The Muir CHAOS cal hiking and outdoors society est. 1870
5. EDITOR'S LETTER
26. PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT
7. LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
28. CHILLING IN THE KUMBU
8. WHERE WE WENT
34. TOILET PAPER FREE
10. SPRING BREAK
36. PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
16. JOSHUA AND THE GHOSTS
20. OSTRANDER SKI HUT
46. GOURMET TRIP
Anthony O. & Scott S.
Monice W. & Jared K. Tim Genda
Anthony Ottati Nirvann Khera Ian Martin Ben Carpenter
50. TORRES DEL PAINE
80. MT HOOD
54. LOVE FROM DEATH VALLEY
82. BEGINNERS IN BIG SUR
58. PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT
84. PHOTOGRAPHY SPOTLIGHT
60. NORWEGIANS IN BIG SUR
86. ALPINE NEW ZEALAND
62. CANYONING UTAH
90. CLOUDS REST
66. POINT REYES
94. PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION
70. SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL
102. CHAOS ART
74. MT MUIR
104. SPRING 2019 OFFICERS
Tor FrÃ¸ytvedt Dahl
Nishaad Navkal Frank Boensch Tim Genda
78. LOST COAST Max Menke
Anthony Ottati Katie Lyon
Ben Carpenter Katie Lyon
Dion Andrews Various Various
CHAOS publications by cal hiking and outdoors society
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Ben Carpenter
EDITOR Katie Lyon
SPONSERSHIP Alex Casey
COMPETITIONS Joey Barreto
Mt Hood Summit Photo by Anthony Ottati
Telephone Canyon Waterfall, Zion National Park. Photo by Ben Carpenter
Any views, opinions or recommendations to backpack toilet paper free, are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the club or of the editors. No part of this publication or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without prior consent of the respective author and publisher, unless otherwise indicated. Although information presented in the Muir is, to our knowledge, accurate and credible, authors are students and may not be experts in the respective subject matter. Any complaints about the contents of this publication may be returned to CHAOS via homing pidgion or shouted out of the nearest window. To use the Muir to create an emergency fire: check your surroundings, tear out pages, crumble into ball, place small sticks above paper ball, light with match, when kindling is alight add increasingly bigger sticks. Always practice proper fire safety techniques. 4
From the Editor Californiaâ€? - but our adventurous spirit stayed the same. Old news reports in the Daily Cal describe multiple occasions when CHAOS members were pulled off the Campanile by police after attempting to scale the marble with rock climbing equipment. Now, we prepare to celebrate 150 years of the Hiking club at UC Berkeley. We have been known by many names, but our spirit of adventure and exploration is the same today as it was 149 years ago. This publication is our place to celebrate that spirit of adventure and share what we do in the coolest club on campus. It would not have been possible without the hard work put in by the presidents, the officers, the gear shed organisers, the trip planners, the ride givers, and everyone who puts time into this club to create adventures that shape friendships, push boundaries and create memories.
elcome to the new relaunched edition of the Muir! We have been out of print for a few years now, but we are excited to be back. As many of you know, CHAOS has been around for a long time and has evolved quite a bit over the years. The first Berkeley Hiking Club was founded in 1870 by Joseph LeConte under the name of the University Excursions Party. LeConte would soon become a founding member of the Sierra club, along with the co-founders, Professor Henry Senger, a philologist at Berkeley, and John Muir himself, the great american conservationist. The Sierra club would oppose and ultimately overturn plans to reduce the size of protected land in Yosemite by half, and to halt plans to construct a dam through Hetch Hetchy.
In CHAOS we celebrate all types of adventure, no matter how great or small. In this issue you will find trips ranging from expeditions in Nepal and Patagonia to day trips in Point Reyes and Pinnacles. We want to say thank you to all of those that contributed to this publication, directly or indirectly and for allowing us to share your stories - and that CHAOS spirit, with the UC Berkeley community. Stay adventurous out there,
The University of California Hiking Club became official in 1917 and in the 1940s Bear Tracks - the predecessor to this publication - was established. Hand drawings of bears on mountains followed trip reports banged out on typewriters.
We became CHAOS in 1980 after UC Berkeley clamped down on the copyright of â€œUniversity of
From the Presidents
he 2018-2019 school year has been a great year for CHAOS. As presidents we have worked alongside the rest of the officers to expand many aspects of the club, but also to ensure the longevity of the club.
members to represent CHAOS. We have seen this club grow immensely over the past few years, and we are stoked on the direction yâ€™all are taking it. The fun trip reports, amazing group trips, and life-long friendships that are being formed are something that makes this CHAOS group unique. Remember that these memories will last you a lifetime, and we hope that you take the skills and connections you learn from others and on CHAOS trips for the rest of your life. This club provides invaluable social and recreational value, and we are stoked to continue working to improve this awesome organization.
During the fall semester, the clubâ€™s listserv reached over 1500 people due to heavy recruitment efforts and a new online sign up form on our new website. The fall gourmet trip was two nights for the first time in a while and across the two nights over 100 CHAOTS attended. As presidents, we have decided that the more people that we can get involved in the club, the better. We will see many more trips and new officers if we get more people involved in the club.
We are most proud, however of our efforts to ensure the longevity of the club. CHAOS has been around since 1870, which is especially remarkable given the incredible turn around that college clubs see. We have restructured the officer positions of the club to ensure that the essential club functions will be performed for years to come. Scott has also passed his invaluable institutional knowledge about how to deal with the ASUC down to the younger officers as he is graduating this semester. Especially given some of the dedicated younger officers, we are optimistic that this club will continue to operate for a long time to come.
During the spring semester we set a goal of 3 large officer lead trips. In February and April we had big beginner trips and in March we had our classic gourmet trip. We were also able to restart the DECAL this semester. 30 beginner backpackers took our DECAL and they have all now gone on their first backpacking trips. We are once again extremely grateful for all the work put in by our officers behind the scenes this year. Our gear officers have been digitizing and modernizing the gear shed to allow our members to use our gear as easily and efficiently as possible. Our publicity officer has been hard at work creating a brand new visual identity for the club as well as new shirts and branding for
Your CHAOS Co-Presidents 2018-2019,
Scott and Anthony
PACIFIC CREST TRAIL p.36 LOST COAST p.76
BERKELEY POINT REYES p.66
OSTRANDER SKI HUT p.20 YOSEMITE p.22, p.90
HENRY COE p.46 PINNACLES p.40 MT HOOD, OR p.80 SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL, MN p.70
BIG SUR p.60, p.82
SEQUIOA NP p.16
KUMBU VALLEY, NEPAL p.28
MT TONGARIRO, NEW ZEALAND p.86 TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILE p.50
Where We Went
MT MUIR p.74
ZION p.10, p.62 TOADSTOOLS p.10
DEATH VALLEY p.10, p.54 LAS VEGAS p.10, p.62
JOSHUA TREE p42
GRAND CANYON p.10, p.62
our strangers piled into a car, or food pantry on wheels, on a brisk spring break morning before the habitual layer of Berkeley stress settled, united by nothing but a shared love for adventure and the outdoors. Max — a San Diego runner and lover of Trader Joes’ trail mix — drove the car which soon after became victim to two flat tires, and a broken spare. Ben — a New Zealand photographer studying abroad with a deep-seated love for Mexican food — came prepared for anything with a camping stove so high-tech, that its use was outlawed in California. Alex — a Bostonian with a creative mind for eclectic camping meals — brought the indie music. And Nirvan — an aspiring physicist with a penchant for debunking the complexities of love and college relationships — brought his math textbook … along with a whole lot of compassion. Ripe broccoli and mushrooms toppled out of brown grocery bags, as the four strangers began to loosen up on the eight hour drive to Death Valley, their first stop on a week- long trip that would traverse four states. With only a quick pit stop to buy denatured alcohol for Ben’s heavy duty stove, the group eventually arrived at Ballarat, an old mining village and supply town for the Panamint Mountain mines in the heart of Death Valley. A mile into the three mile stretch to reach Ballarat from the main “road” paved through the valley, the first car tire was gone — absolutely blown. Within thirty minutes, however, Ben and Max had replaced the tire with a spare while Alex and Nirvan explored the abandoned village. Soon after, we embarked to our next stop — Mesquite Flat sand dunes. The sun setting behind the canyons in the distance, glinting off the ripples of sand and emitting streams of gold, bathed the four in warmth as they ran, barefoot, through the soft sands, still warm from a day’s exposure in eighty degree heat. Up and down the dunes, the four raced, not stopping until they reached the highest possible point among the ranges of never ending sand peaks. As the warmth began to drain from the sands with the oncoming of dusk, we retreated to our beloved food pantry on wheels, that took us to our campsite only a few miles away. The differences that started the day quickly turned into opportunities for common ground, thanks to a giant sandbox and the gentle desert sun.
At sunrise the next morning, we sat around the stove and prepared for the day, which took us to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and then to Dante’s Point, one of the highest points in Death Valley. Everything in between was part of a slow ascent to reach the pinnacle: Artist’s Palette, Grand View Arch and Golden Canyon Trail. The heat of the sun exhausted us, and “Here Comes the Sun” from the Beatles that Alex innocently played in the car soon became an unfriendly reality. At sunset, we watched the sun lower behind the valley and retreated from the peak to set up camp. Gusty winds were no threat to the fire from the stove, which nurtured a steaming pot of homemade ramen: udon noodles, shitake, pea shoots, carrots, broccoli and soy sauce. However, sleep proved difficult — as eery winds whipped through the tents throughout the night — leaving us in a sleepy stupor as we disassembled camp and drove Northeast to Zion National Park.
Las Vegas was the intended gas stop on the way to Zion, but turned, rather quickly, into a day affair. About five miles from the Las Vegas strip, the spare tire started to quake, so much so, that onlookers pointed at the wheel to quite visibly demonstrate their concern. The spare tire is made to last for about 50 miles. We had driven on it for about 250 miles. The plan was in motion — before hitting the strip, we would find a tire shop that specialized in Max’s ridiculously custom tires. The plan worked. One hour later, we were back on the strip, ceding to Ben’s wishes to experience an ‘American buffet.’ With that, four ramshackle college students rolled into the casino with red faces salty from the previous day’s sweat and extremely windswept hair. And birkenstocks, of course. Bellies full from the event that was the Las Vegas buffet, we pulled into a campsite on the periphery of Zion National Park in Utah at about 8 p.m. Darkness settling in, we went to bed, as we would wake up half past five in the morning to embark on our next adventure: the infamous Angel’s Landing. A five-mile, strenuous uphill hike, Angel’s Landing is for the fearless; climbers pull themselves up by chains to reach the towering monolith that stands above the Navajo sandstone park. In no time, we were on the first Zion shuttle of the morning, and started our ascent by running the first mile. In about two hours, we had reached the peak, and not without fear, Ben’s knees shook as his trusted camera dangled dangerously from his neck, and Nirvan trailed a safe distance behind, looking down only on occasion.The looks of horror coming from climbers descending the landing was an equally frightening precursor of what was to come. Our five-mile hike turned into about 20 miles when, after Angel’s Landing, we opted to hike a portion of Zion’s West Rim, still partially covered in ice and snow. Hiking soon turned to slipping, and slipping soon turned to a full on snow ball fight, as Max and Nirvan launched snowballs across switchbacks, barely missing Alex as she ran ahead to escape the icy wrath that was destined to come her way. The day didn’t end there. After descending from the rim in the late afternoon, the group sought out the entrance to the Narrows — a river trail. After reaching the start, the group resolved that the water was too icy to continue – despite the fact that Ben and Max soon after traversed the river to reach a secluded waterfall.
At the end of a long day, the car, now smelling pungently of old mushrooms, was a welcome refuge from snow, aching muscles and steep escalades. One last morning in Zion brought spectacular views of what we had achieved the previous day, as we simultaneously looked to the South for the remaining days. The ride from Zion to the Grand Canyon is flat, so when mushroom-cloud rock structures appear out of nowhere on the horizon, we were intrigued. It was the Toadstool National Monument, Alex said. Max stopped the car. Letâ€™s go. The group walked a mile into the park to dwell and prance around the toadstool structures: rocks that had unevenly eroded to form mushroom-shaped rock formations. In the true adventurous spirit of the group, walking around the toadstools was only the beginning of our fun at the park. What started a hike soon became a steep climb, or cling, as the four brazenly climbed a vertical sandstone cliff, crumbling under their very toeholds. Disaster was averted when the four aborted the climbing mission, and continued onwards to Arizona. Two hours later, another stop: Horseshoe Bend. As if we hadnâ€™t learned our lesson from the eroding cliffs at Toadstool Park, we dangled from the edge of the canyon, sticking our heads into the abyss below. Minutes of silence passed, as we stared at was to be comprehended: tiny boats circling the bend, a hawk dipping out of sight, and tourists across the canyon simultaneously staring at and photographing us. We were only brought out of our enchanted stupor when Ben, with his usual photographic eye, directed the rest of us to a ledge where we would appear atop the canyon. You three! He characteristically shouted to get our attention as we danced upon ledges, arms flailing 1,000 feet in the air. It was 7 p.m. and the first evening in the Grand Canyon was characterized by oldies music and a golden sunset that illuminated the cavernous and unscalable interior of the park before us. Continuing the tradition from Horseshoe Bend earlier in the day, the four of us made moves to run about the rim, searching for the best lookouts for the cathedral of canyons in front of us. Shivering from the gusts, we eventually ceded to the cold when the sun sank a considerable distance below the cliffs. So exhausted from the day of travel and adventure, we managed to set up camp about a field of glass in Kaibab Forest, a campground just outside the park. 14
At about 8 a.m., we awoke later than usual to begin our day of hiking — a day that took us to the South Rim of the Canyon where we hiked a six-mile loop from Hermit’s Rest to Dripping Springs. Exhausted from the 3-mile ascent on our way back, we collapsed at Mohave Point, throwing rocks that disappeared into the canyon, to the dismay of onlooking tourists. Before sunset, we were back at our campground, gathering dry wood for a campfire, and preparing for an evening of debate, instigated by the ever-controversial Max and his undying curiosity. The night was a much-needed rest for what would come early the next morning: The Bright Angel and Tonto Trail loop, a 16 to 18 mile trek that would last the entirety of the day.
he had. For Alex, it was the adrenaline of starting and finishing a marathon-long series of hikes with a troupe of adventurers. For Nirvan, it was the feeling of closeness with his mother in Mumbai, who had once traversed mountains. These motivations and mantras, however small, were the building blocks in what got us back up the canyon in the final nine miles, and through hours of car rides bathed in musty mushroom scents. It was these mantras that made the four strangers one collective, one body of friends, that would joke about reserving this week in the future for international adventures to come, no matter the distance. One body of friends, who in these final nine miles, dissected one another’s romantic trials and tribulations, analyzing every break-up and love interest with each switchback.
At the start of the Bright Angel trail, we bounded down for six miles, switching back on the dusty trail, as the heat of the descent started to burn of the cold mist that had settled on the rim. Big smiles and full energy levels, thanks to several packets of oatmeal, we reached the Colorado River in a matter of hours, nearly cutting the anticipated time in half. As we basked in the sun and ate our lunch by the river, occasionally jumping up to relish in a much needed yoga pose, we were reminded of the aspects that brought us to the specific place in time. For Max, it may have been the desire to reach the Colorado River after passing up a rafting trip with his dad so many years ago. For Ben, it was the thrill of exploring as many of America’s most precious sites in the time
In the final ten hours of the car ride home, with a pit stop in Joshua Tree after another flat tire, we ended the trip where we ultimately began — in a car back to Berkeley, shaking with sounds of Queen and Coldplay blaring from Max’s aux cord. Just without the mushrooms.
Writing by Alex Casey Photography by Alex Casey and Ben Carpenter 15
Joshua and the Ghosts Monice and Jared
as the grounds are now owned by a private firm who occasionally rents the setting to stage films. At this point, we planned a clandestine operation to get past security and into the town. We were able to enter either due to our Holmesian skill or indifference on behalf of the security. Once inside it was a place to behold — the old industrial works framed a landscape that can only be described as extra-terrestrial. Here we decided against our best judgment entering abandoned mine shafts, and scaling buildings which after years of neglect were structurally unsound. We left the Martian landscape of the foundry and entered the suburban portion of the town. This was
e arrived at Joshua Tree National Park in the evening for our first night. Exhausted after hours of driving, we prepared a campfire at the dispersed camping site located due south of the park boundary. After waking we were able to prepare a delightful breakfast which consisted of eggs, oatmeal, and nuts. In our first complete day, we decided to see sites outside of the park. The area surrounding the park offers a diversity of sites: crazy architecture, solar farms, practitioners of desert yoga, and an abundance of military vehicles due to local military bases and the Patton Memorial Museum. As a rule of thumb in the desert, you should learn to suspend your disbelief. We did not abide by this commandment and our first site took us by surprise. We decided to explore a ghost town and rather than finding a vacant town with the occasional tourist as we’d expect, we found a frantic production crew and a town full of “Milk” trucks. We were perplexed thinking we landed in the middle of a ‘Got Milk commercial’ (However we later learned this was a photo shoot for a makeup company called MILK). From this point, we departed to our second ghost town. This location maintained a small security presence 17
an ominous site as the town was a spitting image of postapocalyptic suburbia. To make the scene complete and eerier the grounds contained live rubber bullets and spent concussion grenades. While exploring the town we were on edge as we had to avoid the security presence in the town. Here we had some close encounters to being discovered, on a few occasions an old Lincoln Continental would patrol the barren streets
forcing us to crouch behind bushes, dive into washes, or hide in decaying houses. Perhaps what was most unnerving and surprising about the town is that FedEx delivered to the locale. By the time we were finished exploring the nooks and crannies of the park dusk had arrived, and we decided to make our way back to Joshua Tree. We arrived at our intended campsite, but little did we know we had quite a night in front of us. We arrived at Jumbo Rocks campground which maintains a dual first come/ first serve system and online reservation system. Little did we know the site we selected had been booked in advance. The siteâ€™s occupant arrived later in the night and after conversing with them we learned that they were a graduate student at the Energy and Resources Group. We migrated to a different site and began the onerous process of once again setting up camp. The next day was our first day to experience the bounty of Joshua Tree National Park. We spent much of the day climbing and hiking around Hemingway Buttress. We then hiked around Hidden Valley to watch the sun retreat for the night. We then settled into our new campsite moving from Jumbo Rocks campground to Ryan Campground. Ryan campground was incredible; it was a smaller campsite and lacked the fifth wheelers which littered Jumbo Rocks. The site surrounds two large rock formations which were a blast to climb and served as a great vantage point to see the park. Here we had a campfire, cooked up a magnificent feast, stargazed, and got a good nightâ€™s rest.
A few folks in the party braved the cold and slept 18
outside. In the morning their bags were covered in a layer of frost. To begin the next day, a few members of the party climbed the rocks and watched Apollo bring the sun out. The day was mostly devoted to hiking; the first hike headed south to see some dilapidated remains of Ryan House and Lost Horse Well. Next, we hiked up one of Joshua Tree's many mini-mountains, which from a distance look as if they were made by kids in a rock stacking competition. This climb was strenuous to say the least as we scrambled up giant talus, however once we reached the top, we were rewarded by a panoramic view of the park. Throughout this hike we were able to see lots of the parkâ€™s fauna. We were unable to spot the iconic bighorn sheep; however, we did discover a bighorn sheep skull on the hike.
We decided to end our trip in the Big Lebowski fashion by bowling at Yucca Bowl in Yucca Valley. Our efforts were put to shame by one of our guys nicknamed Das Bowl who was relentlessly striking and hitting spares. From here, we departed homeward. This trip was made possible by some cool folks: Hannah, Monice, Allison, Hugh, Lars, and Chris and the CHAOS officers, Writing and Photography by Monice Wong and Jared Kelly
For the final hike of the day, we ventured out to the Forty-Nine Palms Oasis. Here in an arid landscape, we discovered pools bordered by California Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera). This area is notorious for being a location where bighorn sheep like to congregate, however, we did not see any. Rather we encountered a horde of crows who were irritated by our encroachment upon their watering hole.
Ostrander Ski Hut Tim Genda
he Ostrander Ski Hut in Yosemite was initially built in 1941 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and intended to be one of a series of huts along the Sierra Crest. With the start of the World War, however, the rest of the huts were never built. Accessing the hut requires a 10 mile ski trek from the Badger Pass Ski Area on climbing skins. Breaking in new boots meant plenty of blisters by the time we made it up to Ostrander Lake at 8,500 ft. We took Old Glacier Point Road out to the Ghost Forest Loop and up Bridalveil Creek Ski Trail. No one else was taking that route, so it wasn't particularly easy to follow. We ended up bushwhacking a bit and crossing a few streams, flowing rapidly from the quickly melting snow. The highlight was after arriving and resting for a bit, climbing up onto Horse Ridge overlooking the hut, with a view of Half Dome and layers of mountains behind it. We were able to book a night at Ostrander after a last minute extension of the season (weekend spots fill up quickly during the normal season), and were lucky enough to show up after a bit of fresh snow, followed by a warm day, which softened the hard snow below, making for some fantastic turns down the slopes below Horse Ridge and out onto the frozen lake. The wood-burning stove kept the hut warm that night, and the next morning we woke up in the dark and climbed back up the ridge to watch the sunrise. The snow had re-frozen the night before, making the climb up a bit slick and our turns down the ridge less thrilling, but getting to ski at sunrise was a new bliss. We dropped down and made our way across the lake and back into the hut for coffee and breakfast before a 10 mile trek back out, by way of Horizon Ridge. By the time we reached the ridge, the sun had warmed the snow, and we made our way down with fast turns on the perfect spring corn snow. We weaved through the sparse pine trees, stopping ever so often to take in the views of Half Dome and Mt Starr King.
Writing and Photography by Tim Genda 21
Yosemite Joey McKenna
ver a three-day portion of Spring Break, two friends and I decided to make a last minute trip to Yosemite Valley. None of us had cars, but the trip couldnâ€™t have been any easier to plan. Day one of the trip started with Johan, Yoav, and I running to the Amtrak station with our camping gear, hoping that our 7:00am train wouldnâ€™t leave us behind. Luckily, we got there in time and got on the train with time to spare. Eventually, the train transferred us to the YARTS and we slowly made our way into the park. Hills of poppies unfolded in front of us, forming gradients of orange that flowed over the hills like lava. Eventually, the bus made its way past El Capitan and dropped us off by Yosemite Lodge. We quickly ran past fields of tourists crowding the Lodge area and over to Camp 4, with diminishing hopes of getting a campsite. Luckily, Camp 4 was relatively empty and we got a site.
We first checked out the Swan Slabs, a notorious climbing area for beginners, to watch some climbers. We proceeded to make our way over to the base of Yosemite Falls, where we stood in the chilling mist that saturates the air around the pools. We strolled over to the Merced River and enjoyed watching the face of Half Dome turn bluish-purple as the sun set behind us. We soon went to sleep and woke up early the next morning. After waking up, we headed over to Happy Isles and started our way up the trail to Nevada Falls. On the way up, the entrance to the Mist Trial was closed, so we took the John Muir Trail up. Heavy fog filled the Valley and it was difficult to see too far. With the trail snowed over, we made our way up the snow banks. Eventually, this spit us back out at the Mist Trail, which we used to navigate over to the edge of Vernal Falls.
Upon setting up tents, we realized that one of the CHAOS tents was lacking the pole that held up the vestibule. Fortunately, being the crafty CHAOTs that we were, we fashioned a pole out of sticks and climbing tape. With camp set up by 2:00pm, we were able to explore our immediate vicinity.
The area above Vernal Falls, around Emerald Pool, began to have its fog clear up. We admired the neon-green lichen that coated the granite, as well as the puzzle-piece patterning off Jeffrey Pine bark. From here, we continued on towards Nevada Falls. After making it to the top of the falls, we looked out upon the valley that drops off sharply at the edge of the falls. The power of the water’s flux resonated through the rocks and could be felt through my knees. Looking out brought nostalgia of the times that I’d been there before, with the grandeur of the Valley never ceasing to take my breath away. Yoav had similar feelings since he grew up with Yosemite experience too, but Johan was just experiencing it for the first time. The feeling of looking out over the granite valley for the first time brings new meaning to life. That day, we took our time and weren’t walking at a quick pace, allowing us to experience each scene with greater depth. As we made our way down back to the Valley it 24
began pouring down pinto bean sized drops of rain.
getting charred and he only had a pair of sweats remaining for the trip. Johan’s first camping trip had interesting adversities, ranging from the discomfort of sleeping through the cold on wet ground, to burning his day pants.
By the time we got to camp, we realized that the water saturated through the bottoms of our tents, forming pools of water. My sleeping pad was an inflatable one, so I could float on top of the water; however, Johan was less fortunate. He was on a foam pad, which sank into the pool. We wrapped his already soaked, but wrung out, sleeping bag with garbage bags in an attempt to slow further absorption of water. Rain pelted the tent through the night and Johan couldn’t get dry. Periodically through the night, he would jump startle and be shivering, so we would try to soak up some of the water off of him with anything we could.
After a few hours of dealing with wet gear, we packed up the site and did a short day hike around the Valley Floor. We relaxed around Mirror Lake and stared up at Half Dome. As the hours past, we headed back to Yosemite Lodge to catch the YARTS leaving the Valley. On the way home, the experiences from the previous couple days gave me the energy that I needed to finish up the semester in Berkeley. As we made it back into the city, Berkeley felt tiny in comparison to the magnitude of the Valley’s walls, letting me know that I’d have to eventually come back to Yosemite.
As morning approached, the rain eased up and I made a fire to dry off our clothing. Johan got some dry clothes from the bear box and warmed up in the Camp 4 bathroom. When he came back, he placed his wet jeans by the fire and stopped watching them. The jeans ended up
Writing by Joey McKenna Photography by Joey McKenna and Johnan Hallin 25
Photographer Spotlight: Tim Genda
We left the a Bay filled with heavy smoke due to large wildfires throughout California for the annual CHAOS Mount Whitney summit hike. We hoped to escape the smoke, and we did mostly. But
there was a light haze all through the Eastern Sierra still, which made the views of the nearby peaks somewhat surreal. - Sierra Range, California
Before setting out on trail, we spotted a couple of birds braving the waves on this rock just a bit offshore. I took the photo from highway one. - Yosemite, California
Chilling in the Kumbu Ben Carpenter
here are many wonderful comforts in the world of modern aviation: reclining padded seats, inflight entertainment, and a pleasing feeling of knowing you are kept safe by the very cutting edge of aviation technology.
high mountain walls. The runway lies parallel to the valley so the final descent of the flight is a screaming right turn. Our plane smacks into the runway and launches up the hill before coming to a screeching stop. Our Himalayan adventure begins.
Our plane had none of these.
The cold is the first thing that hits you here. We had chosen to go in the winter; the settled air around the mountains won't bring snow until the warmer months. Crystal clear views reward those willing to brave the below zero temperatures. We left the airport and met our sherpa guides, Ang Danu, old and wise with years in the mountains, and Tshering (Chur - ring), young and a loose cannon. We left the airport, entering a valley was more idellic than I expected this high up: green grass, a deep blue river that meanders amongst the pines and colourful tea houses that dot the small villages. It is a scene full of life, people and a cacophony of animals.
The little turboprop screamed and whined as it threaded its way between the tall Himalayan peaks, its metal fuselage creaking and flexing as it lurched violently from air pocket to air pocket. We were entering into the Khumbu valley. A region still mostly inaccessible due to the extreme terrain of the Himalayas. Our aircraft saving us the multi-day walk in. We were flying into Lukla, a small village squeezed in between the sheer face of the peak above and the sheer cliff leading to the valley floor below. The small strip of land the village perched on was not long enough for a traditional runway. Engineers had built a small earthen strip that angles sharply up at stop the planes momentum, and to save us from hitting the wall at the end of the runway. The earthen surface was paved to asphalt in 2001 but the airport maintained its rating as the world's most dangerous, with worryingly frequent updates to the accidents and incidents section on its Wikipedia page.
We spent three days moving slowly up the valley. Altitude is a big factor here and we had to move slowly as we spent a large amount of time moving and sleeping up in the mountains. Altitude sickness is a real threat here, a person our family knew ours was up here a year ago and was she was medivaced off the mountain before the condition blinded her. We arrived in the town of Namche Bazar soon after. It is a surprisingly large and thriving community for one accessible only by donkey train. This would be our last place to rest before we moved upwards amongst the largest peaks on earth.
These are not pleasant thoughts for someone crammed into the small seats in the back of the aircraft as the plane bounced up and down in the rising air currents. The little plane seemed destined to fall out of the sky before even approaching the deadly runway. The walls closed in around us on our approach, funneled into the corridor of 29
Leaving Namche Bazar, the forest changed. Gone were the large pines and forests, replaced with bare earth and windswept grass. We climbed onto one of the ridges while making our way towards Khunde, a small village where we would stay at Ang Danus housewhere his wife waited for us. As we made our way up the ridge, eagles soared above us and circled around our heads. Far away toward the end of the valley, a black triangle began to poke out behind the Nuptse ridge. Everest, the highest point on earth.
Further along the ridge, we came to three white shrines, to remember Sir Edmund Hillary and his wife and daughter. This valley was special to us New Zealanders, our fellow countryman Sir Ed was the first to climb Everest along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay during the 1953 British expedition. Now his memorial sits in silence here. Sir Ed is a hero to the local people, since after he summited the highest mountain on earth, he returned to build schools and hospitals and the runway where we began this story. We descended off the ridge and were taken in by a proud Ang Danu to stay at his home and meet his wife. The homes up here are bare, and there is little in the way of comforts. The rooms were a small dark cavern; mine was painted pink which contrasted with the white of my breath as it swirled up towards the roof. Everything here was functional; space on the donkeys is limited so no decorative items make their way up the mountain. Despite its bare interior and cold halls, Ang Danuâ€™s house was full of life and energy. We crammed around the fire, 30
always spun clockwise for good luck. One such monastery we passed was host to the famous yeti scalp of Khumjung. Said to be 300 years old, this scalp sits in a locked box in the monastery and is taken out in religious festivals to
burning yak dung due to the lack of wood at this altitude. Along the walls lit by the flickering light, ice axes were hung, reminders of his summiting of Everest with two expeditions in his younger days, alongside faded photos of the teams he was a part of. As his wife brought out momos (Tibetan dumplings) and Dal Bhat (Dal = Lentil curry, bhat = rice) he told us stories about the mountains he climbed, the people he climbed with and a life of adventure in the mountains. His favorite photos, though, were his children's government school ID cards pushed into the metal clasps around the edge of the small mirror at the end of the room. His life spent climbing and trekking gave him enough money to put his three children through school and all three were now at universities overseas.
keep the village safe from yetis and other evil omens. It was must've been a successful ritual, as we did not see a yeti for the entire trip. Moving further up the valley, the scale of the landscape grew. We were surrounded by some of the worlds largest peaks: Ama Dablam to our left, Tabuche to our right and ever watching, Everest and Lhotse at the very head of the valley.
The next day we headed further up the valley. Here the limits of oxygen mixed with the cold nights start to wreak havoc on your body. The things you can easily do at a lower elevation, trekking wise, become long and difficult. Simple things like getting out of bed makes blood rush to your head and your sinuses quiver with fear. It didn't help to watch Tsuring bounce along the trail with ease, his sherpa genes allowing his body to process oxygen at a much lower rate than us gasping lowlanders.
Here at our final village of the trip, we arrived after a long hard days trek to Dingboche. As we arrived, the harshness of our day was forgotten as a large contingent of puppies rolled throughout the one street in the town like a bad narrative cliche. I was in a state of stunned disbelief as I set there in the setting sun playing with excited little dogs
Even this high up, religion was still everywhere as we passed colourful monasteries and miles of prayer wheels, 31
while the parents slept in the dust nearby. When the sun sets at this altitude of 4,410 metres (14,470 ft) everything gets bitterly cold. In the lodge where we stayed, the walls were insulated by rocks rammed in between thin sheets of metal.. Here the temperature was quickly dropping to its overnight low of -23Â°C (-9.4Â°F). My camera was struggling at these temperatures, its auto focus taking seconds now. It wirred and clunked after several days in temperatures far below the inside of your freezer. Gloves were mandatory. The metal of the door handles, the camera body, and the zips on my pack would all bite at any bare skin that made contact. As I lay in my bed, my breath rose in a silver trail sparkling as it crystallized, freezing on contact with the cold ceiling. When we woke, we knew that today would be our hardest. We would be climbing to our highest point, a knoll that lay just over 5100m (16,700 feet). Here the altitude was playing havoc with my body. As we left the village, my head instantly began pounding. Blood swirled around the edges of my vision, Iw was struggling to see, my eyes slowly going black under the strain of intense exercise. I was gasping and wheezing on the ridge. The valley on either side of me was one of the most beautiful sites on earth but in that moment, I was totally unconcerned with it. The physical pain was not helped by Tsuring, who was obviously a bit bored with our slow pace and decided to run straight up the side of the mountain. Hours later, we arrived at the summit and collapsed on the rocks. A white sunlit prayer flag pole fluttered in the soft breeze, basking in the sunshine which beamed down through the mountains. The tall peaks still loomed ever higher around us as we stood there on the roof of the world. I was told how beautiful this place was and it isn't until you are here that it fully hits you. The places, the animals and the wonderful people all make this one of the most special places on earth. Four days later and I am back crammed into the rear of the tiny turboprop. The pilots are rocking the plane forward and backwards to pull every ounce of power out of the engines. We sit at the top of our ramped runway that quickly ends into nothingness, halted only by the steep walls of the valley opposite, worryingly close. The fasten
seatbelt sign comes on, as if a seatbelt could save you if this plane does anything other than textbook in this environment. The final rock pitches the plane over the lip of the ramp and the plane tilts forward like the start of a rollercoaster. We pick up speed as we hurtle down the slope. The old Nepali woman is praying into the back of her seat. Maybe I should do the same. Writing and Photography by Ben Carpenter
The Whys and Hows of Going Toilet-PaperFree in the Backcountry Ellese Nguyen
ny connoisseur of the outdoors is familiar with the term “Leave No Trace.” When outdoor recreation began to shift in the mid-20th century from being an extreme sport only for the most experienced backcountry hikers to a leisure weekend activity, the concept of “Leave No Trace” began. Its coinage is rooted in the fundamental idea of educating people on their impact on nature and how to minimize it. What I will dive into is rule #3 of the seven principles of Leave No Trace: “dispose of waste properly.”
Not only is going toilet paper free better for the environment, but it is also more ultralight! For those most dedicated to the ultralight lifestyle, toilet paper alternatives can range from snowballs, to leaves, to even rocks if you are feeling cheeky. But for those who don’t feel ready to completely ditch the traditional bathroom luxuries, a bidet will be your next greatest piece of gear. What works best is a plastic squeeze bottle just like the ones used in chemistry labs. They always weigh less than 6 ounces, and most importantly, create an precise and high pressure stream to sufficiently clean every nook and cranny. All you have to do is dig your hole, poop, and spray clean. If you sprayed correctly there should be no poop particles left and you can use a handkerchief to dry up.
Human is not like animal poop - we ingest processed foods unlike horses or goats that eat grasses, so our poop can take far longer to break down and can also be potentially harmful for the environment. But luckily, it is easy to properly do your business in the woods! Go 200+ feet away from water, trails, and campsites and dig a hole at least 6 inches deep for all the goods (including toilet paper) - it is that easy (despite seeing it regularly on the sidewalks of San Francisco).
If that didn’t convince you to go toilet paper free, don’t worry. The principles of Leave No Trace range from making sure you are a prepared hiker, to being respectful to other visitors around you. Getting rid of toilet paper in the backcountry is just one way to minimize human impact on our public lands which, now more than ever, need to be preserved and advocated for. Having fun outdoors and respecting the lands that you are using going hand in hand - inform yourself on how your behavior in the outdoors impacts the environment, because every tiny step towards reducing your wilderness footprint, every square of toilet paper saved at home, makes a difference in the conservation of our public lands.
I was disappointed to see so much poop and toilet paper in places it should not have been - close to lakes and rivers, next to hiking trails, high altitude mountain peaks above treeline. This summer when I hiked the John Muir Trail I spotted numerous wads of toilet paper with a rock put on top - they looked almost like white flowers on the trail. So how do we resolve the issue of toilet paper and poop not being properly disposed of in the backcountry? Well one step in the right direction is to go toilet paper free!
Writing and leading photo by Ellese Nguyen 35
Pacific Crest Trail
y parents drove me to the trailhead and dropped me off, it was weird to finally see the monument in person after seeing so many pictures and videos of it posted online. As I was starting an elated southbounder emerged from the trail and hugged the monument. She had gotten off trail for hip replacement in October and she had just come back to finish the last few hundred miles of the trail. I didnâ€™t want to sit around too long, I had 2650 miles of trail in front of me and only 102 days to hike it, so after saying goodbye to my mom and dad, I started walking north...
Writing and Photography by Anthony Ottati 39
Pinnacles Nirvann Khera
aving been to many national parks over Spring Break on a previous CHAOS trip, our group of four was now addicted, and as the next weekend came around, we wanted more. We looked at the best candidate for a nearby, small national park: Pinnacles. We left at 8 in the morning (which of course means 9 by the time everyone rolls out of bed), and got there by afternoon. We had just seen the movie Free Solo the night before so we were very excited to get our finger muscles jammed into some of the kinder rocks that we saw. We ended up hiking a 10 mile route which included a detour into Balcones Caves, a long stretch along a river in the valley, and then a slow climb up a ridge into the more touristy peaks of the park. It was a sunny day, and there wasn't much shade, The rest of my crew and their lack of genetically abundant melanin, had their sunscreens working very hard for them. The park itself was small and yet and full of surprises. We slid down the moist, slippery, dark caves, picnicked next to a river in the shade, and climbed up steep rocky inclines amongst spectacular rock formations. Overall, Pinnacles is a wonderful park for a day out, for those who want a quick adventure without compromising at the peak.
Writing by Nirvann Khera Photography by Ben Carpenter, Katie Lyon 41
Sequoia Ian Marten
s part of my never-ending desire to see more of California’s diverse ecosystems, I planned a trip in October 2018 to see the largest trees in the world: the giant sequoias. Accompanying me would be my girlfriend Katya, our close friend Erin and her boyfriend Bryn.
average telephone pole laying down. It is two giraffes wide! We return to the car and drive toward the giant tree grove, finding it at the end of a long dirt road. We get out and do our final packing, removing unneeded gear such as the rain flies (there was a 10% chance of rain), and extra food to lighten our loads. We plan our loop using the trail map and set off into the wilderness.
Our goal that weekend was to spend some time backpacking through and around these majestic trees. So, in classic fashion, I left packing until 30 minutes before our agreed upon departure time and threw some clothing and gear into my Osprey backpack.
Our hike is perfectly blissful. Hiking through the giant forest is so tranquil. Under a group of sequoias, Erin starts throwing pinecones at Bryn while he tries to hit them with a stick. Within a minute, we have imagined a baseball field with 3 sequoias as the bases. Erin throws two strikes by Katya and on the third pitch, Katya wacks the pine cone into the “outfield”. She squeals and runs the bases, backpack bouncing with each step pack. Laughing all the way, she touches the first, second, and third sequoia while Erin tracks down the pine cone. I run to home plate. With a shout of excitement Erin throws the pinecone to me and I turn to tag Katya out at home, only to realize that she is
We set off from Berkeley and five hours later we pass the sign heralding our entrance into Sequoia National Park. We find a campground near the entrance of the park. The next morning, we drive across the park and stop to see the world’s largest tree, General Sherman. Hiking along the trail to see Sherman, we find the “footprint” of Sherman delineated by bricks showing how much ground the tree covers. It measures 37 feet in diameter, longer than the
A disappointed look ends my pleas. They resume their discussion. “We could try over by that tree under the branches.” “No it’s too slanted. But maybe in between that cluster of trees?” “That’s not that covered and it could maybe fit one tent at most, I think across the river is the best bet.” I interrupt. “Guys I feel like you are totally missing the point: We could sleep inside Sequoias!” I tremble with excitement. Everyone laughs, ignoring my comment. The discussion of where to put the tent continues. already laughing with ecstasy. An inside the park home run. Eventually it is decided that we should try put our tents in a covered area across the river. We head over and find that only one tent can fit. Erin finally concedes that Katya and I can place our tent over in the sequoia but we have to return across the river to make dinner so as to not disturb the couple. I am ecstatic. Katya and I immediately clear
We continue our hike in a lackadaisical fashion, stopping to enjoy the nature whenever we please. It starts drizzling and we immediately come across a fallen sequoia that we take refuge in. The hollowed out trunk is high enough that we can stand up in it. How lucky! We finish our hike at a river, next to two huge scorched sequoias. Large sections have been carved out by fire, leaving a hardened black charcoal finish. Most of the sequoias have been licked by flames, but these two have the two largest excavations we have seen so far. They look like you could fit a car inside the burnt out areas. A couple wearing rain jackets and rain pants have already staked out a campsite right on the river by the two sequoias. They tell us there is a campsite just 100 yards down the river that is perfect for us. We look for it but can’t find it. The light rain that has been threatening us all day builds more and we realize we need to find a sheltered area because we left our rain flies in the car. The others start discussing how we could rig emergency blankets into rain flies. An idea forms in my head. “We can sleep inside those two Sequoias! They are perfectly burnt out so they fit a tent each.” “Ian we can’t just pitch tents right next to those people. They didn’t come all the way out here to sleep 50 feet away from someone else.” “I know but these are the biggest trees in the world: We could sleep inside of Sequoias!” “We just can’t do that.” “Erin it would be –“ “Dude.” 44
the area inside the larger sequoia and pitch our tent. It is incredible! Our two person tent fits easily. I snap pictures from every angle of her and the tent in the soft golden light of sunset. It is the coolest campsite I have ever seen. We join Erin and Bryn on the other side of the river. They are worried. Their tent is barely covered and the drizzle has intensified. They ask us about the size of the other sequoia and if they can fit their tent inside. As we discuss, thunder claps loudly above, and a bright flash alerts us to the ensuing downpour.
fly and carrying a sopping wet tent across a river to find the best campsite ever or being the well prepared adult with a rain jacket and rain pants like the couple we met, I would choose sleeping in a tent with puddles. I was stoked by the fact we were living a great story and we didn’t know what ridiculous turn of events would happen next. I think all Cal Hiking and Outdoor Society members want to upturn the well-ordered life we have in Berkeley and inject a little disorder, or dare I say chaos, into our lives. Sometimes that chaos leads them to taking refuge from a thunderstorm in giant sequoias!
Bryn asserts, “We have to make a decision now.” Erin agrees and suggests moving the tent across the river. It would require us to take out all our their sleeping pads, bags, and personal gear from the tent and carry it across the fallen tree over the river. We pause to contemplate how to carry it all. The sky starts unleashing steady rain urging us to action. Everyone grabs the gear. I grab the tent. Along the way, I have to throw the tent over a 6 foot fallen tree. I reach the fallen log over the river and enlist some help from Katya to carry a sopping wet tent over a slippery tree log over a mountain stream. I love every second of it. We place the tent in the second Sequoia and Erin starts drying it off with toilet paper. Erin and Bryn are worried all of their sleeping gear and clothing was soaked by moving it during the rain. I hover over them trying to find a way to help but they are too busy and stressed. I join Katya to make chili mac for dinner. After a few minutes, Erin and Bryn join. There is enough room in our tree for our tent and all four of us to sit around the camp stove. We all sit quietly huddled around the camp stove, extremely damp and slightly cold. The rain is blowing through burnt out gaps in the sides of the trees and keeping us moist. “This is so so awesome, this is perfect!” I exclaim. “This exactly how I wanted this trip to turn out. We are in the sequoias! I never feel cold for more than a minute in Berkeley. You can always just walk into a building or put on a jacket. Right now, I am cold, and I don’t know when I will be warm. It is nice to feel uncomfortable: we never do in the modern day.” “Ian, I really can’t hear this right now” Erin says. I can hear the frustration in her voice. She is tired and cold and wet. But I mean it. If I could choose between being the stupid college kids getting caught in a thunderstorm without a rain
Writing and Photography by Ian Marten 45
Gourmet Trip Ben Carpenter
eld once every semester, the gourmet trip is a chance for Chaots to take a chill hike, flex their cooking skills and relax while enjoying Henry Coe State Park.
The walk to the campsite is quite short and soon enough, we were setting up tents amongst the old trees. We had several hammocks, so the idea was formed to construct a quad-hammock: the pinnacle of CHAOS engineering in comfort. We grabbed four hammocks and quickly strung them up, one above the next. CHAOS members slowly climbed into them, trusting the construction of one engineer and one architecture major, until one person too many jumped in. The dead tree that we had used for one of the sides let off a loud crack and began to tilt alarmily towards us. Chaots spilled out everywhere, and the hammocks were relocated to a less precarious position.
Our group - consisting of myself, Max, Katie, Sean and Patrick - was ready for the challenge and planned to cook the most amazing burgers seen by humanity using only a camping stove and blind optimism. A late night run to safeway preempted an early morning start as we piled into Max’s car and headed down the freeway to Henry Coe. Katie went through my Spotify and chastised me for my love of overwhelmingly male 70’s rock singers, while Max kept the car distracted by repeatedly inciting debate and trying to prove that the earth was flat.
As dusk fell, the main event began and camping stoves were fired up in preparation for the food ahead. There were meals of all shapes and sizes. Anthony and Ari made some “Venetian eggs”, there were curries, fancy mushroom soups, all sorts of amazing delicacies.
On arrival we piled out and met Anthony and Ari, who were hauling large bags of wood over their heads for the bonfire later. Anthony, in his quest to convert us all into ultralight fanatics, started with my water bottles and began to rip off all the plastic. Having finished his mission, we set off into the park. It was a pleasant day as well, with the air blowing through rolling hills and green trees and with the cloudless blue sky soaring above us.
Our burgers were going surprisingly well until we thought we could be extra fancy and toast the buns over the fire. Katie, Max and Ari sat around trying to toast them using sticks over the charring embers. A few buns were sacrificed into the fire and a few were left for slightly too long (charred to death) but overall they turned out well. 47
Feeling adventurous, they even cooked a few patties over the fire balancing them over several sticks, which turned out extra crispy. We can only hope they were cooked all the way through. Once filled with bacon, onion, lettuce and a experimental burger sauce we sat around in our own food heaven, marveling at our creation. As the clock ticked closer to midnight, we left the campground for the traditional swim across Bullfrog Lake. A silhouetted horde of Chaots wandered down the track. On the way there we passed an illuminated sign, surrounded by cheap dollar store fairy lights pointing to another campside. GGG read the first side but when flipped over, the dripping black paint read: Free Hugs, do you trust us? We quickly moved on from the creepy sign and arrived at the lake, which was now jet black under the pale moonlight. Bullfrogs hopped away from the light of our headlamps and the members who were attempting the swim were psyching themselves up for the lake. I took some convincing but was soon standing there on the edge with the rest of the officers and some brave Chaots. Anthony and Ari, the bravest amongst us, were the first in and we all piled in after. I dived in headfirst and my body convulsed in shock as the icy water was far colder than I expected. I came up gasping for air and tried to keep up with the main pack, heading towards the opposite bank which was now looking a lot further away than it had from the shoreline. We fought our way over to the bank and stood there, heaving air shivering in the moonlight. We may have been freezing and shivering but there was a sense of pride amongst the small group that made it across and high fives and cheering greeted the final swimmers as they splashed their way in. Our small party arrived back, and the towel brought by the single member that had thought ahead was shared by all 11 of us. We met the larger group and then headed back from the lake to the campsite. Some of the officers hung back as we wanted to check out the creepy free hugs sign. We found the turn off and wandered up the path. There, instead of the expected sight
of ritualistic chanting by robe wearing hippies, we found a group of older hikers. They were part of a group who built their own gear and were on their annual trip to talk about said gear and explained it to us as we tried to warm ourselves around their fire. We made our way back to the camp and some officers decided to stay up and try the sunrise challenge; i.e staying up all night, while the rest of us hit the tents. As I lay there, sprawled on my sleeping pad, the bursts of conversation and laughter mixed with the final rounds of Ari and Max cooking something with the fire were heard through the thin tent walls. The sounds of another successful gourmet trip.
Writing by Ben Carpenter Photography by Ben Carpenter and Natalie Kim 49
Joshua and the Ghosts Torres del Paine
ast year I walked 'The Circuit' (aka the “O”), in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile
Since it was summer in Patagonia, it was only dark 11pm5am; I never touched my headlamp. On my second day, I saw some really exceptional glacial lake views. Eight miles into the day, I accidentally fell asleep on a rock in the sun for two hours and was woken up by two Israeli guys who had left camp 4 hours after me (to sleep in, drink espresso, and cook 4 liters of lentils). We finished the day together and set up at a truly stunning camp in the shadow of a glacier and surrounded on three sides by water. I later learned they’re so much faster than me because they go downhill at a sprint, prancing on rocks with their arms flailing and yelling, which they called “Jack Sparrowing”. We saw a fox and a few more wild horses.
Tl;dr. This park rocks. You can drink water straight from the streams. The lakes, hills, and glaciers made me unironically think to myself “I’ve seen the best nature” after I finished the hike. It is also wildly commercialized on the W especially, and many people with no hiking experience do it. In early December, I hitchhiked to Puerto Natales, the nearest city to the Torres Del Paine. After several days of harassing a permit company and hiding from my vaguely evil workaway host in a gin distillery, I was set to start my nine-day trek. I had sprained my right ankle in Buenos Aires two months prior, and my left ankle in Lothlorien co-op five months prior. Relative proximity to Patagonia was the main reason I took my semester off to go to Argentina, so I never considered skipping the trek despite my increasingly frail ankles. The hike started off through rolling hills highlighted with sporadic and gentle hail, then through some foresty areas and vast solitude in a huge valley. I also chilled among a dozen wild horses, which are theoretically cool and in reality scary.
The third day was less than ideal; the fox ate the vast majority of my food. I did not take the proper steps and I do not want to talk about it. Several nice Canadians gave me a bunch of chocolate, which sustained me through the short but steep and rainy day. The trail went over rivers on a few high bridges and I got my first big valley views of the expansive forest and dozens of waterfalls. There was also a very windy close-up glacier view. I got to camp and flirted—could’ve just been pity, but I credit my Spanish skills— my way to a free dinner and breakfast. Different nice Canadians gave me CLIF bars, which do not exist where I’d been living and were a real treat. It was rainy but at this point on day three I learned that other people had been showering?! I gave it a go but it was freezing and miserable so I gave up the pretense of having shame after that.
At camp—you can only sleep in very well established camps with the couple dozen people- one of the Chilean guides I befriended gave me a beer chilled a river( a lot of people do the trek with guides and porteros) and I met more Americans than I’d seen in months.
and ice and needed to stare at my feet. Cresting the top of the John Gardner Pass, I saw the massive expanse of the ice field for the first time. The constant 100 km/hour winds hurtled icy rain into my face. By the time I got to the bottom of the descent, the adrenaline from the uphill and the pass had faded and I felt like absolute shit [as is somewhat visible in this very unhappy photo of me after I layered up].
The next day culminated with a big pass! I didn’t really think much of it beforehand, and the beginning of the day was a highlight: increasingly precarious stream crossings and rock fields and big a sweeping valley and glacier views. It was steep and drizzly, so I was wearing just a death grips t-shirt on top. It escalated pretty rapidly into extremely steep terrain and intense wind. By the time I thought critically about the snow on the ground and freezing gusts blowing through me, it was far too windy to take my pack off for a jacket without seriously risking tumbling down the mountain.
I made my way down to camp very slowly due to my garbage ankles and increasingly garbage knees. The ice field was visible through the trees for the rest of the day. At camp, it was the first night of Hannukah so I sang prayers with the Israelis, who had made a menorah out of rolled up toilet paper and an oily can of the grossest seafood I’d ever seen. The fifth day had the best viewpoints of the trip, with expansive views of the ice field and a few rainbows. There were a few 25-40 feet high suspension bridges that were a real treat.
I powered up the icy mountainside, treating myself to music from my phone for the first time once I realized what sort of situation I was in. The views at this point were truly incredible but I’m “LA” enough to be scared of snow
After the first five miles I got to a camp that marked the
beginning of the more popular “W” trek that comprised the second half of the circuit. The rest of this day was filled with more views but with enough downhill destroy my body. I now suspect my knees will never fully recover from this.
I got accidentally trashed from one glass of hot wine in the lodge while waiting for the bus since I’d been mostly living off chocolate and different Canadians’ scraps for several days. I met a Berkeley student on the bus back from the park!
The following day I said goodbye to some Frenchmen and a Chilean couple who had been in my cohort but had a different starting point. I began to forget that I’ve ever known anyone but the people on this trail.
I trekked and hitchhiked my way through Patagonia for a bit longer, but my leg pain was validated when I got back to the U.S. and an X-Ray showed my kneecaps rotated outwards. I hope that despite my mediocre photography skills, the pics show that it was definitely worth it!
I dropped my pack after five miles and hiked up to the Británico lookout, which was fully worth the hype with panoramic views of the valley, rock formations, and frequent mini-avalanches.
Writing and Photography by Phoebe Abramowitz
I spent some time alone on a rocky lake-beach, which was good. The rest of the hike continued to be unbelievably gorgeous. On the last day, I woke up before dawn to hike up to the Torres with some American college students I’d met. Then 53
Love from DV
ugust 22nd, 2018: It was the first day of my junior year, and I knew I needed a change in my life. After a little online research, I discovered that Berkeley has a club for hiking. Sickkk! This will be just what I need - I thought to myself. I found out about the beginning of the semester night-hike and told myself I would go. Campanile, 7 o’clock. Don’t miss it.
romantic date to a fancy Mexican restaurant (Taco Bell) I found myself (somehow) falling for that long curly brown haired boy. It was slowly at first, and then all at once— before I knew it, I was finding every excuse to hang out with him. Thankfully, it turned out Anthony was falling for me as well.
I showed up all nervous, not knowing what to expect, only to find a massive group of enthusiastic freshmen mingling while a long curly brown haired boy was standing on the rail yelling in an attempt to take charge of the group. Alright, well this will be interesting, I thought as my nerves quickly vanished and I walked on over. I didn’t know it in that moment, but fast forward to a time after many Wednesday nights closing out La Val’s during CHAOS meetings (being convinced on how ultralight was the way), doing The Sunrise Challenge (in a portaloo) on the Gourmet Trip, pushing past our known limits on L2H, doing The Sunrise Challenge (again) on Grizzly Peak (he went too ultralight and only brought one quilt to share, so we were too cold to sleep), and our first
December 13th, 2018: After two weeks of cramming, trying to catch up on the three weeks of school we’d missed (Low to High plus the smoke from the fires), we finally did it. Finals were over and Winter Break had officially begun. What better way to celebrate than with a second date to Death Valley. I ran home, threw some stuff in an (ultralight) pack I’d checked out from the gear shed, and then was picked up by Anthony. We were off: a weeklong trip with just the two of us, our unicycle, and the open road. It was liberating driving out of Berkeley, away from all our nolonger stresses. Straight to the promised lands of Death Valley we went with the butterflies of a new relationship 55
lifting us up, allowing us to float along the rolling hills. The tunes of Lord Huron’s, “Into the Sun” whistled through the speakers as we sailed along chasing the sun setting below the horizon. It was one of those nights where the moon was out in the day, so it set a few hours after the sun. Perfect conditions to see the beautiful sky Death Valley has to offer.
used to hiking big mileage days, and I’m always up for a challenge. Unfortunately, my Achilles tendons were still hurting pretty badly from our earlier trip (Low to High), so we had to change our itinerary a bit, and appreciate being present while hiking less. It was nice to be forced to slow down and temporarily tame our “conqueristic mentalities” as Hannah and Elliot (our co-oping friends) say.
Before I knew it, we were pulling into one of Anthony’s favorite places… the Walmart parking lot. Death Valley was a good seven and a half hours drive from Berkeley, and after a week of finals we needed some rest, so there we drifted into another “romantic” evening of sleeping in the back of his parent’s Prius. It was a nice night. The next morning we were on the road again. We took a few unicycle breaks, but the main plan was to get to the park, hitch-hike to the race track (as to not blow out the Prius’ tires), hike up and over Ubehebe Peak, across Saline Valley, stop at the hot springs for a few days, then loop back around, over the mountains to return to the car. As Anthony had spent the summer hiking the PCT, he was 56
It worked out better than expected— we were able to pitch our tent on top of the ridge below Ubehebe Peak and watch the sky light up pink across the race track while the sun set below the Inyo Mountains. It was a 360 view of one of the most memorable sunsets I have had the pleasure of witnessing. I tried to paint a picture of the moment while Anthony photographed it. With the brisk wind and the long 14-hour winter solstice night approaching, Anthony and I sat there, soaking in the moment, soaking in each other’s presence. Dusk turned to night and as we realized how cold it was going to be on the elevated ridge, we both grew excited to spend the long night cuddling for warmth.
different world where time was stopped and it was just the two of us together. All good things must come to an end though, and soon enough our food rations dwindled so we hitched four rides back to our car where our trip concluded with a long drive home filled with good music, better memories, and a new assurance in our relationship. I came into CHAOS looking for a change, and a change is indeed what I got. Take that chance. Get out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. And try saying yes more. Writing by Ari Arndt Photography by Ari Arndt and Anthony Ottati
I don’t quite remember all the details of the rest of the trip accurately (and to spare you readers from reading more of this sappy report I’ve written), but the rest of the trip was filled with walking many long hours through Saline Valley staring at the barely distinguishable distant palm trees, being astonished by the oasis of the hot springs, burrows, lots of nudity, old timers who frequent the area, and long steamy nights (referring to the steam from the hot springs of course). It was dreamy—like we were in a 57
Photographer Spotlight: Nathan Bucki
- Big Sur, California
- State HWY 1, Big Sur, California
Norwegians in Big Sur Tor FrĂ¸ytvedt Dahl
wo Norwegians, missing the fjords and mountains of our great small nation, decided to head out for an exploration of the partially barren lands of Pfeiffer State Park for a few nights over spring break. Successfully using (almost) only public transportation, we arrived at the start of the Old Coast Road which climbs upwards and follows along the ridge above Highway 1, south of the Big Sur lighthouse. After a day's march, we quickly turned inland to explore the forests untouched by 2016's fire. Going past cold springs, we went under down the 'Devil's Staircase', into the valley of the Big Sur river, before finding shelter upon the break of twilight. The trip continued the way we came from, and the gods of the old smiled upon us with warm weather and sun. We both have spent the last months in a study room in front of a computer, so our skin quickly turned into the colors of our flag as the sun shined on. Just before reaching civilization (phone reception) we encountered a New Yorker who enthusiastically waved us towards him; he held binoculars, and whined of joy he asked us to look through them. There, some hundred feet away, on top of an arbre brûlé, sat a California Condor tending to its feathers. The exploration of Californian wildlife thus exceeded all initial expectations and aspirations.
Writing and Photography by Tor Frøytvedt Dahl 61
Canyoning Utah Pierre Lecuyer
ver Spring break, we decided to go to the National Parks East of Las Vegas for a few days with some fellow CHAOTs. Our first stop was the Grand Canyon, after an overnight 12-hour drive (some of us didn't sleep much...). It was a first time here for many of us, and we were in complete awe. We weren't able to get camping permits for Bright Angel, so we did two day-hikes based off of Mather Campground (we were lucky to get the last spot!).
In Zion, Marius, Sabine and I had planned a big adventure. Considering the few experiences we had had canyoneering with guides in Europe, we thought it was time for us to fly with our own wings. We had equipped ourselves with all the necessary gear, and did a lot of research on technique and routes. This time of year, canyons were cold and flowing, but that didn't stop us. We started casually with Keyhole Canyon, a 2-hour beginner's canyon with a few small rappels. That tickled
On our first day we went down Hermit's rest, walked to Santa Maria Spring, took a few pictures, and headed back the same way. It was a nice warm-up for the days to come, as we got to know each other's hiking abilities. The next day, we hiked down South Kaibab to the Tipoff, then across to Bright Angel through Tonto, and back up to the rim. Had we known better, we would have hiked all the way down to the river, but the views were stunning, and we found wonderful fresh hidden oases on the way. After contemplating the sunset on the Canyon one last time, we drove to Zion that night.
our sense of adventure, so we decided to continue with Pine Creek Technical Route. We started with confidence, and had a blast in this marvel. Huge walls, waterfalls, long pools of ice-cold water, cathedral-worthy structures; these all left lasting memories. However, by the time we got to the last rappel, a 60-foot vertical drop into the unknown, the sun was already kissing the mountains. By the time we got back to the road, the night was pitchblack and our headlamps were on. It had been more than 5 hours. What a day!
where we watched the sun set over the whole valley, revealing the red-brown surreal colors of the stone. On our fifth and final day, we drove to Las Vegas, where we had a stroll on the strip, then headed to Death Valley, where we made a few stops before heading back to Berkeley.
Still recovering from the adrenaline of the past day, we spent the next day hiking to the bottom of Zion (Narrows were closed due to the flow), and up Angel's Landing,
Writing by Pierre Lecuyer Photographs by Marius Wiggert, Inga Elen Eidsvik, Aditya Bhanot, Pierre Lecuyer
Point Reyes Nishaad Navkal
e arrived at La Vals at 9:30 AM. Before leaving in three cars, we endure a short but heated discussion about Eminemâ€™s progression (or regression) as an MC. It was smooth sailing/driving most of the way, barring minor skirmishes over control of the aux cord - zero casualties recorded.
We had to cross a stream in order to descend to the beach from the falls. One of our young CHAOTs, Arthur, attempts to make it across the river in one leap. Successfully braving this almost insurmountable obstacle, he then braves it again for good measure.
Once we got off the county roads and into the park, we realized we were driving not so much on roads as large groups of potholes punctuated by intermittent patches of solid ground. The poor gig is bouncing and rolling down the road. By 11:15 we arrive at the trailhead and start our trek to the falls. We pass a point overlooking the coast where Madeline informs us that the closing scene from cult classic film Harold and Maude was shot here.
The applause dies down and we head to the beach, where we skip a few rocks and then break for lunch.
The hike to the falls was extremely crowded, and we had to stop every few minutes to let people going in the opposite direction pass us, but it was a beautiful trek down By 1 we had arrived at the falls, and nobody has died yet. Triumph!! The glory of well-earned nourishment after hours sweating in the sun.
Crushing defeat: a man demoralized, his spirits crushed after having eaten his lunch on the way 67
We squad up under the falls for the classic group pic, before stumbling across a dead leopard shark washed up on the beach.
a colony of trees? Jason says there is. Consensus: the trees are at least related to one another. 6’6” Ben who had wandered closer to take a photo, has heard us laughing about the tall tree and asked if we were talking about it or making some jokes at his height. Second consensus: Ben is a tree.
Around 2pm we start our return journey. It is hot. It is uneventful. Near the beginning of the trailhead we pass an enormous tree:
Around 4pm we arrive back at the cars. Everything is fine until it isn't - we have no cell service and Madeline’s bright yellow beetle has died. After a brief but emotional funeral, we flag down a passerby, who helps us jumpstart the car.
How do trees work? Is this many trees with one trunk? Is it 1 tree with many branches? Is there such a thing as
Everyone else packs into the two Gigs, and a tragic “shotgun” call by Arthur lands Ben, our 6’6 resident tree, in the backseat. Monice suggests we discuss what to do next over milkshakes in Stinson beach, despite being lactose intolerant. On the way, we stop by the mud flats to look at seals. This releases Ben from the back seat who has slunk down 68
with his knees bumping his forehead to fit. Alas! The seals are too far away to photograph, so we decide to do a photoshoot featuring couture by Adidas and Berkeley Engineering:
We arrive at Stinson beach around 5 pm, and grab food from a local grocery store before heading to the beach. And with that our trip comes to a close.
Writing by Nishaad Navkal Photography by Nishaad Navkal and Ben Carpenter 69
Superior Hiking Trail Frank Boensch
t all started with getting kicked out of the Mall of America…
The Superior Hiking Trail is a 310 mile long trail traveling from Canada to Wisconsin along Lake Superior. Now part of the North Country National Scenic Trail, the Superior Hiking Trail is one of the more unknown beautiful midrange long trails lost in big names like the Colorado Trail and the JMT. On May 12th, one day after my last final, I had landed at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport and bussed over to the Mall of America to wait 4 hours for my Greyhound bus. From there, I would catch a ride up to the northern terminus: a stone’s throw from Canada. After walking around a couple hours looking through the mall, I was approached by a security guard asking about what was in the boxes I was carrying (food), the backpack on my back, and what the long metal poles were (my trekking poles). After being asked to empty my backpack/boxes and showed him I wasn’t carrying any weapons or bombs, I was asked to wait outside for my bus, in the rain. I wonder how polite he would’ve been if I was there on the last day of my trip, after 16 days of hiking with few showers.
the screaming of dozens of grown women. Marching in one by one in all matching raincoats and huge 70L packs were a group of college athletes on a leadership retreat. Lucky for me, the big packs came with big meals. I went to bed that night with a stomach full of brownies. Some days I wouldn’t see a single person, other days I would hike through a 100K trail running race with hundreds of participants. The people that live in Minnesota have to be some of the kindest people I have ever met. Hitchhiking into town was incredibly easy and the drivers themselves were also interested in what you were doing. Many of them never even knew of the trail, almost none had met someone that was walking the whole thing. I found myself with dogs on my lap or in the back of a rusted pickup truck, riding past little league baseball games into town for a bite to eat.
After a nice long ride from Bob from the Superior Shuttle Service, I found myself at the northern terminus of the trail. Luckily for me I was told, the mosquitos and ticks hadn’t come out (yet) and most of the snow had melted. Unluckily for me, this meant trails as muddy as could be. Slogging down the first 50 miles of the trail I was accompanied with near freezing temperatures at night and wet trails during the day (at least no mosquitos). Luckily along with the wet trails I had no issue finding water. As the days went on, I was amazed by the types of people I found along the trail. One day, I finished after a long day in the rain and finally set up my tarp to sleep when I heard 71
As the days came and went, I found myself spoiled of waterfalls and massive rivers to the point where I wouldn’t even stop to look at them. While the trail is called the “Superior” Hiking Trail, the trail is only on the shore of Lake Superior for about 3 miles. The rest of the time is spent in the backcountry forest. With not much civilization in sight, the most beautiful part of the trail was watching the leaves grow in. Starting the trail at the tail end of spring, most of the trees were still without leaves. As I hiked farther and farther, I could slowly notice the trees in the distance grow from a brown/grey from the bark to a bright green from the newly grown leaves, to a darker green once the leaves became more abundant.
flight home. All in all, the Superior Hiking Trail offers green landscapes and waterfalls unlike anything seen anywhere else. Minnesota is often not mentioned in the conversation of beauty in the US, but the areas near the Boundary Waters are among the most pristine I have even seen. So maybe the lack of exposure for the trail is a good thing. Writing and Photography by Frank Boensch
As the date on my return ticket back home approached, I was forced to up the mileage. In the span of 2 days putting in over 70 total miles and sleeping at the base of a ski slope closed for the season I had finally found myself in Wisconsin at the Southern Terminus. After 16 days and 310 miles, I was heading back to Minneapolis to catch a 72
Poppy gradients Purple lupine radiance Sierra heaven
Camp four stormy night Foam sinks in frigid puddle Dripping down, bones numb
Hydrogens tethered Spilling over valley falls In oxygenâ€™s grasp
Trip Haiku by Joey McKenna
Mt Muir Tim Genda
ummer left us, but the winter has plenty of opportunities to go explore! My first winter adventure this year was a part of the annual CHAOS trip to Mount Whitney. A large group was headed to the summit, but I decided to just bag a small side 14'er off the trail instead, as I'd already been to Mount Whitney. Though I've heard people mention how underwhelming this summit is, I have to disagree. The summit itself may not be picturesque, but the views along the way are phenomenal. Now, we went in the winter, and I have heard it's quite crowded in the summer, so maybe my opinion would shift if I had to brave the crowds. I often seek out the wilderness primarily for solitude. Mount Muir was the mountain I wanted to get up, and a few others in the group wanted to join. However, there was a bit of chaos getting started on the trail due to different groups arriving at different times, and we arrived at the trail camp after dark, so coordinating with other groups was pretty difficult. On summit day, it was just Joey and I who topped out on Mount Muir. The scramble was a bit sketchy in a couple spots, but not too terrifying, and with some well placed hand holds, we were up to the summit in just about 30 minutes from the main Mt. Whitney trail. Writing and Photography by Tim Genda
Lost Coast Max Menke
An ode to Benjamin.
met Ben’s distinctive New Zealand accent in a redwood grove on a moonless night. His six and a half foot tall silhouette towered over the crowd of CHAOS night hikers but his face was hidden as we scrambled uphill, muddying our knees and elbows, in the damp January air. The foreign boy, American for a single semester, had sizable dreams of exploring every last bit of the United States before his visa expired. He claimed that he would one day return to hike the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail. His dreams were intriguing to me but I was most fond of his ability to find simple joy tramping around in the woods on a Wednesday night. Nevertheless, Berkeley is a big school and I did not plan to see Ben ever again. A week later I found myself in a group chat with several strangers who had all responded to the same email from the CHAOS list surv. The subject line read “Lost Coast, leaving friday, anyone keen?” As fate would have it, the email sender was the very same four month American that I had met just a few days prior. Thus, with no plans on the first friday night of the semester, I decided to forgo the stereotypical drinking and sweaty dancing that is perceived by many to be the idealized college experience, and chose instead drive north to the lost coast of California.
As a boy who grew up in southern california, being chased off of private beaches by security guards who were paid to protect the multi-million dollar homes that littered the scraps of shoreline that were not already infested with sunburned tourists, the experience of hiking for miles on an untouched coast without seeing another human was truly life changing. Thick groves of redwood trees loomed on massive cliffs that kissed the edge of the ocean. The breaching of whales(which people pay hundreds to have a chance of seeing) became so common that a sighting no longer warranted a mention as we hiked. When a one hundred foot section of the cliff face crumbled before us, snapping fully grown pine trees like matchsticks and blocking our path, we were forced to backtrack and camp at an unexpected location. It was here that we met a half dozen other Berkeley students on a similar trip and I gained the opportunity to hear about Benâ€™s goals and aspirations. Within an hour we had planned a trip for the following weekend and the weekend after that. On the first night that I met Ben I told him that it would be impossible to see all the notable sights in California, much less the entire United States. But he damn well tried. In the following weeks, Ben dragged me on eight unique adventures to seven national parks for a total of 15 nights spent under the stars, and 250 miles added to my hiking shoes. On weekdays I studied while he designed a new club logo, printed it on 500 T-shirts (for sale in the gear shed) and founded this very publication. Ben showed me how much life could be squeezed out of a single semester. I hope to one day see him on the PCT Stay chaotic out there. -max Writing by Max Menke Photography by Max Menke, Nirvann Khera and Ben Carpenter
Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile , and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean . John Muir
Photography Essay by Anthony Ottati 81
Beginners in Big Sur Katie Lyon
Official Beginner Backpacking Trip, Spring 2019
became an officer of CHAOS with one goal: to offer more beginner backpacking trips. I hoped that if the club offered more instructional trips, members may feel more comfortable planning and leading trips of their own. I quickly realized how much work it was to plan a trip of this magnitude. I hoped we could do dispersed camping, so we divided into 3 groups of around 10 each to backpack on separate trails in Big Sur. After getting past the debacle of finding trails the night before the trip - since our original plans were thrown off by floods and mudslides - the trip went off without a hitch. The other two groups hiked separate trails, based on the group’s relative level of experience, to the same camping area at Buckeye Camp. My group camped at Vicente Flats, and our conversations ranged from how to “wilder-poop,” to why the north-facing slopes were so much greener than south-facing slopes, to whether winter is hot in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s been amazing to watch the beginners from our trip planning and going on ones of their own, and I’m excited to make sure Beginner Backpacking Trips happen every semester! Writing by Katie Lyon Photography by Ben Carpenter 83
Photographer Spotlight: Aaron Kirby
While cycling across Vietnam last
living warmth at sunset. The sun had
who got his degree in Hanoi. There,
was long, and I love how this makes
year, I made friends with a teacher
he showed me a quaint swimming spot tucked under a bridge. This person's house boat was tied up there (a relatively normal thing),
and I was in love with the feeling of
already gone down so my exposure the boy seem so smooth, while
his home is crisp, as if he is almost immaterial and transient in the perspective of his home.
My brother lived in Havana for a bit and
while I was visiting him, he taught me how to shoot on film. This was one of the first
pictures I ever took on 35mm. Turns out the Malecon is a good place to learn
Alpine New Zealand Ben Carpenter
ur small group trudges deeper into the frozen expanse in front of us, as flat and white as a sheet of paper. Here, the new snow on the ridge and the clouds blend together to form a stark-bleached murk where all perception of time and space are lost. We as we slowly saunter on. Achim - one of our instructors is leading about three metres in front of me, but I am struggling to keep sight of him as the thick clouds roll in between us. I lift my goggles up onto my helmet, squinting in the dry wind that rips across this part of the mountain.
I suppose I should explain how we ended up in this predicament. For our Snowcraft Trip we had assembled a cracking team. There was Achim and Florian (the Instructors) Dion (The photographer) Dean and Sam (The exchange students) Alice and Mel (The artists) and myself, the devilishly handsome trip leader (I also wrote this and have full control over all descriptions used). Late Friday night, after the Levin fish and chip shop [A new Zealand staple food for students due to its cheap price], we crash into Mangatopahu Hut, to be our base for the upcoming weekend.
The orange tint lifts and I can make out the thin line of a small barchan (ridge in the snow) , by my estimation no more than 3 cm tall rolling down away from us. Achim is following this down the right side, the only feature in the one dimensional white reality we have found ourselves in. I follow the wind pushing me further left until I step down on top of the tiny ridge. The crust breaks and i find myself flailing. To my horror, what we were perceiving as a small bump on a flat surface was the sharp cut of the ridge as it turned from flat to 90Â° in an instant. I stop with one leg dangling over the side of our newfound drop. I jam a thick gloved finger down between my mouth and buff but canâ€™t get any words out before Achim turns and steps a cramponed foot confidently out above the sheer drop...
Saturday opens with the first walk up to the snow, the clouds rolling in and out, playing cosmic peek-a-boo with the mountains. The morning is spent rolling about in South Crater teaching the classic skills of how-notto-fall-off-the-mountain and what-to-do-if-falling-offsaid-mountain. With the basics over, we head for Mt Tongariro up the southern ridge. The only problem is that a ways along said ridge, the rocks funnel into a single point, to a thin line piercing between the clouds. The craters below were obscured by the cloud, but the sheer rocks on each side gave the impression the fall would be at least a short omnidirectional affair. Our
group of beginner alpiners quite happily hop up onto this death saddle, traverse drop and down the other side, leaving me on my lonesome behind. Afraid of the look of having the trip leader freaking out, I have to clamber up onto the rock. Here the handhold end, leaving a flat sheet of rock, wet from the snow. I uneasily take a few steps out, the steel points of my crampons offering no friction on the rock at all. I slowly make my way across trying to look at my feet, and not the edge on either side dropping off into swirling cloud. A few more steps and I make it, my nerves rattling but it's over. Breathe in, breathe out. Slowerly unpucker bumhole. We make it to the summit of Tongariro as the clouds rolled in and the resounding photo was so lacking in features it could have been taken anywhere. Here we rejoin our story, me in my pile of snow and Achim now sprawled in a bigger pile of snow further down the slope. Deciding this was enough, we pull out the compasses and set a bearing for home as we descend into South Crater. The clouds lift and we can see the rocks, the poles stretching across the plateau andâ€Ś the Emerald Lakes. Not only were we were slightly off in our direction we are now in Central Crater, the completely wrong volcanic vent. We adjust our bearing and head back up and down the mountain as the snow changes to pink and orange in the setting sun. Sunday opens with a special occasion: Alice's 21st birthday. We sing to her over porridge and prepare for a birthday lacking in party dresses and loud music,i, instead to have snow blown horizontally into our faces for nine hours. We make good progress up the mountain, despite the dodgy weather report. We hustle across South Crater and over to Central Crater, intentionally this time. We follow the hordes of tourists waddling along behind their guides. It looks like the march of the penguins, only with cameras worth more than my undergrad degree. This takes us over to Ketetahi Saddle and up to North Crater. Here the terrain was quizzically as flat and white as a paper plate pre-sausages at summer barbeque.
The rocks off the other side become suddenly sharp and pointy and one brave soul would need to head over first. Someone mumbles birthday girl, and we all point. Not a lot of sentiment then for the special occasion. Thankfully no birthday-related accidents occur and we make it back below the saddle between South and Central Crater, where we had become geographically challenged the day earlier. The clouds sets in as we climb, and climb, and climb until I nudge Achim, “Hey, Achim, two people made a mistake like we did yesterday over a snowridge and they’ve fallen down the side. Absolute muppets… hang on, it look so similar because this is WHERE we fell yesterday.” In our attempt to not become lost in the exact same place, we are now lost in the exact same place - and are now halfway up Tongariro. We trudge back down and through the use of GPS are finally down in the crater, no longer obstructed by clouds. As we frollic down the flat expanse, I lean behind and shout to Alice, “Hey! Have I ever told you that you look just like a plateau?” She doesn't reply but I see her eyes crinkle up quizzically behind her goggles. Odd, I would have thought she would appreciate that compliment more. After all, it is the highest form of flattery. My world class puns not having any effect on the intended audience, we make our way back down the valley. The golden glow of the afternoon sun warms the deck as we relax into the chocolate biscuits and nice cheese, brought incase of a rainy day. The landscape glows in the setting sun as we depart from the mountain, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe turning golden behind us. The birthday celebrations concede with a chocolate muffin and a candle in the BP in Bulls, like any good 21st. We hit home pushing close to 1 am on Monday morning to drop Alice and Dion off at their apartment. There, we discover Alice's friends have been waiting since 7:30 pm yesterday to throw a surprise 21st party. Oops.
Writing by Ben Carpenter Photography by Ben Carpenter and Dion Andrews 89
Clouds Rest Katie Lyon
fter spending a semester “tramping” around with a New Zealand exchange student, whose #1 goal before leaving the States was to see Yosemite, we decided to set off during the first weekend of Dead Week. When Kiwi Ben, Future Stoke-and-Wellness Officer Ari, and I started our trip, we had a vague idea of what our adventure may entail but kept our options open. While car-camping outside the Valley on our first night, we chatted with some “birders” sharing our site. They sat around trying to learn bird calls for a large Sierra avian survey while we ate curry so non-distinct that it was simply called “Curry” on the packet. We portioned poorly, so Ben and Ari had to battle it down towards the end to leave no trace. We organised our gear and prepared for an amazing weekend. Eager to get started the next morning, we drove into the Valley with high expectations. After circling the Valley for hours looking for parking while Ben bargained with the backcountry permit officers to get us on the walkup list, we headed up Yosemite falls with the hope of hiking up the back of El Capitan. After reaching the snow line, the trail faded away into sparse footprints and we unsurprisingly got lost. Without a watch, I couldn’t say how long we wandered, but it felt like an hour before we finally found footprints again that weren’t our own. We eventually turned around to race the last bits of sunlight back to the car. While hanging in the parking lot, we thought of our friend Max who was meant to be our driver for the trip but flaked to stay home. Not wanting him to miss out on our grand adventures, we sent him a postcard telling him how much fun we were having and wishing he was here. Although mission-El Cap was a bust, we could at least look forward to the lovely backpacker’s campground waiting for us in the Valley. Except, we couldn’t. The campground only appeared on a few maps and we wandered through the disorienting blackness before approaching a river, which we believed separated us from our campground. We quickly realized the pedestrian bridge was flooded, and it was already almost midnight, so we were faced with some heavy decisions. Either walk an extra few miles to the next bridge, or get out of that godforsaken valley. We chose the latter. We camped again at our slice-of-heaven campsite outside the Valley for 91
another night. The 6’6” New Zealander struggled in our 6’3’’ tent and had to sleep diagonally. Ben and Ari spent the night breathing in each others faces on one side of the tent while I slept with my legs elevated on top of Ben’s as he had muscled his way into my corner.
come back to the snow line after? The storm clouds don’t look that bad...” - “Seems like a good idea.” “That view was sick, but camping up here will be pretty cold and wet. Should we just send it back to Little Yosemite Valley?” - “Yeah I’m keen.”
We drove back in early the next morning, our moods somewhat lifted after a good sleep. We made our way up through the Mist Trail and got drenched in our rain ponchos before heading up to higher elevations. As we got above Little Yosemite Valley, I felt my nose starting to bleed. With a limited First Aid kit, our supply of tampons came in handy to stop the bleeding. As we continued to climb, the weather forecast of an afternoon of thunder looked more likely and the clouds darkened above us.
“Wait, what if we just sent it back to the car and stayed at our campground outside the Valley?” - “I’m down.” - “Guys maybe not...” So Ben spoiled the fun and made us stop in Little Yosemite Valley and set up a fire ... okay fine it was a really nice night. Our last morning was bitter sweet; we hiked the JMT down and I sprained my ankle a mile from then end. We ate some fat burritos on the drive home while listening to Ben's New Zealand music as we headed back to Berkeley.
We bargained with ourselves; we initially planned to just backpack to Little Yosemite Valley, and sleep there, then summit Clouds Rest the next the morning. But Ari’s stoked attitude couldn’t keep us stagnant for long and pretty quickly, “Let’s just send it” became the mantra of the weekend.
All in all, we learned that tampons stop nosebleeds, some people are just too tall for tents, and less is more when it comes to sauce on rice. More importantly, I took away that Yosemite Valley sucks, Clouds Rest is incredible, and New Zealand music is actually not half bad.
“Should we send it to the snow line, setup camp, and have less to hike in the morning?” - “Hell yeah” “Should we send it to Clouds Rest without packs and just 92
Writing by Katie Lyon Photography by Kaite Lyon, Ben Carpenter, Ari Ardnt 93
CHAOS Photography Competition
Winner of the CHAOS Photography Compitition
Photo by Tim Genda
A few CHAOS members took a trip to try to
A beautiful composition making the most of
summit Mount Sill above Palisade Glacier.
the lighting conditions. Morning and evening
After a failed attempt (turned back due to
are most definitely the best time for soft light
rock fall hazards), we hiked down in the dark
and increased dynamic range in an image ,so
to third lake, and woke in the morning to this
beautiful view. - John Muir Wilderness, California
Photo by Aaron Kirby
A number of us pooled some money together
Exceptional image with superb contrasts
to be heli-dropped into the Bugaboos for two
captured between the snow and the rock.
weeks of mountaineering. This is one of my
Good use of the snow drifts and climbing
favorite images from that trip. I do believe
rope leading the eye into the frame. To
all of the mountains in view were unnamed.
induce increased dynamics, you could have
- Bugaboo Provincial Park, BC, Canada.
the climber further away and make use of the rope to guide the eye further through the image and catch the layers of the composition along the way. 99
Photo by Katie Lyon
After an exhausting 10.8 miles from the floor of Yosemite Valley to the summit of Clouds Rest, Ben peers over the snowy ridge. With thunderclouds rolling in overhead, we momentarily felt on top of the world. - Yosemite National Park, California
Well captured composition, showing the depth and vastness of the landscape. Revealing the valley beyond shows just what level of adventure is involved in getting to this location.
Photo by Tim Genda
It was a beautiful and clear moonlit night, and from tunnel view, a few of us sat and watched the headlamps moving on El Capitan. There were so many people bivying on the side of the wall each night, and the tiny lights gave a fantastic sense of scale for those huge granite walls. - Yosemite National Park, California
Incredible capture of Yosemite and even more so considering the lights of the climbers captured as they move on the wall. These lights combined with the cloud movement create an impacting image.
SUNRISE CHALLANGE Ari Ardnt
This painting is of Anthony, Matt, Maddie and I finally going to sleep after standing in the portaloo from 4am7am, thus completing the sunrise challenge of the Fall gourmet trip.
HIKER (BEFORE CONVERTING TO ULTRALIGHT)
Katie Lyon 102
This sketch featuring El Capitan (left) with Half Dome in the distance was drawn from my Berkeley dorm room, while missing Yosemite Valley just a little more than usual.
RICHMOND RANGE AT DAWN
We climbed up to the saddle to watch the sunrise over the mountains. What I remember most vividly was the amazing colours in the valley pre-dawn. That and the entire bar of chocolate we ate between the four of us while watching.
Competitions 1. Writing Competition Winner: Spring Break - Written by Alex Casey p.10
our strangers piled into a car, or food pantry on wheels, on a brisk spring break morning before the habitual layer of Berkeley stress settled, united by nothing but a shared love for adventure and the outdoors. Max — a San Diego runner and lover of Trader Joes’ trail mix — drove the car which soon after became victim to two flat tires, and a broken spare. Ben — a New Zealand photographer studying abroad with a deep-seated love for Mexican food — came prepared for anything with a camping stove so high-tech, that its use was outlawed in California. Alex — a Bostonian with a creative mind for eclectic camping meals — brought the indie music. And Nirvan — an aspiring physicist with a penchant for debunking the complexities of love and college relationships — brought his math textbook … along with a whole lot of compassion.
Ripe broccoli and mushrooms toppled out of brown grocery bags, as the four strangers began to loosen up on the eight hour drive to Death Valley, their first stop on a week- long trip that would traverse four states. With only a quick pit stop to buy denatured alcohol for Ben’s heavy duty stove, the group eventually arrived at Ballarat, an old mining village and supply town for the Panamint Mountain mines in the heart of Death Valley. A mile into the three mile stretch to reach Ballarat from the main “road” paved through the valley, the first car tire was gone — absolutely blown.
Judged by: Marta Meazza
Within thirty minutes, however, Ben and Max had replaced the tire with a spare while Alex and Nirvan explored the abandoned village. Soon after, we embarked to our next stop — Mesquite Flat sand dunes. The sun setting behind the canyons in the distance, glinting off the ripples of sand and emitting streams of gold, bathed the four in warmth as they ran, barefoot, through the soft sands, still warm from a day’s exposure in eighty degree heat. Up and down the dunes, the four raced, not stopping until they reached the highest possible point among the ranges of never ending sand peaks. As the warmth began to drain from the sands with the oncoming of dusk, we retreated to our beloved food pantry on wheels, that took us to our campsite only a few miles away. The differences that started the day quickly turned into opportunities for common ground, thanks to a giant sandbox and the gentle desert sun.
Marta is an Italian writer specializing in music and performance pieces. You can find her work in BerkeleyBside and Indie-Zone. 11
2. Photography Competition Winner: Tim Genda Judged by: Dion Andrews Dion is a New Zealand based photographer specializing in outdoors and adventure photography. You can see some of his work in the Alpine New Zealand article on p.86.
3. Trip Report Spot Prize: Joshua and the Ghosts - Written by Monice Wong and Jared Kelly p.16
Joshua and the Ghosts Monice and Jared
as the grounds are now owned by a private firm who occasionally rents the setting to stage films. At this point, we planned a clandestine operation to get past security and into the town. We were able to enter either due to our Holmesian skill or indifference on behalf of the security. Once inside it was a place to behold — the old industrial works framed a landscape that can only be described as extra-terrestrial. Here we decided against our best judgment entering abandoned mine shafts, and scaling buildings which after years of neglect were structurally unsound. We left the Martian landscape of the foundry and entered the suburban portion of the town. This was
e arrived at Joshua Tree National Park in the evening for our first night. Exhausted after hours of driving, we prepared a campfire at the dispersed camping site located due south of the park boundary. After waking we were able to prepare a delightful breakfast which consisted of eggs, oatmeal, and nuts. In our first complete day, we decided to see sites outside of the park. The area surrounding the park offers a diversity of sites: crazy architecture, solar farms, practitioners of desert yoga, and an abundance of military vehicles due to local military bases and the Patton Memorial Museum. As a rule of thumb in the desert, you should learn to suspend your disbelief. We did not abide by this commandment and our first site took us by surprise. We decided to explore a ghost town and rather than finding a vacant town with the occasional tourist as we’d expect, we found a frantic production crew and a town full of “Milk” trucks. We were perplexed thinking we landed in the middle of a ‘Got Milk commercial’ (However we later learned this was a photo shoot for a makeup company called MILK).
This prize was chosen from a random draw, consisting of every trip report that was entered into the publication.
From this point, we departed to our second ghost town. This location maintained a small security presence 17
1. REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack
2. MSR PocketRocket 2 104
3. Nitecore Nu25 Rechargeable Headlamp
PHOTO: MT HOOD SUMMIT, ANTHONY OTTATI
FINAL WORDS Firstly, thank you to our amazing Co-Presidents Scott and Anthony who gave this idea the full support of the club and its resources. Secondly, thank you to my incredible editor Katie who has scored through this entire publication several times catching all my spelling mistakes. Thirdly, thank you to Alex and Joey. Alex, who chased sponsors and scored us new gear for the gear shed and Joey, who sorted all the prizes and giveaways. To everyone who wrote, photographed, painted and sent in work to be published here, thank you for allowing us to share your stories and your talents. We hope we have done them justice. To the amazing team of CHAOS officers, thank you for working behind the scenes to make the trips in this publication possible. Finally, to the CHAOS community, your support and encouragement made this whole project worthwhile. We hope you loved reading it as much as we loved making it. Stay adventurous out there, e noho ra,
Spring 2019 Officers
GEAR OFFICER 106
CHAOS would like to publicly thank all the officers of spring 2019. Their countless hours of work, effort and enthusiasm have facilitated many trips, friendships and memories for the members of CHAOS. With their dedicated effort, CHAOS has grown, modernised and strengthened for many generations of future Chaots to enjoy.
Katie Lyon TRIP LEADER
GEAR OFFICER / TRIP LEADER
HEAD GEAR OFFICER
(WHO FORGOT TO GIVE US A PHOTO)
CHAOS cal hiking and outdoors society est. 1870