Mountain Logo
Ascender Title
January 2008
Volume 14, Issue 1


Hiking along the ridge with Summerlin Peak and Las Vegas in the background


Harlan wearing long pants... proof that it was cold


Scenic ridgewalk


The group fans out as they climb the steep slope


Chris showing off his festive holiday greenery


Looking down on Las Vegas from Summerlin Peak




Ho Ho Ho



President: Nadia von Magdenko
Vice President/Training Director: Xavier Wasiak
Secretary: Alda Behie
Treasurer: Jim Albamont
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director:
Annalisa Helm
Membership Director: Chris Ransel
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations/Marketing Director: Kim Owen
Club Gear Director: Chris Ransel

Social Directors:
Erika Napoletano, Dawna Herndon
& Valentina Fields
Safety Director: Mary Beth Pierce
Assistant Director: Richard Baugh
Assistant Director: John "Snafu" Mueller
Assistant Director: Doug Olson
Assistant Director: Nathan Petrosian

Assistant Director: Cristina Rodriguez
Assistant Director: Harlan Stockman
Past President: 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 160.
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. February 10th is the deadline for the next issue.

Joel Brewster
Phone: 456-8520


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

Alex Leef
Chris & Kristi Meyer
Chris Ransel & Beth Domowicz
John "SNAFU" Mueller
Luba Leef


Please contact the membership director if you have questions about your membership.

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 Chris Ransel.

Chris Ransel
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 Chris Ransel.


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 prepaid and sent by e-mail or submitted on CD. Please make checks payable to Las Vegas Mountaineers Club.


We delivered 940 sleeping bags to Hollingsworth Elementary School for the holidays and it was pretty amazing! You can’t imagine the look of amazement and the smiles from the kids!! You also can’t imagine what it takes to move 940 sleeping bags!!

I was talking to the principal and he told me that for many this will be the only thing they will receive this holiday. I have to tell you it really touched my heart and made my holiday!! This never could have happened without everyone from LVMC coming together in a really big way!

I called Snafu and Dawna at the 11th hour and Snafu was gracious enough to deliver a LVMC banner that rode on the side of the semi-truck filled with sleeping bags and Dawna let me borrow her Santa suit which was a BIG hit with the kids!


Debbie Zois, LVMC member


December 15, 2007
Report and Photos by Joel Brewster

On a clear, cold December day, I led a group of 12 mountaineers up Summerlin Peak and its adjoining ridgeline, which actually contains a point several hundred feet higher than Summerlin Peak itself. I was a little concerned about our group, as there were quite a few "newbies". Even though this hike is not too long (7-8 miles roundtrip), it is very rugged with lots of jagged rock and talus.

As it turned out, I need not have worried... the group was very strong and had no difficulties with the hike. We began the hike with an easy mile along a gravel road. From there, we headed straight up a steep slope towards the peak. After a few minutes of this slope, we were no longer cold! Although steep, the climbing was fairly straight-forward with only one brief class 3 section.

We soon reached the ridgeline, and had only to cross a small saddle to reach the base of Summerlin Peak. From the summit, the views were stunning even though visibility wasn't great. We signed in the summit register and had a quick lunch.

I then convinced the masses that we should continue along the ridgeline, to the high point and then descend from there making a loop. This part of the hike is my favorite as you meander along the ridge that slopes gently to the north, but has dramatic sheer drops to the south.

The descent was challenging. We followed a small ridge for a while, but some of us opted to drop down into a deep wash. The wash was full of huge boulders, making for slow going. We found that no matter which way we chose, it wasn't easy. We finally rejoined the gravel road we hiked in and made it back to our cars 5.5 hours after we began.

It was an adventure in remote, rugged terrain that feels like more than just a few miles from the edge of Las Vegas.


After several false summits, we approach the highest point on the ridgeline



December 15, 2007
Report by Doug Olson

When you attend one of Snafu’s clinics you can usually count on two things: First, they always fill up fast and, second, they start at a very reasonable hour, normally around 9:00 am. So it was with a bit of embarrassment that I pulled into the White Rock Springs parking lot ten minutes late to Snafu’s Self Rescue part 1 course. The group had already met at the trailhead and had left for the site that Snafu had set up with anchors and ropes for the course. Luckily this was my third time attending a Snafu clinic so I easily found the spot where Snafu normally sets up.

The morning was typical of Vegas in December, sunny and brisk, perfect for learning some new climbing skills. Already there were Marlie Gaddie, Bill Siegal, Cassandra Long, Dima Khalifa, Luba Leef, Mike Ryan and Eric Wright. The course began with a very professional overview of the material to be covered as well as the safety considerations for the day.

We then moved to a nearby boulder where we set up some anchors to work on escaping the belay. This skill is important should your climbing partner became injured or incapacitated either below you or in some other situation where you are unable to lower them to you. I had practiced the steps of this technique before, but as Snafu went through the steps, it was clear that I had forgotten much of it. The main sticking point for me as well as many others in the class, was the Münter Mule knot. After a demonstration and many tries I was finally able to get it right.

Once each person had a chance to “escape the belay” a few times and everyone became comfortable with it, we hiked down to the base of a small face to practice ascending the rope. Snafu had already set up two ropes for us to practice on so we could get right to the meat and potatoes. Snafu demonstrated how to ties prusiks to the rope and how to use them to ascend the rope. We then took turns ascending the rope while a partner belayed for additional safety from the top of the pitch. I had planned to try out both ropes, but by the time I made it to the top of the pitch I was feeling quite tired and decided that once up the rope was plenty of practice. Using prusiks to climb the rope is a lot more work than I initially imagined it would be.

As a final treat on that day, a few of the attendees decided to get some rock climbing on the face where the ropes were already set up for ascending the rope. The pitch was fun and short and made for a perfect cap on a day full of learning new skills.



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, January 22, 2008

Nature and Nudity:
Which one of These Things Doesn't Belong?
Erika's Adventures on Mt. Whitney and Mt. Rainier 2007

Erika Napoletano

Join Erika Napoletano, Social Director of the Las Vegas Moutaineers Club,
as she recounts her mountain climbing adventures during 2007. Her presentation will cover her overnight-turned-day-trip attack on Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states, as well as her successful summit of Mt. Rainier via the Emmons Glacier Route. Both of these climbs were fundraisers for various charities in the Las Vegas area --- come and show your support, meet the benefitting charities, and get a sneak peak of Erika's 2008 adventures, too!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Courtney Purcell

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