Mountain Logo
Ascender Title
July 2005
Volume 11, Issue 7








The happy group (with Frosty) on Griffith Peak


Joel admiring the view from the top of the ridge


Heading up the South Loop Trail


Steve catching a power-nap at the ridgeline



A wild horse near the saddle


Ed and Randy relax in the shade of Raintree


The group with Raintree



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 130.
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. August 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:

David Bert
Tina Donnell
Ali Haghi
Axel Harres
Ron & Elaine Myers
Steve Salyer

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.


July 2-4, 2005
Report and Photos by Paul Kuroda

July 2:

I went to the SWS (Sierra Wilderness Seminars) office at the meeting time of 8:00 a.m. Our trip leader, Keith, checked out our gear and recommended leaving some unnecessary stuff in the car. SWS provided snow shovels, tents, stoves, food, harnesses, etc. I met the three other people who signed up for this trip: Don and Joanne from Florida, and Hong from San Jose. They were all experienced hikers but had not used crampons and ice axes before.

We got a late start because there was no rush to get to the high camp, which was located at around 10,000 feet (just below Helen Lake). The packs were very heavy with food, four-season tents, ice axes, helmets, fuel, etc.

We arrived at base camp in mid-afternoon, and set up the tents, which were very sturdy with many poles. Shasta sometimes gets 50-60 mph winds, so we anchored down the tents very securely, and built snow walls around them to protect them from the wind. Keith dug a snow trench and slept out in the open without a tent.

We went to sleep early, but were awakened in the middle of the night by a very noisy group of French climbers. For some reason they set up their tents a few feet away from ours, and didn’t seem to notice that they were keeping us awake.

July 3:

This was a training day, especially for the people with no mountaineering experience. I’ve attended LVMC snow school a couple of times, so I had a little more experience than the others. But I failed the head-first self-arrest while lying on my back. After trying three or four times, I finally gave up and we went on to something else.

July 4:

We woke up at 1:30 a.m., drank some coffee or tea, put on crampons and headlamps, and headed up the slope at 2:45. The snow had frozen overnight, which was good for traveling in crampons (no post-holing). At around 3:30, we reached Helen Lake (elevation 10,400), which had a lot of tents due to the three-day weekend. In the distance there were 15 to 20 headlamps from hikers who were ahead of us.

At around 11,000 feet the slope became steeper (35 to 45 degrees), and Keith asked us to rope up. This is standard SWS policy, because once in a while someone takes a long slide down Avalanche Gulch, which usually results in broken bones or worse.

The toughest part of the climb was from about 11,000 feet to the top of the Red Banks (12,800 ft.). Somewhere around 12,000 feet, Joanne started having trouble with the altitude and we had to take a long break. There are no flat spots in this section, so we had to carve out some small platforms with
our axes (so that we could sit down for few minutes).

Around 5:00 a.m. it started getting light and we continued up the slope, finally reaching the top of Red Banks around 6:00 a.m. There were some flat spots to sit down, so we took a 15 minute break for Cliff bars and Gatorade. We also put away the rope because the final approach to the peak is not as steep.

After the break, we continued on to Misery Hill (elevation about 13,000 feet). At this point, Joanne was really having trouble and our pace was very slow. I was a little concerned that Keith would tell us to turn around, even though the weather was good. When there’s only one guide, sometimes the whole team has to turn around if one person can’t go any farther.

After another long break, Joanne decided that she felt OK, and we continued on. Misery Hill was actually easier than the slope just below Red Banks. From there we could see Shastina (elevation 12,330 feet), and a glacier on the north side of the mountain.

The final approach to the peak was pretty easy, and the weather was great (about 50 degrees with light winds). Usually it’s very windy and a lot colder. We took some summit shots and headed back down.

After we reached the top of Red Banks, the snow was soft due to the warm temperatures, so we took off our crampons and started glissading. There were no obstacles like rocks or crevasses, so glissading was a lot of fun. It took only about 10 to 15 minutes to descend 2000 vertical feet to near Helen Lake.

When we reached camp, we took down the tents and headed back down towards Bunny Flat. We stopped at Horse Camp for a while, and finally reached our cars in the late afternoon.

Don and Joanne looked pretty tired because in Florida there’s nowhere to train for high-elevation hikes. But we had a successful trip because Keith managed the trip well, and we were also very lucky with the weather.

Paul taking a break near the summit


June 25, 2005
Report by Alda Behie, Photos by Steve Nguyen and Joel Brewster

Five of us set off fairly early on a Saturday morning – the usual congenial LVMC group. It was a lovely sunny day and I was anticipating a long but fairly straightforward hike to the top of Mt. Charleston, along the South Loop trail. Two of the group had not been to Mt. Charleston before and were likewise anticipating being on the peak. I had noticed on the previous Sunday’s hike to Mummy’s Tummy that there still seemed to be a fair bit of snow on the top of Charleston. Joel thought there might be a bit more snow than he had encountered during his trip of June 2004. None of us, however, expected what we found – deep snow from about 9,000 feet on. Luckily the snow was in good shape and we were able to climb easily, albeit somewhat steeply, without sinking.

It was slow going though, and it took us longer than anticipated to reach the ridge. We paused one of the windbreaks on the ridge for some food (and a power nap for Steve) to reconsider our position. The path to Charleston was completely snowed in as far as we could tell. We decided to head up to Griffith instead. The route to Griffith was snowy but not too difficult. We picked up an additional hiker along the way – a lapsed club member – a pleasant addition to the group. After pictures and signing the logbook we headed down, hoping we would find the snow not too softened.

The trip down was glorious – 2,000 feet of glissading – no collisions with hard objects. We met a stranded family on the way, who seemed totally out of their depth and unsure of how to get back down. We helped them reach dry ground and then proceeded ahead. Along the way we had to cross several avalanche chutes, which were still very full of snow and debris. The rest of the trip was uneventful. During the hike sushi came up as a converastional topic several times, so it seemed fitting to finish the day with a sushi dinner.

Crossing avalanche chute on way up South Loop


July 2, 2005
Report and Photos by Bob Grozenski

July 2nd was a perfect day for a hike in the Spring Mountains. Blue sky. 80 degrees. Slight breeze. The smoke that filed the sky during the week was absent all day.

10.5 hikers approached the North Loop Trail at about 8:00 a.m., heading toward their destination, which was the Raintree. The hikers included Barb Hanson, Randy Czaplicki, Tim and Charlene Gunter, Ed Janov, Raelene, Bob Grozenski, and trip coordinators Joel, Amy and Toby Brewster. If you are doing your math, the list has ten members, that is because Baby Brewster was also there. This child, if she is like brother Toby, will be born ready to hike.

After hiking the 6.07 mile round trip, meeting a wild horse at the second saddle ( no the horse was not wearing it), crossing some snow fields, and some of the hikers taking an additional .6 mile roundtrip side visit to Mummy Springs, we returned to the trailhead about four and a half hours later.

This was the first hike for Tim and Raelene in which they reached a 10,000-foot elevation. This was also Raelene's first up close and personal contact with snow; there is not too much snow in Hawaii. This was also Toby's personal best hike, as a three-year old. He walked between 3.5 and 4 miles and gained 1,000 foot of elevation under his own power.

We had a great day and look forward to our next visit with the ancient sentinel: Raintree.

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, July 26, 2005
Backcountry Skiing
Josh Owen & Richard Baugh


Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Kim Friedman

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