June 2014†††††††††††† Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Vol. 48 No. 6

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

General Meeting

Date††††††††† Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Time††††††††† 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Where ††††† PCC

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

††††††††††††††††† Palo Alto, CA

Program†† The High Altitude Game

Presenter:† Hari Mix


The opportunities for personal growth, rich cultural experience and adventure in the great ranges of Asia are almost limitless. The difficulties of pulling off these big trips and the consequences for underestimating the rules of the high alpine, however, require careful consideration. In this talk, Iíll tell a few stories from four expeditions to the Himalaya, Tien Shan and Pamir, including an attempt on Lhotse (8516m) without supplemental oxygen last spring. Since the PCS has hosted previous awesome Everest talks, Iíll spare you from the full narrative of Lhotse, but instead shed light on lessons learned, modern acclimatization programs (including Soviet systems!) and strategies for success on routes in the 6-8500m+ realm. With a measured approach, solid mountain craft and a bit of luck, you can ditch the searing altitude headaches and keep the quality time with good friends, exploring and cragging around base camp, and countless days of superb alpine climbing in wild, magical landscapes.

Hari Mix is a freshly minted PhD in Earth Sciences from Stanford where he managed to get a dissertation written despite all the time spent on the awesome climbs heís going to tell us about. He just returned from Mt Everest, where he was present during the recent disastrous icefall accident. He blogs regularly on earth science and alpine climbing at http://hmix.org.

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

We have only one trip report this month, so I'll add my own, brief, report. On May 25, Joe and I climbed Mount Lola, (9148') named for the infamous Lola Montez. The first half of the climb was straightforward, on a trail that was easy to follow. The second half was a different story: completely snow-covered, and so we relied on the markings on trees and basic map skills to find our way. I was surprised to find so much snow at 8000': it was soft, maybe two feet deep, and definitely annoying to walk on without snowshoes. Reaching the summit, however, made it all worthwhile: an awesome 360 degree view of the Sierras. This is the highest peak between Mount Lassen and Freel Peak. If you haven't been there, it's definitely worth a trip.

Chair Column

Thanks to Charles Schafer, I recently received a link to an old accident report that merits reviewing by all as we start a new Sierra season, http://www.stanford.edu/~galic/rettenbacher/ritter1971.html. The story is a prototypical one of a sequence of seemingly innocent decisions cascading into big negative consequences.

An important value proposition of the PCS is that we run trips with experienced trained leaders and with an impressive safety record. Still, mountains are potentially hazardous places and we all, whether leader or follower, need to be aware of the consequences of our decisions and not let our ambitions and emotions overcome our good sense. Backing off is not a sign of weakness; the mountains will still be there for another try. Not following this advice was at the core of the tragedy reported at the above link. 

Coincidently, the Accident Evaluation Committee was composed of PCS and RCS members and chaired by Chapter Chair and internationally well-known climber Lowell Smith.

Many of you have heard me repeat: there are bold climbers and there are old climbers, but there are no old-bold climbers (with the possible exception of Fred Beckey). So have fun. But be safe out there.



Thriving and Sustaining

Terryís column from the April Scree struck a chord with me, and I went to my first PCS meeting in years. Turnout was low so with his permission Iíd like to share some ideas with Scree readers and hopefully contribute in a positive way.

Balance burdens with rewards: First aid and other training costs real time and real money, and the Club neither recognizes the effort nor compensates the cost. One way to get more leaders to be more active is to sponsor and pay for training sessions that double as networking mixers. Another would be to streamline the process of approving leaders (right now I canít find a checklist for prospective leaders to work through) and approving trips (the paperwork isnít that bad but there are a lot of steps for some trips). Beyond that, however, is the need to reward leaders for their contribution. The PCS has traditionally prided itself on a lack of rules or standards or lists but thereís something to be said for merit badges and thereís even more to be said for fostering a culture of respect for leaders.

Rights and respect should come with responsibility: Leaders can lose control of their groups, with strong (or headstrong) participants out front setting the route and the campsite (not just the pace). We need to re-create a culture of respect where participants follow the leader in

recognition of the leaderís efforts and experience. No need to be sheep, but it doesnít work for everyone to be the lead singer either. Climbing skills are not the same as leadership skills, and while both are valuable, itís leadership that makes the PCS different from MeetUp.

Donít do the Scurry-and-Stare! Most of us have had the experience of catching up with the front of a group (impatiently staring back down the trail) only to have those who are rested pack up and walk away as weíre breaking out a snack. If you havenít been the one catching up, youíve been the one walking away. Good leadership involves keeping the entire group moving at a compromise pace so all participants can interact with each other. Bad leadership involves running the group as a slinky, demoralizing the slower people and making the group as a whole even slower while driving away the novices we say we want to recruit.

Cliques kill schedules: If you plan your whole summer in advance, with your friends, youíre not going to sign up for the trip I develop in July. If no one signs up for trips I list, Iím not going to keep listing them. If I donít list any trips, climbers that donít lead are going to worry that no new trips will show up and theyíll try to join cliques that essentially have their own private schedules. Thatís a spiral that locks out both new participants and experienced leaders.

It took a long time to get where weíre at and it will probably take about that long to recover. There are no instant fixes, but maybe having a few clear problems we can solve will get the ball rolling. ďNo single raindrop believes it is responsible for the flood.Ē

Steve Eckert

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.


June 28: North Peak and LISA'S LIST FINISH

Leader : Lisa Barboza

PCS Trip Details

North Peak

Goal: North Peak 12,242'


Location: Saddlebag Lake, Yosemite

Dates: June 28

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Co-Leader: Kathy Rich, Daryn Dodge

I revere the Mountain Gods for the peaks are truly my temple of worship.† (Must be the pagan in me.)

So it is with significant trepidation that I list this CL1 and CL2 dayhike of 9 miles RT with 2500 feet of gain as I donít want to jinx my planned list finish for the Sierra Peak Section List of 248 peaks.† I started in 2005, learned from many other climbers.† I wish to thank Daryn Dodge, Steve Eckert, Bob Suzuki, Stephane Mouradian, Aaron Schuman, Jeff Fisher, Arun Mahajan, Ron Hudson, Tina Bowman, and many, many others for their kind mentoring during this process.† I have learned a lot and hope to be able to pass on what I have learned.

When I started, I had climbed Whitney (1987), Half Dome (1987), Vogelsang, and Florence (both 2004).† The bug bit me and I have never stopped.† So here it is, 9 years later and I think I might be able to finish.† A list finish is really a party.† Many of the SPS list finishers will be there, and this climb is open to all.†† Just let me know if you are coming. Bring lunch, raingear, and the typical ten essentials.† Champagne will be served at the summit.

We will meet at Saddlebag Lake on Friday, June 27 and start at 8:00 AM on Saturday. Camp at Saddlebag Lake, just on the east side of Yosemite. I have secured the group camp for 2 nights: Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28.†† It holds 25 people.† Also, just 100 yards away, is another camp at Saddlebag Lake, which does not take reservations, so get there early. After the climb, we will party at Saddlebag Lake Group Camp. This will be a potluck, but we will be providing chili and veggies. Here's what to bring: firewood, food and beverages to share, tall tales, and friendship, for we are all captivated by this enduring, magical Range of Light. 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.

June 2 - 4: Silver Peak

Leader: Rod McCalley

June 14 - 15: Recess Peak

Leader: Aaron Schuman

June 21 - 22: Crown Point

Leader: Terry Cline

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

Silver Peak

Goal: Silver Peak: 11878'

Location: TH above Lake Edison's Vermilion Resort, which is north over Kaiser Pass from Huntington & Shaver Lakes.

Dates: June 2-4, 2014

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

Monday morning backpack -- from a June 1 car-camp at TH parking area (7800'), up well past the Devil's Bathtub (9200') to camp in a high basin about 10,150' (about 6-7 miles from TH). On Tuesday, June 3, we first go north over the 11,250' pass and down 500', and then climb Silver Peak (Class 2 in Secor), with return by same route.  We may then move camp down to Devil's Bathtub.  Back in camp, we'll celebrate

Rod's "list-finish" of the 31 Sierra 30'x30' high-points.  Hike out Wednesday morning.

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 for leaders not to arrange carpools; but I will send out a list of participants as the time gets close.

Recess - School's Out For Summer

Goal: Recess Peak (12,813')

Location: Kaiser Wilderness

Dates: June 14 - 15

Leader: Aaron Schuman††† a.j.Schuman AT gmail DOT com

Difficulty: Class 3†

We are not taking the easiest route up Recess Peak. Weíll hike from the Bear Diversion Dam (6200'), follow the Bear Creek trail four miles to a junction (7800'), use the JMT for one half mile to take advantage of switchbacks, leave the trail (9400'), hike two miles cross country, and make camp in the west bowl (11000'), or maybe lower.

We climb the long class 3 ridge instead of the class 2 face. Wow! What a great early summer trek in the deeply forested western Sierra Nevada.

Crown Point

Goal: Crown Point, 11,346'

Location: Bridgeport, Hoover Wilderness, northern edge of Yosemite NP

Dates: June 21-22

Leader: Terry Cline

Co-Leader: wanted

Crown Point sits just off the boundary of Yosemite National Park, west of the alpine Sawtooth Ridge playground. Saturday we will hike in from Mono Village at 7100' at Twin Lakes to the beautiful Crown Lake or the higher Snow Lake, depending on time and energy of the

group. After 3.9 miles we reach Barney Lake and our first view of the impressive northern scarp of Crown Point dominating the lake below. From there we head up switchbacks to the junction of the Peeler Lake trail and the Rock Island Pass trail and take the latter to reach a campsite 8-9 miles from the trailhead at around 9600' before the pass, which drops one into Yosemite.

Sunday we will climb the class 2 southwest side of Crown Point from Snow Lake, break camp, and return to the cars for the drive home.

Experience in backcountry travel and camping required. Physically fit beginning climbers welcome.

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 water pitch of Black Kaweah, where there is steep climbing, and loose rock.† It mostly goes CL3 but there are a few CL4 moves.†† Weíll 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 Report

Dancing Beneath The Diamond Sky

May 24 - 25

By Aaron Schuman

Photos by Bo Meng and Aaron Schuman

Hey Mister! We set out for Diamond Peak: Linda Sun, Terry Cline, Bo Meng, Matt Blum, and me – Aaron Schuman. It was a third Memorial Weekend attempt for me. In 2012, I started up the mountain, but my plastic boot cracked in half and I turned around. In 2013, we were crossing Yosemite on our way to the trailhead, when a heavy snowstorm closed Tioga Pass. But this time, the weather was in our favor, the equipment was functional, and the team was strong. We were going to the summit.

Eveningís Empire! Considering that the Baxter Pass trail is little used, the dirt road to the 5800-foot trailhead is in excellent condition. The trail itself, however, hasnít been maintained in decades. Three creek crossings might be difficult if the water was high, but 2014 is a record dry year. Downed trees obstructed our way. The trail disappeared into fields of fallen rock, reappeared, and disappeared again. We camped on pine duff at Summit Meadow. The campsite is actually at 9900 feet, but the map incorrectly puts it at 10300. There are few good sites above. During the clear, moonless night, we slept under an infinite blanket of stars.


Ready to go Anywhere

Weariness Amazes! In the morning, we went up a distance and broke off the trail to a secondary drainage to the left. By about 11000 feet, the ground was about 50/50 scree and snow. At the cirque with Black Mountain and Diamond Peak, we saw an obvious ramp to the Diamond plateau. We had a choice of traveling on loose scree or soft and shallow snow. The mediocre footing made us wish that we had gone earlier in the spring, when we could climb on a more secure cover of deep, consolidated snow.


Branded on my Feet

Diamond Sky! As we climbed the ramp, we watched a high point on the Pacific Crest, but when we reached the plateau we realized that the summit was somewhere else. The 13127-foot peak was easily attained with some class 2 climbing. In perfect, clear air, we could see everything from the Kaweah Range to the Evolutions. Across the Sierra Nevada, we watched another PCS party, as small as ants, making their way up North Guard. I gave a mountaintop karaoke rendition of Tambourine Man. My virtuoso performance has found new life as an embarrassing YouTube video. Bob Dylan sang of a dance beneath the diamond sky

with one hand waving free. The summit area was too small for a full fandango, but I did joyfully lift one arm heavenward. The song lyrics are the outline of this trip report.


One Hand Waving Free

Come Follow! The highest rock on Diamond Peak is the largest chunk of native diamond I have ever seen. I would have brought home a sample to show you, but mining is not allowed in the John Muir Wilderness. Youíll have to go on up and see it for yourself.

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, June 27. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.