TALUS PILE May 2003 #128


May 12 Mon Meeting Westbrook, Doerr, Renta
May 17-18 Sat-Sun OPEN
May 23-26 Fri-Mon Jepson, Palisade Crest (via South Big Pine Creek) TBD
May 23-26 Fri-Mon White Mountain traverse Schafhauser
May 31-Jun 1 Sat-Sun OPEN
Jun 6-8 Fri-Sun Split Doerr
Jun 9 Mon Meeting Breitenstein, Runkle, Davis
Jun 10-11 Tue-Wed Summer class
Jun 12-15 Thu-Sun MRA meeting (Idyllwild) Sakai
Jun 13-16 Fri-Mon Peak 13520, Thumb, Bolton Brown Hinman
Jun 17-18 Tue-Wed Summer class
Jun 20-22 Fri-Sun Williamson from Shepherd Pass Bishop
Jun 24-25 Tue-Wed Summer class
Jun 28-29 Sat-Sun Whitney North Fork Rockwell
Jul 3-6 Thu-Sun Palisades from west side (via Bishop Pass) Huey
Jul 9-10 Tue-Wed Summer class
Jul 12-13 Sat-Sun Summer class day trips Group leaders
Jul 14 Mon Meeting Hinman, Finco, Green
Jul 15-16 Tue-Wed Summer class
Jul 17-21 Thu-Mon Genevra, Ericsson, Stanford Rockwell
Jul 22-23 Tue-Wed Summer class
Jul 26-27 Sat-Sun Summer class overnights Group leaders
Jul 29 Tue Summer class
Jul 30 Wed Summer class party Class members
Aug 1-3 Fri-Sun Whitney North Fork Finco
Aug 9-10 Sat-Sun Hitchcock, McAdie TBD
Aug 9-18 Sat-Mon Wyoming, Montana (Gannet, Granite) Huey
Aug 14-18 Thu-Mon Kaweahs Hinman
Aug 23-24 Sat-Sun Heller Roseman
Aug 25 Mon Summer party Mitchell
Aug 29-Sep 1 Fri-Mon Tuolumne Meadows Finco
Sep 6 Sat Whitney day hike Myers
Sep 8 Mon Meeting Myers, Rockwell, Bishop


2003-01 18 April 03 Transit Red Rock Canyon Debbie Breitenstein, Leader
At about 1230 on Friday, 18 April, Tom Roseman, who happened to be at home, received a call from Sgt. Kirkland of the Kern County Sheriff's Office. Kirkland reported that a juvenile male had fallen from the ridge behind Ricardo Campground campsite #16 in Red Rock Canyon. He was reportedly wedged in one of the chutes below the ridge. Our Group was requested to assist the responding fire department in extracting the boy from his location. Kirkland informed Roseman that the boy had possible head injuries from the fall.
Roseman paged the team, specifying that this was NOT the practice operation that had been scheduled to start that evening and be fielded on Saturday. He requested available Group members to proceed immediately to the hut. I responded and agreed to take the operation as my first lead. Mary Schmierer agreed to coordinate until 1700, when Carol Burge would take over, and the two teamed to complete the telephone call out.
Other Group members responding were Al Green, Eric Toler, Dave Miles, Tom Sakai, Walter Runkle, Bud Gates, and Dan Bishop. Roseman could not go into the field because he was recovering from recent eye surgery, but he assisted in the pre-fielding coordination and departure from the hut.
The advance team, Green (team leader) with Toler and Miles in his vehicle, left the hut by 1320 and headed to the canyon. Sakai, Runkle, and I followed in Sakai's truck at 1330. The third team, Gates and Bishop, stayed behind to finish charging the drill battery before leaving for the canyon.

At 1350, just after Sakai's vehicle had passed Freeman Gulch, Kirkland called to tell us that the subject had been lifted from his location by a helicopter and evacuated, so the situation was no longer urgent. He stated, however, that two other persons were now stranded on or below the ridge and would need our assistance. We agreed to continue. I called Green and Schmierer to inform them of the change of status.
At 1400, Kirkland called again to tell us that the other two subjects had managed to extract themselves and that the operation was cancelled. I managed to call Schmierer, but Green was already in the canyon and out of telephone contact. We decided to continue in, get all the team members together at the campground, and observe the site of the incident. The third car (Gates and Bishop) arrived at about 1425. We turned around and headed home. We arrived at the hut at 1510.
NOTE: One element that did confuse people about this operation was a planned mock operation scheduled to begin that evening and be fielded the following morning. At least one person, on receiving the phone call, assumed that the call out was for the practice and declined, though later he agreed he would have committed if he had realized it was an actual operation. Humorously, we noted that we planned the mock operation because of the lack of actual operations. I guess we challenged Murphy's Law and created a real operation for the team. (The mock operation did proceed as scheduled because we were all packed and hadn't been fielded.)

Continue the climb and do not fear the falls, for those not living on the edge are taking up too much space.


Date Location Participants Notes
1 Dec Great Falls Basin Roseman, Hueber
13-14 Dec Telescope Rockwell, Florian
14-15 Dec Tin Schafhauser, Huey 7 hours roundtrip.
21 Dec Owens Rockwell, Bishop, Huey, Sakai, DeRuiter, Green, Myers,
C Burge, guests: Adam Zurn, and Dan's dog
22 Dec Fremont, "North Fremont" Rockwell, Sakai
28 Dec Joshua Rockwell, Green
1 Jan Owens Rockwell, Sakai, Green, C Burge, Hueber, Breitenstein, Davis, guests: Jan Lorenzen, Bob Joy, Bob Adams, Bill Stratton, Dan Goriesky Not on schedule, but we do it every year.
4 Jan Thor Curtis and 2 guests
4 Jan Bald Huey, Bishop, and guest 3 _ hours up, 2 hours down.
4 Jan Whitney snowshoe hike Rockwell, Roseman, Breitenstein To Lone Pine Lake
11 Jan Wildrose, Peak 8675, Bald, and 2 peaklets Rockwell, Green, C Burge, Bishop, D. Burge, Franklin, Doerr Hiked all. All have summit registers.
17-20 Jan Whitney Roseman, Sakai, Franklin, Rockwell, Bishop, Davis, Runkle, guests Geno Hacker, Keith Richards-Dinger, Dan Goriesky, Roger Turpin 2 different efforts. Davis led fast trip. 5 went up at 5 a.m. Roseman led 3-4 day trip. Camp first night at Bighorn Park; second above Trail Camp at 12,400 feet; third day to the summit and back to camp by noon--at cars by dark. Snow conditions were good.
25-26 Jan Alice Rockwell, Myers Nice day; got to 10,600 before turning around.
26 Jan Alabama Hills Hinman, Runkle, Hueber Rock climbing
31 Jan-2 Feb Snow Crown Myers, Sakai, Rockwell Camped at Gilbert Lake, summited and came out the next day.
8-9 Feb Joshua Tree Roseman, Hueber, guest Rock climbing
8-9 Feb Waucoba Rockwell, Franklin, Hinman, Bishop, C. Burge, Green, Miles, guests Kevin McCormick, Chuck & Sue Farris, Bill Stratton Tough climb due to steepness, brush, rocks, snow patches. Seven got back to car at 1800 just barely not needing headlamps, the remaining four at 1900.
15 Feb Tucki Rockwell, Green, guests Sue & Chuck Farris Saw 4 bighorn sheep. Nice climb via Telephone Canyon; 3 hours to top.
17-21 Feb Pear Lake Hut Hueber, Breitenstein, Runkle, Ferguson, Roseman, guests
P. Hueber, Laura Z, K. Wetzel Good weather, great food.
8 Mar Owens Ridge Roseman, Hinman, Runkle Climbed Triplet and Sundance. Lots of nice flowers, good climbing, road repaired
8-9 Mar Manley Doerr, Green, Huey,
guest Jim Vijay
Overnight. Camped at cabin. Cabin was great place to stay. Water system set up, stocked with books. 3rd class, but parachute rope with hand holds was useful.
Five Fingers Huey Car vandalized at 5 Fingers trailhead.
Corkscrew Huey and 3 guests Fun trip
28-30 Mar Red Rock Canyon NV Roseman, Hinman Rainbow Buttress, 5.8, Grade IV


Whitney Trail
17-19 January 2003
By Bob Rockwell
Tom Roseman, Tom Sakai, Mike Franklin, Dan Bishop, Geno Hacker, and I did the Whitney Trail. We parked about 200 yards below the Meysan Lake parking spot on Friday,
17 January. Two easy days snowshoeing to high camp at ~12,400 feet near the bottom of the Trail Crest chute. Sunday morning, we were on our way at 6:30, on the summit at 10:10, and back at camp at 12:30. (We went at our individual paces; these times were mine). Mike and Geno also did Muir. We left camp at 1:20 and reached our cars at 4:05. We used crampons and ice axes to get up to Trail Crest and left them there for the hike to the summit and back. Nice weather, nice friends, nice climb. We met Walter Runkle and his five-man crew doing a two-day ascent. Tigers! Pictures at


Editor: I found something tucked away in an old file that should have appeared in a Talus Pile sometime last year. Bob Rockwell had his giardia article published in Adventure Magazine. The first few lines of the article appear below beside the cover of that issue.

National Geographic Adventure Magazine July 2002, Volume 4, Number 5
Need to Know
Drink up, says researcher Robert Rockwell-reports of giardia in the wild have been greatly exaggerated.


On the evening of 21 March 2003, the Kern County Sheriff's Office honored its Search and Rescue volunteers at the sixth annual sheriff's appreciation banquet at Hodel's Restaurant in Bakersfield, California. Sgt. John Diederich was the Master of Ceremonies. Sheriff-Coroner Mack Wimbish, Assistant Sheriff Phil Crosby, Commander Rocky Lacertoso, and Sgt. Mike Kirkland were the listed speakers. (Only Sheriff Wimbish and Commander Lacertoso actually addressed us.)
Fourteen members and guests represented the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group:
Tom Sakai and guest Carol Sakai
David Miles and guest Carin Miles
Linda Finco and guest Tom Stogsdill
Debbie Breitenstein and guests Gene and Judy Breitenstein
Mike Myers and guest Cindy Myers
Tom Roseman
Ellen Schafhauser
Loren Castro
Tom Stogsdill visited us from his home in La Paz, Mexico. Tom is a former long time member and leader of the Group and a current Honorary Member.

Contributor of the Year
Linda Finco was recognized as our top contributor for the year. President Debbie Breitenstein read the following statement:
"I have selected Linda Finco as the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group's Contributor of the Year for many reasons.
"Since I joined the group, Linda has always been there. She's fairly quiet, but when she isn't, it's for the right reasons, and you'd be wise to shut up and listen. When there's a task that's not necessarily fun or easy--and they occur in abundance--Linda is one who says, "Okay. I'll take care of it." And then, it's taken care of promptly and with good humor.
"Though, as I've said, she's fairly quiet, she's one of the people moving in the background all the time. She's one who ensures that what needs to get done, gets done. The Group wouldn't be the same without her.
"For these reasons, for her contributions this year, and for her many years on the team, I chose Linda Finco as our Contributor of the Year."

Sgt. Diederich, Commander Lacertoso, and Sgt. Kirkland recognized the following Group members with longevity awards for their years of service:

5 Years, Elaine Riendeau, Eric Toler 10 Years-Steve Florian , Curtis Davis15 Years Ellen Schafhauser 20 Years-Lloyd Brubaker. Tom Sakai, Linda Finco, Phelps TerHeun 40 Years Dennis Burge


Former long time member and leader Andrew (Mitch) Mitchell was elected an Honorary Member of the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group at the regular monthly meeting of 10 March 2003. Former Sheriff Carl Sparks was the last person to be so honored. (Refer to The Talus Pile Number 125 of October 2002.)
Mitch's nomination for this honor reads as follows:

Nomination to elect Andrew Mitchell to Honorary Membership
By Mike Myers
I recommend that Andrew (Mitch) Mitchell be elected an honorary member of CLMRG. This recommendation is based on his long-term membership and on the impact he has had on the Group. Mitch became a member of the Group in August 1981 and resigned in December 2002, giving him a little more than 21 years of membership. During those 21 years, Mitch had an overall positive impact on the group.
Mitch spent eight years serving on the Board of Directors-two years as secretary, MRA representative, and vice president. As vice president, Mitch also served out most of the last year of Linda Finco's second year as president when she had to go on long term travel. That was followed by two additional years as the president. During his term as president, Mitch dealt with some unusual issues, most notably the deaths of two members, Carol Papas and Robbie Dow.
Mitch was an operation leader from 1990 to 1999. During those 10 years, Mitch lead 36 operations. I think it's safe to assume that Mitch participated in two or three times that many operations during his time with CLMRG. Many of the early records do not list the names of members who participated in the operations, so it's difficult to establish how many operations he actually took part in.
In addition to serving as the Group's MRA representative, Mitch also held various positions in the California Region MRA, including the Region Chair. During this time, he was instrumental in the Group's hosting a National MRA meeting.
Sheila Rockwell has asked me to add this note from the coordinators to this recommendation. She said that Mitch was always the most pleasant leader that they dealt with. They never got a grumpy response when they phoned him in the wee hours. What they usually got when he answered the phone at 0100ish was, "Okay, where are we going?"
(Refer to The Talus Pile Number 123 (April 2002) for the history of our Honorary Member category.)


Posted on Monday, January 13, 2003
Search party finds band of stranded climbers on Oregon's Mt. Hood
TIMBERLINE LODGE, Ore. - Rescuers on snowy, wind-whipped Mount Hood have reached a party of five climbers who got lost in whiteout conditions and stranded overnight, authorities said. Another party of two on the 11,235-foot mountain southeast of Portland also went unaccounted for Sunday, but came down later in the day, authorities said. Both are students at Oregon State University.
The five climbers had left early Saturday morning and were expected to return that evening. But they lost their way due to whiteout conditions and found themselves near steep cliffs, where they stopped and dug a snow cave, said Kathleen Walker of the U.S. Forest Service, who is working with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
Search and rescue teams were in contact with the five via cell phone, Walker said. The climbers also had a mountain locator unit, which allowed rescuers to hone [sic] in on their location. Because of the elevation, rescuers were unable to use a helicopter and instead reached them on foot.
"They were a little cold, but they were about to walk out on their own," said Marty Johnson of Portland Mountain Rescue. He said the five were out of their cave and packing their gear when rescuers arrived. "We helped them pack and got them out of there. There were some pretty nasty conditions," he said. A vehicle brought the climbers the rest of the way down to Timberline Lodge at the 6,000-foot level of the mountain, said Dave Sauerbury, president of the Portland outdoor and mountain climbing club Mazamas. The five men, ages 31 to 44, then headed for home.
In May, an Air Force Reserve helicopter went down with six crew members aboard during an attempt to rescue a group of climbers on Mount Hood. Three climbers died in that accident, another six were injured, and the six people aboard the rescue helicopter were injured.
About 10,000 people try to climb Mount Hood each year, but usually only a few hundred attempt it in the winter. On average, one to three climbers die on the mountain each year, Walker said.
Internet cafe opens on Mount Everest
By Nick Farrell [29-01-2003]
The highest web cafe in the world--and probably the most expensive. The grandson of Sherpa Tensing will be opening one of the world's highest internet cafes in March. According to Ananova, Tsering Gyaltsen Sherpa, 32, will be opening the cafe at the Khumbu glacier on Mount Everest to allow climbers to access the web.
At a height of 5,300 metres, the cafe will use a wireless transmitter that can be hired at £660 a time by expeditions passing through the site. Any profits will go towards equipment for the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, which clears the mountain of the tons of rubbish that climbers leave behind.
The cafe will also be used by the few people who live in the area.

Posted on Tue, Jan. 21, 2003
Missing family found after two days
TROUT LAKE, Wash. - A couple and their two young children were rescued Monday nearly two days after they failed to return from a day trip to play in the snow in the Mount St. Helens area.
Billy Buzzini, 24, his wife, Sarah, 23, and daughters Kaleigh, 4, and Madison, 1, were in good condition, said a dispatcher with the Skamania County Sheriff's Office.
Shortly before they were located, Undersheriff Dave Cox had said their car was found stuck in the snow on a U.S. Forest Service road about 15 miles northwest of Trout Lake in the Lewis River Valley, southwest of Mount Adams and southeast of Mount St. Helens. It appeared the Buzzinis had abandoned their car after it got stuck, Cox said.
The family had food, water, blankets and extra clothing, but did not return calls to two cell phones. Cell phone service is unpredictable in mountain areas.

Posted on Tue, Jan. 21, 2003
Eight skiers killed in avalanche in British Columbia
REVELSTOKE, British Columbia - Eight back-country skiers from the United States were killed and two were injured when an avalanche crashed down a mountainside Monday in eastern British Columbia, officials said. The snow slide occurred near the Durrand Glacier, 20 miles northeast of the town of Revelstoke in the Canadian Rockies.
Regional coroner Ian McKichan said eight people died and two were injured. The victims' names and hometowns were not released. Earlier reports said there had been 20 skiers. The party of skiers from the United States had traveled by helicopter to a remote camp in the Rocky Mountains, using that as a base for ski touring, said Bob Pearce, a spokesman for the B.C. Ambulance Service.

The survivors were transported to a Revelstoke hospital. Pearce said that at least one was in stable condition, but the status of the other was not known. "There are five ambulance crews at the heliport in Revelstoke where a makeshift morgue has been set up," Pearce said.
Ingrid Boaz at Selkirk Mountain Experience said the party caught in the avalanche had been flown to the company's chalet on the glacier. She said she did not know where the group was from.
The Selkirk firm's Web site says the Revelstoke-based company, founded in 1985, caters to adventurers who enjoy the mountains. It describes the area around Durrand Glacier as "very remote and wild." Backcountry skiers "wear special ski gear, climb up hills, lock into their skis, and ski down," said Clair Israelson, director of the Canadian Avalanche Association in Revelstoke.
Israelson said 50 people have been killed in British Columbia snow slides in the past five years, including 10 this year.

Contra Costa Times
Saturday, March 15, 2003
Twin brothers set out to be first Americans to ski Everest
By Matt Krupnick
The Marolt twins won't need lift tickets for their next ski trip, just a steady step and powerful lungs. The 38-year-old accountants leave this month for the Himalayas, where the St. Mary's College alumni will attempt to become the first Americans to ski from the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest. To raise the stakes, Mike and Steve Marolt won't use oxygen during the ascent. Going without oxygen "is a pure form of climbing, and anything less than that is cheating, pure and simple," Steve Marolt said by phone from their hometown of Aspen, Colo. Doctors shudder at the idea of the Marolts and their seven American companions climbing the world's highest mountain without breathing aids, but the brothers shrug off warnings of hallucinations and brain and nerve damage.
Only about 60 of the roughly 1,300 people who have survived the summit climb have done so without supplemental oxygen, according to But the difference in oxygen supplied by a tank would make reaching Everest's summit no more impressive than climbing a mountain of a mere 22,000-foot elevation, Mike Marolt said. "You take 7,000 feet out of the picture, that's a big difference," he said. "I'd rather get to 27,000 feet without (oxygen) than get to the top with it."
The risk of climbing without oxygen is hard to fathom for Dr. Peter Hackett, president of the International Society for Mountain Medicine and a longtime climber who reached Everest's summit in 1981. A lack of oxygen at the altitude commercial airlines fly could cause a loss of short-term memory, an inability to learn new skills, or even death, Hackett said. "They run a very high risk of frostbite and the possibility of permanent neurological damage," said Hackett, who said he hallucinated and nearly jumped off Everest even while using oxygen. "Without oxygen, there's more possibility for errors because your brain isn't working as well."
"That's a lot of embellishment," answers Steve Marolt, who often trains with his brother at elevations over 13,000 feet.
The twins have experience on their side. In 2000, they scaled Tibet's Shishapangma, the world's 14th-highest peak at 26,289 feet without oxygen tanks. The ascent made them the first Americans to ski from an 8000-meter summit, which convinced them that the Everest climb is possible.
Furthermore, they have the genetics and lifestyle to complete the feat. Their father, Max, skied in the 1960 Olympics, and their uncle, Bill Marolt, is a former Olympic skier and current president and CEO of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.
The brothers have spent most of their lives in Aspen, skiing several times a week during ski season. Aside from their brief interlude in the East Bay [at St. Mary's], the Marolts have lived almost exclusively in the mountains. "It's just been a slow lifetime process of just starting out here and moving on to bigger and better things," said Mike, who is married with a child. "It's finally culminating in bringing it to the ultimate level."
Whether the Marolts and their group will actually ski from Everest's summit remains to be seen. The mountaintop is above most snow-producing clouds, making it unlikely that the crew will find much more that ice, a meteorologist said. "At that elevation, there can't be much new snow," said James Murakami of the UCLA atmospheric sciences department. "The snow that is up there has probably been there for hundreds, if not thousands, of years."
The brothers admit the lack of new snow and steep terrain could derail the plan to ski down the world's highest mountain, but they will bring skis anyway. "The odds are so against us skiing that it doesn't even enter into my mind," Steve Marolt said. "The skiing is a pipe dream. I don't think it's going to happen."
Regardless of how the group gets down the mountain's north face, it is the ascent that excites the Marolts. The excitement doesn't mean the danger doesn't enter their minds.


President Debbie Breitenstein 939-0716
Vice-president Paul DeRuiter 939-4517
Secretary Elaine Riendeau 939-6577
Treasurer Dave Doerr 939-8077
MRA Representative Tom Sakai 375-7404


Mike Myers (Chair) Al Green (Chair) Ellen Schafhauser (Chair)
Tom Roseman (Operations) Mike Renta Bob Rockwell Debbie Breitenstein
Tom Sakai (Activities) Tom Roseman Bob Huey Gina Najera-Niesen
Dave Miles Linda Finco Janet Westbrook
PUBLIC EDUCATION Dave Doerr Werner Hueber
Terry Mitchell (Chair) ASTM
Elaine Riendeau SUMMER CLASS Dennis Burge
Carol Burge Mike Franklin (Chair)
Mary Schmierer Bob Huey STORES
Bob Rockwell Al Green Carol Burge
Mike Myers
Dave Miles (Chair) Debbie Breitenstein Janet Westbrook (Webmistress)
Dan Bishop Dan Bishop
Daryl Hinman EMERGENCY SERVICES COUNCIL Loren Castro (Editor)
Linda Finco (Chair) Sheila Rockwell (Cub Reporter)
SHERIFF'S OFFICE Janet Westbrook
Tom Roseman


Qualifications Tom Sakai 375-7404
Qualifications Mike Myers 939-5995
Qualifications Tom Roseman 939-4812
Public Education Terry Mitchell 939-2252
Training Dave Miles 939-4260
Equipment Al Green 375-9189
First Aid Ellen Schafhauser 375-4043
Sheriff's Office Tom Roseman 939-4812
ASTM Representative Dennis Burge 375-7967
Emergency Services Linda Finco 375-7951
Summer Class Mike Franklin 939-8790
Stores Carol Burge 446-7038
The Talus Pile Loren Castro 375-3279


Gina Najera-Niesen

CLMRG gratefully acknowledges recent gifts from the following friends:
Janet E. Hammond Bradbury, California To honor her son, Steve Lester
Steven, Caroline, and Jon Walker Monrovia, California
Amelia Marcelle and Angel Gomez "For Arwen Lienau"
Edison International Employee Contributions Campaign
Lyal D. Viers Ridgecrest, California


Check our web page at
All telephone numbers in The Talus Pile are area code 760 unless noted otherwise.
Former member Howard Derrickson was the featured artist at the Sylvia Winslow Exhibit Gallery of the Maturango Museum from 15 March to 9 April 2003. "His work reflects a sensitivity towards the complexities of color and attention towards the quality of light and shadow with strong emphasis on the shapes characterizing a particular landscape" (from The Daily Independent of 6 March 2003).

Runner's Punch (aka Runner's Tea)
Thanks to Jerry Banister
1 quart strong tea (with 1 cup of sugar dissolved in it while still warm)
3 12-oz cans of frozen orange juice
1 12-oz can of frozen lemonade
1 12-oz can of frozen limeade
2 each orange, lemon, or lime sliced in thin slices, quarters, or halves
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple
1 2-liter bottle of Sprite, 7-UP, or Slice
1_ gallons of water
Slice the fruit the night before and pour the tea over it. Store in refrigerator overnight. Put frozen juices in refrigerator the night before to begin thawing. Chill the can of crushed pineapple. In a 4-gallon cooler, combine all the ingredients. Add crushed ice if desired. Serve it with a ladle because the fruit will clog the spout. (It's a good idea to tape over the spout.) If you want to omit the tea, decrease the water by 1 quart.

San Francisco Chronicle
19 November 2002
Editor-Enjoyed this morning's piece on the Los Angeles news choppers ("The eye in the sky over Los Angeles," Nov. 12). I do want to take linguistic exception, though, to one small turn of phrase you used, referring to "that helio-classic, the car chase." The prefix "helio" means "pertaining to the sun" (as in, for example, "helium," an element that was first discovered through the spectroscopic analysis of sunlight). It has nothing to do with helicopters. Contrary to appearances, the word "helicopter" doesn't really divide as "heli-copter" but as "helico-pter." That's "helico-" as in "helix" meaning "spiral."
Steve Chernicoff