News––Recent Past

Most news items or events included below were copied here from the Home page (or some other page) and will be deleted from the other pages after the events are completed or of diminished interest. These items were likely not in the Echo Newsletter. Refer to the "Newsletters" web page for the Echo newsletters.

SPS 2024 Banquet

12/2023 - Our next SPS banquet is scheduled for Sunday, January 28, 2024. We’re delighted to have Claude Fiddler presenting “Sierra  Classic: Claude Fiddler, aka Norman Claude,” of the book, Sierra Classics: 100 Best Climbs in the High Sierra.

The following web cam indicates that the eastern entrance to the Tioga Pass Road will open Saturday 7/22/23 at 8 am:

12/27/23 - The Jan-Mar 2024 Newsletter Vol 68-1 is now available.
9/28/23 - The Oct-Dec 2023 Newsletter Vol 67-4 is now available.

8/20/23 - The Newsletter Index page now indexes Echos from 1990 through 2020. Climbs and photos of peaks are now listed in Peaks List order. 11/7/23 update: Photo and Passages Index now covers 1970 to 2023. 11/21/23 update: All index pages now cover 1970 thru 2023 Echos.

4/27/23 - Sierra Club BoD Election Results - Shruti Bhatnagar, Rita Harris, David Holtz, Patrick Murphy, and Dave Scott have been elected to serve three-year terms on the volunteer Board of Directors.

4/26/23 - Board of Director Election Deadline - This Wednesday April 26 at 9 am PT is the deadline to vote in the annual election for Sierra Club Board of Directors. For more information, refer to e-mail messages you received from Ramon Cruz on (or around) the following dates: Ballot Login Info 2/28; Election Reminder 3/30; Final Reminder 4/20. Refer to one or more of these messages for more information on the candidates. This is your chance to have a say in who is part of the Board. Please vote! ...and do not wait until the last minute.

Scrambler Ratings Updated

2/18/2023 - The tables of Scrambler Ratings for Sierra Nevada peaks have been updated with new ratings of 144 non-technical routes up SPS and non-SPS summits, including coverage of an additional 58 mountains. In addition, Scrambler Ratings have been revised for 22 routes.  In total, there are now Mountain Scrambler Ratings for 611 non-technical routes up 433 Sierra Nevada peaks.  For more info, click HERE.

2/9/23 - Yosemite Reservations Required - A reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite for visitors arriving February 10–12, February 17–19, or February 24–26, 2023. A reservation will not be required in summer 2023. For more info, click HERE.    

Banquet Presentation - 247 Peaks in One Year

1/29/23 - Su - In 2022, Travis Soares and Nathan Longhurst set out to climb all 247 SPS peaks in one year to set the Fastest Known Time. Travis completed the list in a remarkable 117 days, twenty days faster than Nathan, in a remarkable feat of planning, logistics, endurance, and adventure.

At the 2023 SPS Annual Banquet, Travis Soares gave a presentation on the climbs. For a link to the recording of the presentation, click HERE.     For the Banquet Flyer, click HERE.    

10/10/22 - Yosemite Closure Info - News from Yosemite – If you are planning to go to Yosemite in the near future, you need to check their web site for road and trail closures. Click HERE for additional info.  

8/5/22 - Death Valley: Flooding, Road Closures - For more info, click HERE.    

7/18/22 - M - Solar Storm Predicted by NASA - Solar storm for Tuesday predicted by NASA.More info is available at:   

7/18/22 - Insect Repellent - The August 2022 issue of Consumer Reports magazine (pages 40-45) has a report on the results of their test on a number of insect repellents. The article may be of interest to some of our members.

7/11/22 - Yosemite Fire Closure - The south entrance to Yosemite (Hwy 41) is currently closed due to fire. ...8/8/22 Update - Park web site now lists entrance/road as open.

7/11/22 - Comet K-2 may be visible July 14. For more info, click HERE. (external link)

7/8/22 - Alaska Oil Drilling Project - A new environmental analysis has been released on the ConocoPhillips Willow project in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve. Public comments will be accepted until August 29. For more info, click HERE.     

7/1/22 – Gear Guide - While a number of magazines have published their separate gear guides in the past, the guide in the Summer 2022 issue of five magazines – Outside, Backpacker, Beta, VeloNews, and Climbing – represent a partnership between these magazines, a collective effort of gear editors, category managers, and testers. After planning, team members divided the work, testing more than 1000 products.  Apparently, each magazine then prepared their own guides based on the combined effort. For more information, refer to page 10 of Outside magazine or a similar page in one of the other magazines.

6/24/22 - Drought and the Colorado River - Robbing Lake Mead of water: Emergency plan to keep water flowing to the West …[continue reading] -  

6/1/22 - Yosemite Road Construction - 2022 - Road, sewer, etc. repair will result in a number of closures during 2022 including: (1) Glacier Point Road closed during 2022. (2) Wawona Road will experience delays due to lane closures. (3) Tioga Pass will have delays (up to 60 minutes at night and 30 minutes daytime, from 11 pm Sunday thru 4:30 pm Friday) at a number of locations between Olmstead Point and Tioga Pass. For more up-to-date info and changes, check the Yosemite web site at    

June 2022 - Mono Lake - According to the Summer 2022 Mono Lake Newsletter, the lake surface elevation - which was around 6417’ when water diversions began around 1940, then dropped to around 6372’ around 1980 – is now varying between 6380 and 6384’ (and appears to be dropping year-to-year), 12 feet below the 1984 State Water Board mandate of 6392’. This low water level affects the ecosystem and is a large source of air pollution. For more information, check the Mono Lake newsletter or contact the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining.

1/1/22 - SPS Annual Banquet - 2022 - The 67th SPS Annual banquet is now scheduled for Sunday, January 23. Instead of an actual banquet, there will be a virtual (ZOOM!) meeting with a presentation by Vitaliy Musiyenko on A Sierra Crest Odyssey. For more info, click HERE.  

1/1/22 - Recycling Organic Waste - Starting in 2022, all (California) jurisdictions will to need to provide organic waste collection services to all residents and businesses and recycle these organic materials using recycling facilities ......[MORE INFO]    

11/15-19/21 - The 2021 National Wilderness Workshop, originally planned to be held in Roanoke, VA, will be held virtually from November 15-19, 2021.  The program lineup focuses on advocacy for wilderness and wilderness stewardship and will have themes covering wilderness science, management issues, culture, and partnerships. For More info, CLICK HERE.

10/30-31/21 - Wilderness First Aid Course (WFAC) - The WFAC has decided to offer another two-day course on October 30 and 31, similar to the May 2021 course. The big difference is that both days will be in-person, allowing us to mix lectures and practical exercises on both Saturday and Sunday. Please help us fill the class by spreading the word to a few wilderness friends or Scout leaders. Attachments:
(1) A description of the Fall 2021 WFAC [PDF]
(2) A draft schedule [PDF] showing the lectures and skills exercises that will be included.
(3) An application [PDF]    [MS Word version of Application]

10/20/21 - W - 5:30 to 7 pm - Subject: Nature Needs Half - Virtual ZOOM! Meeting - Our Sierra Club CA/NV Wilderness Committee, chaired by Anne Henry, is hosting a ZOOM! meeting which will show how the global movement known as "Nature Needs Half" connects with California's 30 by 30 effort.

Vance Martin, President of the WILD Foundation, and Amy Lewis, WILD’s Vice-President of Policy and Communications, will join us. Connect to the global “Nature Needs Half” movement and on-the-ground actions to protect 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.  AND get a sneak peak of this year’s Nov. 15-19 virtual National Wilderness Workshop. For More info, CLICK HERE.     

10/8-13+/22 - 1,023-Mile High Country Bike Race - For the ultimate achiever (list-finisher) who is looking for another challenge, here is one you have probably not heard about: A greuling 1,037-mile High Country bicycle race which takes competitors on a loop that encompasses much of the toughest mountain terrain in Arkansas. (A shorter 500-mile loop is also available.) The race, which takes at least five days for the fastest racers to complete, consists of a loop of gravel roads and highways with a brief jog into Missouri. If you are not ready for this by 2022, the race will likely be repeated in 2023. For more info and a map, click on PRESS RELEASE.

SPS Echo Fall Newsletter 

10/6/21 - The SPS Echo Fall Newsletter Vol 65-4 Oct - Dec 2021 is now available.

California National Forest Closures 

9/2/21 - Some National Parks or Forests may have closures or other alerts in effect. Before visiting, you should check the agency's web site. For a link to their web sites, check our Parks/Forests web page.

9/2/21 - All of California’s national forests closed through 17 September due to the state’s wildfire crisis. For more info, go to     

9/2/21 - Hikers warned of harmful algae blooms along the south fork of the Merced River. For more info, click HERE.

11/8/20 - Before visiting any National Park or Forest, you should check their web site to determine if they are closed or have other restrictions. For a link to most such agencies in the Sierra, click HERE to go to our Parks-Forests-Permits web page.     ...Current closures may be due to guidance from public health authorities or to recent snow.

A few alerts as of 12/25/20: (1) Tioga Road is closed for the season due to snow & ice. (2) Yosemite may be open for limited day use only (as of 12/7) . (3) Sequoia NP – Campgrounds are temporarily closed; some wilderness areas may be closed

Chapter/Group PAC Fundraiser

8/8/21 - The California Sierra Club Political Action Committee (PAC) is holding its annual fundraiser online Sunday, August 8 th from 4 pm to 6 pm. The PAC contributes to state and local candidates statewide. Click HERE for the flyer from the committee coordinating this year's Political Leadership Awards. Please consider buying a ticket yourself if you can!

Newsletter Index Web Page

7/28/21 - The Newsletter Index web page has been expanded and now covers Sierra Echo issues from 1999 thru 2020.

Historic Drought in the West?

6/18/21 - Historic Drought in the West – Go to   
Historic drought in California and the West is getting biblical: What to know (    - or

UN Special Report on Drought – Go to GAR Special Report on Drought 2021 | UNDRR    - or     https://

Total Lunar Eclipse in Western US

5/26/21 - W - In Los Angeles, lunar eclipse will be total from around 4:11 to 4:25 am. Partial eclipse starts arounds 2:45 am and ends at 5:52 am.

Yosemite Alerts

5/21/21 - Tioga Road is closed for the season; will likely re-open in May or June. Mariposa Grove remains closed due to storm damage. Starting May 21, reservations will be required to drive into Yosemite. For other Park / Forest information, check our Parks/Forests web page to access links.

Great American Outdoors Act

US Forest Service (   | - Latest News: USDA Announces $218 Million Investment in Land and Water Conservation.

5/20/21 - The Great American Outdoors Act secures $900 million in permanent funding each year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. LWCF programs are managed by the Departments of Agriculture and Interior. The Forest Service administers two LWCF programs – the Forest Legacy Program and the Land Acquisition program – that together conserve critical and strategic lands across the nation’s forests and grasslands. Forest Service LWCF projects enhance recreational access to existing public lands, conserve working timberlands vital for local economies, and protect critical watersheds. For more info, check the above links.

Who Owns America’s Wilderness?

5/10/21 - The May 2021 issue of The Atlantic magazine includes an interesting – and perhaps controversial – article: Return the National Parks to the Tribes - The jewels of America’s landscape should belong to America’s original peoples. Story by David Treuer (The Atlantic Editor’s note: This article is part of a new series called “Who Owns America’s Wilderness?” The article may be available at      This link is provided for info only and the content should not be viewed as representing established views of the Section, the Chapter, or the Sierra Club.

Mining Exploration Threatens Long Valley

4/15/21 - Proposed mining exploration threatens the future of the scenic, economically, and ecologically important Long Valley area in Mono County. This mining project is just outside Mammoth Lakes, near Hot Creek, just east of 395 by the Mammoth Yosemite Airport. The Sierra Club Range of Light Group is encouraging local Eastern Sierra residents and organizations, as well as those that recreate in the Eastern Sierra, to speak up. Concerned citizens have until May 6, 2021 to participate in the current 30-day public scoping period for the proposed Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project proposed by Kore USA Ltd. (Kore Mining). For a related press release, click HERE. For more info, go to

Sierra Club Response to COVID-19

Sierra Club direction dated 4/9/20 - Sierra Club outings, training workshops, and social events cancelled through June 14th. ...June update: All Club outings have been cancelled thru 31 August. ...8/15 update - In-person meetings will likely not be conducted until March 2021. ...8/25 update: Local outings are cancelled through the end of the year. More information on re-start of outings (or other Club events) may be available after mid-September. ...9/18 update: Cancellations will likely continue thru February 2021. This will impact the 2021 Annual Banquet. .....1/29/21 update - All Outings and events are cancelled through July 4, 2021. The Sierra Club (National organization) is developing guidance for restarting outings, including the possibility of piloting some local outings prior to July 4 - and will continue to set guidance for these activities based on feedback from volunteers, staff and what the organization recommends

SPS Echo Fall Newsletter 

9/30/20 - The SPS Echo Fall Newsletter Vol 64-4 Oct - Dec 2020 is now available. 6/13/20 revision: The Echo on the web site has been revised with a few corrections. If you have downloaded a copy before today, please replace that copy with the revised copy (now on the web site).

E-Bike Use on National Forest Trails?

9/24/20 - For more info, click HERE. Public comments accepted for 30 days (until 10/23?)

9/18/20 - Satellite images of western wildfires, then change to current date  ...or change date below to current date and paste into browser,-113.3,4.83z/date=2020-09-18,13:00,-5/layers=fires   

Southern California National Forests Fire Closures

Before visiting any National Park or Forest, you should check their web site to determine if they are closed or have other restrictions. For a link to most such agencies in the Sierra, click HERE to go to our Parks-Forests-Permits web page.

9/17/20 update: Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks have closed due to hazardous air quality, smoke, or  other fire related causes.

9/8 update - The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has announced the extension of a temporary closure of all eighteen National Forests in California. The decision to re-open will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change. 

9/7/20 - M - Southern California National Forests closed today at 5pm but will be reevaluated daily:     Closures will go into effect at 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time on Monday, September 7, 2020, and will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.

1.    Closure of the following National Forests: Stanislaus National Forest, Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Inyo National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, Angeles National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest, and Cleveland National Forest.

2.    Prohibition of the use of any ignition source on all National Forest System lands (campfires, gas stoves, etc.) throughout California.

3.    Closure of all developed campgrounds and day-use sites on National Forests in California.

9/7/20 - M - 4:03 pm - Wildfire Closure Updates for Wilderness Permit and Reservation Holders Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - Click HERE to read notice from the Wilderness Office   

National Parks Re-Opening Status

The following was moved here (from Home page) following late Summer fires:
7/7/20 - Yosemite -     
7/7/20 - Sequoia -     

SPS Echo Summer Newsletter 

6/6/20 - The SPS Echo Summer Newsletter Vol 64-3 Jul - Sep 2020 is now available. 6/13/20 revision: The Echo on the web site has been revised with a few corrections. If you have downloaded a copy before today, please replace that copy with the revised copy (now on the web site).

Highway 395 - 9 Lanes in Bishop?

4/xx/20 - CalTrans is proposing a change to Hwy 395 in Bishop. Comments are due by May 15. For more info, click HERE     

SPS Peaks List - Updated

4/21/20 - SPS Peaks List (247 peaks) - 26th Edition, April 2020 - is now available.

Mono Lake Decision Meeting on Tioga Inn

4/16/20 - The Mono County Planning Commission is moving forward with a public hearing on the Tioga Inn Specific Plan Amendment & Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report on Thursday, April 16 at 9:00am via Zoom.     While the Tioga Inn proponent has made some changes to the draft after receiving nine hundred letters of opposition last summer, the project still carries significant, unavoidable, and negative impacts to the scenic resources of this special place and to the safety of its residents, visitors, and wildlife.

What you can do: Review the (Mono Lake) Committee's analysis of the project and the project documents    - and choose one or more adverse impacts that you can personalize in a comment to the Planning Commission. Need background information? Find out more about the Tioga Inn project here.     

Show up to the Planning Commission meeting at 9:00am on April 16 via Zoom or by phone at 669-900-6833 (meeting ID 634-770-837) to share your concerns about the project. You can also email the Mono County Planning Commission to share your concerns.Please join us in registering your concerns about the Tioga Inn project with the Mono County Planning Commission.     

Sierra Club Board of Directors Election

4/10/20 - If you receive e-mail messages from the Club, you probably received a message on 2/24 on how to vote in the Board of Directors election. If you do not receive such e-mail messages, you probably received a paper ballot around that date. This is your opportunity to influence who is elected and future priorities for the Club. So be sure to vote - and please do so now before the deadline has passed and you have missed the opportunity. The deadline to cast your ballot is Wed April 22 at 9 am PDT. Please do not wait until the last minute.

State Park Closures

4/5/20 - California State Parks has closed vehicle access at ALL 280 state parks, and fully closed others. For more info, go to:    Refer to right column below for related closures elsewhere. 

Inyo County Restrictions

3/23/20 - Note that (for more info) there are 3 links in this message: The following line plus 2 more near end of message.

Inyo County Sheriff's Office  -  3/21/2020 at 12:12 PM     
Do Not Take Part in High-risk Outdoor Activity in Inyo County

INYO COUNTY, CA, March 21, 2020 - The Inyo County Sheriff's Office, on behalf of Inyo County Search and Rescue (SAR), requests that people do not take part in high risk outdoor activities at this time. Activities include backpacking, climbing, peak bagging, backcountry skiing, or anything that puts you at risk for potential rescue.

If you get sick, lost or injured and require SAR assistance, the responding team of volunteers will have to break social distancing and State mandated isolation by sharing rescue equipment, radios, and vehicles. You will be potentially taking those rescuers out of service for weeks due to post-mission quarantine protocols. In addition, many SAR teams, including ours, are operating at a diminished capacity due to many members self-isolating and not responding to operations due to age or other risk factors.

Your preventable backcountry injury will also stress ambulance and emergency room services. It is highly unlikely helicopters are available to assist in your rescue. Inyo County Sheriff's Office DOES NOT own or operate any air assets, and our allied agency helicopters are currently operating at a very limited capacity.

The public can access the complete Inyo County Order, issued March 20, 2020 at:…/fil…/2020-03/ORDER_3.20.20_0.pdf.
   Please visit for additional information about the Inyo SAR team, or to donate.   

Shane Smith - R.I.P.

3/18/20 - Shane Smith died in a tragic car accident on Highway 99 near Stockton mid-February. He was a mountaineer extraordinaire. He had just met several of his career goals and was reaching higher with his personal goals. He had finished the four Angeles Chapter peaks lists: SPS, DPS, HPS, and Lower Peaks.

Cal French - R.I.P.

3/17/20 - Long-time Sierra Club volunteer leader, and one of the founding fathers of Sierra Club California, Cal French, died earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Many of us first met Cal while attending a wilderness first aid class organized by his wife Letty. And a few of us enjoyed their company on a climb of Russell (1982) or other SPS peaks.

Yosemite National Park is Closed

3/20/20 - Friday - As of today, visitors will not be allowed into the park until further notice. For more info, click on this link:   Click on link in the right column for info on closures at other national parks.

Outings Equipment Supplier Going Out-of-Business

Long-time Southern California outings supplier Adventure 16 (A16) has announced they will be closing their stores 1/5/2020. A number of other mountaineering shops have come-and-gone over the years but A16 has been a regular source of clothing and equipment for many of our members for most of their climbing careers. 1/11/20 update: WLA store has closed and merchandise has been moved to San Diego store, which (1/12/20 update) closed after Sunday 1/12. Special items will be available for sale/silent auction at WLA 1/15 - 1/18 and at SD 1/21 - 1/25.

Ratings for Mountain Scramblers

11/25/19 - A new web page on Ratings for Mountain Scramblers has been added under the Peaks Lists drop-down menu. Based on an article in the April-June 2019 issue of Sierra Echo, the new framework for rating the difficulty of non-technical mountain scrambles includes definitions for ratings of non-technical scrambles and two tables with ratings of routes up SPS and other High Sierra Peaks. Readers are encouraged to contribute comments and additional ratings

Web Site Format Change/Update     

10/31/19 - The template controlling this web site has been changed/updated (late 2019) and things may look out of place until they are adjusted to fit the changed requirements. The Search block is now in the page footer.

New State Laws

10/13/19 - New laws (not yet in effect) recently signed by the California Governor include:
1. Bars any state leasing authority from allowing pipelines or other oil and gas infrastructure to be built on state property.
2. Renames the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry as the Geologic Energy Management Division whose mission includes protecting public health and environmental quality.
3. Bans police from using facial recognition software on body cameras.
4. Bans smoking on state parks and beaches except in parking lots or by permit.
5. Bans sale and manufacture of new fur products. ...MORE INFO  

Sequoia National Park Cell Tower Proposal

11/xx/18 - Verizon Wireless is proposing the construction of a cellular facility west of Wuksachi Village. Sequoia National Park is interested in public input on the Environmental Assessment. Comments are due by 11/26/18. For more info, go to:     

Tina Bowman List Finish #3 - 10/19/19   


Tina Bowman finished the list for a third time on San Joaquin Mountain.
She is only the second person to have finished the list more than twice.

Bob Pickering List Finish - 9/22/19

Bob Pickering - List Finish #79 - on Iron Mtn
(Photos of 2018 list finishers have been moved to List Completions web page.)

Proposed Dam on the Little Colorado River

10/13/19 - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved preliminary permit proposals to explore development of a project that would involve damming a section of the Little Colorado River near the Grand Canyon. The text of the permit is available in the Federal Register. FERC is accepting public comments on the permit until November 22.

New Inyo Forest Supervisor - Open House

5/22/18 - The Inyo National Forest is scheduling two outdoor open houses so that community members can meet Tammy Randall-Parker, the new Forest Supervisor. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22 from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center 2500 Hwy. 203, at the amphitheater (Shady Rest). The second is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30 from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Forest Supervisors Office in Bishop, 351 Pacu Lane, on the outdoor lawn. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite comfortable lawn chair.

R.J. Secor Memorial Hike - Sunday April 15

4/15/18 - Join us on a hike to Henniger Flats in Pasadena as a celebration of our friend R. J. Secor’s life. This moderate local climb from ...READ MORE..

SPS Echo Newsletter - Winter Issue Now Available

12/xx/17 - The Winter 2018 issue (Vol. 62 No. 1) of the Echo Newsletter is now available

Newhall Ranch Project

9/25/17 - Newhall Ranch Project - One of Southern California longest-running and ugliest development battles ended in a historic truce Monday when environmental groups agreed to a deal that will allow a new city of 58,000 residents to rise in the Santa Clarita Valley. For more information, see 

Saddlebag Lake Reservoir - Full

8/29/17 - Saddlebag Lake Reservoir is full - For the first time since at least as far back as 1983, Saddlebag Lake Reservoir on Lee Vining Creek is spilling. This is a rare event—and possibly a first—for the highest lake you can drive to in California. For more info, go to     

SPS Peaks List - Updated

8/21/17 - SPS Peaks List (247 peaks) - 25th Edition, August 2017

March 14 - Banff Film Festival at Caltech

3/14/17 - The SPS will have a table at the 6:00 reception before the 7:30 start of the Banff Film Festival screenings at Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus in Pasadena. Please stop by and say hello! For ticket and other information, look here:

March 25 – Open House at the new Angeles Chapter office

3/25/17 - Click on the following link to view: the Open House invite and where to RSVP, the Street address for the new Chapter office, and updated contacts for Chapter staff

Section History - Tribute Series - Updated

2/15/17 - Section History has been moved to a series of sub-pages located under the About Us tab. The Tribute Series (related to our Honorary Members) has been updated and expanded.

Web Site Re-Structure

1/20/17 - Web Site Re-Structure: Why the change? Read more HERE and HERE.

Webmaster bookkeeping note: This page was previously titled News--2017. To avoid linkage problem, never re-name THIS page with old name.