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Ascender Title
Fall 2016
Volume 22, Issue 3


June 2016
Report & Photos by Ed Forkos

My wife, Luba Leef, and I will be returning to Colorado this August to chip away further at the 14ers list. This will be our 5th visit since 2007, all in August, and we’ve managed to climb 41 of the 57 peaks so far. We hope to do 9 this Summer. This will leave only 4 more as I adamantly refuse to do Maroon and N. Maroon and am ambivalent about Pyramid. These latter 3 I feel are ridiculously dangerous due to very poor rock quality relative to their extreme steepness, and not being much driven by lists, I can live without them. What does drive me to return to Colorado is the remarkable beauty of the mountains, yet, every single one seems to have unique challenges, whether it be the massive verticals, the route-finding, or the nasty access roads. We always return home feeling very satisfied with our Colorado outings.

There are aspects that make Colorado appealing to visit. The extensive system of old mining roads gives you a chance to shorten the hike-ins, but often, you’ll need high clearance, 4 WD, and a lot of courage to fully take advantage of this. There are lots of cool towns to stay in, if you wish, from where you often can knock off a goodly number of peaks from like Ouray, Buena Vista, Silverton, Telluride, Aspen or smaller towns offering similar logistics, like Crestone, Westcliff and Leadville. Depending on your driving and hiking abilities, there are a relatively limited number of peaks that you’ll need to backpack into. Many peaks have a number of possible routes often ranging from Class 1 to Class 5 (though most are at least Class 2) including great snow routes. There is excellent information available through the Colorado Mountaineering Clubs “”, Jerry Roach’s excellent guide book with very clearcut maps and text, or the usual sources like Summitpost , Peakbagger etc.. However, for reliability the first 2 are the best and most helpful. The website gives you timely updates on conditions of roads and routes. Roach provides incredible insights, wisdom and advice (and he’s funny) that is otherwise hard to come by in mountaineering literature. The website gives very detailed, step-by-step directions with lots of great photos and GPS points. With planning, you can often combine 14ers on a single day, or kick in a 13er or two.

We prefer the month of August to visit. Snow is off all “non-snow” routes. It can be crowded at some trailheads and on some trails, so we have almost always chosen more difficult and/or more out of the way routes. The rating system for difficulty conforms to our local ratings. However, many of the Class 3-4 routes have poor rock quality making them feel harder and less safe. Helmets are advised above Class 2 level. Yes, it tends to rain most every day, usually with lightning, usually starting after noon, so get going early, move quickly where you can, and back off if you must. Expect to get wet on descent. A pack cover is good to have to avoid soaking your stuff through day after day. I’ve experienced serious whiteouts from fog or snow, often on descent, so GPS backup is wise to have.

Although I am hard-pressed to think of any climb that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy, following are a few that we judged remarkable in some way or another.

1. Long’s Peak. What can I say. It’s an uber-classic. Beware of several things. There are lots of climbers on it always, many of whom are not very capable. Rock fall is a very serious risk in a number of places. Helmets are mandatory. The final slabs (the Homestretch) below the summit are so polished that they really are 4th class in difficulty. You’ll see a number of people roping up novices here.

The Homestretch

2. Torrey’s Peak via the Kelso Ridge. This is a really magnificent rock scramble that is truly Class 4 and quite challenging to route-find. Rock quality is excellent. You’ll feel gratified (and relieved) when you hit the top.

On Kelso Ridge

3. Quandary Peak. The west ridge route will assure you of solitude plus a great 4th class challenge. When you top out you’ll be greeted by 100’s of folks who strolled up from the east (who were lucky enough to find a parking spot!)

The west ridge

4. Snowmass Mt.. There is no easy way to get back there, but once you do, you’ll find a delightful Class 2-3 romp up great rock, very scenic and very deserted. Hint: don’t follow the several usage trails through steep scree; keep to the solid rock, safer and more fun.

Staying on the best rock

5. Crestone Needle. The upper section involves very pleasant, sustained Class 3 scrambling on great rock. Descent through same area is confusing due to numerous cairn lines so you may need to do some 4th class downclimbing. Since it’s a relatively short route (from high camp) you should add Crestone Peak on the same day; it’s quite straightforward, and, of course, very scenic.

Heading up the Needle from Broken Hand Pass

6. Mt. Lindsey. For a thrilling and challenging ridge ascent on great rock, go up the northwest ridge. We were pleasantly surprised. Descent via the north slopes on the standard trail is fast on very loose, steep terrain.

Looking up the northwest ridge

7. Bierstadt/Evans. For a wonderful loop route, do these starting at Mt. Spaulding, going counterclockwise. The connector (“Sawtooth”) ridge to Mt. B a bit tricky to hit, but is well-cairned once on it and, if on route, stays at Class 3+. Most gratifying was our ability to remain on the ridgeline all the way to Evans, Class 3, despite a lack of info whether this was possible.

Starting the Sawtooth Ridge with Mt. Bierstadt in the background

8. Wetterhorn. One of the real classics. Some confusing trail signage. The last 600’ is the actual rock climb; quite pleasant.

9. Mt. Sneffels. Take the southwest ridge up for an exciting Class 3 romp on good rock, not too hard to follow. It’s probably best to take the slope down; it’s obnoxiously loose and steep but fast and basically safe.


June 6-8, 2016
Report & Photos by Joel Brewster


1. Descending into the "Gorge of Despair", a 3000' drop to reach our camp
2. Class 3 bouldering with a full pack
3. Some SERIOUS bushwhacking
4 . Running out of water two days in a row!
5 . Did I mention it was HOT?
6 . Thousands of bugs (mostly gnats) on the summit
7 . Re-ascending out of the "Gorge of Despair"
8 . Crazy Mexican drivers and roads
9 . It's a long drive from Las Vegas (12 hours), the second half in Mexico (see #7).
10 . Crossing the border back into the US is confusing, poorly signed, and very time-consuming if you accidentally get in the wrong line!

Actually, it was a great adventure of a trip. It had its ups and downs (quite literally), but was an amazing experience. I am just not interesting in doing again!

Entering the National Park

Jim, full of energy, doing pullups on the teepee near the trailhead

Our first look at Picacho del Diablo...only a few hundred feet higher, but in between is a 3000+ ft. drop!

Descending boulder fields with a heavy pack is tough!

We finally reach water at Campo Noche.

Jim ascends the steep slabs on "Wall Street" near the summit.

Summit selfie as the bugs were so bad, we only stayed on the summit for 5 minutes!

This gives you some idea how steep summit day was. From camp to summit was 3700' gain in 1.25 miles!

Climbing back out of the "Gorge of Despair", negotiating class 3 terrain

This mountain took its toll on Jodie's hair.

by Heather Witt

Banana Nut Oatmeal

Serves 2

3/4 quick cooking steel cut oats (such as McCann's 5 minute Irish Oatmeal)
1-2 bananas
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tblsp. brown sugar
2 tblsp. powdered milk
2-3 tblsp. walnuts or pecans
Dash butter powder (optional)

At home:
Mash up bananas and dehydrate. Tear banana leather into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a zip top bag.

At camp:
Pour oatmeal ingredients into a pot, add 1.5-2 cups water and stir. Heat until boiling. Turn off flame and let sit for 5 minutes. Add more water/heat as necessary until desired consistency.

Heather and Jose Witt will be teaching a Backcountry Cooking Class on November 10th
at 7 pm at REI Boca Park. Don't miss it!


Josef Nuernberger

Where were you born?
Steyr, Austria

How long have you lived in Las Vegas?
Since 2012 in Henderson

What is your occupation?
I am a chef working on cruise ships around the world.

How long have you been an LVMC member?
Since April 2014

What is your favorite hike/climb?
Having just completed the NV county highpoints, I must say Ruby Dome for the States, and Cotopaxi internationally.

What is the most challenging hike/climb you have done?
Day hike of Mount Williamson in the Sierra

How did you get into hiking/climbing?
At early age on family outings in Austria; It's kind of a tradition to go hiking during school holidays in summer.

What are your hobbies other than hiking/climbing?
Reading, Fishing


President:Joel Brewster
Vice President/Training Director: Richard Baugh
Secretary: Amber Cavazos
Treasurer: Jim Morehouse
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director: Ed Forkos
Membership Director: Eric Kassan
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations/Marketing Director: Matt Riley
Club Gear Director: Dan Young
Social Director: Amanda Wagner
Community Outreach Director: Amanda Wagner

Directors-At-Large: Kevin Humes

The Ascender is the quarterly 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. December 20th 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 110 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 in the next three months, unless you have recently renewed it:

Richard Hensley
Bryan Manning
Joanne McCombs
Jerry Thomas
Christopher Wehner
Sharon Marie Wilcox
Babette Friedman
Luba Leef
Craig Raborn
Mark Rosen
Jeff & Laurel Casey
Sergio Colombo
Eric & Angela Kassan
Brian Keith
Bart Stephens
Brett Sapowith


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.

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The Las Vegas Mountaineers meet on the 4th WEDNESDAY of the month at 7 pm at REI in Summerlin.



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Climbing in Alaska
Courtney Purcell



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

LVMC Movie Night



LVMC Christmas Party

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