February  2016   Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club                                    Vol. 50 No.2

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



Date          Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Time          7:00 pm – 10:00 pm


Where       2256 Avenida de los Alumnos, Santa Clara, CA 95054

Jeff Fisher has graciously offered the use of his home in Santa Clara for the annual Spring Planning Meeting. I know that the address sounds intimidating, but it's really easy to find and it is very close to Hwy 237 and Lafayette St.


Come hear about all of the new 2016 climbing trips. We'll feature trips to the Sierra, Washington Cascades, Nevada Great Basin peaks, and many others, including some international trips.


This will be a potluck, but pizza will be provided;

a small donation is requested to help defray expenses. Bring beverages of any type to share, and your peak climbing desires.


Hope to see you there!





Climbers, I’m pleased to report that our Meetup Site, at “Peak Climbing Loma Prieta Sierra Club” is doing well. We have over 100 members, which is not bad considering it’s only been in existence for 5 weeks. I encourage members who haven’t signed up to do so; all of our official Sierra club sanctioned trips with current leaders will appear there. We will list some unofficial trips in the Scree. So join up, and find out what’s happening.


Next, we have our annual Spring Trip Planning Meeting coming up on Tuesday, February 23rd at Jeff Fisher’s place in Santa Clara. Jeff has graciously offered his space for the meeting.   Potluck and Pizza starts at 6:30, and the meeting officially starts at 7:00. Come to this meeting to find out about upcoming spring and summer trips, hook up with other climbers, or just to socialize and enjoy the fun. The meeting will be led by Rakesh Ranjan, our PCS Outings and Vice Chair – Thank you so much!


Our leaders – without them, we wouldn’t have a climbing group.  I want to give a big shout out to our leaders: Aaron Schuman, Arun Mahajan, Bob Wyka, Charles Schafer, Daryn Dodge, Yoni Novat, Kathy Rich, Kelly Maas, Terry Cline, Tim Hult, Bo Meng, and myself.  These folks will be leading trips this summer and they are all excellent climbers, with years of experience.   Several of them have finished the Los Angeles Chapter Sierra Peak Section List of 248 peaks, which less than 100 people, and fewer than 12 women, have completed. Some of these climbers have First Ascents, and some appear on the www.peakbagger.com list with over 600 peaks climbed.

And last – we have snow!  For sure, not enough to break the drought, but whatever we can get is welcome as it rejuvenates the forest and its creatures. I hope to see you out there on the slopes; we have some great ski mountaineering trips coming up, led by Terry Cline.






I am happy to report that we have two awesome trip reports in this edition of Scree: Lisa Barboza's report from the Ruby mounains of northeastern Nevada, and Debbie Bulger's Ogul List Finish climb. I would love to receive more trip reports, or you can just send along your photos; you will see that there are some gorgeous ones in this month's Scree. Enjoy!





Note: CST 2087766-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.


All Sierra Club trips require you to sign a Liability Waiver.



Waterhouse Peak, 9497 ft

Location: Lake Tahoe Area

Date: February 6

Rating: Strenuous

Leaders: Terry Cline: terry_cline@yahoo.com,

Lisa Barboza: lisa.barboza@gmail.com

Details: We’ll climb the northeast side of Waterhouse Peak from Luther Pass on CA-89, about 1800 ft gain, and ski down the way we came or by the North Bowl, avalanche conditions permitting. An option is to ski down the steeper southeast side to Hope Valley for a 2500 ft descent if there is are enough vehicles for a car shuttle.




Intermediate-Advanced skiers. Snowshoers also welcome (but you’ll have more fun on the descent if you ski). There are opportunities the following day for either other peaks in the area or skiing at Kirkwood or Heavenly. Weather and snow conditions may dictate change of date or cancellation.


Echo Peak, 8895 ft

Location: Lake Tahoe Area

Date: February 20

Rating: Strenuous

Leader: Terry Cline: terry_cline@yahoo.com

Lisa Barboza: lisa.barboza@gmail.com

Details: We’ll ski from the Echo Lakes Sno-Park on CA-50 just west of Echo Summit to the Echo Lakes. Then ski across the chain of lakes to climb Echo Peak, about a 1700 ft total gain and then ski back down and back across the lakes to the cars. A little over 10 miles round trip.


Intermediate-Advanced skiers. There are

opportunities the following day for either other peaks in the area or skiing at Kirkwood or Heavenly. Weather and snow conditions may dictate change of date or cancellation.





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.

From Warren Storkman:


This coming Oct 2016 I'll be returning to Tibet.

This will be my 6th visit. I'll apply for our group permit from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu; no visa necessary.


This is a 19 day-trip from home to home: nine 

days in Tibet, five days in Nepal, and five days of air travel. 







Also, there will be many things to see and do in Kathmandu (KTM)  (+ or -) $500.00 cost. 

The Tibet trip cost is $2850. Maximum overall total is $3350.


There is no financial obligation at this time. 

However, if you are interested in this "9 days in Tibet" itinerary by auto, contact me at dstorkman@aol.com




Romping In The Rubies

July 2015


Lisa Barboza, Kathy Rich, and Daryn Dodge


Romp: To play or frolic in a lively or boisterous manner – and such we did!

Old Man in the Mountain, Thomas Peak, Humboldt Peak Trip Report


Wildflowers everywhere




The Ruby Mountains are in northeastern Nevada, close to the Utah State line near Elko NV.  Because they stick up so high, they attract a lot of moisture.  I will tell you, I have never seen better wildflowers! It was like a scene out of the movie, Avatar: flowers every few inches, and in some places over six feet tall. 


More wildflowers


The Rubies are part of the Basin and Range Province encompassing most of Nevada, and parts of Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. This is a place where no rivers flow to the sea, but have certainly staked out land-bound oceans of their own in the many huge basins that in Pleistocene time were as large as seas.  The rocks vary from metamorphic gneiss, to granite and pegmatite. 

During the most recent ice age, 15,000 years ago, the glaciers swept over the mountains and most trees were wiped out, except for the bristlecone and a few relict stands of limber pines (all members of family Balfouriana).  As the glaciers retreated and the climate warmed,

bristlecone, limber pines and common juniper moved in and colonized the mountains.  In the Rubies, the limber pine and white bark pines





dominate the forest from canyon to ridgeline.

This place is a lot like Yosemite and in fact, it is called Nevada’s Yosemite, or Nevada’s Swiss Alps. Truly a fantastic place! Most of the peaks can be day hiked; there are no bears, so no need for bear canisters, but there are mountain goats, and native bighorn sheep and mountain lions.  The goats were introduced in the mid-1960s, and the lions made their way across the great flats of the basin and range, in Pleistocene time.  My thinking is that bears need a more diverse set of fauna and flora to survive, whereas the lions are more pure carnivores and are no doubt helped by the vast amount of cattle that roam in the plains around the Ruby Mountains.  And don’t miss the elusive Himalayan snowcocks; this is the only place in the US where they have become naturalized.


July 3 - Old Man in the Mountain 10,707 ft.

On a glorious summer morning, we (Daryn Dodge, Kathy Rich, and Lisa Barboza), started in a 4WD for the trailhead of the peak. We originally had 7 people for this day hike. But one decided to go another time and 3 others decided to go in the afternoon before and make it an overnight trip. So we had 3 to start around 7 am. Very little description of the trail to Cold Lakes and the climb itself could be found online. We mainly relied on a blog called rubymountaintrails.blogspot for a description of the hike to Cold Lakes.

The drive to the trailhead is across private property. The best way to get permission to start at the TH described on the Ruby Trails website is to contact the local Fish and Game office. The other contacts on the website proved not to be useful anymore. F&G will contact the local landowner, or give you the number to call, so you can contact him yourself. He is a very friendly rancher who will give you the combination for the lock at the first gate. The other update needed for the website is the actual mileage driven once past the locked gate. It is about 2.6 miles, not 1.6 as indicated. Another

helpful hint for finding the starting point is take a right at the junction just before the abandoned ranch buildings. Once past the third gate just past the ranch, it is one more mile to the TH.





When you cross an irrigation ditch (with running water when we were there), you are only 0.1 mile from the TH, which is alongside the irrigation ditch. You will know you are there when you see a small bridge on the left hand side of a wider part of the road. And it is small bridge.

We parked off the dirt road and began the hike by crossing the bridge and descending to the trail-less gully below. Going up the other side of the gully, we ran across the trail that travels along the ridge. Turning left, we followed the trail as it circled around down into the next gully over and then up the other side. Soon we reached a trail junction that overlooks Cold Creek. We chose the right fork that dropped down to the creek and faded out before reaching the creek. The river was low, so we easily crossed to the north side to find the trail again, which was quite overgrown with grass. Walking east, we soon came across the only trail sign we saw all day; a trail junction, with the Cold Lakes trail pointing to the right.  And up we went.  We stayed on the ridge in between the North fork and the middle fork of Cold Creek. The trail came, and went.  Mostly went.  We often found ourselves bushwhacking through the dense flowers. We passed through several groves of mountain mahogany, 25 feet tall, which was reminiscent of the Serengeti. I have never seen these trees so tall! 


After about 3 hours, we found ourselves at the granite bench below Cold Lakes, and here the trail actually got better.  But not maintained, that’s for sure.  To the south of the uppermost Cold Lake, at 9900 ft., we found a gully that went up and left, and looked like it would take us to a saddle along the ridgeline. It was an easy climb of about 450 feet to the saddle. From there, we took an easy clockwise traverse along the ridgeline, to the first of four gendarmes blocking an easy approach to the

peak. The first was easily passed on the left (class 2), but the next two gendarmes required a little investigation to keep the climbing to class 3. The fourth gendarme was an exposed catwalk that went class 3-4. Some will want a rope here.


A short section of Class 4 with a big drop to the right


Finally, we came to a minor crux point: a chimney about 20 feet high that could be stemmed to gain the summit block. Exposure is low but the chimney also goes class 3-4. Some may want a rope here too.  Fantastic Views! 

Afterwards, Daryn and Kathy went over to bag Green Peak (10,831 ft). The hike out was easier, since we were better able to follow what was left of the trail in the overgrown areas. All told, about 17.5 miles RT and 6100 feet of gain.




July 4 - Thomas Peak, 11316 ft.

For our next day, we chose an easy climb of Thomas peak.  We drove to the end of Lamoille Canyon (pronounced LAM-OIL) to the parking lot at 8850 feet.  From there, it is a 3.5 mile hike up a good switchback trail to Island Lake at 9500 ft.

Lamoille canyon and Ruby dome


From there, it is an easy scramble up the south slope, then over to Thomas Peak.  On the way up, we saw several mountain goats and their kids. A gain of 4200 feet and about 8 miles round trip.

On Thomas Peak





July 5 - Humboldt Peak (11,025 feet).

This time, we had quite the crew: Laura Newman, Larry Dwyer, Sharon Marie Wilcox, John Ide, Kathy, Lisa, and Daryn. To get there, we went on a good 2-lane road that went around to the east side of the Rubies along Secret Creek.  After crossing over Secret Pass (6457'), we turned left at Person Creek Road (40.8089, 115.1886), drove about 2.5 miles and opened a locked gate.  We had the gate combo and permission from the landowner to approach the peak from the south. The Jeep road (40.8127, 115.1434) paralleled the Franklin River to our east, to eventually stop in Pole Canyon, a few miles up, when we could drive no further. We stopped at a flat spot with a few small beaver ponds nearby, and the Franklin River gushing by.


We could have just gone up the canyon to the peak, but it looked brushy with lots of aspen.  We elected to scale a ridge to the southwest of the peak. After a bunch of scrambling, and a few missed turns in the fog, we arrived at the top of Humboldt Peak.  An easy scramble led to the summit, a total of 3100 feet gain, and 7 miles RT. On the way back we did actually go down






Pole Canyon, and experienced some dense aspens. Best to stay on the West side the whole way, and gain some altitude to avoid the dreaded aspens. However, this was easier and faster than our ascent route.

All in all, I highly recommend the Ruby Mountains as a place to climb. It is about 8 hours from the Bay Area if you leave early to avoid traffic, and about 10 hours from Los Angeles to Elko. And it is well worth the drive.




Ogul List Finish Climb

Mt. Wade (9367')

October 2015


Debbie Bulger


Wade benchmarkI


In the Ogul list from 1983, Wade is merely listed as “Wade” with no “peak” after its name. In truth, Wade is more of a benchmark than a peak.

It was the last peak I needed to climb to complete the Ogul list I had started in 1980 as a member of the Peak & Gorge Section of the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club. It took only 35 years.






Richard Stover and I were to meet our friends Howard Steidtmann and Tobi Tyler at the end of Forest Road 051 to start the climb. This route was estimated to be shorter with less elevation gain than the traditional route from Horsethief Canyon. It could have been.


Richard and I left the trailhead at 8 am without seeing Howard and Tobi. Since there was no cell phone coverage, we had no idea what had happened to them. We climbed the hill from the end of the road following a trail that led to some quartz diggings. Then we made a big mistake. We went down the other side and dropped too much elevation.


The planned route consists of a series of ups and downs on an easterly course, descending to the Willow Creek drainage, then climbing up again only to descend once more into the Horsethief Canyon drainage, skirting a few bumps until finally emerging onto a flat, wooded area full of trees that obscure views. Where was Wade? We traipsed about half a mile on the wooded flats and were very glad we had a GPS to point us toward the peak. Where’s Waldo, I mean Wade?

At last we left the woods and saw the modest mountain. On the summit were Howard and Tobi, who had not made the mistake of dropping too much elevation and who are much faster hikers than we are. They had been waiting for us for several hours, having left the trailhead about 20 minutes after we started.

Howard celebrates double list finish; Debbie is happy to finish the Ogul List




On the summit Howard celebrated his double list finish, and I my list finish. The views of Job’s Peak to the north and Nevada to the east were quite nice.

Richard and Debbie on the summit of Wade. Job's peak in the background


With Howard (who is part homing pigeon) in the lead, we made it back to our vehicles in under 4 hours with a stop at the Wade highpoint which is 23 feet higher but without the grand views.

Debbie and Tobi returning from Wade










PCS Officials


            Lisa Barboza: lisa.barboza@gmail.com


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

Rakesh Ranjan: rakesh.lists@gmail.com


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

Arun Mahajan: arun.mahajan@att.net


Scree Editor

    Judy Molland: screeeditor@gmail.com


PCS World Wide Web Publisher
    Bo Meng: mengbo@hotmail.com


Joining the PCS is easy. Go to   http://www.peakclimbing.org/join.


If you join the PCS Announcement Listserv you will receive announcements and updates of trips and meetings.