Mountain Logo
Ascender Title
October 2011
Volume 17, Issue 9


The group posing with the new sign

Dan working hard

Using teamwork to remove a fallen tree from the trail

Digging in the dirt

Action shot of Dave shovelling

August 21-September 4, 2011
Report by Jose Witt, Photos by Kurt Kuznieki

Getting to the summit of Griffith Peak is a bit easier thanks to a partnership with the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club and non-profit group, Friends of Nevada Wilderness. From August 21st through September 4th club members joined Forest Service employees, Student Conservation Association interns, and fellow volunteers in rerouting the trail that leads up to Griffith’s Peak, from the South Loop Trail. The project was supported with funding from REI which helped pay for tools, food and other items needed to get the project done.

The project consisted of three main parts. First was the rerouting of the trail that leaves from the Griffith saddle that used to follow the ridgeline directly to the summit. Two switchbacks were installed to ease the grade as well as improve the terrain of the trail. The remainder of the trail was widened and water bars, natural barriers that improve the flow of water off the trail, were installed along the entirety of the trail to the summit. Now that the trail is a designated Forest Service trail, the Forest Service may work to improve the trail further as well as maintain it as needed.

The second part of the project restored a user-created route that heads directly through a meadow from Harris Springs Road, an important habitat area for the rare and endemic Mt. Charleston Blue Butterfly. Unfortunately hikers randomly go through the meadow stomping on the delicate high altitude plants that already have a short season due to snow cover most of the year. Hopes are that with the improved trail, hikers coming in from Harris Spring Road will follow the trail around to the South Loop Trail and follow the designated trail up.

In the final stages of the project, volunteers collected seeds from three different plants that the butterfly uses as a larval host and nectar plant. The seeds were then formed into seed balls and planted on the sections of the old trail that will no longer be used, with hopes that the rare butterfly has a better chance of increasing its population.

Horses packing up water and supplies

The project went on for two weeks straight. With no water readily available, a horse packer was hired to deliver over 200 gallons of water to the campsite at 10,000 feet. Many volunteers camped out with the crew at a campsite surrounded by bristlecone pines that had great views of the Las Vegas valley, Kyle Canyon and Mummy Mountain, so the next time you are hiking Griffith Peak, take note of the new way up and thank your fellow club members for helping take care of our cherished mountains.

For an RJ article on the event go to:

If you have any questions about this project or interested in volunteering in other events, contact Jose with Friends of Nevada Wilderness at

Jose loading up gear

Susan Malcher

Where were you born?

How long have you lived in Las Vegas?
Since October 1983, wow does time fly.

What is your occupation?
Litigation Paralegal

How long have you been an LVMC member?
Several years. I don't remember when I first signed up. It was a while back. You guys might have that information. I have memory issues.

What is your favorite hike/climb?
I used to enjoy a solo hike on Mt. Charleston. I had a stroke in July 2010 which has barred me from hiking solo anymore. I now like to do things like hunt for airplane crash sites. I enjoy the historical significance, and reading the FOIA reports. I recently did a great hunt last weekend and we found two planes that collided in the 1950s. I don't want to publicly detail that hike, since we were in an area where we were officially not supposed to be.

What is the most challenging hike/climb you have done?
Mt. Kilimanjaro in September, 2006

How did you get into hiking/climbing?
Back in the 1980's I always looked at the mountains and wanted to explore them further. At the time there were not many people around I knew of who hiked, so the majority of my hiking was very limited. I recall hiking on the old South Loop and hiking Cathedral Rock back then, but nothing much beyond the newbie stuff. I have pictures of my kids when they were very little in the mountains and now they are in their twenties (my youngest is 14 and summitted White Mountain in California when he was eight). I would bribe my kids by bringing cookies in my backpack and giving him a cookie if he could reach a certain point higher up. Otherwise I would not give kids junk food, but on hikes I would. Therefore, the children became willing hikers. I think parents have a duty to take their kids into the wilderness, or they will grow up and trash it.

I recall I took a friend of my older son onto Trail Canyon when he was 14. He had NEVER been in the wilderness. I recall his look of amazement at the area around Trail Canyon. He sighed and said "I had no idea". He lived in Vegas all that time and had not been into the trails of the Spring Mountains. It's too bad our schools don't promote field trips into the Spring Mountains. Then they wonder why people vandalize Red Rock.

What are your hobbies other than hiking/climbing?
I am still a work in progress. I am a bit of a workaholic so many thing have taken a back seat to me catching up on my duties. I blog too much about politics on Facebook. I am trying to get back into running, but due to some residual stroke issues I am hurting my knee when I start doing too much distance. I used to rollerblade a lot which was also hampered by the stroke, and need to start skating again. I love to cook, but with most of the kids out of the nest I don't do that much anymore. I like camping and push it to the point of "glamping". We even bring the kitchen sink! I have so many great friendships because of hiking, I am very fortunate.



President: Jose Witt
Vice President/Training Director: Richard Baugh
Secretary: Sue Schager
Treasurer: Lynda Gallia
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director: Dan Young
Membership Director: Eric Kassan
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations/Marketing Directors:
Al Bennett
Club Gear Director: Dan Young
Social Director: Kristi Meyer
Assistant Directors: Heather Torrey, Chris Meyer, Barb McGibbon

The Ascender is the monthly online newsletter of the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club. All content is property of LVMC and may be used only by the original submitters. All others must obtain written consent from the Board of Directors.
All Club members are invited to submit trip reports, photos, trip listings, recipes, classified ads and other related information. October 10th is the deadline for the next issue.

Joel Brewster




Please send any address, phone number and e-mail changes to Eric Kassan, membership director. LVMC currently has approximately 130 paid members or families.

If you wish to send a check instead of using PayPal online, 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.

To the following members, please note that your membership will expire this month, unless you have recently renewed it:

Rosemary Liu
Eric Ransavage
Mark Rosen
Erik Sandhu
Erik Stone
Jose Witt


This club gear is available at no charge to members (a refundable deposit of the gear's approximate value may be required):

4-season tent
Bear Barrels
Alpine Axes*
Strap-on Crampons*
Hiking Boots
Climbing Shoes


Belay Devices

Belay Plate
Ice Tool
Ice Screws

Deadman Anchors

*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 Dan Young.

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 meet on the 4th WEDNESDAY of the month at REI in Boca Park.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hiking the Southwest: The Best Hikes in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico
Branch Whitney


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


LVMC | Contact | Calendar | Newsletters | Message Board | Join Us | Members Area

©2002-11 Las Vegas Mountaineers Club, all rights reserved.
Dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of the mountains.
Website Problems. Contact Us.