†††††††††††††† November 2014††††††††††††††††† Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club††††††††††††† Vol. 48 No.11

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

General Meeting



Date††††††††† Tuesday, November 11


Time††††††††† 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm


Where ††††† PCC

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

††††††††††††††††† Palo Alto, CA


Program†† The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - SPS List FInish


Presenter:Lisa Barboza


Like most things in life of value, accomplishments take time and build on each other. Please join us on Tuesday, November 11th, for a slideshow of Lisa Barboza's Sierra Peak Section List finish of 248 Sierra Nevada Peaks. Lisa started working on the list in 2004, and finished on June 28th, 2014. During that time, she visited every trailhead in the Sierra, and climbed all of the 14ers in the Sierra Nevada, endured numerous hardships of weather and conditioning, and made lots of new friends. As Lisa says :  "It was one of the top ten fulfilling quests in my life and I hope to repeat the list." Lisa is one of only 12 women who have finished the list.


Please come for a night of photography, geology, and adventure as Lisa recounts her 10-year quest.


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 three trip reports in this issue of Scree, and I'm happy to let you know that they all feature the daring deeds of some of our finest PCS women climbers. Read on and enjoy!



Chair Column


It has been a quiet month as we transition from beautiful fall colors in the mountains to the start of winter full, hopefully, of snow. I was fortunate to recently spend a week in Boulder, CO, after my sonís wedding and make a quick afternoon jaunt up to Chasm Lake beneath the Diamond face on Longs Peak, just beating the growing darkness in getting back to the car. What a treat to be able to drive up to such territory in less than an hour instead of the 5-hour drive to the Sierra.


During last monthís meeting we collaboratively built a provisional trip schedule for the coming winter months. While dates and other details may change and some trips may not go and some may be added, it is a good start to an active winter. We can always use more trips. It you want to lead one, contact Rakesh Ranjan at rakesh.lists(AT)gmail.com Here's the link to the Advanced Trip Schedule: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ar3ERRQWOQJPdGFuRkFsZm5ydF9FTWM5UWIzbndlb1E&usp=sharing. Check it out.


This monthís meeting is election time for next yearís leadership team. We still do not yet have a full slate; in particular, no one has yet stepped up to be Chair for next year. According to our by-laws, I am term-limited out. It should be obvious that going rudderless is not a good thing for the Section. Itís time for someone else to step up.


After elections, we will be treated to Lisa Barbozaís slideshow on her odyssey to complete the Sierra Peaks List. Please join us.








Books Available for Donation


We have obtained a few more copies of Richard Hechtel's autobiography that we will give a good home to for a donation to the PCS. To refresh memories, Richard was a long-time member of the Rock Climbing Section and had a colorful history in climbing, beginning in the Alps during the golden age with many adventurous first ascents, before coming to the US after World War II. His exploits in the Sierra Nevada greatly influenced a generation of Bay Area climbers. The books will be available at the November 11 meeting. The proceeds will to support training and search and rescue teams.


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 22: Mt. Defiance

Leader: Daryn Dodge


January 17, 2015: Junipero Serra

Leaders: Yoni Novat, Lisa Barboza


















PCS Trip Details


Mt. Defiance

Goal: Mt. Defiance, 2657'

Location: Pinnacles National Park

Date: November 22

Leader: Daryn Dodge: daryn.dodge@oehha.ca.gov

Difficulty: Class 2, 2200' gain


With a name like Defiance, it must be a worthy climb.  Or is it?  Letís find out.  Weíll be hiking

the North Chalone Peak trail, then break off going cross-country down towards Frog Canyon looking for ways through the brush up the west or NW side of the peak.  Expect some moderate bushwhacking, some steep class 2 rock, and about 4 miles round trip with a total gain of 2200 feet.  If thereís interest, we can climb N. and S. Chalone Peaks afterwards. 


Junipero Serra

Goal: Junipero Serra, 5780'

Location: Ventana Wilderness

Date: January 17, 2015

Leader: Yoni Novat (yoninovat at yahoo dot com, 408-455-3169, Lisa Barboza

Difficulty: Class 1


Letís kick off a great new year of outdoor climbs with a climb to the highest point in Monterey County, the 5780 foot Junipero Serra Peak.  This is a great, mildly strenuous beginnerís climb with under 12 miles round trip and 3900+ feet of gain.  Good hiking boots and clothes for possible snow at the summit recommended.To carpool, meet in Morgan Hill at 7 am at Carl's Jr. (Take the Dunne Ave exit). We'll start at the trailhead at 10 am, summit by 2 pm, and be back at the cars by 5 pm. See http://www.summitpost.org/page/150486 for more information.






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 8 - 9: Pinnacles

Leader: Jeff Fisher


November 8 - 9: Crag and Smith

Leader: Lisa Barboza


Private Trip Details



Goal: Have fun in the Park

Location: Pinnacles National Park

Dates: November 8 - 9

Leader: Jeff Fisher


Hiking and/or Climbing. Your choice. Come down for a weekend of climbing and/or hiking or even biking. There will be climbers of varying abilities. Campsites 69, 70 and 71 have been reserve Saturday night at the Pinnacles campground on the east side of the park. Each site is $23 and holds up to 6 people. Shoes, harness and helmet needed if you are going to be climbing. You can stay the night, or just come down for one of the days. I will be climbing on Saturday and plan on hiking to N. Chalone Peak on Sunday. We will meet Saturday morning at 9AM at the Bear Gulch visitor center on the east side of the park. Bear Gulch visitor center is approximately 3 miles past the campground/park headquarters. Entry fees are can be paid at the headquarters or at the Bear Gulch visitor center. Leader; Jeff Fisher, E-mail; jeff_fisher_5252 at sbcglobal.net














Crag and Smith

Goal: Crag, 9480', and Smith, 9533'

Location: Southern Sierra

Dates: November 8 - 9

Leader: Lisa Barboza


Please join us for 2 day hikes of Crag and Smith in the far southern Sierra. We'll camp at the southern Kennedy Meadows campsite, and climb Crag on Saturday, and Smith on Sunday. Saturday we'll have happy hour around a campfire. These are easy Class 2 peaks and I have climbed them both before. We'll drive down and meet at our camp on Friday evening. This is a beginning climbing trip.

Trip leader: Lisa Barboza. Co-lead needed. Please provide a brief description of your climbing experience and conditioning and sent to lisa.barbozaATgmail.com.



Trip Reports


Lion Rock (12,360')

A Lion Befriended, But Not Tamed

June 20


Lisa Barboza


We had planned to climb, Lion, Stewart, and Triple Divide on June 6-9 from the Mineral King Trailhead – but even in this very low snow year, conditions precluded an easy downclimb of the Glacier Pass col (a small overhanging cornice blocked the descent), and so we missed out on Lion Rock, and, after a few weeks, I went back to solo and day hike the peak.

From Crescent Meadow, it is a 36-mile, 8000 foot gain day hike. I was lucky to have the extended daylight on this summer solstice day.But I wasnít quite able to day hike it – I arrived in California from a trip to Boston, flew over my beloved Sierra, courtesy of United Airlines, packed in the morning, and drove for 5 hours to the Sierra.I didnít start hiking until 3:30 pm




after getting my walk-in permit at the Ranger Station.

The flowers on the High Sierra Trail have to be seen to be believed. You quickly leave behind the tourists gazing at the General Sherman Tree and start on the trail – parking is limited at the TH, but if you are patient it will come.†† After ľ mile of pavement, you come to the trail itself and marvel at the last of the Giant Sequoias, and the casual hikers. This trail traces the south facing ridge above the Kaweah River, 1000s of feet below.

The wildflowers are incredibly abundant; if you donít want to climb, just do the hike, the flowers are incredible. Here are a few: Mountain Pennyroyal in abundance; Lupinus latifolius, pussy paws, Alpine Lilly, Bluebells (Mertensia )Mariposa, Lilly, Mountain penstemon, Crimson Columbine, Shooting Star (Dodecatheon), and so many, many others. There were bees everywhere, collecting the nectar for the summerís honey.If you havenít hiked the High Sierra trail, do it. I couldnít have been happier.

The trail is mostly flat with gentle rises, and I gained about 1000 feet over a 10-mile distance.†† Eagle View is incredible, and the Granite mounds of Moro Rock, Little Blue Dome, and Sugarbowl dome have to be seen to be believed.†† Beyond Eagle view, the trail itself is carved out of a steep, south-facing slope.This is as close to paradise as I have been in the High Sierra.I met only a single party on the hike.

After a 10-mile hike, 3 hours, I arrived at Buckís Creek where the last water was to be found.There were about 4 campsites, and only 1 other party at the site.This is not a meadow – it is a few flat spots on the margins of Buckís Creek. I would have gone an additional mile to Bearpaw meadow, but in this ultra-dry year, there was no water at Bearpaw.

Next morning, I was up at 5:30 am and hiking by 6:00 am. My goal: climb Lion Rock and get back to camp. Total round trip: 6 hours to summit, 5 hours back to camp; 18 miles, 5600' gain day hike.

High Sierra Trail - View of Sugarbowl\

There is a great trail all the way to Tamarack Lake, and the scenery is amazing; not a soul on the trail.I arrived at Tamarack Lake at about 10 am, and looked for the route up to the peak. Lion Rock is interesting, because it has two west facing ridges: a northwest ridge, and a south west ridge, with a bowl in the middle. That is the West Bowl.Additionally, there is another bowl that faces southwest, which is the bowl I chose to climb.

From Tamarack Lake, you are confronted with a steep granite cliff with lots of bushwhacking to do; if you head due east from the southern border of the lake, you will find a faint use trail that leads above the bench to the broad, beautiful meadow above the lake (a great place to visit and camp). South of the lake, you will see a 500 foot-high granite bench with lots of brush, and to the left, a low tree line.

Lion Looking Northeast From Triple Divide


From the faint use trail, ascend a steep granite bench to a line of low trees that define the upper margin of the bench above the lake. From there, ascend easy slabs of granite until you are well into the southwest bowl. From there, I hugged the left wall where the scree was more forgiving.†† You will next traverse into the West gully for a short time, and find an easy CL3 route northwest of the peak to attain the final summit. I arrived at 11:50 am.

Wow:This was peak number 246 for me, just a number in a group of 248, but only 2 more peaks to go to get to the 248 list finish happening on June 28th!††

Lion Summit Register


Not a soul, not a sound was heard at this citadel of granite. I lounged for 30 minutes, before heading down the scree, down the slabs, down the steep tree-bound cliff to Tamarack Lake, where a desultory stream cascaded quietly down the cliff into the lake. From there, a simple hike down to my camp at Buck Meadow, where I arrived at 6:30 pm.All in all, about a 11.5-hour trip from Buck Creek

I arose leisurely at 6 am the next day, and hiked out, arriving at Crescent Meadow a few minutes after 10 am.I couldnít resist the wildflowers.They were absolutely incredible and are not to be missed. And oh, the climb is fun and straightforward as well.






Gabb & Hilgard (In The Storm)

August 8


Linda Sun


My previous weekendís plan to climb Mithral dihedral got cancelled due to the weather forecast.  Now I was so itchy to go to the mountains despite the storm forecast again.  Since I couldnít find anyone who wanted to join me, I set out alone; this was my first time backpacking solo, and I was scared but also excited.

Since I was going to drive by myself, I left early Friday afternoon. I picked up my permit from the night drop box at Mammoth ranger station, and camped nearby.  After coffee and a pastry at Schattís on Saturday morning, I started around 7:45 am on the Pine Creek trail.  I made good progress in the cool morning air, stopping for a few minutes every hour and a half.  The trail after Honeymoon Lake is kind of obscure and flattens out somewhat so it took longer than I expected to reach the pass.  Clouds started building up around 11am and I got rained on the last hour before reaching camp at the south end of Lake Italy around 3 pm.

Heading to the peak

Sunday I got up early and started hiking by 6 am



in order to beat the clouds.  As I was trying to go up a very loose chute to gain the plateau before Gabb, the big boulder I was standing on rolled a few feet, and I landed on my left ankle and right hip.  I quickly assessed my condition and concluded that I didnít break anything, but that I had twisted my left ankle lightly.  I took a break, wrapped my ankle with adhesive tapes, and gingerly continued.  I thought I would turn around any time I felt unsafe.  But I was able to reach the top of Gabb without any issues, albeit a bit more slowly. 

Summer in the Sierra

Clouds were gathering as I traversed over to Hilgard, and they grew darker as I got to the bottom of Hilgard.  Since this peak is mostly Class 1 with a way to get down the scree gully quickly, I kept going while looking up at the sky every few minutes.  I was able to summit after an hour of overcast skies.  I got back to camp at 2 pm, with the last 15 minutes in the hail.  For the next several hours the sky opened: hail and heavy rain came down with loud thunder and lightning.  I just stayed in my tent and read my iphone. I had brought a sun panel charger for my iphone, so I wouldnít worry about a deadbattery. I was also using the topo software off my iphone instead of carrying a stand-alone GPS device.

The icy return trail

Monday I got up early again and hiked out. It took me almost as long to hike out as it did to hike in. The trail from camp to Italy Pass was covered in icicles from the previous dayís hail storm so I kept losing the trail but somehow made it over the pass. I got showered on again in the last hour, and reached my car by 3 pm.

It was interesting and rewarding to do this peak bagging trip solo.  I won't be going solo all the time, but I enjoyed the freedom it provided me. Next time I will choose my objectives wisely and understand the risks of climbing alone.


Thielsen Twofer!

October 1 and October 7


Emilie Cortes



It's been a long two years since I left the Bay Area to pursue my dream of running an adventure travel company and creating my own destiny.  It's been rewarding but has come at great personal cost, including little personal climbing. Mountaineering used to be my stress release and the way I stayed healthy and in shape.  Add to that the two years of an unusually complicated ACL reconstruction recovery, I was



a wee bit pent up to say the least and daydreams of a ďreal mountainĒ consumed me.  I managed to make it up Mt Hood in mid-July, a very late ascent.  Super rewarding, that's about it in four years.  

 After being on the road for 3 months straight this summer, I set my sights on climbing Mt Thielsen off of Hwy 97, on my way home from San Francisco to Bend. Mt Thielsen is an extinct shield volcano, one of the Cascades volcanoes.  Itís only 9,184ft high but intimidating due to its exposed summit pinnacle that the locals call ďChicken PeakĒ - many people ďchicken outĒ when they come face to face with this last obstacle.  Itís considered fourth class, or low fifth.


I spent the night in Shasta, set off at 6 am, and after a breakfast/coffee stop, I reached the Mt Thielsen trailhead at 10 am.  Iím always a bit anxious when I do something solo, but thatís part of the challenge and the reward.  Can I figure it out with limited beta?  Can I do it alone without anyone to talk to or alleviate my doubts?  Can I surmount Chicken Peak, or will my notorious fear of unroped exposure hold me back?

 The first section of the trail is pretty mellow: 3-4 miles of flat and gentle graded trail through beautiful forest and a large section of deadfall.  Thereís only one trail intersection, 2 miles in, and itís pretty obvious to keep going straight in the general direction of the peak. As I got a little higher, the thunderbolt outline of Thielsen poked through the trees, taunting me, making me question the sanity of my intentions. 

Thielsen through the forest. Photo credit: Emilie Cortes

I donít usually post a blow-by-blow on Facebook as I climb, preferring to actually experience the wilderness and the quiet, but I was feeling a bit lonely and anxious.  Posting photos along the way and seeing the supportive commentary made me feel more connected and less alone as I forged upward.

The next trail intersection was a T-intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail on the West Ridge. I scouted left and scouted right, but at first I missed the climbers use trail that practically goes straight in between the PCT. It heads straight up and winds between the top and the right (east) side of the ridge.  A fellow who was trail running blew past me and I happily continued at the slow and steady rhythm thatís my signature. 

The trail disintegrates and becomes loose scree and shale.  Focused attention helped me find areas that were slightly more worn and stable.  There is a steep shale section where I had to use my hands for balance, but I would barely call it Class 3. The trail runner turned around here as he was nervous on the loose terrain. I continued up feeling like the only person on the planet, with an occasional glance at my phone to remind me otherwise. Some Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit friends, Eszter and Chris, had advised me that it was best to go as far right as possible to attempt the summit pinnacle.  As I scrambled up toward the base, my heart rate quickened seeing just how vertical the pinnacle was.  I took and



posted one last photo, left my pack below, and donned my rock climbing shoes.

Base of summit pinnacle. Photo credit: E. Cortes

I reminded myself that all I had to do was to keep moving upward until I came to a move I thought I could not reverse. Then I would turn around before committing and going too far. I put my hands onto the rock, found my first solid footholds, and pulled upward. Although my breathing would have given away my level of fear to anyone within earshot, I moved slowly and deliberately finding my way to the top.  The 80ft was over within just a couple of minutes despite the sensation of time moving in slow motion.  I had the summit to myself and posted a celebratory photo to share with the world.

Summit marker and sense of exposure. Photo credit: Emilie Cortes 



My social media blow-by-blow got the attention of two other climbers who coveted Thielsen.  MC Reinhart of Washington had dreamed of Thielsen since she first saw it in 2006 from the Diamond Lake Resort.  She was bummed to see me climb it as she, unbeknownst to me, had been actively looking for partners for Thielsen for the month of October.  The second was Louise Wholey who amazingly had placemats out on her table with the view of Thielsen from Diamond Lake.

ďWould you do it again?Ē both asked.  ďAbsolutely!Ē I answered instinctively, ďBut conditions will change soon and the only day offI have in October is next Tuesday.Ē  Both gals jumped at the opportunity: MC drove down from WA, and Louise flew up from CA.  Itís just a day trip for me and I was looking forward to doing it again and sharing what I had learned with two friends.

We met at the trailhead at 8 am, a couple of hours earlier than my solo start, and double-checked each otherís gear, food, water, etc.  We realized that the three of us, while knowing each other for years, had never actually climbed together, partly due to the timing of our respective difficult knee injuries and surgeries.  But here we were, each 17 years apart in age, from 3 different states, but united in our desire to challenge our bodies, flex our minds, and bond with other like-minded climbers.

The going was much slower with the three of us.  Three women climbing means three women talking and taking bathroom breaks.  :-) This time, though, we lost no time due to route finding. Louise and MC both reacted when they saw Chicken Peak looming before us through the forest.  ďAre you sure we wonít need ropes???Ē

We made our way up to the base of the summit pinnacle which loomed over us no differently than it had done to me the week prior, only this time I knew the way for sure. I led up, MC followed and Louise brought up the rear. We climbed section by section supporting each other


with words of encouragement. I had guessed they would have no real trouble, and I was grateful that my assumption was correct. 

Summit photo. Photo credit: MC Reinhart

We all summited and high-fived to our success.  My new tradition is to bring a good portable speaker to summits and have a dance party to celebrate.  Itís amazing how much fun this is – itís both a bit ridiculous on a mountain top, but also seems like exactly the right thing to do to celebrate.  Thankfully both Louise and MC were totally on the same page and we danced our hearts out.

Downclimbing pinnacle. Photo Credit: MC Reinhart

The summit is only half way, as they say, and we slowly, carefully, made our way down section by section, satisfied and grateful that we have the flexibility in our lives to meet at the Thielsen trailhead on a random Tuesday in October.


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 Monday, November 24. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month