11, Issue 9
TOE AND TUMMY
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
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Vice President/Training Director: Chris
Secretary: Kristi Meyer
Treasurer: Jim Albamont
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director: Josh
Membership Director: Dawna
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations Director: Gretchen
Club Gear Director: Kim
Assistant Director: Bruce
Assistant Director: Richard
Assistant Director: Howard
Assistant Director: Alan Andrunas
Past President: Xavier
is published monthly by the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club.
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TOE AND TUMMY
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
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!
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
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'
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
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
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:
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
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
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
Wilderness Rock Climbing Inventory
Inventory Technician (2)
Date: Approximately early November
$6240 total stipend, and $1250 Americorps Education Award
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.
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.
local climbers, guides, and clubs to locate lesser known climbing routes.
truth route locations and GPS, photograph, and describe climbing routes
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
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.
US Forest Service - Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Bureau of Land Management - Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
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.
Send cover letter, resume, and references to Adam
Lewandowski at Great Basin Institute, 3838 Raymert Drive,
Suite 402, Las Vegas, NV 89121.
FOR LVMC EVENT SCHEDULE
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.
Pacific Crest Trail
Nowhere Nevada 2005