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Ascender Title
September 2005
Volume 11, Issue 9


Group on Mummy's Toe


John on top of Mummy's Toe viewed from the saddle


The triumphant crew on the summit of Mummy Mountain (Tummy)



The group posing along the summit ridge with Mummy's Toe in the background


View of Mt. Charleston and ridgeline from Fletcher Peak



President: Chris Ransel
Vice President/Training Director: Chris Meyer
Secretary: Kristi Meyer
Treasurer: Jim Albamont
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director: Josh Owen
Membership Director: Dawna Herndon
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations Director: Gretchen Huie
Club Gear Director: Kim Friedman
Assistant Director: Bruce LaCroix
Assistant Director: Richard Baugh
Assistant Director: Howard Herndon
Assistant Director: Alan Andrunas

Past President: Xavier Wasiak

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. October 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:

Jim Albamont
Chris Baugh
John Bickel
Joel & Amy Brewster
Michael Brooks

Brett Crowley
Larry DeAngelo
Patrick Durkin
Farrah Habibian
Mike Hill

Ed Janov
Ralph Johnson
Merri McKee
Patricia Norman
Colin Okada

Ian Palast
Valentina Proskourina
Doyle & Martha Ryan
Harlan Stockman
Adrien Strasser
In addition, the following members may have expired membership. Contact Xavier Wasiak for more information.
David Bert
Timothy & Jennifer Burns
Kevin Cannon
Tina Donnell
Larry & Clare Dunn
Axel Harres
Donna Metcalf
Josh Owen
Victor Priebe
Steve Salyer
Brandon Wilson
Troy & Andrea Wirth

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 notification of your Ascender password.

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

Dawna Herndon
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 Kim Friedman.


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.


September 3, 2005
Report by Joel Brewster, Photos above by Peggy Prescheske

It was a cool, crisp morning as our party of five headed up Trail Canyon. It was just before 7:00, but the incline of the ascent soon warmed us thoroughly. The first quarter-mile of the trail involved a detour because of construction on the main trail. Our group was composed of Dave Bagaason, John Sniedze, Peggy Prescheske, and a non-member, Walter. John and Dave are experienced hikers, but Peggy and Walter were both fairly new to hiking, especially off-trail hiking (which our hike would include a lot of).

Our plan was to go up Trail Canyon, go right at the junction, then head left to Mummy Springs. From there, we would head up the switchbacks above Mummy Springs before heading up the steep slope to Mummy's Toe. Then we would traverse the ridgeline to a chute to gain Mummy's Tummy (Mummy Mountain) before descending the other side to the scree slope and down the North Loop Trail and back down Trail Canyon.

The trail portion of the hike up to above Mummy Springs was steep, but smooth sailing as we made good time up to this point. From there, the trail faded and the grade increased making the going slower. As we took a short break to catch our breath partway up the slope, Peggy asked "where's the frickin' toe?" She did not seemed pleased when I told her that we still had a ways to go. Eventually we topped out near the saddle just below Mummy's Toe. As we paused to admire the breathtaking view, we spotted John far above us on the summit about a quarter of a mile away. We joined him a few minutes later. Since it was only just after 10:00, we only ate a light snack, saving our lunch for the Tummy's summit.

After we descended back down to the saddle, we began the long, but fairly easy trek along the ridgeline to the chute that leads to the summit of Mummy Mountain (Mummy's Tummy). Near the chute, we saw a one small dark cloud pass over, but it disappeared quickly and the sunshine lasted the rest of the day. By the time we reached the chute, we were ready for a break to gather our strength for the toughest part of the hike, the climb up the steep and loose chute.

The climb up the chute was slow and arduous and required some guidance for our less experienced hikers as we climbed up some class 3 sections. We were all happy to take a well-deserved break on the summit. I was sure that Peggy had been cursing me under her breath during the ascent, but she assured me that even as the leader, she cursed me only as much as she did all the other members of the group. This made me feel much better.

The descent was fun (for some of us) as we descended the scree slope down to intersect the North Loop Trail. We instructed Peggy and Walter on the best technique for descending scree, and by the end, they got the hang of it, and even Peggy agreed that it was fun. From there, it was an easy hike back down Trail Canyon to our cars. We got back about 4:15, exhausted but proud of ourselves. It was a challenging hike, especially for Walter and Peggy who had never done a hike of this magnitude. In fact, Peggy told us that the first hike she had ever done was on Fourth of July of this year. Quite an accomplishment!


August 19-20, 2005
Report by Harlan Stockman, Photos by Harlan Stockman and Steve Nguyen

Our intrepid group headed up to the Schell Creek Range on August 19, 2005. We were all anxious to check off two more peaks on our lists, as well as to sample the legendary Nowhere Nevada cuisine.

We drove up via us93, then sr318 and us6, then us93 again, and went through the metropolis of Ely (a McDonald's!) then on through McGill. About five miles after McGill we headed SE on the road to Duck Creek, then in another 8.4 miles, we turned east to Timber Creek Campground. Luckily, Nick was already there, and had reserved the last camping spot. Steve, Alda and I immediately prepared too much food. I set up across the stream, a situation that made for some interesting crossings as the sun dimmed (yes, I washed my sneakers on purpose!). Ali, Luba and Howard showed up in a bit, and opted to set up at Horse Camp; that way, when Josh, Bruce and Kim rolled in late, they would have an immediate place to camp on the last reserved concrete pad. They did show up about 10:30 PM, but the intervening stream blissfully sheltered me from much disturbance.

Our training table on Friday night included one 5-liter box of Franzia wine. In retrospect, this much wine may not be a good thing. When I went to wake up (certain unnamed) compatriots at 5:15 AM the next morning, I heard guttural comments, but no real words. The planned 5:30 AM start was a bit optimistic. By the time Howard, Ali and Luba arrived, and we began moving, it was after 8:10 AM.

Perhaps the prettiest part of the trip, was the march north from Timber Creek road. This area is a lot lusher than I expected, with aspen, englemann spruce, wild roses, and monkshood flowers. The view back south was not spectacular in a Sierras-sort-of-way, but was magnificent still, for the contrast of lush conifers giving way to light green alpine slopes. Eventually we left the trees, and turned east and ESE onto a long ridge to trudge past snow banks, to the serrated crest of North Schell. Then we traveled south along the quartzite to the summit, passing about 5000 false summits on the way, and scaring up the ravens.

View south as we head up to North Schell. The snow in distance is on the divide between Berry and Timber Creek drainages.

Again, the top was a pleasant surprise. The westward views clearly showed Mt. Ward and Currant Mountain, and ranges beyond; the eastward views gave us Moriah, Wheeler and Jeff Davis, and ranges in Utah. After lounging on the summit for a long time, we started the trudge south.

View SE across North Schell. Moriah is left of the summit, and Wheeler Peak is in the distance at right.

North Schell summit group shot, and the quartzite boulders

The ridge walk from North to South Schell involved many gains and losses of several hundred feet, so this mere traverse added over 2000' of elevation gain (i.e., our total elevation gain for the day ended up at ~5300'). "Walk" has to be qualified; perhaps half the route consisted of watermelon-size boulders, and involved hours of boulder-hopping. Fortunately, the quartzite that makes up the ridge is fairly stable.

For me, the highlight of the trip was the ascent of mighty Taft Peak. Steve, Bruce and I boldly ventured up this peak, while others debated if it we were really on Mount Grover Cleveland (two nonconsecutive humps). This challenging climb required some fundamental mountaineering skills -- such as putting one foot in front of the other without tripping. The views from the summit were so exquisite, they defied description. From this vantage point, and only this point, nearby South Schell looks unmistakably like a fat man stuck in a bathtub. The three of us wistfully peeled off the peak to rejoin our comrades, pulling away from this Sirens' song.

South Schell was a lot more interesting than I expected. Until now, the hike had been strictly class 1, with this notable complication: if you wanted to travel at more than 1 mph, you had to jump from rock to rock like a maniac, with no fear for your bones and skin. The ascent of South Schell was steep and actually involved class 2 -- use of the hands! The quartzite was generally stable, so you could travel right up the serrated edge and peer down into the steep talus "cirque" on the NE side of the peak.

View south to South Schell

When we reached the top of South Schell, we heard a curious lowing. Sharp-eyed Ali pointed to movement on the adjacent "hill" (over 10000' elevation), and I thought I saw multitudinous white forms moving about.

Ali waves hello; Luba eats the obligatory apple; Bruce contemplates how much harder this hike was than his recent Sierra trip; and Kim plots a coup. North Schell is the highest point on the ridge, in the distance and in the shadows.

We started our descent, amid many debates on the best route. Steve and I were in favor of plunging off into the abyss directly east of the mountain, whereas Josh and Ali pointed out that this course might have an undesirable side effect: death. So, we happily consented to getting our adrenaline fixes by running down the mountain. As we got closer to "the hill", we saw that the multitudinous forms were domestic sheep, by the hundreds. We noted the sheep manure all around us, both visually and by other senses. I now began to reevaluate our concern for stepping on alpine plants -- which were here chewed to the ground.

We were still debating the path down. At first I thought this indecision was due to the high level of engineering background in the participants, leading to over-analysis. I then realized there was another problem: all those who argued had Y-chromosomes. As we debated, an XX found a simple path off the ridge.

The XX's take over to prevent hike over-engineering


Now we were in limestone like we have around Vegas; and with it, crappy, loose talus. I thought I would move to the right, to avoid dropping rocks on those below me. Unfortunately, I was now in the path of rocks from those above me. I heard the shout, "Rock! REALLY BIG ROCK!" and I began running down the slope as fast as I could, looking for a tree I might use as cover. I found myself sailing over ledges, as if on a waterslide, except for this unfortunate dissimilarity: I was sliding over dirt and sharp rocks, not water. The loose rock sailed past me, and my new location gave me opportunity to see many large rocks gracefully sailing down the hill, just missing Nick, who blithely continued down. A good time was had by all.

We continued down the drainage, encouraged by unmistakable signs of prior travel -- carvings in trees from long-dead sheepherders, and fresh piles of dung. Eventually we were ejected, like a hairball from a cat, onto the very rough road to Berry Creek. At least three times, deer (elk?) bolted ahead of us. Finally we saw the parked cars at Berry Creek.

After the shuttle back to Timber Creek, we settled in for a typical "Nowhere Nevada" dinner, with ~5000 calories per person. It was a glorious night, and I "overslept" till 7:45 AM. On Sunday we drove back on us93, just to see the backside of Wheeler.

PS: I've been asked if I would include some literary references in this report. OK, how about this poem by Percy Bysshe Schelly:

Prometheus Unschelled

Behold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth

Many multitudinous peak-baggers, whom Luba

Requitest for knee-worship, patella-braced,

And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts,

With fear and self-contempt on sagebrush slope.

Whilst me, who am thy foil, bleary-eyed in haste,

Hast thou made race and stumble, to thy scorn,

O'er mine own misery and thy vain peak-list.

Five thousand feet of sleepy elevation gain,

And moments aye divided by keen pangs

Till they seemed years, torture and solitude,

Thin cold air,--in you I perspire:--

More glorious far than that which thou surveyest

From thine unenvied throne, O Mighty Josh!

Almighty, had I deigned to share the pain,

Please make Nick moderate the pace,

Nailed to this wall of raven-baffling mountain,

Black, wintry, dead, unmeasured; without herb,

Insect, or beast, except ladybugs and sheep.

Ah me! alas, when starts the barbecue?

If you think that is fairly lame, you should read the original, "Prometheus Unbound", by P.B. Shelley. I think any changes I made improved the information content. I also wondered; what father names his kid "Percy"? And of course, everyone knows the Matsuo Basho verse:

My body, now fifty years of age, has become an old tree that bears bitter peaches, a snail which has lost its way on Schell.

…which is strikingly accurate. As we descended, I tried to think of more appropriate verse:

She scales South Schell,

Down by the sheep sh*t.

Alas, my attempts at rhyme were met with superscillious sneers.


August 26, 2005
Report by Dave Revzin, Photos by Dave Revzin and Chris Meyer

Our team was six strong including fearless leader Chris Meyer, along with John Sniedze, Sunny Marinov, Dave Revzin, Dave Seyler and Joel Brewster. The hike starts exactly three miles after the Rte. 158 turnoff from Kyle Canyon. The trailhead parking is not signed, has five or so vehicle barriers and allows room for three angle parked vehicles. Within 200 feet of the start, we saw two campsites. One was equipped with the essentials of a campsite -- a case of beer and a hammock.

The trail up is not overly defined, which immediately gives you that unspoiled wilderness feeling. Unobtrusive cairns mark the way at splits in the approach. Lots of elevation is soon gained, allowing for a beautiful canyon overview to appear quickly. The weather was perfect, and because it is a less traveled hike and a Friday, we did not see another hiker the entire day. It was our own personal playground to enjoy.

About a third of the way up, a musical stream played for us as we took time to take in the scenery. Due to the rains this year, streams flow and vegetation abundantly grows. As we reached the ridgeline we were rewarded a great sample of the views the peak would afford us. Mummy Mountain (tummy and toe), Mount Charleston and its southerly ridgeline were all clearly visible. We once again took in the view and this time pulled out the cameras. I have to admit that the highlight of my day was not the hike per se but an observation made by Sunny, who has been in the States only several months. He said, "This is my best day in America!" Sometimes we forget and take for granted how absolutely spectacular these mountain ranges are and how lucky we are to have them in our backyard. Sunny's comments made the hike extra special for all of us. He even wrote his "best day" quote in the log book at the peak. What an inspirational note for all Fletcher Peakers to read.

From the clearing we went on to the peak. A fantastic panoramic view presented itself of Mummy, Charleston, Griffith, the Spring Mountain Youth Camp and numerous California mountain ranges in the distance. Lunch and photos followed.

We veered slightly off trail on the way down. This provided a little excitement as it's never as much fun going back down exactly the same way you came up. Chris led us safely around a ledge that reminded us we were off trail and proceeded to go down some scree chutes, making our descent quick and easy back on to trail. Dave S. did dislodge a huge boulder in the scree chute that had to be of record size in the LVMC annals. It wasn't one of those bowling bowl ones that are fun to dodge. This one had "dodge me or else" written on it. Joel later correctly noted that it had a flat edge on it and "those don't usually go that far." After five or six 360's it came to a grinding halt with no dodge ball needing to be played. In unison after it stopped, we all said, "Whoa!!" We double-checked to make sure Dave S. wasn't using a crow bar for a hiking staff.

Back on trail with gravity working in our favor, we made a fast descent to the trailhead just beyond the campsite now with a camper in the hammock, a hat over his face. This was certainly a terrific hike with great conversation, exercise and scenic views.

The group on the summit


Position Announcement
Wilderness Rock Climbing Inventory
Inventory Technician (2)

Start Date: Approximately early November

Contract Length: 3 months

Compensation: $6240 total stipend, and $1250 Americorps Education Award

Background: The US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are working on joint Wilderness Management Plans for the La Madre, Rainbow Mt, and Mt Charleston Wilderness Areas. These areas cover approximately 130,000 acres of USFS & BLM land and run the length of the Spring Mountain range just northeast of Las Vegas Nevada.

The Inventory Technician will assist with this planning effort by working with the senior field technician to create a complete inventory of rock climbing routes, bouldering areas, and user created trails accessing these areas for the 3 wilderness areas.

40% Review climbing guidebooks and enter route information into a database.

10% Interview local climbers, guides, and clubs to locate lesser known climbing routes.

30% Ground truth route locations and GPS, photograph, and describe climbing routes and walls.

20% Compile all collected data into a database linked to a GIS layer of route locations. This will include downloading GPS data and digitizing locations as well as creating a summary report of all climbing routes in the wilderness areas.

Qualifications: Knowledge of rock climbing and ability to recognize and evaluate rock climbing routes. Familiarities with Microsoft excel & access. Familiar with or able to quickly learn to use Trimble GPS receivers. Highly organized, skilled with map & compass orienteering and able to accurately locate positions on a topographic map. Local knowledge of the Spring Mountains and rock climbing expertise highly desirable.

Project Partners: US Forest Service - Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Bureau of Land Management - Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Location: Work will be based out of the NCC office in Las Vegas, Nevada. Field sites include: La Madre, Rainbow Mt, and Mt. Charleston Wilderness areas. Aprox 130,000 acres including Mt. Charleston and parts of Red Rock NCA within the Spring Mountains.

To Apply: Send cover letter, resume, and references to Adam Lewandowski at Great Basin Institute, 3838 Raymert Drive, Suite 402, Las Vegas, NV 89121.



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, September 27, 2005
Pacific Crest Trail

John "Snafu" Mueller


Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Nowhere Nevada 2005

Josh Owen

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