October 28, 2007 Hiking

A Very Special Halloween Treat

For my last major hike of the 2007 season, I wanted to do something special. I got the chance this month to do a rare hike with my brother in Arizona. This is definitely one of those off-the-map specials: a rim-to-river scramble deep in the remote, rugged wilderness of the eastern Grand Canyon. During the (more...)...

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September 22, 2007 Current Conditions

September Snow?

By any standard, we’ve just seen a very unusual weather event: a ‘winter’ storm in SoCal—in the month of September. NWS was forecasting accumulations of 18 inches in the Southern Sierra, with higher totals possible. It may be an exaggeration to say we saw as much rain overnight here in L.A. as all of last (more...)...

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September 5, 2007 Science

Global Dimming

PBS’ Nova is running a new episode on a phenomenon they’ve dubbed, “Global Dimming”—the reduction of the sun’s intensity due to atmospheric pollution. On its surface this might seem like a perfectly obvious consequence of pollution, but, as the documentary demonstrates, scientists are making astonishing discoveries about its true scope (more...)...

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August 31, 2007 News

Backcountry/Couloir Mags Merge

Well, it’s here. The new, merged Backcountry-Couloir Magazine arrived in the mail this week. I don’t usually cheer mergers, so I wasn’t exactly leaping for joy when I heard that the venerable Couloir Mag (which began right here in SoCal) was going to be absorbed by Backcountry. I’m sort of the sentimental type, especially when (more...)...

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August 12, 2007 News

GW Alert: Russia Plants Flag Under North Pole

Here’s a chiller of a story for you from the Los Angeles Times: Russian submarines planted the national flag on the seabed two miles beneath the North Pole, claming the land as an extension of Russia’s continental shelf—and therefore within their domain for oil and gas exploration. It turns out that Global Warming, which is (more...)...

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August 7, 2007 Health

How Toxic is Your Sunscreen?

If you’re like me—fair-skinned, that is—you’ve probably discovered that sunscreens don’t all perform the same. I can put on a thick layer of SPF 50 and still get torched. No, it’s not just that sunscreens tend to wash off as you sweat: some just don’t work that well. Many formulations only give SPF ratings for (more...)...

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August 1, 2007 News

Barcroft Research Lab Open House

If you’re free this Sunday, August 5, you might enjoy paying a visit to the University of California’s Barcroft Research Station. They’re having their annual open house, allowing the public to come in and try to sniff out the top-secret projects normally kept under wraps. Barcroft sits around 13K on White Mountain. Normally, the road (more...)...

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July 9, 2007 An Owens River Resurection? California

An Owens River Resurection?

The Los Angeles Times ran a story on the restoration of the Owens River this past weekend. Via the Department of Water of Power (DWP), Los Angeles began buying much of the farmland in Owens Valley in the early Twentieth Century. Then, in 1913, the DWP abruptly diverted the Lower Owens River into the Los (more...)...

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June 30, 2007 Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route Climbing

Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route

If you are considering climbing the Mountaineer’s Route, I heartily recommend it. The route is spectacular. Be aware, however, that hiking conditions are currently unusually favorable on the mountain. Under more normal circumstances (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 11 Comments
June 14, 2007 News

The Big Thaw

National Geographic Magazine has posted their latest cover story online: The Big Thaw, on the Earth’s vanishing icepack. That the world’s glaciers and permanent snowfields are melting is certainly not news. What is surprising is how fast the ice is melting. The loss of polar ice and glaciation has been predicted for years. But scientists (more...)...

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About SierraDescents

When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

Pray for snow.