“OCCASIONAL MISERIES” – Journal-UCLA Bruin Mountaineers


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Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Original Post - May 4, 2012 - 04:18am PT
I don’t know the origin of the club; I do know it existed for many years before I became involved with it in 1963 after graduating from high school. However, it was three years before I actually attended UCLA and became an active member. Until extremely recently (a few weeks ago!), looking back on climbing in the late 60s, I’ve had a difficult time remembering details of many of my climbs. But I had forgotten that I’d written about a number of climbs in the “Occasional Miseries” journal which was printed on old purple-print mimeograph machines. So what follows on this thread are some of the stories of the adventures of these students in the years 1966-67. Earlier editions going back to ’64-’65 have been found, so we may see those here or on a planned FB page for the club.

The Fall, 1966 issue was edited and introduced by Valerie Mendenhall:

This newsletter is the recorded history of the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers. Such a chronicle is not necessary for the club to become infamous. But this university may be gone someday (perhaps turned into a convent by an enterprising California governor) so the records must be preserved.

For the uninitiated, this club indulges in most outside and many inside activities: rock-climbing, hiking, back-packing, fold-boating, ski-touring, jail-birding and partying. The club owns equipment for all but the last two occupations listed.

Trips seem to emanate from Westwood every weekend and holiday. A discriminating person can choose ones he is interested in. A non-discriminating person ends up going on every kind of trip and losing his sanity.

In order to find out about coming activities, one need only traipse out to the lawn at the northwest corner of Moore Hall any day between noon and three. There reside the Marathon sitters. They will introduce him to the Mountaineers and their Misery.

-- Valerie Mendenhall, ed

That issue contains the following article that I wrote; unfortunately neither Tom Higgins nor I have photos of this climb.

Memorial Day Weekend, 1966

Remember Stoney Point in the "good old days"? We would drive up Topanga Canyon between orange groves and rows of Eucalyptus trees, and then at the critical moment we would make a sharp right turn into a just-barely-big-enough driveway while a car invariably tried to pass us on the right. Giant oaks stood by the two-lane road. In the winter and spring, small numbers of climbers (except on Sierra Club weekends) gathered there and scrambled over the rocks.

So it was in the middle of May that I walked around pleading with climbers to find a partner for Memorial Day. Dennis Hennek? No, he had to go to the naval base that weekend. Mike Cohen? No, finals. Russ McLean? No, his girlfriend was coming home that weekend. (Disgusting!) Tom Higgins? Maybe! That made my birthday complete, for I knew he'd eventually go, so I began preparing for the climb.

Saturday morning, after sorting and packing food and equipment, Tom and I and Vivian Mendenhall began the hike up to Half Dome's shoulder. Eventually, Vivian left us and we continued to the shoulder, reaching it at sunset. After dinner, we lay in our sleeping bags in the warm, clear evening and talked quietly until we finally fell asleep.

Morning came too early (as it usually does), but we got up, stashed our packs and sleeping bags, ate a cold breakfast, and began our descent to the base of the face. Down through the forest, the brush, and the talus, all somewhat too steep for the pre-dawn light, we stumbled. As we rounded a corner, we saw it for the first time from that viewpoint. It filled us with a sort of doubt and almost fear, rising in one vertical cliff of cold granite for more than 2,000 feet.

At the base of the route, we filled our water-bottle, tied into our ropes, and began upwards. The mixed direct-aid and free-climbing was only moderately difficult, as we climbed as far as we could because we wanted to reach the "Sandy Ledges" (18 pitches up) before nightfall. Climbing steadily all morning, we passed the ledge at the end of the seventh pitch about 10:30 a.m. and reached the "Robbins Traverse" (tenth pitch) before noon. At this point, the route traverses right onto the main wall and is characterized by extremely exposed but very easy climbing on rotten (therefore completely unprotected) ledges.

Above, direct-aid and pendulums brought us to the base of the long chimney system. By this time, clouds began condensing around us, obscuring our view of the Valley. We started up the chimneys as quickly as possible, for we still had five pitches to go, and it was getting late. Up in the chimneys, we paused briefly when a beautiful, large golden eagle soared towards us out of the mist, then disappeared behind the rock. In the fading light we reached the bottom of Psyche-Flake, a horrible, huge (would you believe 30 feet high?), completely detached flake at the top of the chimneys. One must chimney up behind it. When we reached the ledge above the flake, it was completely dark.

We discussed our situation. We could either bivouac on the small ledge or climb one more pitch in the dark to the "Sandy Ledges". After almost giving in to fatigue, we decided to go on. Tom did a fine job leading this pitch, and I soon came up on jumars.

The ledges were indeed large and sandy, and we both felt very content as we unpacked food, water, and parkas, and prepared for the night. Suddenly the clouds parted from the face, and we could see the Valley in the bright moonlight -- Mt. Watkins, North Dome, Glacier Point, and the sparkling lights on the Valley floor. While we were admiring the view, the nightly fire was pushed off the cliff of Glacier Point, and we watched it descend slowly to Glacier Point Terrace. The rapid sequence of our relaxation after reaching the ledges, the emergence of the moonlit Valley from the cloud, and the fire-fall will forever remain etched in my memory.

Tired but happy, we ate our dinner and then lay down to sleep intermittently till morning. When dawn came, cold and clear, we ate our breakfast and started up the last seven pitches toward the summit. Cold but confident, we slowly nailed up three "zig-zag" pitches.

It was late in the morning when Tom started out across Thank-God Ledge, an 80-foot long but very narrow ledge which he crossed without difficulty. However, he spent half an hour at the end of the ledge looking for the route before he finally climbed a flaring chimney. Carrying the pack, I followed him across the ledge. At the crux, where it's only four inches wide, the pack began to push me off the ledge. Since I was unprotected, a fall would mean a 60 foot pendulum into the rock. Seeing small footholds on the face below the ledge, I desperately let myself off the ledge and onto the holds and hand-traversed the crux. With great effort I managed to get back onto the ledge. The hauling line had become caught behind a flake below, so I jumared down and freed it. The day wore on. I began to jumared up to Tom and then realized I wouldn't be able to jumared up the chimney. Unable to move freely, I liberally cursed my stupidity. The chimney was too flaring to jumared. I got out of my slings and tried to climb it free. No good. The pack prevented me from climbing the chimney. I was wedged in the chimney in a desperate and dangerous situation; Tom gave me some calm words of encouragement, and I began to think. I finally managed to get the pack off, and Tom hauled it up. Then I moved the rope out of the chimney and with great difficulty got back into my slings and jumared up to Tom. Completely exhausted, I rested, had some food and water, and took the lead. We had spent nearly four hours on a supposedly easy free pitch.

The last three pitches were quite easy and very enjoyable, and we soon reached a ledge just below the summit. After packing the hardware in the pack and coiling the ropes, we scrambled to the summit where we began the eight and a half mile hike back to the Valley, reaching it at dusk. Looking back up at Half Dome, standing up there in the last pink rays of the sun, we both felt relaxed and happy.


Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2012 - 04:23am PT
These stories were written by a variety of authors and this next one’s author is unknown at this time, but I wrote my own account of it a while back and posted it on the Stoney Point thread here:


The Great Traffic Diversion! April Fool! - Author Unknown

Henry had a great dream. At the beginning of the year, he and/or John thought it would be great to help the commuters from Simi Valley add just a bit of something different to their otherwise dull, routine, ordinary Friday evening drives home to their T.V. sets. These people drive to and fro never knowing what the world is like on either side of their road -- this had to be changed. It was just natural that someone would think of it since Chris and John lived in the hills and watched the 5:00 traffic creeping by, day in and day out, and construction on the new freeway provided all sorts of road signs and a natural reason for the plan. The plan was this -- put up a detour where the small side road leading up into the hills joins with the winding main road at a place in the road where there is only one lane due to construction. The commuters would then fend for themselves once they got into the maze of hills and dirt roads that seemingly lead nowhere. The plan was discussed and modified for about six months and without Henry it would have remained just a plan.

Conditions were just right about mid-March -- it was a little rainy, detour signs were all along the road because of construction, a most beautiful detour-arrow sign had been found and the enthusiasm was up for the project. So out on the lawn the last day before finals, final plans were mulled over. Three people left from the lawn that afternoon with plans to meet the others at Stoney Point. The first group arrived after necessary errands had been run, expecting everyone to be ready to go. Well, no one was there and with the extra time, doubts began to creep into the minds of the three conspirators. It began to rain hard while they were waiting. Were the others chickening out? Would they ever get there? What if the construction workers arrived to see the setting-up? What if . . . . . .? The doubts were momentarily set aside when one of the others arrived with news of the others. There was a vague kind of message from the fellow with all the signs, no one knew if he was really going to show up. Nervous laughter and doubting glances filled the next few minutes.

Finally everyone did get assembled but it was very late and the enthusiasm was considerably less than at the beginning of the afternoon. The drivers took the sign movers up to the site and everyone got out to survey the scene. A major difficulty was discovered -- all the equipment would have to be carried down the road instead of being carried through the bushes but that would be okay, wouldn't it? Maybe books should have been brought so that studying could, at least, be continued while sitting in jail. "Well, if we're going to do it, let's go." So with an exchange of good lucks the group divided. The drivers had trouble getting together but after a short distance things seemed to be fine. But as Stoney Point was approached, the sign movers were seen sauntering down the hill. The highway men had seen them walking down the road with all the signs and cones and so the signs were dumped into the bushes and the first attempt was a failure.

The second attempt, a week later also failed because no one came, but the new quarter began and it was decided to try again. This time the signs were hidden the night before and plenty of time was allowed for all the preparations. Enthusiasm was up and no one was really too scared. When everyone got to Stoney, assignments were made. There would be 6 drivers, 4 sign movers and a look-out, and photographers. The drivers drove to the starting point several miles back down the road and then turned around and moved into traffic in perfect order. After passing Stoney Point, at the curve in the road just before the side side road the head car stopped, and the conspirator behind got out to gallantly help the girl who had apparently stalled. One restless commuter zoomed by, but up at the "site" one of the "workers" calmly waved the man on. When enough time had gone by for a good a really good break, the stalled car really wouldn't start but after several minutes it did get going.

With all this time, the "workers" were getting fussy about how the detour looked and things were arranged until everything was to their satisfaction. The detour was beautiful and as the line of traffic approached no one suspected anything and the cars and trucks followed obediently. Twenty minutes later the long winding dirt road was bumper to bumper with lost dazed drivers. The residents of the area were all out in their front yards and kids were laughing at the funny people. When the cars got backed up to the main road, one brave car went around the detour signs and eventually the cars in back followed him. Soon highway men came and moved the signs and ended the first traffic diversion project. However, little ladies were still wandering around in the hills trying to find their way out, backing out of one driveway only to enter the next. Some of them may still be up there.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
May 4, 2012 - 07:14am PT
Sent to my daughter at UCLA, thanks booey!

Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 4, 2012 - 09:42am PT
This is excellent, Mr.Dawg. Thanks for putting out the effort to publish these gems, anew. Did you manually transcribe these, or did you get some help from OCR software?

More, Please!

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2012 - 10:11am PT
XX: I had some manual help from a volunteer whom only a few people here know now but whose father even a casual observer of American rock-climbing history will instantly recognize. I can hear the drums rolls now... Thanks for asking!

She has posted her story here:


May 4, 2012 - 10:38am PT
I put a 1960 Occasional Misery on the Arizona Apprecation thread near


The reason for the name of the paper was that it was published occasionally and miserably. There were lots of English majors who aspired to greater things. We used to meet at Kirchhoff Hall at lunch time. Kirchhoff was the old student union building and had some good moves on the decorative concrete around door arches.

I see I have another issue from 1959, so the history goes back at least that far. That issue mentions that my article on Tahquitz climbs was rejected and in another spot I am referred to as "Bill Ego", all perhaps because of my enthusiam for rock climbing which was not quite shared in degree by the others.

Bill Amborn

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2012 - 10:45am PT
Thanks so much Bill. I know little of the history before about 1963. Are you in contact with Lincoln Axe?

Trad climber
Placerville, California
May 4, 2012 - 10:53am PT
misery wears many masks.

im a simple guy.
i stare cross-eyed at
every day that dares to lay before me.
i needn't bathe more than than infrequently,
for i hate high maintenance shines.
rock can be my pillow,
mountains may block my sunrise.

my daughters though, whew.
this morning,
heavy girl drama.
hair hassles,
wrinkly sock woes,
breakfast too greasy,

even the flowers in the yard bloomed the wrong color thismorning.
i, being a steadfast dad,
maintained my cool and bravely coached them
beyond their smeared emotions.

inside though i was miserable.
i hate drama in the morning.
children are senseless at times,
at least according to my understanding of
the murder of numb.

May 4, 2012 - 10:53am PT
Sorry, the name doesn't ring a bell.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
May 4, 2012 - 11:25am PT
Ken, I just got Lincoln's new e-mail address and sent it to you.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 4, 2012 - 12:44pm PT
I went to UCLA for undergrad and grad school. Only met ONE climber (Lawrence Yee) and that was it, let alone a club. Where were they when I needed them? :(

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 4, 2012 - 02:52pm PT
Thanks for this thread, Ken.

I was in grad school and law school at UCLA from 1975-1979, but was unaware of the existence of the club, so perhaps it had folded by then. I was, however, a member of the U.C. Hiking Club during my four years at Berkeley, and the President my senior year (1972-3). We didn't have a newsletter when I was there, but we did have Chuck Pratt's 1958 application to become a Qualified Leader. We also had an official song: "We're Losted." Unfortunately or not, I never copied it so I know neither the words nor the tune.


Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 09:06pm PT
Here's another fun story from the Occasional Miseries. (Any errors in transcription are my own, and not the author's.) Enjoy!


Early one morning, the Sunday after finals to be exact, 12 hardy Bruins met at Lot 32 to begin the trip to invade Mexico and her three volcanoes, Ixtacchuitl, Popocataptl, and Orizabe to be exact. We had been planning to drive to Mexicali in several cars so that there would be a car and transportation waiting for any one of us no matter when we left Mexico. However, early morning became later and the group spirit prevailed and so we all piled into John Williams' VW van for the trip to Mexicali. We were cozily cramped, to say the least, and Dan Smith soon took our minds off the present situation by reading to us from the journal of K2 and the assault of that peak. As a result, the theme of the trip from then on was, "and he walked off into the clouds and was never seen again . . ." It was hot and we soon stopped for hamburgers and root beer. After a pleasant stop, we continued on our way towards Palm Springs.

We never really got to Palm Springs, at least not under our own power, for about 15 miles out of Palm Springs we heard an ominous clankety-clank from the direction of the engine and Phil yelled, "It's the fan belt!" However upon closer investigation, it was found that we had a lovely hole in the engine and that the poor car would go no more. So we hopped out and pushed it down the road to a gas station about 1/4 mile down the road and left it there in the care of the nearby motel owner. Thus ends Part I.

Well, we couldn't stay where we were, and we sure as heck weren't going to go back, soooooo, we split into groups of twos with agreements to meet either in Mexicali or if one was lucky enough, to meet the rest of the group in Mexico City, or Mexico as it is known in the country. We strung ourselves out along the highway after first checking to see if there were any No Pedestrian signs facing our way. To our good fortune, a pick-up truck soon came along and after passing the whole line of us, he stopped to pick up the last couple. Well, all of us were good runners and so the poor man ended up taking all 12 of us and our packs in the back of his truck. He then drove us to the bus station in Palm Springs where we missed the bus to Mexicali by about 2 minutes. Here we paused to let Phil and his buddies scrounge up some new bags to carry their cans of food on this second leg of the trip. We then split up again with hopes of meeting again in Mexicali and catching the train that was to leave there at 8:00 PM. Our next goal was Indio and after several rides, we entered and left that lovely town at different times and conditions.

Jim and I decided that we had nothing to lose if we spent the spare time hitch-hiking. Luck was with us, and we were soon on our way to, would you believe, Mexicali? As it turned out we were in another VW and I had a sneaking suspicion that nothing good could come out of VW's. There were two fellows from Etiwanda in the car and they were bound for Hermosillo to spend their Christmas vacation on the warm sand and cool surf. We told them that we were trying to catch a train in Mexicali and so the trip from Indio to Mexicali was a mad race against the clock. We drove over the border with no problems at all only to realize that the train had left 20 minutes before. They then asked us whether we wanted to spend the night in Mexicali or if we wanted to go on with them to Hermosillo. One look at the night life of Mexicali was enough to have us decide to go on to Hermosillo, no matter what happened. Anything would be better than a night in Mexicali without being able to speak-a de Spanish, we thought. Ha Ha.

We then drove on to San Luis and stopped there for hamburgers with fresh tomatoes and lettuce. From there we drove to Sonoita to get our tourist cards stamped and to get the Tourista sticker for the car. However the officials wouldn't give us the sticker since the car was owned by one of the fellow's fathers and the driver didn't have a notarized statement of permission. Well, this wasn't going to stop those fellows. They were going to try to run the check points and get to Hermosillo anyway. However, the Mexican officials didn't see things that way and they sent us back 40 miles to Sonoita to get the necessary sticker. So there we were, stranded in Sonoita at 4:00 AM half way between points to catch the necessary train.

Situations and circumstances make one bold, so I asked the first person to come into the nearby service station if they were going to Hermosillo and if they would take us with them. Well, this fellow turned out to be from LA and was on his way to visit his sister in Hermosillo and would be glad to take us. So we were soon on the road again. However we were stopped again by that same Mexican official who now told us that hitch-hiking was illegal and that we couldn't go any further with this man and that we would have to travel the remaining distance on the bus. What will happen next?, we wondered.

Fortune smiled again, however, for the man told us not to go the whole distance on the bus, but to go just to the first town and wait for him there for he would have to stop for breakfast there anyway. So, that is what we did. Nothing more exciting happened on the way to Hermosillo. End Part II.

Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 09:08pm PT
MEXICO 1966 (continued)

We arrived in Hermosillo about 10:30 AM and after finding a neat hotel for the two fellows and the man, we never did get his name, then took us to the train station to see when our train was coming through. As it turned out, the next train through was in 15 minutes and it was the same train that we had missed the night before in Mexicali! We were soon out on the platform waiting for the train. As we were climbing aboard, someone called out to us and upon turning around, we saw a fellow in knickers coming towards us. He asked if we were climbers and then said that he'd see us later as he was one also. This fellow was George, from Cal Berkeley, and we kept running into him throughout the trip. (Saw him again at Havasu 3/67.)

That train was something else . . . . . Not the recommended way to travel. For example, all of us, with the exception of Wayne, returned to the states via bus instead of train. See the end of this article for a detailed account of the train trip. As I recorded in my log at the time, "That train was beyond compare! DIRTY, dirty, dirty, and people and boxes everywhere! We finally found seats -- wedged between our packs and an open window right next to the coupling and on top of the wheels -- We had the most rhythmic, musical, and air-conditioned ride possible -- both from the window and the door. (It was really the waiting for the Ladies Rest Room) and our feet were courteously dampened every so often, due to the efficient Mexican plumbing!" End Part III.

December 21 found Jim and I a day ahead of our fellow adventurers in Mexico City. Neither of us could speak Spanish very well, but in the course of the trip we picked it up by necessity. However, we had no cause to worry, for UCLA parkas attracted enough others who could either speak Spanish or English and who helped us find the only decent hotel of the entire trip for only 24 pesos a night. It was wonderful to sleep on a soft bed and between clean sheets after 2 1/2 days on that ---- train! After securing our rooms at the hotel we set off for some explorations of the city and visited the fantastic university, Chapultepec Park and generally toured the streets. In between times and trips we met every train from Guadalajara, scanning every passenger for signs of our companions or of climbers who might know what had happened to them. This proved to be very unreliable for we met what turned out to be Phil's geography professor and he said that he and his wife had caught a train about 3 hours after our group and yet there he was in Mexico City long before they were. Jim and I became quite concerned at this point. What if they didn't make it? Oh perish the thought! Finally the tardy 10 arrived, bedraggled and travel-worn. We decided that we had wasted enough time already and that we should try to get to Popo that day, 12/22.

However, Mexico, being the capital city had more bus stops than you could shake a stick at and we had no idea of where we were going, except the name, let alone knowing which bus to take. Dan Smith got us out of this dilemma by making friends with a Mexican who not only knew which bus station to go to, but who also had a car and said that he would take us there! As it turned out he had a Model A Ford, one of the square types, and it wasn't generous enough with its space. We put the packs on the top and packed them around the fenders and then proceeded to pack ourselves in and around the car - 8 inside and 6 outside. We then proceeded to drive through Mexico City singing and laughing and having a gay old time. The poor people and cops just didn't know what to make of it - except one cop. He must have decided that such nonsense just wasn't for his city, and he jumped on the running board and attempted to turn off the key. A struggle ensued between the cop and the driver with Spanish flowing a mile a minute. The cop was saying something and the driver was giving it right back to him. The next thing we knew, the driver took both hands off the steering wheel (we had been madly racing through the streets with the cop at this time) and took the cop by the shoulders and forcefully shoved him off of the car. We left him in the dust, shouting in Spanish as loud as he could. We changed drivers at this point. The original driver didn't have a license! But on to the bus station and Amecameca and Popo. After stopping in Amecameca for dinner for those who wanted it and bargaining for the price of the panel truck ride up to the climbing hut, we again packed ourselves into a vehicle and headed for the mountains. At this point the group split, with those climbing Popo -8- and those climbing Ixty, saying last farewells and the Ixty group drove off into the mists and were never seen again until the reunion mountaineer's meeting on the lawn.

December 23 found everyone more or less altitude sick, but we started up the 5-5a route about 10 AM reaching the first hut by about 4:30 PM. 12/24 found everyone even sicker than the day before from the altitude (no one got touristas etc). Three, Phil, John and I were the only ones out of the 8 to reach the summit. We stumbled back down to the hut, exhausted and nearly senseless. We slept about 15 hours. What a way to spend Christmas Eve!! The next morning we were all famished but we couldn't eat a thing and we were so thirsty that we were drinking just about everything in sight. John commented, "Well, some have their white Christmas. We're eating ours." Later that day we finished our descent of the peak and spent time swapping stories and perceptions with the other climbers at the hut while waiting for the truck to take us back to Amecameca.

In Amecameca we briefly ran into John and Chris, but we couldn't get any information about the rest of the group or what had happened on Ixty. All they would say was, "We're going back." We then returned to Mexico without them. We ate dinner that night at Seps - a fantastic restaurant - but some of us were so tired that we could hardly cut the "tender" Mexican steaks. How frustrating! Afterwards we wandered around the town, taking in the sights, and people watching. We spent quite a bit of time in the big square there gazing at the Christmas decorations and the huge and varied bonbons that the vendors were selling.

We had met a "helpful" cop on our return to Mexico in the Zocalo and he directed us to a hotel that must have been the world's worst going strong. We finally found two rooms, one for two and one for the remaining six. The beds left much to be desired and with the addition of the coughing, sleep wasn't the most restful we'd had. For future trips, we recommend that one not even consider this hotel. It is situated behind the cathedral in the zocalo so beware!

December 26 was spent sight-seeing. And recuperating. We went to the pyramids and climbed them, and toured and wandered through the huge market place near the bus station. On 12/27, we toured the cathedral and Juarez's home and saw Rivera's famous murals in the government buildings. Afterwards, we split up once again and for the final time. Two went home -- Steve and Ken -- Two went to eat and were supposed to meet the rest of us in Thachachuca -- Jeff and John -- and 3 of us decided to go directly to Orizaba -- Jim, Phil and I.

We then caught a bus for Puebla after wandering from one end of Mexico to the other trying to find the proper bus station. We arrived in Puebla too late to catch the bus to Tlachichuca that night so after some hard bargaining, we spent the night in a comfortable hotel around the corner from a ritzy American place where rooms started at 100 pesos !.

December 28 found us finally in Tlachichuca. We contacted the Reyes to arrange for the truck ride to the climbing hut and then sat on the street corner waiting for the truck. It was supposed to leave at 4:30 PM, but as it turned out we left that little town at 10:30 PM arriving at the climbing hut about 12:30 AM. We found the hut already occupied by a climbing party from Cal Berkeley, but we found room on the floor under the bunks and settled down for about 3 hours' sleep before the climb. We were hoping that Jeff and John would catch up with us, but they didn't. They ended up trying to climb it from the other, dry side and didn't make the summit.

It seemed as though we had just closed our eyes, when it was time to leave for the summit -- 5:30 AM. Jim was too tired and cold or something, so he didn't join us for the climb, so Phil and I set off on our own. We reached the summit at 2:00 and 2:20 Phil and I respectively. What a beautiful view, if one was in condition to appreciate it. The altitude was such that one could hardly care if one slept or not and sleep was the predominant impulse. We reached the hut around 4:30 PM. The ride back to Tlachichuca was a long, slow one lasting 2 impossible hours. We were so tired that we were afraid that we wouldn't awaken in time to catch the 7:00 AM bus to Puebla in order to make the connections with the buses in Mexico to take us home. But we went to sleep anyway. We left Jim at the climbing hut, because he decided that well, maybe he'd better at least try for the summit after coming so far.

After I nearly missed the bus from Puebla to Mexico we arrived in Mexico in plenty of time for our bus north. The bus Phil was taking was to leave at 3:00 PM and Jeff and John also had tickets for it and we were wondering if they would make it and if so where were they. At 10 minutes to 3:00 Jeff and John came running in. They'd had to hitch a ride on a beer truck and it took them to the opposite side of Mexico and they had had a mad dash to catch the bus in time. The truck was empty, too, Jeff commented. I caught my bus at 4:30 PM and exactly 48 1/2 hours later I was thankfully back on American soil. Phil and Jeff and John stopped off at Mazatlan for a bit of relaxation and recreation on their way home. All found their way home one way or another -- bus, thumb, etc. End Part IV.

Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 09:12pm PT
MEXICO 1966 (continued)

However, this is only part of the story. To pick up on the adventures of the tardy 10 on their way to meet Jim and I in Mexico City, here is a short account. They had broken up into groups of two, but somehow kept meeting or kept being left in the same general area! For example, in Palm Springs three groups of hitch-hikers were given rides to the same area by the same delivery boy! One nearly tragic incident occurred that fateful night of the death of the VW van. Phil and Rich had been left by one driver in Mecca (in the middle of the desert) just about dusk. As they were standing by the road trying to decide what to do, e.g., what and how to defend oneself against the hobos and hostile natives in the area, they saw a group of shady characters coming toward them out of the bushes. The light and wind distorted the figures and Phil and Rich decided that they were going to have their first encounter with the environment right off. They unsheathed their ice axes and prepared for the worst. They could hear these strange voices and "drunken" laughter and really got worried! Just as they were on the upswing of their ax strike, Phil recognized one of the other members of the group in the "attackers" and the clash was prevented. Luckily, too, because the other group, composed of Don, Dan, Ken, Wayne, had recognized Phil and Rich and had no idea of the peril that they were in! The crisis passed and they spent the night on the desert. The next day, the big group gave up hitch-hiking and flagged down the Greyhound bus to Mexicali.

Phil and Rich were more daring and lucky, and they were soon on their way in another truck on their way to Mexicali. Soon, however, they heard the driver ask his son for the pistola. What the heck?!!!!! Rick quickly flicked out his switchblade and gripped it tensely. A few anxious moments passed and then out came not the gun but a bottle of pop! Pistola must have been the brand. They finally reached Mexicali and joined the rest of the tardy 10 and boarded the train

Those participating were Don Lashier, Jim Beck, Chris Bernert, John Williams, Wayne Inman, Dan Smith, Phil Boche, John McHugh, Jeff Miner, Ken Scultiere, Rich Black and Sheila Schaeffer.

-- Authored by SHEILA SCHAEFFER, UCLA, Class of 1969

Credit: LilaBiene

Trad climber
May 4, 2012 - 10:35pm PT
I'm honored to share that Shiela Ann Schaeffer was my birth mother, and I'm thrilled to be learning so much about her through her friends in the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers, and, of course, the "Occasional Miseries"!

I've moved the story of how I "found" a connection to Sheila Ann (thanks to BooDawg's post about the Mountaineer's 1969 April Fools Day prank), and also about how I also literally found out who my birth father was (thanks to a thoughtful post by DEE EE), to a separate post on SuperTopo. I'll post the link as soon as I finish the story.

Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 4, 2012 - 11:22pm PT
I was undergrad from '83-85 and grad school from '87-90, so it looks like I timed it perfectly to miss all the fun.

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2012 - 01:50am PT
Bill, Would you be willing to post your 1959 issue on this thread or send it to LilaBiene who is transcribing my issues? After she finishes them, I’ve asked her to send them to Charlotte Brown, Librarian & Archivist, @ the UCLA Library who has said that the University Archives would be happy to receive any of the "Occasional Miseries" to add to the Archives, where they will be specially handled and preserved for generations to come. In addition, would you send your 1960 issue to Ms Brown?

Lovely poem, Norwegian. Thanks so much for your presence here!

Fat Dad: Sorry the club wasn’t there for you when you would have enjoyed the outings and social life.

Toadgas: Thanks for the update on the club. I knew it had succumbed but none of the details. Do you have more information? Who lost it coming off the Nose? He must be in the book, “Off The Wall, Death in Yosemite,” which I’m reading now. Should be easy to find.

John: It DOES sound like the club had folded by the time you got to UCLA. I googled the lyrics to that song, “We’re Losted” and came up with the November, 1957 issue of the UC Hiking Club newsletter, “Bear Track.” It includes references to Charlie Raymond, Chuck Pratt, Dick McCracken, Ray D’Arcy and climbing, caving, and hiking adventures. On page 9 are an introduction to the song and the lyrics. In the introduction, it says that the tune is that of the Salvation Army Song, so it will be familiar to most of the Bruins from our era since we sang the original uncounted numbers of times on our trips. That issue with the lyrics can be found here:


Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2012 - 03:45am PT
Thanks, toadgas, for that information about Kamps. I didn't know he was a Bruin.

BBA: Did you know Bill Dolt Feuerer at all? Did you know what years he was in the Bruin Mountaineers?

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Topic Author's Reply - May 6, 2012 - 01:41am PT
For those who want the amazing behind the scenes story about how these articles from “Occasional Miseries” have come to light, please check out this thread:

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