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Ascender Title
April 2009
Volume 15, Issue 4


March 21, 2009
Report by Carroll Johnson, Photos by Chris Meyer

Turtlehead or Bust?......Bust it was, in fact. After an hour or so into the approach we paused to look up at Turtlehead Peak. Carroll said, “I really don’t think so……but Turtlehead Junior…..sure, we can do that!”

Setting out from Calico Basin


Chris and Carroll enjoying the scenery

So, off we went to the “Junior” version. Scrambling up the rocky incline was akin to putting together the pieces of a challenging puzzle, wonderfully invigorating albeit a little frightening at times, which, of course, added to the adrenaline rush! More than a couple of times she wondered, “What was I thinking, sounding so sure of myself?”

Carroll and Ken climbing a tough crack

Chris was a source of great inspiration, calm comfort, and serious “backup” (no pun intended); and there were some moments that all of those items were greatly necessary! When we reached the top we were rewarded with awesome views of Las Vegas not only afar, but close by as well. After signing the log book, found neatly tucked away in a small box-sized “cave”, we began the (I’ll call it treacherous) descent. Chris was moving like a lithe mountain goat and had more than one opportunity to catch Ken and Carroll lagging a bit behind! Some of the downward “opportunities” presented more of a challenge than we (Carroll) were mentally prepared for, but, with Ken’s encouragement and patience and Chris’s “backup,” she made it….and was even caught laughing about it!

The only sacrifice of the day turned out to be the pants! One could say they “gave their all!” While others could have undoubtedly completed the “opportunity” in less time, we enjoyed every (almost!) moment and it was most certainly a very well-spent, enjoyable, and exhilarating 6-hour tour!

Playing in the water near the peak


Chris, Ken, and Carroll enjoying the summit


Another tank along the descent route


Chris with Calico Basin in background



April 10-16, 2009
Report and Photos by Joel Brewster

I recently took a scenic drive in my new car from Florida to Las Vegas. It was a great trip, although some would question my sanity.

I drove 5,400 miles in just over a week. I visited the highpoints of 10 states along the way: FL, AL, MS, MO, AR, LA, TX, OK, KS, and NE. I also visited various friends and relatives along the way, and even made it to see a Cardinals game in St. Louis.

Some of the noteworthy things I learned on this trip were:

1) The highpoint in Florida, Lakewood Park (345'), is not very high.

Amy, Toby and Sierra on the lowest highpoint in all the 50 states, Lakewood Park, FL


We celebrate getting out of the car for a few minutes!

2) The highpoint of Arkansas, Magazine Mountain (2753'), despite it's relatively low elevation, is a majestic mountain. I'm sure the visibility would have been about 100 miles had it not been for the thick fog that made it hard to see 100 feet!

Our new car at the foggy trailhead to Mt. Magazine, AR


The summit had no visibility, but was a nice spot for lunch

3) Chick-Fil-A is good. It is a fast food chicken restaurant prevalent in the South, and their secret is to serve pickles on their chicken sandwiches.

4) Finding a gas station in rural northwestern Louisiana is NOT easy. In fact, sometimes when, at long last, you find one, it doesn't have any gas. This experience also taught me that in our new car, you can drive at least 30 extra miles after the sensor says it is empty!

5) Texas is BIG. It takes a whole day just to drive across Texas!

6) Except for Texas and Oklahoma, reaching the state highpoints in the southern states require little or no physical effort.

7) The highpoint of Texas, Guadalupe Peak (8751'), is a great hike. You gain about 3000' along the 4.2-mile trail to the summit. The views are tremendous, and the terrain is rugged and dramatic, unlike the majority of Texas, which is quite flat.

Looking east along the trail to Guadalupe Peak, TX


Joel on the highpoint of Texas


8) The highpoint of Oklahoma, Black Mesa (4975') is nice 8.5 roundtrip hike with a very informative summit marker. It points out that Cimarron County, OK is the only county in the U.S. that touches four other states. It was VERY windy on the summit.


On the windy summit of Black Mesa, OK


9) Driving through snow is tedious and tiring. Driving home on I-70 through Wyoming, for about five hours, the temperature never got above freezing and it snowed most of the drive. Then, once in Utah, the weather was clear... until I hit a blizzard going through Beaver, UT. It was a neat trip, but I was happy to be home!


Toby and Joel at Mt. Cheaha, AL


Looking SE from Guadaupe Peak, TX


Joel pointing out the impending storm from Mt. Sunflower, KS


Panorama Point, NE, which is located in the middle of a field, on a cold and windy day



April 11, 2009
Report by Kenny Meyer's ghostwriter, Photos by Chris Meyer

Chris and Kenny at the trailhead

Finally, I get my chance to hike. It’s been almost two years that these parents of mine have been schlepping me around. I've been to numerous states, on trails and on routes, up mountains and into canyons, and always on daddy’s back. Sounds good, right? Wrong. You try sitting for hours in a cramped space and an almost-always wet (and sometimes more than wet, if you get my drift) diaper. Crunched into a backpack seat, barely able to move my arms and legs. And then, I have to listen to half a dozen people on the trail say, “Now there’s the life! Hahahaha. Wish someone would carry me!” Get over it, people. You get to explore and touch. You get to hike! I have to sit and watch. B-O-R-I-N-G.

But I digress. Finally, I get my chance to hike. I woke up one Saturday morning to hear Daddy telling Mommy he was going to take me hiking. He gathered up the gear and loaded up the car like usual, but instead of putting the always-present child carrier in the trunk, he loaded up my cute-as-a-button raccoon backpack, complete with a few of my favorite little trucks and a bottle of water. Off we went, and by midmorning we reached the trailhead for Lost Creek Canyon in Red Rock.

This is it, the moment I’ve been waiting for. I start out quick, eager to feel the rocks under my tiny shoes. This is a breeze. C’mon daddy, keep up! Wow wow, this is the life. I can swing my arms. I can run or saunter. I can reach over and pick up rocks. I can go backwards down the trail. This is SWEET!!! I did slow a bit when we hit some rocks. Nothing big for Daddy, but for me a 1.5’ rock in the trail calls for a class III move. Sometimes I feel uneasy, so I’d grab for daddy’s finger. It makes me feel better to know he is close.

After 0.35 successful miles of hiking, we reached the destination: Lost Creek Falls. There were puddles to play in, mud to mess with, pictures to take, and a snack to eat. All of it was more satisfying since I hiked in on my own.

Kenny enjoying a well-deserved lunch


Kenny and Chris at Lost Creek Falls

We rested and played for a bit, and then we hiked back out. Daddy took like a million pictures, and he was there to lend a finger when I felt uneasy. What a great day! Our adventure ended after 0.7 miles and 1.5 hours. I climbed into my car seat and almost immediately fell asleep. Hiking is hard work, but I’m good at it, and it sure is better than a bumpy ride on Daddy’s sweaty back. I can’t wait to get out there again!

Kenny negotiating stone steps


Kenny looking proud



Richard imparting advice to new members


Richard modeling a harness



President: Nadia von Magdenko
Vice President/Training Director: Richard Baugh
Secretary: Xavier Wasiak
Treasurer: Beth Ransel
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director: Annalisa Helm
Membership Director: Chris Ransel
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations/Marketing Director: John "Snafu" Mueller
Club Gear Director: Chris Ransel
Social Director: Kristi Meyer
Assistant Director: Grant Brownback
Assistant Director: Paul Des Roches
Assistant Director: Kim Owen

Assistant Director: Harlan Stockman

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 120.
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. May 10th is the deadline for the next issue.

Joel Brewster
Phone: 456-8520



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

Dan Eslinger
Benjamin Soltis
Mark Beauchamp
Scott Isaacman
Marisela Cardona
William Dean
Chris Hanna
Roy Trafton
R Cody Shumate
John Kolacz

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.






The Las Vegas Mountaineers monthly meeting this month is on Tuesday, April 28th at Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara. Meeting time is 7:00 p.m.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sahara West Library

Life, Times and Trade Routes of the Anasazi in the Desert Southwest
Kenneth & Carroll Johnson

"The Four Corners region of the Desert Southwest (including the Virgin River) offers a wide variety of hiking, canyoneering, camping, and, possibly, climbing opportunities for those interested in exploring an ancient culture variously known as the "Anasazi," "Ancestral Puebloans" and "Hisatsinom."

As a guide and aid to understanding, this presentation introduces speculation about the core essences of the Anasazi culture that evolved over a thousand years to end with a mass movement ending around 1300. These core essences are based upon over 100 slides depicting its architecture, pottery, pictographs and petroglyphs, limited fabric remains, burial practices, archeo-astronomical alignments, and the anthropology of the historic Puebloans."


Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sahara West Library


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