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Ascender Title
April 2005
Volume 11, Issue 4

MOUNT CHARLESTON WINTER ASCENT










LAS VEGAS MOUNTAINEERS CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS


President: Xavier Wasiak
Vice President/Training Director: Chris Meyer
Secretary: Kristi Meyer
Treasurer: Jim Albamont
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director: Chris Ransel
Membership Director: Kim Friedman
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations Director: Nadia von Magdenko
Club Gear Director: Josh Owen
Assistant Director: Alan Andrunas
Assistant Director: Richard Baugh
Assistant Director: Howard Herndon


The Ascender is published monthly by the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club. It can be viewed on the “Members Only” section of our website. Current Club membership is approximately 120.
All Club members are invited to submit trip reports, photos, trip listings, recipes, classified ads and other related information. Please include the name and date of the trip or outing and the author’s name. May 5 is the deadline for the next issue.

SUBMIT ARTICLES TO:
Joel Brewster
E-mail: amyjoel@cox.net
Phone: 456-8520



MEMBERSHIP ISSUES...

To the following members, please note that your membership expires this month:

Billy & Danica Allen
Valerie Harper
Judy Kelly
Doug Kolonia
Michael Shackleford
Nikolaus Spencer
Roy Trafton
Cheri Weiss

Please make your check payable to the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club and mail to: P.O. Box 36026, Las Vegas, NV 89133-6026.
Single membership is $30 per year, $85 for three years. Family annual membership is $40, $110 for three years. Please mail all renewals prior to the end of the month to ensure uninterrupted delivery of your Ascender.

To All Members:
Please send any address, phone number and e-mail changes to Kim.

Kim Friedman
Membership Director


CLUB GEAR

This club gear is available at no charge to members:


4-season tent
Helmets
Bear Barrels
Alpine Axes*
Snowshoes
Strap-on Crampons*

Quantity
1
5
3
5
3
6
Deposit
$150
$20
$20
$25
$25
$30

*Will require a signed waiver.

Non-members are not eligible to borrow club gear. Deposits taken on gear must be in the form of cash or check and will be returned upon return of equipment. Gear is also available to members for courses with no deposit required. If you have any questions or would like to inquire about club gear, please contact Josh Owen.

ADVERTISING

Classified Ads
Members: Free
Non-members: $5

Business Ads
1/8 page (business card): $5
1/4 page: $10
1/2 page: $15
Full page: $20
All rates are per issue and will be discontinued automatically unless renewed. Ads must be either photocopy-ready or sent by e-mail and prepaid. Please make checks payable to Las Vegas Mountaineers Club.


MOUNT CHARLESTON WINTER ASCENT

March 12-13, 2005
Report by Raoul Kennedy, Photos by Alan Andrunas

Alan Andrunas led Ali Haghi, Howard Herndon, Luba Leef, and me to a successful winter climb of Mount Charleston on March 13, 2005. After a false start the prior weekend due to foul weather, this Club trip began March 12 at 6:00 am at the IHOP at Cheyenne and 95 with a hi-carb breakfast (we later learned that every one of those carbs was going to be needed). The weekend weather was expected to be near ideal, with little wind. The risk of avalanches was considered lower due to no new snow and a week of warm weather.

We caravanned up to the parking lot above the Cathedral Rock Picnic area entrance, and after loading up our packs and distributing weight, we were off at 8:10 am. We snowshoed up Echo Canyon and made good time up until the last 500 vertical feet when we hit the cliff bands right below the ridge. There we struggled for close to two hours with a wall of powdery snow that we had to kickstep multiple times to get enough purchase. The traversing on steep slopes was also an extreme challenge because improper footing could cause us to slide down the slope hundreds of feet with our 45-50 pound packs on (note: Luba’s pack was 40% of her body weight)!

Dead tired, we finally hit the ridge near Griffith Peak at approximately 2:20 pm (approximate elevation 10,500 ft.). After a short rest, Alan suggested that we continue along the ridge for at least another half mile so as to shorten the distance to Charleston the following day (the distance along the ridge from Griffith Peak to Charleston is roughly 4 miles). We established our base camp at about 3:30, cooked our meals, checked out the sunset, and by 7:30 were all in bed trying to catch some Z’s. The wind began to pick up and blew in powerful gusts throughout the night, interrupting any attempt at sound sleep. Moreover, it was very, very cold and I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t a summer expedition! For some reason, although we had all set our alarms for 5:00 am, only Howard was able to keep to the schedule and woke us up at 5:30. Shivering miserably, we prepared a quick breakfast and our summit packs and were off at 7:00 am. The wind had died down considerably by then, and Alan decided that it was safe to proceed.

The undulating ridge to Charleston seemed endless, although we were able to summit by 9:30 am, only two and a half hours later. At that time the sky was blue and cloudless, and the snow-capped East Sierra mountains and Telescope Peak were clearly visible. Lake Mead shined on the other side. Mummy Mountain lay there solemnly in front of us. Then, my 2-mile radius walkie-talkie started to pick up some dialogue and I figured that it was some hikers below us in the Pahrump area. I “jumped in” to their conversation and announced that our group was summiting Charleston. They were startled and said they were in Baker, California, some 60 miles away! The register was not buried in snow, so we signed in the soggy book and saw the last entry was Feb. 10–two extreme snowboarders. Only Howard’s cellphone worked, and he found the right spot to call from in between the antenna and the solar panels. After 30 minutes, we headed back down.

Our energy level was very low by now, and the return to base camp was slow and painful. Clouds suddenly began to pop up out of nowhere above Griffith Peak, and by the time we were ready to break camp at 1:00 pm, the sky was filled with dark, dense clouds blocking the sun. The descent off the ridge began further away from Griffith Peak than the way up. As expected it was very steep and scary due to the constant fear of slipping and tumbling down the snowy slopes. Alan plunged-stepped down the first 1000 vertical feet in less than 10 minutes (he later explained that he does a lot of leg work in the gym because it would take tree trunk legs to do what he did!); it took the rest of the group close to 45 minutes to rejoin him! One time-saving trick was to slide down parts of the slope because there were no exposed cliff bands in the area that we had descended (in fact, Alan later said that he wished we had ascended this way, although any way up those last 500 vertical feet to the ridgeline would have been miserable). Also, the snow was not icy and would naturally stop you. On the descent we encountered snowboard tracks and Ali caught a glimpse of some snowboarders coming off of Griffith.

We surveyed the phenomenal damage caused by recent avalanches in awe. Alan pointed out the “Vegas Hose Monster”, an amazing 400-foot ice waterfall that can be found in the cliffs of Echo Canyon. As we headed back to the parking lot at approximately 3:30 pm, visitors stared at us like we were psychotic (and maybe we were by then!). As we loaded up our gear into the vehicles, Ali commented how this climb made Rainier seem milder–he was right. Luba then asked rhetorically, “Why do we do this?” My best try at an answer would have been (1) that it feels so good when you stop, and (2) it helps us appreciate things more.

Thanks to Alan for guiding this real monster of a trip, thanks to good weather, and congratulations to
all for a safe and successful climb.


HIGHWAY CLEANUP 2005

April 9 , 2005
Report by Joel Brewster, Photos by Xavier Wasiak

As many of you know, Las Vegas Mountaineers Club participates in the Adopt-A-Highway program, and has two-mile stretch of Kyle Canyon Highway that we clean every year. This year, the day chosen turned out to be cold (low 50's) and very windy. Being a true mountaineer (and having been half-asleep when I got dressed in the morning), I wore my customary t-shirt and shorts. Even Harlan was wearing long pants and a jacket; I almost didn't recognize him in heavy garments. However, Eric King was even tougher than I, showing up in a tank top! Our cleaning crew was composed of 13 LVMC members and Kia (Xavier's dog).

After meeting at the turnoff for Mt. Charleston at 8:00, we caravanned up to our designated stretch of the road strategically leaving vehicles to shuttle people as efficiently as possible. After taking a few photos of the group in our stylish orange outfits, we divided into two groups to do one mile each.

For whatever reason, there was very little trash this year and we were done in a little over an hour! We met the other group at the midpoint, and compared notes. It turns out that our group got only boring trash (a dirty diaper was the highlight), while the our comrades on the higher half found all sorts of goodies. First they found a sheep skull with the horns intact. Then they found an odd sequence of items: 1) various liquor bottles 2) handcuffs with the key 3) a mousetrap 4) a condom. I will let you draw your own conclusion as to what transpired.

After caravanning back down the mountain, we discussed having a barbecue as originally planned, but decided to scrap it and just go home since it was so windy and barbecueing at 10:00 seemed a little strange. It was a short, but productive morning as we beautified our stretch of highway! Thanks to Alan, Xavier, and Chris for organizing everything.


PINE CREEK / TERRACE CANYON

March 27, 2005
Report and Photos by Chris Meyer

Charlie Raymond, Erika Miller, Brett Dawson, Eric King, Paul Francis, and Paul Kuroda were led by me on a trek to find Terrace Canyon in the Pine Creek area of Red Rock. We were all looking forward to some physically challenging bouldering as well as the mental challenge of maneuvering around the boulders so we wouldn’t step in any of the large amounts of water. A large amount of water was expected because I drove around the loop with a visiting friend of mine the day before. We had to drive through water flowing across the road between the Pine Creek parking lot and 159 from all the recent rain, which also left additional snow in the higher elevations. I was really looking forward to this hike, as it is one of my favorites. I also had already cancelled this hike twice before this past winter due to all the rain we’ve had.

We all met at the Red Rock parking lot at 8 am, piling into our cars to start the hike around 9 at the Pine Creek parking lot. The temperature was about a perfect 60 degrees. The first mile and a half are uneventful as we simply walked on a flat trail until we reached a couple big boulders on the right across from Mescalito Peak which was the big marker to either go to the right into Fern Canyon or to go left down a small slope into the wash which leads into Pine Creek Canyon. We now started the fun part of the journey enjoying a lot of boulder-hopping. We encountered a challenging spot to figure out a way not to fall in the water. Most found a route around the water hazard while a few of us hugged boulders along the water making it across dry. Then there was Paul Francis who managed to jump ten feet over water to a boulder then jump another ten feet over water to the other side without skipping a beat, showing us the imperviousness of youth.

Brett and Eric had a great time showing us how well they were able to climb some large, almost impassible boulders with small ledges to find ways to jump across water hazards. They managed to really show the rest of us a thing or two and provided some great entertainment and laughs. As we ventured into the canyon we encountered larger and more difficult boulders providing a lot of great short class III challenges. Also, the farther into the canyon we went, the lesser the amount of water until it actually disappeared for quite a while. The scenery was absolutely wonderful. We all enjoyed the tall cliffs all around us. We had taken our time along the trip stopping often to take in the sights, snack, and enjoy good conversation. Brett introduced us all to his favorite snack, sheep s**t, which is actually chocolate covered raisins, but it still threw us for a loop when he offered it to us.

Unfortunately, I can’t adequately describe the route, but we finally found Terrace Canyon and reached a good spot to stop for lunch around noon. The Terrace Canyon area is aptly named; there was a good amount of water cascading down the terraces that provided beautiful scenery, but also posed a slippery challenge. We managed to climb up the terraces having a good time enjoying the sights, relaxing, and getting in a small nap. We took lots of great pictures.

We headed back finally returning to the cars around 3 pm concluding another great hike with another great crew. I’ll have to lead another trip into the canyon soon to see what it looks like without the water flowing. I hope more mountaineers join me to enjoy this great hike.





CLICK HERE FOR LVMC EVENT SCHEDULE


GENERAL MEETINGS

The Las Vegas Mountaineers hold their monthly meetings at the Sahara West Library,
9600 West Sahara. Click HERE for map. Meeting time is 7:00 p.m.

APRIL

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Climbing in Ecuador
Courtney Purcell

MAY

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Canyoneering the Colorado Plateau and the American Southwest
Neal Wilkinson & Ted Wring

 

JUNE

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Mount Charleston Winter Ascent
Alan Andrunas

 


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