January 28, 2008 Current Conditions

Storm Update: Add Another ‘Wow’

I figured the storms were about finished yesterday, with widely scattered showers here at home that seemed to be petering out as the day went by. Then last night I was awoken by the sound of heavy rain that didn’t seem to quit untill morning. In case you’re wondering what happened in the local mountains, (more...)...

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January 27, 2008 News

LA Times: “A Deadly Quest”

Today’s Los Angeles Times has more coverage on the Mountain High/Wrightwood Avalanches, with some commentary from avalanche professionals: “There have been avalanche fatalities since people have been in the Alps, but what has changed is the equipment has gotten better and there’s a lot of hype associated with the outdoor retail industry,” said Sue Burak, (more...)...

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January 27, 2008 Skiing

Mt. Baldy Ski Area — With Snow

Judging by the massive crowds heading up Mount Baldy Road yesterday, I suppose it’s no secret when it snows that Southern California’s best skiing happens at a quirky little ‘resort’ called the Mount Baldy Ski Area (more...)...

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January 26, 2008 News

3 Avalanche Fatalaties in San Gabriel Mts.

Three people died yesterday in at least two separate avalanches near Mountain High ski resort, in the San Gabriel Mountains. According to the Los Angeles Times, the incidents occurred in Government and Sawmill Canyons, both of which border Mountain High East. These Canyons, which are out-of-bounds, are treed but relatively open. Both canyons run north-south. (more...)...

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January 25, 2008 Current Conditions

SoCal Storm Update: Wow, Wow, & Wow

Well, they say cut-off lows are the forecaster’s nightmare, and it’s easy to see why, as last night’s forecast of occasional showers turned instead into a gutter-busting sustained heavy downpour. Rainfall totals and forecasts have jumped overnight. They’re now calling for 2-3 inches of coastal-area rain and 4-6 inches of foothill-area rain today before the (more...)...

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January 24, 2008 Current Conditions


Somewhere around 7 p.m. yesterday, after four hours of steady rain, this storm began to turn me into a believer—right before the skies cleared. 🙂 Still, this was a nice punch of moisture, with (much?) more on the way. Mt. Baldy reports 12-14″ of new snow, Mountain High 10-18″, and Mammoth 5″ new with a (more...)...

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January 23, 2008 Climbing

See Kili Before the Snow Is Gone

My brother and I talked about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro years ago; for us, it was one of those exotic, chance-of-a-lifetime dreams. Sadly, the trip fell through, and we never went. While not a technical climb, 19,340′ Kilimanjaro has long been a coveted summit. The view atop the summit at dawn is legendary. And the climb (more...)...

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January 22, 2008 Storm Watch Current Conditions

Storm Watch

Looking out the window here at fairly menacing clouds that haven’t managed to do much in the way of rain or snow in the local mountains thus far. Mt. Baldy reported a trace of snow overnight. Ie: nothing. This storm is notable for its cold temps—very cold. I’m brewing up another cup of tea down (more...)...

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January 21, 2008 I Lost My Spot!! (sort of) Gear

I Lost My Spot!! (sort of)

Truly tragic news here: on Saturday I lost my Spot tracker while testing the device in the San Gabriel mountains. I’ve been continuing to try out the unit’s ‘track’ function, which automatically sends a satellite ping every 10 minutes with your current location & time (more...)...

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January 20, 2008 Current Conditions

West Baldy Report

No photos this time, but yesterday I climbed up West Baldy with a partner and then skied down to the hut. We started the day around 7:30 at Manker Flat, carrying skis on packs to the hut, for a nice 2000 vertical foot warm up hike. From the hut, we were able to skin up (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.