June  2016            Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club               Vol. 50 No.6

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



Date          Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Time          7:00 pm – 9:30 pm


Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA


Program    Ojos del Salado, 22,549'


Presenter  Jeff Fisher


Jeff climbed this peak earlier this year with two friends, after two prior attempts. Jeff’s presentation will show the route and some of the exciting teamwork needed to complete this climb successfully.


Wikipedia describes the peak:


Ojos del Salado (Salty Eyes) is a massive stratovolcano in the Andes on the ArgentinaChile border and the highest active volcano in the world at 6,873 m (22,549 ft). It is also the second highest mountain outside of the Himalaya and the highest in Chile. It is located about 600 km (370 mi) north of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 6,961 m (22,838 ft). Due to its location near the Atacama Desert, the mountain has very dry conditions with snow usually only remaining on the peak during winter, though heavy storms can cover the surrounding area with a few feet of snow even in summer. Despite the generally dry conditions, there is a permanent crater lake about 100 m (330 ft) in diameter at an elevation of 6,390 m (20,960 ft) on the eastern side of the mountain. This is most likely the highest lake of any kind in the world.

The ascent of Ojos del Salado is mostly a hike except for the final section to the summit which is a difficult scramble that may require ropes. The first ascent was made in 1937 by Jan Alfred Szczepański and Justyn Wojsznis, members of a Polish expedition in the Andes.





Hi everyone,


I’m looking forward to a great climbing season. I am just back from a climb of two peaks in a single day; Taylor Dome and Rockhouse Peak, both Class 3 peaks in the Domelands wilderness. In this issue, check out Jeff Fisher’s successful climb in South America in January, after two prior trials, and also Daryn Dodge and Greg Vernon's’s description of the Vagmarken list of 100 peaks, another list to add to your calendar.


See you out there on the trail and on the rocks, Lisa




Before doing anything else, check out Warren Storkman's recent encounter with two mountain lions. We are thankful that it ended the way it did. Terrifying!


And thanks to all who contributed to this month's Scree. But where are all the trips?





Warren Storkman


As time moves on: when I was 82 I thought I would never see a mountain lion. Wrong. That was when I saw my first mountain lion.  

At the age of 89 I saw what I thought was close to impossible to ever see. 


In Palo Alto Foothill Park there is a section of trail built on the side of a steep slope. Falling off the trail would be unpleasant. There are no trees, only small bushes. The other day, as I was coming down the trail in open space under a hot sun, to my surprise coming round a curb running at top speed was a beautiful youthful lion. It was being chased by another lion of the same size. This whole incident was less than 20 seconds.





The first lion was so surprised, he was less than one or two feet from me when he veered off the trail going down the steep slope. I'm sure he was not happy about what happened to him next.


The second lion stopped less than eight feet from me and just sat and stared. At that moment my joy turned into fear. I'm sure he was thinking, "Should I take this guy on or leave?"  From me came loud noises with arms and walking poles waving.


I was lucky: he turned and moved on.  


To me this will undoubtedly be one of life's highest moments. 




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.



Thompson Peak (8,994'), Sawtooth Mtn (8.887') Mt. Hilton (8,933')

Location: Trinity Alps Wilderness, N. California

Dates: Aug 12 - 15

Level: Class 3 with possible snow travel

Leader: Daryn Dodge


A strenuous backpacking trip, consisting of dayhikes to the peaks from a basecamp:

– at least 14 miles RT with backpack, and 15 miles with daypack. We’ll likely camp south of Canyon Creek Lakes and climb the peaks from one base camp. You must be in excellent physical condition and comfortable on CL3 rock. There are short Class 3 sections on Thompson and Sawtooth.  Hilton should only be class 2 Peak. Please provide a climbing resume, or a list of your recent hiking/climbing and conditioning experience. Please email daryn.dodge@oehha.ca.gov for trip details.





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




Dunderberg Peak, 12,374'

May 11 - 13, 2016


Debbie Bulger


Richard Stover and I hit the sweet spot in climbing this peak just south of Bridgeport, CA. We were too early for mosquitoes and early enough for it to be a snow climb. I had heard tales of unpleasant climbing without snow.

We decided to climb the north face and do it as a three-day backpack. Younger climbers have no trouble climbing this peak as a day hike, but I am past that stage of my life. After a hearty breakfast at the Bridgeport Inn, we had a leisurely start on Forest Road 020 after driving over a bit of frozen snow to park about 200 yards up the road from its junction with the Virginia Lakes Road. We were later to regret our choice of parking spot.



Starting our backpack to base camp


We mostly snow-shoed in to what we called “Dunderberg Lake” just north of the peak where we found a level spot without snow for our tent. The 1000-foot elevation gain with fairly heavy packs (we were carrying ice axes and crampons) to our campsite meant we would only have to ascend about 2000 feet the next day for the peak. On our way to camp we saw tracks in the snow of a mother bear and two cubs, one likely a second-year cub by the size of its feet. Coyotes, deer, and rabbits had also left their imprints.

We left camp at 8:30 a.m. the next morning with crampons strapped to our boots from the get-go. We chose the easier but longer route, ascending the less steep slope to the east of the east summit, topping the east summit, then following the ridge to the higher west summit. Our descent was down the steeper slope from the west summit to our little lake.

Richard climbing. Our starting point is the lake below him



On the ascent we removed our crampons in the softened snow at the saddle below the east peak. The view of Mono Lake from the east peak is much better than from the west summit.

It was clear that skiers had been on the summit the week before, and their tracks plunged down in various directions depending on the skill of the skier. We found no register, but perhaps there was one under the snow. We did not linger at the summit since it was cold and windy.

Debbie and Richard on the summit of the higher west peak


Back in camp we glanced up and could see our tracks, both up and down. Our little adventure was about 3.3 miles with 2000 feet of gain and had taken us 9 hours. We noticed that during the day the snow had receded quite a bit from the edge of the lake.

Our route from camp by the lake




Our next adventure came after we had returned to our truck the next day. The frozen snow Richard had driven on top of in the morning two days before had turned to mashed potatoes on this afternoon the day after the climb.


Shall I describe the hours of shoveling? The many times the truck got stuck in the snow? The spinning tires? You get the picture. Luckily we had only one shovel, so we took turns. I was tired before the shoveling began. Near the junction with the paved road two men from Orange County who were waiting for friends helped us with the shoveling.

When we finally freed ourselves from the snow’s clutches, we were as hungry as those bears coming out of hibernation. It was after 4 p.m. We treated ourselves to a spectacular supper and hot showers at a motel.




Participants Needed


WHAT:  Trial to compare Diamox vs Budesonide vs Placebo to prevent acute mountain sickness


WHERE: Barcroft Research Station, White Mountains (Bishop, CA)


WHEN: Choose one of four weekends in August 2016 (Friday-Sunday)




    Free food & lodging night #1: Owens Valley Research Station

    Free food & lodging day/night #2: Barcroft Research Station (12,500ft)

    Hike through the Patriarch Grove Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

    High altitude illness and physiology lecture

Option to Summit White Mountain Peak (14,252ft, California's 3rd highest)


To enroll contact Dave Pomeranz MD with the weekend you can participate 



Vagmarken Club Sierra Crest List

by Daryn Dodge and Greg Vernon

Echo Vol 56 #2, 2012

In the interest of keeping alive some of the history behind climbing and mountaineering clubs that have left their mark in Sierra climbing lore, the Vagmarken Sierra Crest List is featured here. No recognition by the SPS is currently planned for those that complete the list, but it is simply presented for the interest of peakbaggers everywhere. 

The Vagmarken were the climbing club of Rockwell International. They were on the books as the Rockatomics Stamp club, as they didn't want Rockwell management to have a clue that they were doing something risky. Members worked for Rocketdyne or Atomics International in Canoga Park. The club was founded Feb. 4, 1964, originally as the Rocketdyne Mountaineering Club, before changing its name to the Vagmarken

At its height in the late-1960s and 1970s, the club numbered several dozen members. By 1975, the club had sponsored an estimated 700 trips, including many visits to major peaks on other continents. The Vagmarken undertook a program in 1965 to replace old register cans in the Sierras and elsewhere; by 1975 they had placed over 160 cans on mountain summits.  Club members were also the primary movers in naming a peak in Yosemite National Park after Amelia Earhart in 1967. This 11,982-foot peak was named to honor the famous female flyer who disappeared over the Pacific on a 1937 around-the-world flight. The club also created their own Vagmarken handbook and published a newsletter called the “Yeti Yellis”.

The Vagmarken Sierra Crest Award was the work of Danny Levack, an aerospace engineer.  The Award consists of the 100 named peaks on the crest of the Sierra Nevada stretching from Olancha Pass in the south to Sonora Pass to the north. Although many of the peaks on this list will be familiar to those who know the Sierra Peaks Section List, over one-fourth (27 peaks) of the Vagmarken peaks are not on the SPS list. 




Other lists created by club members include the 100 Rock Route List, the Winter ascent list, plus several others. However, the Vagmarken Sierra Crest List is unique in that it lists the named peaks in the region of the Sierras many consider to be the High Sierra. 

The name Vagmarken is a Swedish term for trail markers or cairns.  The inspiration for the club’s name came from the title of an autobiography, “Markings” (Vagmarken) by Dag Hammarskjold.  The book was published in 1963, two years after Dag Hammerskjold's death in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia. John F. Kennedy called Dag the greatest statesman of the 20th century. 

Every Vagmarken had a "yeticlature", a name with yeti in it. Long-time SPS member Gerg Vernon was known as the Lone Yeti because of his solo adventures. The most notable member was Herb Laeger (Big Daddy Yeti). Herb had a Ph.D. from Rutgers and was a rather accomplished East Coast climber when he came to work for Rockwell. He established several routes at Joshua Tree (Solid Gold, Tumbling Rainbow, plus several other classics), Needles, Sequoia Park, Courtright, Shuteye Ridge, and more. He never got the credit he deserved for his contribution to California rock climbing. Other notables included "Puffin'" Bud Ford Yeti, who held an annual spaghetti dinner, and John Otter (Silent Yeti) who along with Greg Vernon published the newsletter for 3 years and put together an annual banquet. 

After about 1980, the Vagmarken sort of evaporated. Boeing took over Rocketdyne, and several members found employment in diverse locations. However, the Vagmarken Club still lives on in some of the remaining old Sierra peak registers where entries by club members can be found.

Many thanks to Greg Vernon for his assistance in relating the history of the Vagmarken.








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.