Mountain Logo
Ascender Title
March 2008
Volume 14, Issue 3


Happy crew prepares to learn from the master


Snafu discussing safety procedures


Demonstrating for the group


Larry giving it his best


Ledge at the top of the rappel


...And down they go


A desert tortoise on the ledge, fresh out of hibernation


Snafu and Chad keep a watchful eye


A rarely-seen ring-tailed cat emerging from his cave


Rappelling off the overhang



Yeehaw!!! Chris and Kenny on way down to Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs



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. April 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:

Carl & Lori Mitchell
Charles & Arlene Maurer
Dave Luttman
Debbie Zois
Erik King
Jeanette Herndon
Jesse Fruman
Kent Boardman
Monty Mehlhorn
Paul Kuroda
Paul Schollmeier
Ramsey Hong
Shelly Druce
Todd Shrades


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.


February 10, 2008
Report and Photos by Henry Jingle

On Sunday, February 10, 2008, nine Las Vegas Mountaineer Club (LVMC) members met at the Red Springs parking lot at 9:30 am for the Beginning Rappelling Class. Our Leader was Snafu and Chad was his assistant. After everyone checked in and we did a gear check, we hiked about a half mile to a ledge on the east side of the Calico Hills in the Red Rock Recreation Area.

Larry came earlier and helped Snafu set up three rappel stations for the class down the cliff and one station anchored from above for demonstrations.

Snafu clarified that this was a climber rappelling class which is different than canyoneering or caving rappelling. Snafu went over the safety procedures (helmet, check ropes, double check harness and anchors to name a few). He taught us the guide rappel system which uses a strap loop extension attached to the harness. The standard rappel setup was demonstrated along with the two alternatives: the Munter Hitch and the Classic Carabiner Brake.

The class was taught three friction knots that are used for a backup safety: 1) Prusik; 2) Klemheist; and 3) Autoblock. The safety procedure of using a Fireman at the bottom was discussed along with the appropriate communication commands.

The class was then given an opportunity to test what they learned by rappelling down the cliff using the three setup and friction knots on the two rappel anchors attached to boulders on the ledge. On the hike back up to the ledge, some of the class saw a desert tortoise already out of its hibernation. I guess spring is here!

At the end, the class was given an opportunity to rappel from the third anchor which had a large overhang. After the drop off, it was free sliding down the rope in the air. While we were sitting on the ledge watching the rappel, a ringtail cat came out of its den and looked around at us. It shortly returned to its den in the cliff. Later it came out and climbed straight up a class 5 chute with ease!

It was a beautiful warm sunny day in Red Rock. We thanked Snafu and Chad for conducting this informative and excellent class for the club members. The lessons we learned will help us all climb safer in the future.

Nothing but air below



By Paul Des Roches

Three seconds, two, one, and I am off. The belt squeaks to life. Having kept up with my training these last few weeks, I know I can skip some of the warm-up, so I bump the speed up to four miles per hour. Things feel good, no knee pain, ankles are limber. I am convinced that I am going to run strong but my blood feels more like mud today. I can’t get the lead out.

I try to create a Bruce Jenner fantasy about myself but nothing happens. I think about the most abusive things that have ever happened to me, to give me anger and the surge of energy I am looking for, but nothing abusive ever happened to me. I hear my feet clopping along clumsily and they feel like wood blocks. They sound like wood blocks. I’m getting old. Who am I kidding? I should just stop.

What’s this? My Radar is picking up what appears to be a hottie walking up in peripheral vision. Four MPH turns to eight MPH really quick. My feet are no longer clopping, they are fluid. I could be cross-country skiing I look so smooth. My arms swirl with the grace and precision of an airplane propeller. Casually, like I’m doing “the push” (a dance term), I depress the speed button bringing the treadmill to a rocketing ten miles per hour. I feel the charge in me like I have just been reborn. All thoughts of getting old are gone now and I notice I’m not even sweating! I should warm up at this speed from now on! My hands have found the karate-chop position most effective, most streamlined. My head drops a bit and finds a point of stillness like it is sitting in a cradle.

I reach out again and bring her up to twelve miles per hour. I’ve touched twelve miles per hour on occasion, but it is definitely not a cruising speed for me. My feet are flying now but still smooth and my head still remains stationary. I am a model athlete now - smooth, strong and graceful. I am starting to feel some fatigue in my breathing, but I know I can overcome it if I just breathe deeper. The babe has decided to take the treadmill next to mine. I glance over and she is an angel incarnate. She starts stretching, lifting first one leg over her head from behind while looking forward, then the other. This chick is limber. Her bright pink yoga pants don’t match her green floral tank-top really, but she doesn’t care. This girl is an athlete. There is no question about it. She fiddles with her iPod and starts up her treadmill. She wouldn’t be interested in me, but I still have to look cool.

I don’t know how much longer I can run at twelve miles per hour. I’ve never ran more than a minute at this speed. I start feeling nauseous and after a good show I decide it is time to slow down. Just a bit more showing off though. Again the streamlined animal slices through imaginary terrain like a cheetah. That’s me, a cheetah, a cat, strong, playful, sleek and cunning. I notice that I’ve got the familiar side-ache coming on. I can slow down to ten miles an hour and still be a stud. That is still a six-minute-mile speed. Yes, that’s what I’ll do! I’ll slow to ten MPH. I reach for the speed button and find that I can’t reach it. Not to worry. I am only about four inches away, but man, my legs are flying already, and holy crap, I gotta run faster. No go-go-gadget arm trick here to pull out of my hat. I gotta run faster. I speed up, but find that I am no closer. That’s bad. That means that I really didn’t speed up but rather that I am slowing down. For a second I think about asking the floral beauty queen for a little help, but I can’t do that.

OK, so it is plan “B”. What is plan “B”? I just lost about two more inches. My strides are ridiculously overstretched already. I am sweating now. I first think maybe I can dive for the stop button if I have to. I try to picture the end result. Just thinking that thought lost me about two inches more. I don’t know exactly what happens to people when they fall off the end of a treadmill, but I am sure it isn’t pretty, especially at this speed. OK, so if I can’t reach the stop button, I have to prepare for hitting the carpet.

Yeeouch, that is gonna hurt, but probably nothing like hitting the belt. Am I going to hit the belt? Or do I get flung back? Let’s see here, If I hit the belt, it is going to slam me into that stanchion at the front of the machine at twelve miles an hour. I check but no helmet. Will I hit the belt or fly back? This is not the time to be figuring out physics questions. If I hit this belt it is definitely going to throw me into the mirror behind me, not forward. I think that is better than forward. OK, so what about my feet? They are going to hit the carpet behind the treadmill, which isn’t moving and what will that be like? Crap, it is my legs that are going to propel me at 12 miles per hour into the stanchion at the front of the machine! Then I’ll flop onto the belt that is traveling at 12 miles per hour in the opposite direction, removing all sorts of skin when I hit, then to be flung into the mirror behind me. Plan “B” is taking its sweet time presenting itself. The string. The string that is attached to the emergency stop button. I just lost three more inches and can feel the roller hit each foot at the back of each stride. I’m nearly off the belt now. I have absolutely no idea what to do. Should I tuck and curl, drop and roll? I have no idea. My brain is shutting down.

The string! The string that is attached to the emergency stop button that I tied off, disabling it... Forget the string. Disabling it was a bad idea. My hands are still whirring but I look like I am trying to swim with my hands. Like cupping the air is going to help propel me up to reach that damn stop button. My head is bobbing now like a chicken’s. I stopped thinking about the slowing down option completely. The red stop button is my only focus. Of course I haven’t made a peep as my ego requires staying cool a paramount objective no matter what the danger. My feet are back to flopping. I am flailing. My left foot only catches the toe on the roller, I don’t get a good enough push to keep the pace and my right foot misses its mark and hits the belt midway knocking me pell-mell face down onto the belt.

Please send no notes or flowers. I have received all of the attention I need from the paramedics and the hospital.

Stay focused.



PLEASE NOTE: The Las Vegas Mountaineers monthly meeting this month
is at the Clark County Library,
1401 E. Flamingo (just E of Maryland Pkwy. on S. side of the street).
Meeting time is 7:00 p.m.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


John "SNAFU" Mueller

The 2001 SNAFU Dickel Runners Expedition.
We climbed Denali via the Muldrow Glacier Traverse: 41 days on the hill. Join our own club member Snafu for his Denali presentation this month, a man, it is believed, who has camped at least once per month, every month, since 1979.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mount Olympus, Greece

Henry Dziegiel

Mt. Olympus, in Greece, is "the mountain of the gods" and a mountain of myths that has been celebrated in folks songs, by Homer and other Greek and foreign poets. It is special mountain with a spiritual beauty all its own.
There is much more to Mt Olympus National Park than hiking to the highest summit, "Mytikas" at 2,918 meters, which has an interesting half mile of Class 3 climbing.

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