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Ascender Title
June 2005
Volume 11, Issue 6


Gretchen and Nick with Upper Yosemite Falls


Eric paddling over to BBQ pit in campsite!


Dave Nelson in snow on way to Half Dome

Jim descending cables from Half Dome



Bob Grozenski with Telescope Peak


The troops cross a snow patch


Pink Phlox along trail


Brett points out a shortcut across a snowfield



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. July 5th is the deadline for the next issue.

Joel Brewster
Phone: 456-8520


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

Timothy & Jennifer Burns
Kim Friedman & Xavier Wasiak
Steve Nguyen
Josh Owen
Brandon Wilson

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


This club gear is available at no charge to members:

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


*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.


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.


June 3-4 , 2005
Report by Gretchen Huie, photos by Bob Grozenski, Harlan Stockman, and Steve Nguyen

It was a nice crowd, beautiful day, and good hike. In other words, it was a lot like any other hike with LVMC. Brett was there to hand out orange-cranberry walnuts and honey-glazed cashews. Little Toby was there to keep an eye on us and lead the hikes.

The most unusual and challenging part of the hike was finding the campsite on the night before the hike. I drove up with Fiona and at about 10:00 pm (the day before the hike) we were doing donuts in her two-wheel-drive car on a slippery four-wheel-drive road. We were stuck and lost. Luckily some of the other members of the group were still behind us (the infamous burritos in Barstow had held them up) and they were able to help push us out of trouble. After we made it to the campsite, we barely had the energy to break open the booze, which shows how tired we were because Fiona is Irish. The next morning we got an early start.

The hike was really straight-forward which meant a lot of talking and looking around. A few of the hikers split off and did a quick run to the top and back, but most of us stayed together and kept a good easy pace. Towards the top of the mountain, there was a little snow, and looking down 11,000 feet into the hot valley made me glad to be up out of the heat. We got back to camp in the early afternoon and had a communal snack session (wine, fig newtons, and fruit) before heading back to Vegas.

Steve and Alda in front of the Charcoal Kilns



May 17-21, 2005
Report by Joel Brewster, Photos by Jim Albamont

Prior to our four days in Yosemite, we visited family and friends in Sacramento, California. We became worried about the status of our trip when, on the local news, it showed footage of the Merced River (which flows throught the middle of Yosemite) flooding! The combination of recent rain, warm temperatures, and approximately double the usual snowpack in the higher elevations was enough to raise the water level several feet. This may not sound like much, but the entrance road to the valley from the west runs right along the Merced River (and is only a couple of feet higher than the normal water level). So, as we saw on the news, they actually closed this west entrance for obvious safety reasons. And, incidentally, the east entrance over Tioga Pass was still closed from winter snow.

Our fears increased as we got a message from Chris, who was already there, saying that their campsite was evacuated because of rising water. Although they were forced to leave their campsite, there was nowhere to go since the road out was closed. They wound up parking their camper along the road and just waiting it out. Eventually the water level lowered, the road out was reopened, and our comrades were allowed back to their campsite.

The members of our group reacted very differently to this tough situation. Some prepared for the worst, stockpiling water and planning escape routes. Some just got frustrated and went home. And some just made the best of it and went hiking while the valley was flooded! At any rate, by the time we arrived on Wednesday evening, the weather is gorgeous and remained so for the rest of the trip. Our timing couldn't have been better!

Over the four days we were there, we hiked Yosemite Falls and about 3/4 the way up to Half Dome, passing Vernal and Nevada Falls on that hike. The falls were all spectacular as flow rates were off the charts! Yosemite Falls was so loud it didn't even sound like water (more like a huge rockfall). The so-called Mist Trail was more like the "Downpour Trail".

The scenery and weather were great, as was the company. Our group of 14 did various activities during the day including rafting, biking, hiking, rock-climbing, and sightseeing, but every evening we would rendezvous and share experiences over the campfire (with plentiful wine and gourmet food of course). It was a wonderful trip and many thanks to the Meyers for organizing it.


May 21, 2005
Report and Photos by Jim Albamont

Our group's original plan was to climb Half Dome on Saturday, the last day of our trip. All the beta we got during the week suggested there was too much snow, but I wanted to try it anyway. By Saturday, most of our large group had wimped out. The hike is nearly 17 miles, with a total elevation gain of 4800 ft. The trail passes to the south of Half Dome, then goes behind it, wrapping around to approach the summit from the northeast.

Dave Nelson and I set off around 8 am on the Mist Trail. This trail passes Vernal Falls and was so wet it was like taking a shower, my first in several days. We continued to the top of Nevada Falls, stopping along the way for a good photo-op. At the top of the falls, we caught up with Joel and Amy. We also talked with 2 backpackers who had tried Half Dome the previous day and turned back. Determined, Dave and I forged ahead.

We hit snow at around 7,500 ft, about a mile and a half from the summit. The snow was relatively packed and it was easy to find our way to the bottom of the shoulder. We stopped for lunch and to consider the situation. The shoulder looked a bit imposing, like it might require an ice axe and crampons. It was steep, exposed, and the right side was completely covered in snow, but a band of second and third class rock ran up the left side where the snow had melted off. Dave’s foot and ankle were bothering him from a week of hiking and rock climbing, so he decided to head back. I figured I would get a little closer before making a decision…I really wanted to climb it! I scrambled to the top of the rocks to find only a small, exposed section of snow left to cross. It wasn’t very steep and the footing was good. What had looked nasty from below was actually quite tame. From there it was only a few minutes to the famed cables.

The final several hundred feet of Half Dome are so steep and slabby that the Park Service has bolted a series of heavy steel cables into the rock. Normally the cables are suspended on posts about 4 feet off the ground, but the Park Service had removed the posts for the winter and hadn’t put them up yet. To climb the last section, I picked up the cables, leaned back, and went up hand-over-hand, Batman-style. It was exhausting pulling myself up those thick, heavy cables after 8 miles and 4500 ft of vertical. Fortunately, there were several places to stop and rest. I saw only a few other people on the summit and the view was spectacular. There were snow-capped peaks all around and I could look over the sheer cliff and see thousands of feet down into the valley.

After 20 minutes on top, I headed down. I went down the cables backwards, hand-over-hand, stopping to take a few pictures along the way. By the time I got back to Nevada Falls, the falls were noticeably larger from the snowmelt that day. I stopped for a few more pictures before weaving my way down through the hundreds of tourists who had come to see the best Yosemite waterfalls in years. I made it back in time for a real shower and our big pizza dinner in Yosemite Village. Thanks to Chris and Kristi for a great trip!

The cables up the face of Half Dome


Upcoming Club Elections

During the July meeting, our Club officers and directors will be elected. Any Club members may be nominated from now until just prior to the July elections by contacting the current officers or directors. The board is composed of four officers and up to ten directors. The four officers are President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The duties of the officers and directors are explained below. The previous President is also included on the board to ensure continuity, but is not an elected position.

The President's duties are to supervise and direct the business and affairs of the Club. The President presides at all Club meetings, sets the agenda, and performs various other duties as directed by the board of directors. These duties may include liaison with other clubs and organizations, marketing, and membership activities.
The Vice President/Training Director works in conjunction with the President and will assume all the duties and responsibilities of the President in his absence. The Vice President also performs various duties as directed by the board of directors. He/she also sets dates and meeting places for some of our established training courses and works with board members to develop new training courses.
The Secretary maintains a record of the minutes from all board meetings, prepares the agenda for future meetings, and maintains Club records as needed.
The Treasurer maintains Club financial records, reports on the financial status of the Club, verifies the paid-up status of members, and issues reimbursement for Club expenses.
The Newsletter Editor solicits and edits articles submitted by members into a newsletter format which is electronically issued monthly.
The Outings Director organizes and publishes Club outings. The outing director also schedules periodic outing coordinator meetings to schedule new outings.
The Membership Director maintains the membership roster and is responsible for member renewal reminders. This director provides new membership packages and monthly e-mail reminders about the general meetings.
The Website Director maintains the Club website ( by updating time-sensitive information including upcoming meeting dates, the outings schedule, and trip reports.
The Public Relations Director schedules speakers and meeting rooms as well as maintaining public relations with various groups and organizations.
The Gear Director rents Club gear to members and keeps a log of all available gear.
Other Directors pitch in to help as needed and carry out the details of various projects, such as Adopt-a-Highway and other clean-up projects.



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.


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



Tuesday, July 26, 2005


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