May 2014             Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                                    Vol. 48 No. 5 -

General Meeting

Date          Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time          7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA

Program   Roped To Each Other

Presenter:  Michael Warburton


An unlikely friendship between an American college student and a Soviet Mountaineering Champion during the Cold War leads to lots of adventures. This program features an account of the 1975-76 Soviet American Mountaineering Exchange between the American Alpine Club and the Soviet Mountaineering Federation and shows climbs from the walls of Yosemite to the Caucasus, Pamir, Tien Shan and Himalaya.

Michael Warburton got his first rope at the age of nine and climbing has shaped his life on and off mountain walls for the last fifty years. Presently a public interest environmental advocate based in Berkeley, his experiences with the power of trust between fellow travelers has shaped both his recreational pursuits and professional life. Beginning with the publication of Uncertainty On A Himalayan Scale in 1985, his scientific and legal advocacy has been aimed at shaping a livable future for all of us.

Michael following the “Roof” pitch on the Salathe Wall on El Capitan, taken by Security Officer Anatoly Nepomnyashchy in September 1975.

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.


Editor's Notes

April 18 saw the deadliest climbing disaster on Everest in modern history, as an early morning avalanche killed 13 Sherpas and left three more missing. The tragedy is a reminder that while climbing Everest has become increasingly popular, it is the Sherpas who continue to bear much of the risk involved.

Several organizations have set up funds to provide much-needed help for the Sherpa families involved. Consider donating to the American Himalayan Foundation, the American Alpine Club, or any of the other guiding agencies who have set up their own donation sites.


Chair Column

Our April meeting had a relatively small turnout, but a spirited discussion of how we can grow and rejuvenate the membership, and how we can improve the way we operate. Much of the discussion focused on how trips often discourage beginners or experienced newcomers by how they are advertised and run, and that more trips are needed that require moderate levels of fitness and experience, meaning fewer “death marches”. We also talked a lot about ways we can improve our communications through internet social media beyond our own web site, emphasizing our unique values: experienced certified leaders, our safety record, and essentially free wilderness experiences in one of the premier mountain ranges in the country, if not the world. We also discussed how similar organizations use skills

learning events as a vehicle for recruiting new members and how we might emulate that within the constraints of the Sierra Club legal and insurance requirements.

While it is not possible to convey here all the detailed ideas and suggestions coming out of that discussion, this year’s officers recently met to explore them and created action items for ourselves to followup. I will have more to say about this in future columns and hopefully progress to report as we begin to implement changes.

This month’s slideshow will be by Michael Warburton about his climbs from Yosemite to Central Asia stemming from exchanges between the AAC and the Soviet Mountaineering Federation during the late Cold War era. Perhaps we can also get him to share stories about his days in Yosemite’s Camp Four during the Stonemaster period.


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.

May 24 - 26: Diamond Peak

Leader: Aaron Schuman

May 24 - 25: Izaak Walton

Leader: Lisa Barboza

June 6 - 10: Lion, Stewart, Triple Divide

Leader: Lisa Barboza

June 14 - 15: Recess Peak

Leader: Aaron Schuman

June 20: Cloudripper

Leader: Aaron Schuman

June 21 - 22: Crown Point

Leader: Terry Cline

June 28: North Peak and LISA'S LIST FINISH

Leader : Lisa Barboza

July 11 - 15: The Kaweahs

Leader: Lisa Barboza

August 16 - 18: Mount Clarence King

Leader: Terry Cline

PCS Trip Details

Dance Beneath The Diamond Sky

Goal: Diamond Peak, 13,127''

Location: Above Independence

Dates: May 24 - 26

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

Difficulty: Snow climb using ice axe and crampons

We’ll start low at the end of the Oak Creek Road (6000') and hike the Baxter Pass trail from desert up into spring slush. The snow might be firmed up by the time we reach our camp at Summit Meadow (10800'). We’ll ascend the southeast face of Diamond Peak (13127'), which RJ Secor calls “a splendid snow climb in the spring”. Maybe not this spring. Participants are skilled with ice axe for self-arrest and use of crampons on a mid-angle slope. Some members of the party will choose skis; others snowshoes.

Izaak Walton

Goal: Izaak Walton Peak, 12077'

Location: Vermillion Valley Resort

Dates: May 24 - 25

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Difficulty: Class 3

This is a beginner trip and the hike in from Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR) is mostly on trail.  We’ll hike in to Mott Lake or Bighorn Lake Saturday, enjoy a happy hour.  We’ll climb the

peak on Sunday, hike out, and drive home.

You must be in good physical condition and be able to climb several thousand feet of gain.

Day 1: Hike 10.5 miles, 4200' gain to Mott Lake, climb the peak (2 miles, 1100' gain) if we have time; enjoy happy hour at the lake.

Day 2: Climb peak (if not climbed on Saturday), hike out.  Drive home.

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

This is not a shared commissary and all are responsible for their own food.   At the trailhead, we will determine if it makes sense to share some gear. Please send climbing resume and recent experience to

Kaweah Gap

Goals: Lion 12,360', Stewart 12,000', Triple Divide 12,634'

Location: Mineral King

Dates: June 6 - 10

Leader: Lisa Barboza

Co-Leader: Stephane Mouradian

Difficulty: Class 3 

Join us for this Intermediate to advanced trip to the Kaweah Gap and the fabulous Nine Lakes Basin, seldom visited.   We’ll hike in from Mineral King, camp in the Basin, make a base camp, and climb from there.  You must be in excellent physical condition for this trip: each day will bring a lot of gain and many miles. Much of the trip will be off-trail, and experience in backcountry travel is required. It is a five-day trip, but we may be able to finish in 4 days.

Day 1: Hike 12 miles from Mineral King, over Glacier Pass, down to Spring Lake, over Hands and Knees Pass, to Big Five Lakes.  From there, hike down to the Big Arroyo and up to Kaweah Gap.

Day 2: Climb Lion and Stewart.  These peaks are listed as CL2, but be prepared for CL3

Day 3: Climb Triple Divide, from our Nine Lakes Basin Camp.  This will be a full day, 7 miles RT, 3500' of gain.

Day 4: Hike out over Hands and Knees, Glacier Pass, back to the Mineral King TH.

Day 5: A spare day if we don’t manage to climb the peaks.

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) placing chicken wire all around the car, staked, b) driving the car onto a 20x30 foot tarp, then tying the car up inside the tarp like a birthday present, or c) a combination of the two.

You must be in good physical condition and be able to hike 12 miles with several thousand feet of gain with a backpack, and have good backcountry and climbing skills. I have secured permits for six. This is not a shared commissary and all are responsible for their own food. 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 recent hiking experience to

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. We’ll 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.


Goal: Cloudripper, 13,525'

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

Date: June 20

Leader: Aaron Schuman:   a.j.Schuman at gmail DOT com

Difficulty: Class 2

Goin’ up to South Lake. Gonna have ourself a climb. Sheared off granite everywhere. Rippin’ cloud without hesitation. Goin’ up to South Lake. Gonna bring some friends of mine.

We follow the pipeline from South Lake (9800') to the trail. We’ll follow the trail to Green Lake (11,000'). A long class 2 slope takes us up to the Cloudripper summit (13,525').

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.

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 don’t 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

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.   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

Day 2: Climb Black 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

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.

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

Mid-Late July: Gannett Peak

Leader: Timothy Hult

August 6 - 9: North Palisade

Leader: Jeff Fisher

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,

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.

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

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:

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

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. 


$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

$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

Skiing Is Fun In The Echo Chamber

Echo Peak (8895')

March 14

By Arun Mahajan

On a very nice winter day that seemed like late spring, the four of us, Andrea Snadden, Terry Cline, Julius Gawlas and your scribe, Arun Mahajan took a ski tour up Echo Peak in the Lake Tahoe area (not to be confused with the several Echo Peaks in Tuolumne).

After a morning drive from the Bay Area, we parked at the parking lot off of Johnson Rd sno-park, off from Highway-50 near South Lake Tahoe. From reports over the web, we had figured that this peak would be a great ski tour and axes would not be needed.


Skinning Up

Despite this being a low snow year, we were able to ski almost right from the parking lot and after a short time skiing on the crispy snow on the road, we dropped down to the first Echo Lake that has a sort of a jetty. It was a beautiful day and augured well for corn snow later in. The ice over the lake seemed solid enough and we skied across and after a break on the other side continued through rolling terrain and skied over another lake and then the climbing started.


Crossing the lake

We followed a ski trail and then turned hard left onto a hillside in the trees. The trees were sparsely spaced and we were huffing and puffing by the time we cleared the woods and got on to a broad hillside and soon, the cliffy summit of Echo Peak was visible. A 3-person group with their dog had reached the summit before us.



After the usual summit photos, we started skiing down and this has to be one of the best back country ski days that I have had. The slope was gentle and broad and the snow was wonderful corn and skiing in the trees was also a lot of fun because of their spread-out nature. Julius/Andrea/Terry showed their excellent alpine skiing skills and I was able to link a few tele-turns myself, the snow was that good!


Julius making some awesome turns!


A smiling Andrea


Terry's having a good time!


Go for it, Arun!

Those looking for a nice winter ski trip that may be done in a day, with moderate amounts of driving from the Bay Area should definitely consider this trip.

Owens Peak

April 18 - 20

By Jean Lau & Bo Meng

Owens Peak is located in the Southern Sierra with 35.73800°N / 117.996°W and elevation at 8453 feet. The hike to the summit was short but intense, our GPS recorded about 3200' gain and 5.4 miles round trip.  This peak was not the target peak in our original plan of this trip, but we summited at 10:20 a.m. Sunday morning April 20, 2014. 

As usual, traffic congestion was met when traveling out of Livermore to make the connection to south I-5,; we arrived at Bakersfield for dinner about 8:30 p.m. on Friday.  Camping at Pioneer Point Campground Lake Isabella for $24 was not worth it.  Campsites are very close to the main road and water in the bathroom was shut down due to the drought.  

Next morning, we left the campground and

followed the driving direction to Siretta Peak as planned. Surprisingly, there was a gate closed without any reason. So we continued on toward Sherman Pass and were thinking to find another trailhead in the area, when we ran into a snow-covered road.  We stopped, trying to decide whether to continue or turn around. Bo got out of the car and started to hike up the road to see if it was just snow patches or snow-packed.  Since Sherman Pass is at elevation 9,200 feet and we were at around 8,300 feet, we could imagine that even with our SUV, it would be unsafe for us to continue on this snow-packed road.   Disappointed, we decided to turn around and stay a night at Ridgecrest.  Ridgecrest is a city in Kern County located along U.S 395 in the Indian Wells Valley.  It is surrounded by four mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Cosos on the north, the Argus Range on the east, and the El Paso Mountains on the south.  Since we could see Owens Peak from our motel, we decided to hike it the next day.

Getting to the Owens Peak trailhead could be a challenge if you don’t have a vehicle with four-wheel drive and high clearance.  However, thanks to the directions posted on, we did not have any problem reaching the trailhead at 7:00 a.m. with our Subaru. 

It was such a beautiful day, sunny and 65 degrees.  We quickly packed a light lunch and water and started on the trail at 7:10.  For the first ¼ mile, various wild flowers were blooming on both sides of the hills along the trail, and the  light wind blowing the fresh smell of wild flowers into the air made our hike very pleasant and enjoyable.  The route was well ducked until the class 2 section of the large slab of granite.   After we climbed up the class 2-section granite, we started to miss the ducks.  Since the GPS pointed the peak is at the left side, we started to traverse to the left and following the rock-route up to the summit.  After another 30 minutes of hiking on loose rocks, we reached a false summit and the true summit appeared as well as the trail.  Five minutes later, we reached the summit of Owens Peak at 10:20 a.m. 

We found this poem in the summit registry:

Open your eyes

Open your ears

Open your heart

Feel this vast expanse

Upon you.

You have created this

Magical inspirational moment

In your life.

You are the creator

Of your own reality.

Go forth and live

Your dreams.

Breathe deep,

Connect to the heart

Of the universe.

You are going to live

An amazing life!

Save The Date

An invitation from one of our regular Scree contributors, Debbie Bulger:

Monday, May 12 at 7 p.m.

Center Stage, 1001 Center Street, Santa Cruz

I am giving a reading from In the Thrill of the Night along with Sarah Rabkin who will read from her book, What I Learned at Bug Camp: Essays on Finding a Home in the World.

My book is available through the website,, at Bookshop Santa Cruz, or at the FREE event.

Hope to see you there.

Elected Officials


            Terry Cline:

Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

Rakesh Ranjan:

Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

Yoni Novat:

Publicity Committee Positions

Scree Editor

    Judy Molland /

PCS World Wide Web Publisher
    Joe Baker/

Joining the PCS is easy.  Go to

PCS Announcement Listserv

If you join the PCS Announcement Listserv you will receive announcements and updates of trips and meetings. Use the 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  Tuesday, May 27. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.