May  2016              Peak Climbing Section, Loma Prieta Chapter, Sierra Club               Vol. 50 No.5 -



Date          Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Time          7:00 pm – 9:30 pm


Where       PCC

                  3921 E. Bayshore Road

                  Palo Alto, CA


Program    Annapurna Base Camp Trek


Presenter  Lisa Barboza


Our next slide show is not a climb, but will have images from the Himalaya in the Annapurna district.  If you want to go to Nepal, the presentation will be a great introduction to this amazing country and its people.


Lisa Barboza, PCS Chair, will show some of her slides from the recent trekking trip to Annapurna Base Camp, in Nepal.  This trip, over an 11-day period, went through small villages with the smaller ethnic groups.  Her group hiked up a gorge over 15,000-feet deep along the Modi Khola (river of glacial melt).  Also featured will be some pictures of Kathmandu, some of the earthquake damage, as well as a visit to Patan, a district of Kathmandu.


Please join Lisa for this fascinating slide show on a variety of places in Nepal.



Annapurna at Sunrise



Tea House




Hello everyone,


I am back from a trekking trip to Nepal, and will be showing some of the highlights of the trip at our May meeting.  Look for Annapurna Base Camp Trek on May 10th!


The question I constantly asked myself: "Why did it take me so long to get to Nepal?" I encourage you to go. The earthquake caused severe damage to the region in and around Kathmandu and also hurt the economy, so the number of visitors from other countries is significantly reduced.


On the topic of leaders, Jeff Fisher organized a successful Wilderness First Aid class recently that will help us get new leaders qualified. Thank you, Jeff.  We are slowly building up our roster of trips.  At our meeting on May 10th, we’ll hear about recent trips to the mountains, and upcoming trips.


And with that, I’m looking forward to a great climbing season in the High Sierra and beyond.

Happy Trails,







Summer is almost here, and I couldn't be happier! Our Scree this month has some awesome trip reports, so be sure to check them out: we move from the Clark Range, to Tallac Peak, and our annual ice axe/crampon practice combined with Roundtop.


Thanks to all our volunteers who make these trips happen, and see you in the mountains!










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.



Lassen Peak (10,457') and Brokeoff Mtn (9,234')

Location: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Dates: May 7 - 8

Level: Advanced skiers

Leader: Terry Cline; Co-leader Arun Mahajan


This is a spring skiing outing on two iconic northern California volcanic peaks.


On Saturday May 7, we’ll ski up Lassen Peak, snow conditions allowing, and ski down. The exact route, elevation gain, and distance will depend on snow conditions and the state of plowed roads around the peak. Distance will be between 4 and 18 miles and elevation gain between 2000’ and 4000’. The South Face from the south entrance or the Southeast Face from Emigrant Pass are two options.

Sunday we’ll ski from the turnout just below the entrance station to the summit of Brokeoff Mountain for a descent down its southeast side back to the cars. About 6 miles roundtrip and 2500’ elevation gain.


Options for Saturday night include the walk-in campground at the south entrance Visitor Center, likely on snow, or a motel in town.

Advanced skiers. Ice axe and crampons required, but probably will not be needed.

Contact: Terry Cline at









Rockhouse Peak (8,360'), Taylor Dome (8.802') and possibly Siretta Peak (9,984')

Location: Domelands, Southern Sierras

Dates: May 27 - 29

Level: Beginning

Leader: Lisa Barboza


Join us for this car camping trip, consisting of dayhikes to Rockhouse and Taylor Peak.  Rock house - about 18 miles RT, a few 1000 feet of gain.  Saturday. Sunday, Dashiki Taylor, drive home. 


We’ll be camping at Big Meadow in the southern Sierra.  Even with the snow this year, we do expect to have OK conditions for this climb. Friday night - enjoy camping under the stars, open fire, and happy hour car camping at Big Meadow.  GPS Coordinates will be provided for all trip participants.


You must be in excellent physical condition and good at day hiking, also comfortable on CL3 rock. There is a short Class 3 piece of the climb up Rockhouse Peak.  Please provide a climbing resume, or a list of your recent hiking/climbing and conditioning experience. Please email for details on the trip.


Kennedy Mtn (11433 ft)

Location: Monarch Divide, Kings Canyon National Park

Dates: May 28 - 30 (Memorial Day weekend)

Level: Class 2 snow climb

Leader: Aaron Schuman 650-450-1437



This trip is a repeat of a 2011 adventure that ended abruptly in a spring snowstorm. From Cedar Grove (5035), we’ll hike up the Copper Creek trail. This area burned last summer, so the trail conditions may be challenging. When we meet snow, some of us will switch to skis and others to snowshoes. We’ll set up camp in Upper Tent Meadow (9189). We’ll traverse up and down through the Volcanic Lakes basin, and from East Kennedy Lake (10100), we’ll climb





Kennedy Mountain (11,433') and return to our camp. Memorial Day, we’ll pack out all the way back to Cedar Grove and head home. Permit for six climbers.




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





Clark Range Trip

Merced Peak, Red Peak, Gray Peak and Mount Clark

August 6 - 10, 2015


Daryn Dodge


I first did this route climbing all four peaks with three buddies back in 1980 at 20 years of age.  It was my first real mountaineering experience.  So I was keen to get a chance to go back and climb these peaks a second time.




The group met at the Mono Meadow trailhead (6522’) near Glacier Point on Thursday morning. Participants on the PCS trip were Kathy Rich (coleader), Sandra Hao, Jim Ramaker and Aaron Wilcher.  We hiked down to the Illilouette Creek, and then traveled SE up the drainage to Merced Pass Lakes. We then proceeded up towards Red Peak Pass a few miles and camped near a creek (a distance of 12.5 miles). 

On day 2, we hiked about a half mile short of Red Peak Pass, dropped our packs, and headed over to the first climb of the trip, Merced Peak.   We hiked up to the saddle NE of the peak, then followed the NE ridge to the summit (class 2).  The weather was a little threatening with dark clouds hovering above, but it eventually cleared up. We then returned to our packs and hiked up the trail only a couple hundred yards and dropped our packs again, this time for an ascent of the class 2 south slope of Red Peak. The climb was more bouldery and loose than climbing Merced Peak, but still a good ascent.  Back at our packs we found a good location to camp very nearby off the trail. We got two peaks that day and only carried our packs maybe two miles. 

On the morning of day 3 we went up and over Red Peak Pass, dropping down the trail about a third of a mile, then struck out cross-country towards the saddle about half a mile north of Red Peak.  Once over the saddle, we continued down to a meadow at the foot of the massive SW face of Gray Peak. This meadow is a beautiful camp location near a stream with running water. It also appears to be seldom visited by other hikers. After an hour break setting up camp and getting a bite for lunch, we set off for Gray Peak. Most of the climbing was class 2 scree and rock, with the last hundred feet of gain to the narrow summit ridge more like class 3. We got back down to the meadow around mid-afternoon, so we had some time to relax in the sunshine before dinner.

Early on day 4, we left our base camp below Gray Peak and hiked with daypacks over the NW shoulder of Gray Peak. Our goal today was the amazing pillar of rock known as Mt. Clark.

Mt. Clark from the south

Reaching a saddle, we dropped down to Lake 10,162, then followed its western side.  We then climbed a forested chute to the sandy slope due south of Mt. Clark.  We reached the saddle SE of the peak with a big drop off on the other side.  We continued up the ridge until finally finding the one spot on the ridge where we could descend (class 3) the other side and cross over to the milder NE face of Mt. Clark. Naturally, this crossing was almost at the base of the vertical rock face of Mt. Clark itself! After traversing around to NE side of Mt Clark on sandy slopes, we put our route finding skills to the test looking for the easiest set of ramps and cracks leading up the northwest ridge of Clark. Secor’s book labels the north side of the peak as the easiest approach to the summit, but still class 4.  However, I remembered that many years back we found a class 3 way to the top on this side.  We finally put together the right set of ramps and cracks to reach to NW ridge about 100-150 feet north of the summit blocks, keeping the climbing to class 3.

After a minute or so hiking on the ridge, we came to the point where one drops down the west side of the ridge to follow the route Secor describes. Astoundingly, Secor only describes this class 4 route in his book when in fact continuing along the ridge to the summit blocks stays class 3, although it is a little airy. Nevertheless, we investigated the Secor route and found it to be indeed class 4, maybe even Class 5.0 or 5.1, and tremendously exposed.  We decided this route was too unsafe for the group and retreated back to the ridge. 

Aaron traversing the NW ridge moments away from the summit

Everyone except Jim followed the top of the ridge to the summit.  This final ridge run looks more difficult than it really is, but stays class 3. 


Aaron just below the summit; Daryn looking up


Aaron, Sandra and Kathy on the summit of Mt. Clark

Meanwhile Jim had decided to drop back down off on the east side ridge below the summit to look for the fabled “Suzuki” variation that apparently goes class 3. Some years ago Bob Suzuki and Jim had climbed this route, so Jim wanted to find it again. Sure enough, 10 minutes after the rest of us had reached the summit, Jim showed up having found the route. 

Descending the summit block with Jim starting down the class 3 "Suzuki" variation

We decided to descend this route, which starts just north of the final summit blocks of Clark.  It turned out to be an excellent series of steep ledges and cracks leading down to the sand, but never exceeding class 3.

Jim in the lead descending the "Suzuki" variation below the summit ridge


We then returned to camp below Gray Peak. After an hour’s break we decided to pack up and descend the Red Creek drainage for a few hours so we wouldn’t have too long a hike out on the last day. Dropping down the Red Creek drainage was a little steep and brushy at the start. But then we got to a nice, open and forested section of the creek where the cross-country travel went quickly.  We crossed the creek once to the south side to stay on easier terrain on the banks of the creek high above it. At about 7700 ft elevation where the ground leveled out, we set up camp in the forest for the final night of our trip.

Next morning, we packed up and returned to the Illilouette Creek Trail. But not before becoming briefly mired in a dense stand of aspen that was on our route.  Once back at the cars, several of the group decided to drive out to nearby Glacier Point. The crowds were bad, but the view was spectacular. It was a nice finale to a great trip! 












Mt. Tallac Ski (9,735')

March 18, 2016


Rakesh Ranjan


Participants: Julius Gawlas, Linda Sun and Rakesh Ranjan


Mt. Tallac


Skiing Mt. Tallac (one of the visibly most

beautiful peaks in the South Lake Tahoe area) was an icing on the cake for our weeklong ski break that we had taken to ski the resorts and mountains around Lake Tahoe. On this sunny morning, we parked our cars by the roadside at the summer trailhead, and walked in our ski boots for a short distance before putting the skins on. The trail had been well marked by a group that went ahead of us. We skinned up the Northeast Ridge of the mountain before traversing over towards the summit over the North Bowl.


North Bowl of Mt. Tallac




When we reached the top of the bowl, which was few tens of feet below the rocky summit, we took a break to have our lunch and soak in the breathtaking vistas of snow-clad peaks and the deep blue Lake Tahoe. The feeling of being in that moment is what inspires one to undergo the physically arduous journey of climbing peaks.


Views from the Top



Lake Tahoe as seen from the top of the North Bowl


After the short break, we packed our skins, put our helmets on and started making our turns in the beautiful North Bowl. And the mountain didn't disappoint us at all; the snow was dry and deep, enough to give us one of our best ski days in the backcountry. After descending the bowl, we ski-navigated our way through trees back to the trailhead. It was a fine closure to a fine week shared among good friends. 



Julius skiing the North Bowl of Tallac (Editor's note: Go Julius!!)



Axe/Crampon Practice and Roundtop Climb

April 2 - 3, 2016


Arun Mahajan


Leaders: Kelly Maas and Arun Mahajan


1.    Milind Patel

2.    Hart Singh

3.    Sapna Subramaniam

4.    Ankur Sharma

5.    Christophe Vivensang

6.    Mike Jay   

7.    Jaya

8.    Dmitry Medvedev 

9.    Terry Cline

10. Ning Yeh 

11. Jeff Fisher

12. Mammen Jacob (Roundtop only)

13. Sean Casserly  (Roundtop only)

14.  Scott Kreider (Roundtop only)

On a wonderfully sunny and warm (for spring) weekend, several of us spent two days in the Carson Pass area, practicing ice axe and crampon usage skills and then climbing Roundtop on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

For several years in the past, PCS leader, Kelly,



has been running axe/crampon practice sessions for members, both old and new, and I have been organizing climbs to Roundtop Peak and so this year we decided to combine forces. Why not run a practice class on Saturday and then climb Roundtop on Sunday?

It all worked out very well.

On Saturday, Kelly and I, ably assisted by the very experienced Terry Cline, gathered at the Red Lake Peak trailhead, just west of the Carson Pass trailhead and we had enthusiastic participation from the assembled team. The snow was a bit too soft to really try crampon usage on steep slopes, but we got in a lot of practice on the mechanics of tying them just the same. After traversing on some moderate slopes, Kelly was able to find a moderately steep slope with a very safe runout and the always popular self-arrest practice sessions got under way. I think that it would be safe to say that we got in some very good practice once the initial trepidation of sliding on slopes wore off.




On Sunday, we started off at about 9.30am from Carson Pass, making our way on moderately rising terrain to Lake Winnemucca. Some of the team had skis but most were on snowshoes. We also ran into a group of experienced skiers and mountain climbers who climbed and skied with us to the top.

There was one relatively steep slope getting to a notch below the false summit from the saddle with the Sisters and everybody in the team handled it masterfully. Crampons were nice to have although not a must.

From the notch we made our way on rock to the first summit. From the first summit we traversed to the notch with its intimidating summit hump but having climbed it many years in a row now, I took the team via a class-2+ chute on the right which was a safe alternative.

Skiing on soft corn snow was fun for the skiers but the snowshoers also had fun. The walk from Lake Winnemucca to the trailhead seemed longer than it actually was but the group soldiered on and by 4pm, everybody was back to the cars.

A very enjoyable weekend indeed and thanks to all the team for their participation and for the experienced hands like Terry and Scott for their help to the leaders, Kelly and Arun.






PCS Officials


            Lisa Barboza:


Vice Chair and Trip Scheduler

Rakesh Ranjan:


Treasurer and Membership Roster (address changes)

Arun Mahajan:


Scree Editor

    Judy Molland:


PCS World Wide Web Publisher
    Bo Meng:


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