Mountain Logo
Ascender Title
October 2005
Volume 11, Issue 10




Cattle above La Peula (Switzerland)


Approaching Col des Posettes


Col de la Seigne (France & Italy)


En route to Col Ferret



Rocks, water, trees on the way to Terrace Canyon

Kristi and Dave bouldering



Group posing on the summit of Turtlehead Peak


Larry and Ross relaxing on Turtlehead


Chris descending a crack on Turtlehead Jr.


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 140.
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. November 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 Herndon.

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 and Photos by Raoul Kennedy

The tour of Mont Blanc is a 105-mile trek that encircles Mont Blanc (15,700 ft), Western Europe’s highest peak. It is normally done in 10-12 stages (together or intermittently and in parts using other forms of transportation) with an accumulated elevation gain and loss estimated at 33,000 feet. The trek crosses through three countries (France, Italy and Switzerland), two currencies (The Euro and the Swiss Franc) and various languages due to its international draw. I compiled a sketch of each stage from my disorganized chicken-scratch notes.

Note: The word "Col" in French is translated as "pass".

Day 1–Les Houches to Les Contamines: Bus to the start at Les Houches. Severe rainstorm, and tragic start: dad slipped on muddy slope and broke bone in foot; He told me to continue on with his friends Bonnie and Chris. Confirmed his emergency return home later than night.

Day 2-Les Contamines to Refuge des Mottets. Brutal day; scariest hike ever for me. Got caught in zero visibility at Col des Fours, had to use compass to navigate ourselves out. Befriended group of French hikers there. Next time safer to take Les Chapieux route instead.

Day 3-Refuge de Mottets to Courmayeur, Italy via Col Checrouit. 15-mile day, entered Italy at Col de la Seigne. Befriended group of Japanese hikers. Good weather afforded great views of the glaciers and mountains. Green everywhere. Bon Giorno!–able to communicate using Spanish. (Editorial note: or possibly Italian? Hmm...) Cow bells chiming like a concert. Rejoined Chris & Bonnie in Courmayeur. Dolonne and Courmayeur are unforgettable towns.

Day 4-Courmayeur to La Vachey. Tired today so took rest (make-up day taken on Day 10). Day hike with Bonnie and Chris. Took in scenery, beautiful to hear the sing-song Italian of the vacationers and townfolk.

Day 5-La Vachey to Champex, Switzerland via Col Ferret. Green green green. Cow bells a’chiming. Spotted a sheep dog bounding through the grassy hillside above La Peula herding sheep. Swiss chalets and flowers. Bus from La Fouly to Champex. Packed in bus with group of French Swiss boy & girl scouts en route. Later that day got a hold of dad directly in U.S., foot in cast. Break could have been worse; full recovery expected and talk of returning next year!

Day 6-Champex rest day and side trip to the Orny Glacier. Ultramarathoners in the North Face Ultra-Trail race started coming through Champex (mile 75 or so) at 10:04 a.m. The top runners finish the 100 mile race in less than 24 hours.

Day 7-Champex to Trient via the Fenetre d’Arpette. Foggy, rocky route; Trient Glacier, hyper-green view of swiss village Le Peuty below.

Day 8-Trient to Argentiere via Col de Balme. Perfect weather and no idea the views that awaited me at the Col de Balme 3,000 feet above–the view of the Mont Blanc mountain range to the south and the valley towards Chamonix below. Lunch at the Refuge at the Col with Chris and Bonnie. Multi-color overload at the Aiguillette des Posettes!

Day 9-Argentiere and return to Chamonix via the Grand Balcon (Chalet de Cheserys, Plan Praz). Weather ideal. Could not get enough of the mountain views to our east all along the route.

Day 10- From Chamonix back to Courmayeur Italy via the Mont Blanc Tunnel to complete the Courmayeur-La Vachey route via Mont Saxe with the views extending from Col de la Seigne (France-Italy) to Col Ferret (Italy-Switzerland)! Cud-chewing cows blocking trail occasionally. Pungent odor of compost all along trail. Mini-attack of the flying ants (?) ; caught a cute inchworm inching up my leg during my lunch break at Tete de la Tranche.

Below Col de Balme



October 30, 2005
Report by Kristi Meyer, P
hotos by Chris Meyer

“It should be a great day at Red Rock,” said the radio weathercaster as Dave Revzin and Dave S. drove to meet Chris Meyer and me at the Conservation Area’s parking lot. It certainly was! The skies were incredibly blue and cloudless and the temperature probably stayed below 90° all day. Some might say it was a little warm, but the four of us enjoyed a nice breeze now and again and appreciated the cliff shadow as we scrambled up the various canyons between the Pine Creek parking lot and our final destination, Terrace Canyon.

Chris led this same wash route back in the spring, but the water had diminished significantly and the brush had multiplied noticeably since then, making this a much different trek. Still, he managed to guide us safely and efficiently. At times we questioned his route finding (like when we were bushwhacking through chest-high scrub or attempting to mount one of many 10’ boulder piles), but he kept trudging ahead and we followed.

Along the way, we marveled at the multi-colored, multi-shaped rocks/boulders and felt dwarfed by the cliffs that surrounded us. It didn’t take long for us to realize this is a seldom-traveled route. We tangled ourselves in some gargantuan spider webs and overgrown brush. Seldom traveled should be clarified, however. People may not make it to these canyons much, but sheep seem to love the place. We found some cairns here and there, but mostly we followed the sheep droppings – worked pretty good as long as you looked where you were putting your hands. Some of the scrambling maneuvers required a combination of limbs and teamwork (thanks for the occasional lifts, drags, coaxes and advice, gentlemen).

One of the highlights was a large tarantula resting on a shaded rock. Dave Revzin got up close and personal with it while the rest of us respected the creature’s personal space. Dave gave it a nudge and it gave us a show as it sauntered down the rock. Dave also displayed his “wild kingdom” prowess when he assumed the push-up position and lowered himself down so he could get a whiff of some fresh urine on a rock. He drew in a deep breath and concluded it was very musky and therefore either from a bobcat or more likely a mountain lion.

We lunched in Terrace Canyon where we discussed taxes and contemplated the 4-mile descent ahead. About halfway back we started sharing water since a couple of us hadn’t anticipated such a long day. We returned to the trailhead around 3:30 where we threw back a couple nicely chilled Gatorades like we were on the verge of death and said our good-byes.

A furry friend


October 14, 2005
Report by Joel Brewster, Photos by Chris Meyer

Although I had previously done two sisters (near Mt. Charleston) in one day, I had never done two turtles in one day. Our party of five included fearless leader, Chris Meyer, Larry Dunn, Ross, Peppe and me. We began on the big turtle, Turtlehead Peak, so as to complete the most strenuous portion in the cooler morning hours as the day was predicted to be in the low 90's, unseasonably warm for mid-October.

We took a leisurely exploratory route up to the peak, veering up to the right and paralleling the summit cliff band before ascending the steep, easternmost chute. From the top of the chute, it's only about a quarter of a mile, but we stopped to chat with John "Snafu" Mueller, who was on his way down, for a few minutes. All in all, it took us a little less than two hours to reach the summit, and we enjoyed the always spectacular view as we had a snack (or lunch in Chris' case). We had a good view of our next objective, Turtlehead Jr. (easy to spot with its patch of red sandstone at the top), as we surmised that the best route would be to cut across the desert to it.

Peppe, newly nicknamed "the white-a---d chipmunk," led us rapidly down the wash to the spot where we to cut across the desert for Turtlehead Jr. By the time we reached the base, it was getting quite hot, and we were beginning to wear down. Larry showed us his cool battle scar on his knee, a scrape from a rock that looked much worse than it really was. Soon after we began the class 3 ascent, Ross decided to turn around and meet us back at the parking lot. At another challenging class 3 spot, Larry decided that he was getting too fatigued to continue. After we left Larry resting in the shade, Chris, Peppe and I continued on to the peak with more fun class 3 moves along the way.

The summit is distinctive because of its red sandstone section at the top with white sandstone below. This was a nostalgic peak for me because it was the first real hike I did at Red Rock, some eight or nine years ago. After lunch and photos, we made the quick descent back to the car, rejoining the other members of our group. The total trip took about five and a half hours and I, for one, found it to be quite challenging. Thanks to Chris for leading and providing ice cold Gatorade afterwards!

Larry's battle scar

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, October 25, 2005
Nowhere Nevada 2005
Josh Owen



Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Kurt Wedberg

Click for Kurt's Bio




There will be no Club meeting in December. December 9th we will have a Christmas Party at the Herndon's. Inquire at a meeting for more details or e-mail us.

©2002-05 Las Vegas Mountaineers Club, all rights reserved.
Dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of the mountains.
Website Problems. Contact Us.