

Leader: Lisa Barboza

January 18 - Junipero Serra Peak

Leader: Lisa Barboza

PCS Trip Details

Spanish Needle, 7841', and Sawtooth, 8000'

Goals: Spanish Needle, Sawtooth, So. Sierras

Location: Chimney Peak Campground

Dates: November 2 -3

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Drive to Chimney Peak Campground Friday night, camp.

Day 1: Climb Spanish Needle – mostly cross country, there is a CL3 move on the peak.  Suitable for intermediate climbers.

Day 2: Climb Sawtooth Peak – cross country dayhike, CL2 – great views

Contact lisa.barbozaATgmail.com for details

Cone Peak

Goals: Cone Peak, 5158'

Location: Santa Lucia Range, Ventana Wilderness

Dates: December 7 - 8

Leader: Lisa Barboza

We’ll hike into the Big Sur backcountry in this early winter climb.  Cone Peak is 11 miles from the trailhead at Lime Kiln campground.  The peak is the third highest in the Santa Lucia range after Junipero Serra and and Pinyon Peak. Details to come. 

Contact lisa.barbozaATgmail.com for details

Junipero Serra Peak

Goals: Junipero Serra Peak, 5857'

Location: Santa Lucia Range, Ventana Wilderness

Date: January 18

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Co-Leader: Yoni Novat

Annual trip to climb Junipero Serra – 12 miles RT, 4000 feet gain.  There will likely be snow at the summit for the last 300 feet, depending on the season.  This is a really fun hike, and is traditional.  Meet at Carl’s Jr. off of East Dunne Ave in Morgan Hill at 6:30 AM for carpool

Contact lisa.barbozaATgmail.com for details

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.

November 7 - 23: Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal

Leader: Emilie Cortes

December 7 - 8: Beginning snowshoe/snow camping for Women at Yosemite's Dewey Point

Leader: Sharon Lindsay

Private Trip Details

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

Beginning Snowshoe/Snow Camping for Women

Goals: Yosemite, Dewey Point

Location: Yosemite

Dates: December 7 - 8

Leader: Sharon Lindsey

Saturday morning to Sunday evening -one night of sleeping on snow.

Dewey Point is stunning! 3-4 miles one way on moderately flat terrain.


We'll go, snow, mud, rain or shine.

Leader: Sharon Lindsey West:  west.slw@gmail.com

Trip Reports


A Forester's Tale

Mt. Foerster, 12,085'

July 4 - 5, 2013

By Lisa Barboza

Photos by Joe Baker

Deep in the heart of Yosemite, overlooking a distant pair of canyons, stands Foerster Peak – It is remote, it is beautiful, and it boasts an incredible view of the Ritter range, the Minarets, the Merced river valley, and the peaks of Yosemite National Park.  The peak is one of several that feed the mighty San Joaquin River, immemorial mother stream of our great Central Valley.

We started on July 4th, Thursday – our plan, and our promise to the group, was to take a single day to hike in hike in, climb the peak the next day, and hike all of the way out for a 2 day trip.  We made good on our promise to the participants. 

We met at the remote ISBERG trailhead at 7000 feet.  It takes about 1.5 hours from the turnoff near Bass Lake.  Excellent directions can be found on climber.org, directions to Clover Meadow.  From the turnoff of the Bass Lake road, it is 29 miles to Clover Meadow (location of the Clover Meadow Ranger Station), and a further 3 miles to the ISBERG trailhead.  The road is fine for 2WD vehicles, but can be quite rough with washboarding and some high stones, but my FWD 2005 Corolla (Pearl) managed it just fine.  I arrived at 11PM from the East side, where I was leading a climb of Gabb, Hilgard, and Julius Caesar.  The ISBERG trailhead was dark, deserted, and spooky, except for a single car with the engine warm. – must be camped somewhere near.  There is a creek (East Granite Creek) just 100 yards down the road where there are ample swimming holes  - welcome in this unusually hot weather.  It was 90F at 7000 feet – very unusual.

At 7:30 AM, our crew was together and ready to go –our climbing group consisted of Judy Molland, Co-lead, Joe Baker, Eddie Sudol, Simon Kenney, Christine O’Sullivan, and Christophe Vivensang, for a total of 8 people. I had never met either Catherine O’Sullivan or Simon Kenney – but the second I met them both, I knew they would be a great addition to the trip.  The weather was hot and sultry – we were still experiencing record high temperatures – we were beset by furious mosquitoes. 

After 2.5 miles and some climbing, we hiked through the “Niche”, a rock formation where East Granite Creek falls down the mountain.  After another .5 mile, the right hand turn to Chetwood cabin appeared. We took the left fork of the trail where the sign for the Hemlock trail beckoned.   We hiked the remaining 2 miles to Chetwood Cabin- what remains of the cabin is a flattened roof in a small meadow.  At the cabin, we turned right again off of the trail onto a barely distinct use-trail that crosses a small creek within 150 feet of the cabin.  This use trail, it turned out, went all of way into Long Canyon, at the head of which was our goal for the day, Rockbound Lake.  The trail disappears several times, at one point, in a curious fire pit replete with circular steel cooking grill, overlooking a small meadow and spring.

Curiouser and Curiouser – why would someone make a trail in the middle of this seemingly endless forest? We were about to find out. After losing and regaining the trail for some time, we happened on a pond with a rim of rock that overlooked Long Canyon.  And beyond, we had about the most impressive view of the west side Ritter range and the Minarets that I have ever seen. The pond teemed with Sierra yellow-legged frogs and tadpoles – and the inevitable mosquitoes- but it was a slice of heaven on earth – one could stay forever, enchanted by those views. It is about 12 miles, and a few thousand feet of gain, to get to Rockbound lake.

From that pond, the trail descends about 400 feet to the Long Canyon floor and the going opens up to easy slab walking – stay high, away from the creek and near the middle of the canyon for easier going.  We pulled ourselves over the low bench that contained Rockbound lake by 5PM and made a great camp right by the lake.  There are so many flowers that the desired granite flat spots are non-existent.  Not many come to this spot, and we had not seen a soul all day.  The lake is stunningly beautiful.  I would go there again if someone asked – this is one of the most beautiful, quiet climbs that I have done.


The view at Rockbound Lake

Friday, July 5th – summit day; and a long hike out. We arose early, and started hiking at 6:15am. I love summer climbing – all the sunshine and daylight – we crossed over a small saddle just northeast of Rockbound lake in a nice ramp system, down into the drainage of Blue Lake at 10,580' where we crossed one of the outlet streams. 


Approaching Foerster

At that point, Foerster beckoned with our choice of nice, CL2 ramps.  We chose the center one, and were rewarded with the most enchanting alpine garden imaginable – small waterfalls, festooned with shooting star, gentian, cinquefoil, and alpine sorrel with the best undisturbed moss gardens I have yet seen in the Sierra (and I do get around). It was painful to step among them, and we chose a much sandier route for the down climb.  The route is Class 2 all the way to the summit, which we reached at 9:00 AM, enjoyed a full register from 1994 (it needs a new register, and I had given up my spare for Gabb the previous week).  We enjoyed the summit views, waiting for the rain to come – it had been a quite rainy set of weeks – but we escaped it. 


We made it!

For the down climb, we chose a ramp that was to the east of the one we had used for the climb up to spare the alpine garden the tromping of our boots.

From there, back to camp, and packing up for a warmish hike out (did I mention that the mosquitoes were still around?).  We were able to pick up the use trail for the way back – and it is very faint in places (read: non-existent) and were back at the cars by 5PM – All in all, a great trip with great people!

Grey Ash, Grey Smoke

Gray Peak, 11, 573'

September 27 - 29, 2013

By Aaron Schuman

Photos by Kathy Kohberger

The Rim Fire was mostly quenched. The Speaker was still days away from Burning Down the House. It was our moment to return to Yosemite. Will Molland-Simms, Kathy Kohberger, Alex Sapozhnikov, and I set out on September 27, 2013 to attempt Gray Peak.

 We started out at Mono Meadows trailhead (7200'), on Glacier Point Road. The hike begins with a big descent to Illilouette Creek (6400'), and then a big hike back up to our starting elevation. In every direction we looked, domes emerged from the forest. We hiked right under stark Mt Starr King, and past old bald Mt Clark. We left the trail just past Clark Fork (7200'). Our cross-country route went through regrowth from the Illilouette Fire of 1991 and the Horizon Fire of 1994. Decades after the blazes, the forest floor fallen timber still lay scattered over the forest floor. It was slow going, picking our way over and around the debris. Our plan was to camp at Grayling Lake (8692'). We didn’t find the lake before dusk, but we later discovered that our intended campsite was only a couple hundred yards away.

Grayling-Lake.jpgAlex and Aaron relax at Grayling Lake

Saturday morning, we worked our way up the west ridge of Gray Peak. Tall pines gave way to dense stunted pines. At last we got onto bare, rocky ground. We continued to follow the west ridge until it narrowed to where we couldn’t call it class 2 climbing any more. We dropped down 100 feet on the south side, traversed, and worked our way up to the summit (11573').

Mt-Clark-from-Gray-Peak-1.jpgMt. Clark from Gray Peak

At the mountaintop, we could see smoke rising from the remnant of the Rim Fire. We had a beautiful view into Yosemite Valley and down onto the top of Half Dome. To the east, Mounts Ritter and Banner, and the Minarets seemed close enough to touch.

Will had the urge, so he took off by himself to climb nearby Red Peak. The other three headed down and through the forest toward Grayling Lake. As we approached the lake, Will had caught up, right there alongside us.

Grayling Lake turned out to be a charming place. It was warm enough for Kathy to take a swim. A previous visitor had left a lake register. It’s just a book with a pen, triple wrapped in plastic, under a rock. I had never signed in at a lake before that day.

After a brief stay, we found our campsite nearby. We packed up and started down. When sun touched the horizon we were in the charred ruins of what was once a forest. The site was spacious, and it made for a convenient but creepy place to camp. Over dinner, Will tested us with puzzles. Name five words, each five letters long, where every letter is allowable in a Roman numeral (MDCLXVI), and by the way, you don’t need to use ‘X’. There among the ashes, it felt like we were telling stories around the world’s biggest campfire.

 On Sunday morning, we quickly found our way back to the trail, then across the creek, then back up to the trailhead. That was our gray celebration of the end of summer, and the end of California fire season.

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor

    Judy Molland / screeeditor@gmail.comPCS World Wide Web Publisher
    Joe Baker/ pcs@joebaker.us

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