September 19, 2008 What Lies Beneath Gear

What Lies Beneath

One of the things I didn’t mention about my recent Pacific Crest Trail hike was that I froze my butt off at night. At first, I was convinced the problem was the sleeping bag I’d chosen: Marmot’s 30° Hydrogen. Since it was mid-August, I was anticipating temperatures to be mild. Instead, overnight lows dipped down (more...)...

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September 15, 2008 MSR Hyperflow Gear

MSR Hyperflow

With its various parts and configurations, MSR’s Hyperflow Microfilter weighs between roughly 7.6 and 9.9 ounces total. Go with the higher number—leaving parts at home (such as the Nalgene bottle adapter or even the carrying sack) is not recommended. That makes the Hyperflow roughly two and a half ounces lighter than my current pump/filter darling (more...)...

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September 14, 2008 PCT: Onion Valley to Cottonwood Pass Hiking

PCT: Onion Valley to Cottonwood Pass

Horseshoe Meadow, California — I take one last look inside my car, checking to be sure nothing will appeal to the bears, and then I lock the doors. It feels kind of spooky as my hiking partner Bill drives us back down Horseshoe Meadows Road in his truck, heading east to Highway 395, then north (more...)...

Posted in Hiking | 12 Comments
September 5, 2008 God, I Love the Smell of HDPE in the Morning… Gear

God, I Love the Smell of HDPE in the Morning…

Among the more esoteric search topics that bring visitors to SierraDescents is the question of the scent of HDPE water bottles. Do HDPE water bottles really smell bad, people wonder? Or was that just a marketing pitch started by the creators of Lexan? Here at the world-renowned SierraDescents Institute for Plastic Odor Research (SIPOR), I (more...)...

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September 4, 2008 Jetboil PCS Gear

Jetboil PCS

Rarely does gear prove to be such a complete home run as Jetboil’s Personal Cooking System (PCS) canister stove. The only conceivable knock on the Jetboil is its potentially-alarming 15-ounce weight. That may sound a bit startling if you’re used to the 2.5 ounce posted weights of stoves like Snow Peak’s GigaPower or my Coleman (more...)...

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August 7, 2008 Dept. of Propaganda: BPA News

Dept. of Propaganda: BPA

Perhaps by now you’ve heard the radio spot on KFI AM 640: A concerned female voice warns consumers: ‘Soon, many common everyday products could disappear from grocery store shelves all across California’. What’s the threat, you ask? Those dastardly Sacramento Politicians are trying to ban BPA—a chemical that has been safely used for 50 years (more...)...

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August 5, 2008 News

LA Climber Among K2 Survivors

On August 1, 2008, Hermosa Beach climber Nicholas Rice awoke after a freezing night at Camp IV and made his way to just below the “Bottleneck”. Rice, 23, was attempting to climb K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, widely considered one of the world’s most difficult summit (and one of the most deadly) (more...)...

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July 29, 2008 Skiing

North Peak…Skiing…July?

I was browsing the message boards at when I happened to see a new “North Peak” post. I clicked on it, thinking someone had posted a climbing trip report (North Peak’s North Couloir is a classic Sierra Ice Climb in summer). Surprise: this wasn’t a climbing TR: it was a Sierra ski report—in July! (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 1 Comment
July 19, 2008 The Wall-e Review Film & Television

The Wall-e Review

I envy those who went to see Wall-e without knowing anything in advance about the film. By now, word has spread about Disney/Pixar’s new animated picture. You’ve probably heard at least one critic claim the film is brilliant. You’re probably also heard at least one so-called “Conservative” voice claim the film represents the worst of (more...)...

Posted in Film & Television | 0 Comments
July 18, 2008 Vasque Breeze GTX Gear

Vasque Breeze GTX

At two pounds, nine ounces per pair, the Vasque Breeze GTX qualifies as a light hiking boot—but don’t think that means they’re not durable. This is the boot I used to hike and ski Mt. Williamson’s West Horn, a tour-de-force of gear-wrecking savagery involving 2500 vertical feet of dry off-trail scrambling (with skis and overnight (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.