California Institute of Technology

Alpine Club logo

Caltech Alpine Club homepage

Founded circa 1950; 0% fatality rate since May 2007

Sept. 1 2010: we have moved to a new website!

Please visit our new wiki hosted at the ugcs cluster on campus. The old aliases, and similar, now redirect to the new wiki.

This page will no longer be maintained! Most of the material here has already been moved over to the wiki.

News and Upcoming trips

  • "Encounters with Ents": a Floris van Breugel photography presentation at Caltech. Floris is a Caltech CDS grad student and an award winning photographyer. The presentation is Wed, April 28th at 7 PM at Beckman Institute Lecture Hall (which is NOT Beckman Auditorium). Pizza and drinks will be provided at 6 PM at the patio outside the institute. Please RSVP at the Caltech facebook page so we have a headcount for pizza (and you'll find more information on the presentation there too).
  • Cascade Designs logo April 2010: Thanks very much to Cascade Designs for supporting our club. Cascade Designs includes the MSR, Thermarest and Platypus brands. Much of our rental equipment is from a Cascade Design brand (e.g. all of our snowshoes).
  • March 2010: we're gradually migrating our library from the Caltech Y to SFL. Here's a list of our books at SFL (or just do a "Subject" search for "Caltech Alpine Club Collection" or similar). Our old library page is still accurate, but we may stop updating it in 2011.
  • Kenny Oslund has arranged a club retreat in Mammoth for March 25-29 (last weekend of spring break). Email him at kenoslund at for more details. We are very grateful to Campus Life at Caltech for funding the majority of this trip!
  • 2010 mountaineering trip logo The annual (and perhaps last?) winter mountaineering trip is happening this year. Please see the 2010 winter mountaineering trip page for basic info, and subscribe to the google groups listed below if you plan on joining the trip.
    Google Groups
    Caltech Alpine Club 2010 Mountaineering Trip
    Visit this group
  • Banff Logo Banff Mountain Film Festival came to Caltech again, Tuesday March 23 2010 at 7:30PM. See Caltech public events. Watch the intro:
    Links: Banff World Tour intro video on youtube (also, the high quality version).
  • Interested in climbing Pico de Orizaba, the famous Mexican volcano? A few alpine club members plan to travel there over Martin Luther King weekend, Jan 15-20, 2010. You must be comfortable with ice-axe and crampon technique, and high altitude. For details, contact Pratyush at Update: Pratyush, Martin, Annelen and Karl had a successful expedition and have returned with all their fingers and toes.
  • Wed Oct 7 '09: we had about 40 people turnout for our slideshow BBQ. Lot's of great stories. You can see a brief list of what was shown at the 2009 Slideshow Page.
  • Update to Brett's record (see below): Brett has posted a John Muir Trail trip report on the forums. Also, Marc compiled his youtube videos into this Brett's JMT YouTube playlist (click "play all"). See also Brett's Summitpost JMT trip report.
  • There's a new unsupported speed record for the John Muir Trail: 3 days, 14 hours and 13 minutes from Whitney Portal to Yosemite.

    Not only did this blow away the old unsupported record (from 2007) of 4 days, 5 hoursi (by Michael Popov), but it also beat Sue Johnston's supported record from 2007 of 3 days 20 hours.

    Who is this record breaker? It's our own Brett Maune, former Alpine Club president. Some of you know him from his time on campus; he was also on this year's winter Shasta trip (see pic, upper left), as well as the 2007 winter Whitney trip and the 2006 summer Shasta trip.

    Congrats Brett! He's in the process of writing a trip report, so maybe he'll post to the list when he's done.

    Until then, you can read a bit more about it at the following links (and be satisfied with the following quote): "What is this disgusting yellow crap I'm coughing up? Should I be concerned? My knees are also 'very' tight and painful. I can't really walk at the moment."

    The Backpackinglite forum thread (all 9 pages of it) chronicles Brett's failed attempt last month, and includes advice from the (now former) record holders. On page 8, you start to see posts about his new record as word came in about his splits: forum thread (takes you to page 8)
    Also: Peter Bakwin's "Fastest Known Times" website.
  • Spring '09: There's now a Caltech Hiking Club with a nice website and a email list. Check it out!
  • By popular demand, the club held it's 3rd annual Winter Mountaineering Trip. We had 25 participants on the February (2009) Mt. Baldy practice trip, and about a dozen participants on both the March Mt. Whitney trip and the April Mt. Shasta trip (via Casaval Ridge). See the webpage for details and pictures. Also, check out the 2008 and 2007 webpages (we climbined Whitney both years, and Mt. Sill in 2008 as well), or the Mt. Shasta trip page (from our summer trip in 2006).
  • Sierra Madre Search and Rescue logo If you have ever wanted to get involved and help your fellow climbers/hikers/backpackers in need, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue (SMSR) is currently recruiting for the 2009 training class. Primary requirements are that you are at least 25 years old, live within 20 minutes of Sierra Madre, and are reasonably fit and comfortable in the wilderness.
    If you have any questions about the rewards or commitments involved in joining, don't hesitate to ask (email alpine and you will be forwarded to the appropriate person). We currently have several Caltech affiliated people on the team.
  • 2nd Wednesday (and 3rd!) of every month is ladies' night at the Arc gym -- women climb free. New student rate of $35/month!

For more details, and to see all past and future trips, please see our events page.

Major past events sponsorship logo has a deal with the Alpine Club for a variable discount on their products. Much thanks to Nick Stadie for organizing this, and to the folks at To use the discount, you must be a member on the email list; see the Feb 7th 2008 email for details.

The club also has, or has had, arrangements with MountainSmith, Outdoor Research, and Evolv. We appreciate our sponsors!

Who we are

The Caltech Alpine club serves the entire Caltech and JPL community and is dedicated to all aspects of mountaineering. We have about 480 people on our email list, ranging from sport climbers to backpackers to cavers to alpinists. This website contains information on upcoming events, local climbing areas and places to buy and rent gear. We also have listed the modest amount of gear and books that we loan out free of charge to members.

If you are new to the community or to this site, you might try joining our mailing list. For specific questions, please email alpine -- not to be confused with the email list, which is alpineclub (all email addresses end in unless otherwise stated).

About membership: for the past few years, we haven't charged dues, and hence there is no such thing as being an "official member" of the club. To be involved with us, join the email list and check this site for upcoming events.

As of September 2007, the club's membership breakdown is as follows:

  • Staff: 21 members
  • Faculty: 7 members
  • Grad Students: 162 members
  • Guests, Visitors and Summer Students: 17 members
  • Postdocs: 38 members
  • Undergrads: 49 members
  • Unknown Affiliation: 138 members

New website aliases

To help those of us with failing memories, it is now possible to access this site via different virtual hosts, including:

All aliases will redirect automatically to

New online guidebooks from the SMC

The Sierra Mountain Center has some small PDF guidebooks, mainly by S.P. Parker as well as with assistance by Todd Vogel and Andy Hyslop. The following PDFs are available:

Some of the guides are still a work in progress. Much thanks to SP and the SMC for publishing these on the web!

Prodeal with Mountainsmith

Members of the club can recieve a wholesale prices on Mountainsmith products. Contact alpine for details. Much thanks to Mountainsmith! The club has a few other prodeals -- email for details.

SIF grant

Thanks to the Student Investment Fund (SIF), we have recieved $400 to buy new guidebooks in spring 2007. An updated list of all the books in our library will be posted once the books arrive. We have nearly comprehensive coverage of most SoCal destinations, as well as areas such as Bishop, Yosemite and Red Rocks. The SIF also funded our purchase of two ice axes and two pairs of crampons last year.

ASCIT funding

ASCIT, the Caltech undergraduate association, will give the Alpine Club $220 next school year. We received $120 from ASCIT for '06/'07. Much thanks!

Climbing class

Held Tuesday evenings at 7:30 at Hanger 18 climbing gym. If you'd like to be part of a carpool, email alpine. This class is normally held every quarter, and you can either be "in the class" (the teacher, one of the Hanger 18 employees, is great), or just climb on your own. Either way, there's a $40 / quarter fee (as of 2007).

New for Aug 2006! Check out upcoming Alpine Club events on Google Calendar

If you have a Google account, you can use Google Calendar beta and add the Alpine Club's calendar to your calendar (don't worry, you can remove it later if you wish). To see the Alpine Club calendar, follow the link below:
google calender button image. If you don't already have a Google account, you can still view the calendar here.
Email alpine if you'd like permission to edit the calendar.

What's on this website

Back to top of page.

In Brief:

Of Note:

  • New climbing gym in Arcadia as of late 2005: Arcadia Rock Climbing, aka "The Arc". $15 per day.
  • Athletic Dept. Rock Climbing class, Hanger 18 gym: email the email list if you'd like to carpool
  • Williamson Rock closed. See this message board or visit Friends of Williamson Rock for information on the situation.

Our '09/'10 Sponsors

Caltech organizations:
  • The SIF has been very generous to our club in years past but their 2009 club disbursement was later than usual and past without notice, so we were unable to put in a grant request this year.
  • Campus Life at Caltech funded our March 2010 ski retreat in Mammoth
  • Thanks also to Public Events at Caltech for helping us once again show the Banff Mountain Film Festival in March. This is our main source of club revenue.

Our '08/'09 Sponsors

Caltech organizations:

Our '07/'08 Sponsors

Caltech organizations:

Our '06/'07 Sponsors

Caltech organizations:

Friends of the Club

The club supports...

Local organizations