Sneak Climbing Section

1 Apr 1990 - by Yoshi van Winkle

Steve Eckert introduces (in Dec 1999):

I've been asked to dredge up an article from deep in the archives of PCS history... and since someone needed to type it in, I thought all of you might enjoy seeing what *MEN* we used to be (compared to the lily-livered regulation-lovers we are now). Consider this in light of the wreckreational use fee boycott that some are now advocating, and the flap we recently had because the Scree used the bad word 'unofficial' instead of the acceptable word 'private'. Hell in a handbasket.

NOTE: The articles below are not advice from me to you, just a bit of history. 'SPS' herein does NOT mean Sierra Peaks Section! You should enjoy the 'rating system' and the specifics of trespass law at the end. Remember the 10/91 hot springs arrest of Raoul Mocho? Enjoy this walk down memory lane:


From the April 1990 Scree, no author credits:

It was the inaugural adventure of the Sneak Climbing Section, the group which is dedicated to attaining summits on posted private land. Though it was not co-listed, three infamous members of the PCS may have been involved: Raul Mocho, Popeye Iacocca, and yours truly, Yoshi Van Winkle. These are not our real names, of course, but this report will contain sufficient clues for those who need to know.

Raul wanted to climb Oso Peak, a high point of Stanislaus County, but we were discouraged by the exposure. To a Sneak Climber, a summit that is treeless, not very steep, and the property of a hunting club is very serious exposure. They could see us from anywhere and they all have guns. It must remain on Raul's peak list for a while longer.

Instead, Popeye suggested Red Mountain, which was, according to his Triple-A map, the highest point of Stanislaus. It was an easy summit, involving only skulking around an A-frame and a quarry. At the 3800' summit, Raul discovered that the AAA map reports that nearby Mount Boardman has a height of 3645 feet, but the USGS Bay Area map shows it as 4089', so after getting caught at dawn camping at the base of Red, we set out for where four counties meet, for Mount Boardman.

There were many obstacles: locked gates, ranch shacks, clearings and jeep trails. But we hid in the chamise when danger approached, and got to the top and back in eight hours.

Back in the map room in the Mellow Park USGS office, Popeye discovered that the 7.5' quadrangle also shows Boardman as being 3645', in disagreement with the USGS Bay Area map. So it turns out that we did climb the high point of San Joaquin County, but we did not simultaneously breathe the thinnest air in Stanislaus. That place, we now believe, is Mount Stakes. Since Stakes is also on private property, look for another Sneak Climbing Section outing. Trip announcements will be spray painted on freeway underpasses near you.


From the May 1990 Scree, submitted by Bill Hauser:

'Guerrilla Warfare Climbs'

Following the time honored tradition of the Old John Society and Los Cientos Club, I propose a new subsection of the PCS to be known as the SPS (Sneak Peak Section).

All members of the SPS must be sworn to secrecy and not admit Sierra Club membership to any landowner or public official.

The real purpose of climbing peaks on private property is to demonstrate in a clear fashion that no one person or entity has the right to exclude other people from climbing a named mountain peak. Just as ocean front owners can't keep the public from access to the beach, the same should hold true for mountain peaks. no owner, private or corporate, has the right to keep the public from access to a mountain peak.

Our society does nothing to protect mountain summits outside of State and Federal areas. Under current laws, the owner of a mountain peak can simply build a house right smack on the summit with no regard for the peak itself.

Architects have succeeded in giving first-class old buildings certain protection, but a comparable concern for and protection of our special and unique mountain summits does not exist.

Mountain peaks have rights! Let's climb as many private peaks as possible.

SPS Rating System:

California Trespass Law, Section 602(k), reportedly requires all of the following to be IN VIOLATION: The land must be fenced AND signed AND one must fail to leave the property on request.


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