July 2014             Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                                    Vol. 48 No. 7

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

General Meeting

Date          Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Time          6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where       Wildwood Park, Area A

                  20764 4th Street

                  Saratoga, CA 95070

Annual BBQ and Gear Exchange

Bring a dish to share, your own specialty, OR choose according to first letter of your last name:

· A-G Main course (think grilled items)

· H-M Appetizer

· N-S Veggie or Fruit side

· T-Z Dessert

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

Last month we published Steve Eckert’s Op-Ed piece, Thriving and Sustaining, on ways to help the PCS grow and flourish. I’d like to take this opportunity to respond, and I think it would be great if we could keep this conversation going.

First of all, thanks to Steve for taking the time to articulate his thoughts on our club. He makes some excellent points about how to bring in more leaders and the importance of creating a culture of respect for those leaders.

However, I do take issue with the “Scurry-and-Stare,” phenomenon, which the author described perfectly. I have certainly experienced this, but never with the PCS. Perhaps Steve is referring to an earlier time, because in my 7 years of going on PCS trips, I have encountered only excellent, caring leaders. PCS leaders are the best!

What do you think? Feel free to chime in.


Chair Column

As I write this I’m finishing up a few days in the Sandia Mountains on the east edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and am struck by how lucky we are to have the Sierra Nevada to play in. The Sandia’s are a relatively small range topping out a little above 10,300 feet in elevation at the North Sandia Peak summit and probably less than 30 miles in length. Albuquerque just below is at about 5000 feet elevation. Beyond to the east and north are other little ranges. To the west beyond town is a high desert plain.

First of all, this is a desert range and the temperatures in the summer at the North Sandia Summit are more like the temperatures down in town at Bishop. I was saved by the breezes while hiking up South Sandia Peak (about 9,900 feet elevation). 

But the desert flora is varied and interesting. The various species of cacti are in full bloom right now. I didn’t see much wildlife. Just plenty of lizards. And the cicadas were in full throat. The plentiful red bellied hummingbirds were fluting about at all elevations.

The geology of the area seems pretty complex to an amateur like me. South Sandia Peak has a lot of granite outcroppings, with great bouldering

opportunities everywhere and quite a few sport-climbing cliffs up high. The trouble is that they would only be comfortable to climb in the fall and spring (and maybe in the winter when snow is sporadic). The long summer season is just too hot for comfortable technical climbing.

Moving north along the crest, the rock on North Sandia Peak seems to be a combination of rough-textured limestone and sandstone. Obvious sedimentary strata are seen going up the east side of this peak and there are metamorphic craggy ridges going down the west side where a tramway falls 5,000 feet down to town. Trails lead up from town through steep canyons on the side of these ridges to the summit. The trails mostly run through a low pinion pine forest.

Why then are we lucky? Well, while the Sandia’s are an interesting little mountain range, the variety of mountaineering experiences are pretty limited and certainly the seasons for adventurous exploration are constrained by the desert heat. Opportunities for alpine climbing, my passion, are nonexistent. While this is my first quick introduction to the range, and there are interesting things to do here, to each his own. Just say’in.


PCS Trip Calendar

There are no official PCS trips currently scheduled.

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 4 - 7: Mt. Baxter, Acrodectes Peak

Leader: Kelly Maas

Mid-Late July: Gannett Peak

Leader: Timothy Hult

July 11 - 15: The Kaweahs

Leader: Lisa Barboza

August 6 - 9: North Palisade

Leader: Jeff Fisher

August 16 - 18: Mount Clarence King

Leader: Terry Cline

August 22 - 25: Mt. Keith, Center Peak

Leader: Kelly Maas

Private Trip Details

Baxter Pass

Goals: Mt. Baxter (13,125'), class 2-3; Acrodectes Peak (13,183'), class 2-3

Location: Edison Lake

Dates: July 4 - 7

Leader: Kelly Maas

Co-Leader: wanted

This area had been closed for years to protect the bighorn sheep, but it's now open again to climbers. After hiking up the Baxter Pass trail, we set up camp at the Baxter Lakes on the west side of the crest. From this base camp, we spend 2 days climbing the nearby peaks. An additional class 2 or 3 peak will be climbed, as decided by the group. On the 4th day we'll hike out and drive home.

Maps: Tom Harrison - Kings Canyon or Kearsarge Pass-Rae Lakes Loop

Leader : Kelly Maas, 408-378-5311, kellymbase-pcs@yahoo.com

Gannett Peak

Goal: Gannett Peak: 13809'

Location: Wyoming

Dates: Mid - Late July

Leader: Timothy Hult

Difficulty: Ice axe and crampons, altitude

The approach is 19 miles into the head of Titcomb basin, a spectacular valley surrounded by 12,000' peaks, where after a two day back

pack in we camp and wait for ideal weather. 

Then up the scree hill to "glacier pass," down to the Dinwitty Glacier, up the Goose-neck couloir to a knife ridge that leads to the summit. This is one of the most challenging stats. Weather is a HUGE factor in the success of this climb. 

Participants must be up for several continuous days of long miles, high altitude and comfortable with ice ax and crampon work on steep slopes.  Trip will be timed to match the conditions of the

couloir, but given the potential for low snow conditions this year, it is thought mid to late July may work.  Interested persons should contact Tim Hult  at timdhult at sbcglobal dot net

The Kaweahs

Goals: Black Kaweah (13,720'), Red Kaweah (13,720'), Big Kaweah (13,802')

Location: Mineral King

Dates: July 11 - 15

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Co-Leader: Aaron Schuman

Difficulty: Advanced, Class 3 and 4

Join us to climb the Kaweahs in the incredible area around the Great Western Divide.  This is big, open country and has some of the best views in the entire Sierra. This is an advanced trip with CL3 and CL4 climbing, significant cross-country travel, and the participants must be in excellent physical condition, experienced in cross-country travel and climbing exposed CL3 and CL4 pitches.   We do not plan on carrying a rope.  The most difficult climb is of Black Kaweah.  We will ascend the west face waterpitch of Black Kaweah, where there is steep climbing, and loose rock.  It mostly goes CL3 but there are a few CL4 moves.   We’ll climb Red

Kaweah by the normal NW route up a few gullies, and the approach to Big Kaweah, as well as the climb, is all CL2 over talus.

Day 1: Hike 12 miles from Mineral King, over Glacier Pass, down to Spring Lake, over Hands and Knees Pass, to Big Five Lakes.

Day 2: From Big Five Lakes, hike down trail to Big Arroyo cabin, and then up 1400 feet to camp at 11,700.  If time, climb Big Kaweah, Waterpitch route.

Day 3: Climb Red Kaweah, start to hike out

Day 4: Complete hike out

Day 5: Reserve day

Group limit is 5.  We will meet at Mineral King the night before the climb.

A word about the Mineral King TH and Parking area: Marmots!  They can be quite interesting and have been known (seen by me) to munch on automobiles – they like rubber, radiator fluid, and wiring, and can have a taste for under-hood insulation as well.  The best defenses are either a) Chicken wire all around the car, staked, b) driving the car onto a 20x30 foot tarp, then tying the care up inside the tarp like a birthday present, or c) combination of the two.

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

North Palisade

Goal: North Palisade, 14,242'

Location: From the east side of the Sierras going over Bishop Pass

Dates: August 6 - 9

Difficulty: Class 4 or Low Class 5

Leader: Jeff Fisher. Email: jeff_fisher_5252@sbcglobal.net

I have a permit for 8 over Bishop Pass to do North Palisade. Permit is for entering on a Wednesday.

Mt. Clarence King

Goal: Mt Clarence King, 12,905'

Location: Kings Canyon NP, Sixty Lakes Basin, Kearsarge Pass, Independence

Dates: August 16-18

Leader: Terry Cline

Co-Leader: wanted

Difficulty: Class 3, technical rock climbing

We'll climb the classic South Face route; its first ascent by Bolton Brown was the hardest American rock climb in the 19th century. Saturday we will hike 7.3 miles over Kearsarge Pass from Onion Valley above Independence to the vicinity of Charlotte Lake and from there 8

miles over Glenn Pass along the Pacific Crest trail to the upper Rae Lakes basin before heading up to the Sixty Lakes Basin. Because of permit camping restrictions, we will camp somewhere between Glenn Pass and the Rae Lakes Basin.

Sunday we will move camp into Sixty Lakes

Basin before climbing the exposed class 3 South

Face of Clarence King. A light rope will be

carried to protect the famously exposed 5.4 summit block move to reach the top. After descending the peak, we will spend the night in the beautiful Sixty Lakes Basin. Monday we will hike out the way we came.

This climb involves more than 30 miles of hiking and much elevation gain and loss over three passes. Only very fit climbers experienced in exposed class 3, moderate rock climbing, belaying, and rappelling. Permit for six.

Center Basin

Goal: Mt. Keith (13,977'), class 2; Center Peak (12,760'), class 2

Location: Onion Valley, eastside of the Sierra

Dates: August 22 - 25

Leader: Kelly Maas

Co-Leader: wanted

The approach is from Onion Valley trailhead and over Kearsarge Pass, then down to Vidette Meadow and up Bubbs Creek to Center Basin. This is a long hike in, so the trip is going to be 4 days. If we have sufficient time and energy, we

can also consider an additional class 3 objective.

Maps: Tom Harrison - Mt Whitney High Country

Leader : Kelly Maas, 408-378-5311, kellymbase-pcs@yahoo.com

Two More Trips!

Here are two trips that may be of interest to PCS members from former PCS member and Chair, Emilie Cortes, who now runs an all women's adventure travel company.  She's offering 10% off either of these trips for any PCS member. 

Kilimanjaro  http://www.callwild.com/trip.php?id=74

$4395 August 28- Sept 4, 2014

Kilimanjaro offers a challenging 7 day trek up the highest mountain in Africa.  No technical climbing skills required.  There are optional safari (Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater) and Mt Kenya extensions (2nd highest mountain) available.  We carry daypacks while porters

carry all our gear and set up our camp, but it's

still a tough mountain due to the altitude and requires training and preparation.

Everest Base Camp  http://www.callwild.com/trip.php?id=32

$3895 November 11-27, 2014

A challenging 12 day trek to the base camp of the highest mountain on the planet - Everest Base Camp.  We will also hike to the top of Kala Pattar which offers the best views of Everest.  We carry day packs and stay in traditional Sherpa tea houses along the way.  EBC requires a strong sense of adventure and willingness to train and prepare for your trek.

Trip Reports

Mount Shasta

June 6 - 8

By Jean Lau

Mount Shasta at 41.41°N / -122.19°W, is a volcano located at the southern end of the Cascades.  At elevation 14,179 feet (4,322 meters), it is the second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest in California.  It rises majestically nearly 10,000’ (3000 m) above the surrounding terrain, as it is not connected to any nearby mountain.  Mt. Shasta has its own weather system; because of year round snow accumulated in many areas, it is visible from hundreds of miles away on a clear day.

Climbing Mt. Shasta has been on my list for many years.  Bo and I planned a climb in May 2010, but because of my knee injury during the training hikes a few weeks before the trip, Bo ended up with a solo summit in May 15, 2010. 

In early April, Bo proposed a Mt. Shasta trip tentatively on 5/9-5/11/2014 to the Bay Area Chinese Hikers group on Facebook.  There were more than 15 people signed up immediately, but for safety concerns we were limiting the trip to 8

hikers. The trip got postponed many times due to either stormy weather or personal schedule conflicts, but finally it happened.

June 6, Bo and I left home at 5:00 pm. Mt. Shasta is approximately 300 miles from the Bay Area and about 5 hours drive from San Ramon.  We reached Bunny Flat trailhead just before 10:00 p.m. and the parking lot was already full.   Not that many choices on where to park, luckily we were able to find a spot near the trailhead.  Mt. Shasta appeared quiet and peaceful under the moonlight, and we spent the night at the trailhead with this mountain just a couple miles away and 7200 feet above.

June 7, at 7:00 a.m., we were woken by the sounds of many car doors opening and closing. Just like us, I saw 6 other groups were getting out of their cars and preparing for the big hike at the trailhead.  More than 15000 hikers attempt to summit Mt. Shasta every year with a 30% success rate.  There are different routes to the summit, but Avalanche Gulch from Bunny Flat trailhead at 7000 feet is the easiest and most popular route. We packed in crampons, ice axes, helmets, hiking poles, gaiters, wilderness permit and most importantly the human waste bag (you must pack everything out, leave no trace). 

At 8:30 am, after a blueberry scone and a piece of leftover bacon for breakfast, we double checked our gear, gave each other a hug to wish good luck to a successful summit and return safely hike and set out in beautiful weather, under a sunny, clear sky.

At 10:30 am, snow appeared at 8,700’ at Avalanche Gulch. I was working hard and started to feel tired.  Then we met a hiker returning from the summit on his 36th hike, who told me that this year has the worst snow condition, making it the most difficult climbing experience.  Seriously, climbing Mt. Shasta for 36 years in a row? Definitely inspiration and lots of encouragement from this man, I told myself I must continue and not give up.

At 2:00 pm, we finally reached Helen Lake. At elevation 10,500’, there was no lake or water but lots of snow.  This was going to be our campground.  We prepared our site, set up our tent, melted snow, and ate instant noodles, one of the best meals that I’ve ever had. But then my fear set in. Will I be able to climb up to these steep, icy and dangerous hills? I asked myself at least 10 times while looking at those hills.  Bo encouraged by telling me not to worry, since I wouldn’t be able to see these hills when hiking in the dark.  Still the fears were with me for the rest of the day. 

At 5:00 pm, the other 4 hikers showed up at Helen Lake and Bo started to teach them on how to use ice axe, crampon and essential skills of snow climbing.

At 8:00 pm, the sun had set, the temperature had quickly dropped to freezing point and the wind also started to kick in.  Because of the high elevation, I quickly fell asleep, but the night was so cold and there were so many noises generated by the strong wind blowing on those tents, I woke up many times.

June 8, at 3:30 am, 6 of us, led by Bo, set out with ice axes, crampons, helmets and headlamps, and hiked up to Red Banks.  In the middle of those icy hills, all I could see were groups of headlamps, some were higher and some were lower, moving slowly, step-by-step, all hikers were working hard toward the same milestone-the Red Banks. 

At 6:28 am, we reached our first milestone-Red Banks, 12,800’.  We took a long break. The sun was up and I could see the shadow of Shasta peak on the hill we just climbed up.  All the fears from the day before had vanished as I was so focused on those steps. This gave me enough confidence to continue on to the next milestone-Misery Hill.

At 8:00 am, after hiking about another 1,000 feet

and a mile long on those loose lava rocks, we reached the top of Misery Hill; the peak of Mt. Shasta was still ˝ mile away. Shasta is a dormant volcano and its last eruption was in 1786, but I could still smell the sulfur, just like  rotten eggs.  I also started to feel a mild headache.  After we reached the bottom of the peak, my headache got worse and finally I had to take a Motrin to ease it.  The last couple from our group, who started at 9:00 pm the night before, had also arrived.  They had been hiking for 12 hours non-stop.  What a super couple who summited just a few minutes ahead of us.

At 8:50 am, Bo summited first, and one by one, the rest of us also reached the top at elevation 14,179 feet. There was no snow at all but only rocks.  An unforgettable moment to enjoy: hugging, cheering, greeting, signing the registry, solo and group pictures taking, Facebook check-in and more pictures, and a panoramic view.  The 5˝ hours of hard work were so worth this maybe once-in-a lifetime experience.

At 9:30 am, we began the descent and my headache went away.  Descending was much easier and faster.  Glissading down 2000 feet from Red Banks to Helen Lake took less than an hour and was so much fun.  We ate lunch, packed up and hiked out at 12:30 pm.

By 4:00 pm, we were back at the trailhead, ready for another 5 hours on the road, and then home sweet home.

Lisa Finishes The List

North Peak

June 28

By Aaron Schuman

Lisa Barboza, surrounded by almost fifty friends and supporters, finished climbing every peak on The List, on June 28, 2014, at North Peak. It took her 10 years – faster than most, slower than a very, very, few.

The List is a compendium of 248 mountains in the Sierra Nevada that are deemed to be worthy climbs. A committee of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Sierra Peak Section, led by Andy Smatko, created The List in 1960.  Since the original publication of The List, 73 climbers had climbed every peak, and now Lisa has become the 74th to climb them all. She is the twelfth woman to do so.

The peaks of The List have famous names and quiet obscurity; they have jagged granite tops and rounded forest cover; they have easy highway access and long approach trails; they are casual saunters and they are desperate struggles. The peaks of the List are only 7700 feet high (Tehipite Dome), and they are as much as 14491 feet high (Mount Whitney). They are as far south as Lake Isabella, and they are as far north as Lake Tahoe.

To complete The List is an accomplishment of a lifetime. It requires skill, endurance, courage, and most of all, unfailing dedication. A person who starts this project and sees it through to the end deserves honor. For this reason, everybody who could possibly be there assembled on a bright Saturday morning at Saddlebag Lake, just east of Tioga Pass and Yosemite National Park.

We introduced ourselves one to another. SPS climbers from Southern California met PCS climbers from Northern California, for the first time in a long time, like at a class reunion. We identified the youngest member of our party (Viviane Lorvan, age 13) and the two oldest (Don Crowley and Fred Kremerskotter, age 78).

The assembly of climbers: we had a group of 46 to start for the summit. Samantha Olson and her husband Louie Kroll decided to climb the East

Ridge CL3 route. But with our group, we wanted to stay on CL2. We broke into 3 sections, depending on how fast people wanted to climb. Group 1 was led by Daryn Dodge, Kathy Rich, Bob Wyka, and Lisa. Group 2 was led by Ron Hudson and Aaron Schuman, your scribe. Group 3 was led by Dan Richter and Asher Waxman. After a milling crowd finished the “Hello and how have you been?” and after the mandatory Sierra Club Trail talk “Follow the In-sight rule, stay together, have fun, and take lots of pictures,” we began to hike.

The route: We started by walking over the dam on a shiny new steel bridge. We followed a trail along the west side of Saddlebag Lake, and stayed on the trail just to the south of Greenstone Lake, where the trail splits at a wonderful glacial erratic.

Then we headed up the stream that feeds the lake. Gingerly we stepped across the stream on a scattering of exposed rocks. We climbed a small bench to the left of a waterfall, and then headed into the gully that was defined by the streams coming off of Conness Lakes. There were variously short use trails, and some boulder hopping, but we kept it CL2. At the 2nd of the 3 lakes, we turned north and left the faint use trail, moving up an even fainter set of use trails in sandy scree that led to the col between North and Conness peaks.

Now off the trail, we grunted up a long slope of scree and sand to the summit plateau. When the peak came into view, we could have just sprinted to the top, if not for the thinness of the air. We took a break at the col, at 11,850 feet. According to SPS tradition, it is the list finisher who must climb the peak first and sign into the register. So off Lisa went. For the rest of us, we scrambled over granite blocks and soon we were all crowded together on the mountaintop, 12,242 feet higher than the mean high tide.

We were worried that there would not be enough room at the top for 46 people – and Sam and Louie were waiting for us – but North Peak is a great choice for a list finish.

Sparkling wine from Napa Valley erupted from bottles. Speeches were spoken. Photos were photographed. History was made. Lisa was given a beautiful enameled pin to commemorate the moment.

Seven climbers who had previously finished the list gathered at the summit: Ron Hudson, Steve Eckert, Daryn Dodge, Scott Sullivan, Corrine Livingston, and Louise Wholey.

Down the way we came, and back at the lake, we made a party for Lisa, with elegant picnic potluck food, a bonfire, more speeches, libations, tears of joy, and even a cake, because who knew, Sunday was the birthday that Lisa never will forget.


Elected Officials


            Terry Cline: terry_cline@yahoo.com

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

Rakesh Ranjan: rakesh.lists@gmail.com

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

Yoni Novat: ynovat@gmail.com

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor

    Judy Molland / screeeditor@gmail.com

PCS 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  Friday, August 1. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.