December 28, 2009 At the Snowbowl Video

At the Snowbowl

Back home in California now and watching these upcoming storms to see what develops. Here’s video of my day skiing the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff—the mountain, for all practical purposes, where I grew up and learned to ski. I still love skiing the Snowbowl, and conditions were excellent, if a bit chilly. The day started (more...)...

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December 26, 2009 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! News

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! We’re wrapping up an eventful trip to Northern Arizona which had us briefly facing sleeping in our car in a blizzard (I-40 was closed) but gave us a short window (the freeway reopened for an hour) to make it here safely and spend the holiday with family. Add in (more...)...

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December 19, 2009 Mountain High Boot Camp Video

Mountain High Boot Camp

It’s boot review season here at Sierra Descents—I’m currently trying out pairs of Garmont’s Radium and Helium boots, Scarpa’s Spirit 4, and the much-anticipated Black Diamond Factor. Along for comparison were my trusty Lange L10’s and Garmont Mega Rides. I should have reviews up on all of them after the holidays. In the meantime, I (more...)...

Posted in Video | 4 Comments
December 13, 2009 Mt. Baldy: Not Much Candy Today Video

Mt. Baldy: Not Much Candy Today

As Forest Gump might say, Mount Baldy Ski Area is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Made it up today for some early-season turns—or so I hoped. Turns out yesterday’s storm rained ruthlessly on the mountain, coating everything with ice, ice, ice, including the chairlifts. Snowpack other than (more...)...

Posted in Video | 16 Comments
December 7, 2009 December Snow Current Conditions

December Snow

A cold storm is working its way in, with snow levels currently down around 4000 feet in the local mountains. Looks like my $49.00 pseudo-season pass for Mt. Baldy is going to pay off after all! Speaking of passes, Mountain High is offering a $349.00 no-restriction season pass, but that deal may be ending today. (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 3 Comments
November 21, 2009 Pieps Freeride Beacon Gear

Pieps Freeride Beacon

Do you check to see what kind of avalanche beacon your partner is carrying? I ask because there are a wide range of beacons on the market, and some of them are a lot easier to use than others. Case in point: the new Pieps Freeride. The Freeride is a tiny-tiny device about the size (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 8 Comments
November 6, 2009 This is Your Brain on Altitude Climbing

This is Your Brain on Altitude

It has been known for some time that Everest climbers often show symptoms such as memory loss and poor coordination when they get home. And studies have found irregularities in the brain scans of 8000-meter climbers. The presumption has always been, however, that these effects lie exclusively within the domain of high altitude climbing. A (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 9 Comments
October 31, 2009 Powell Video

Powell’s Prayer

How about a little time traveling today? We’re setting the WayBack Machine for some skinny-ski fun in Northern Arizona’s beautiful San Francisco Peaks. You might think I’m crazy, but the Peaks have some of my all-time favorite backcountry skiing terrain. Plus—as is so evident here—fantastically light and dry powder snow (more...)...

Posted in Video | 5 Comments
October 24, 2009 Mt. Baldy Bikini Party Hiking

Mt. Baldy Bikini Party

Okay, I kid you not, as I was driving to Mt. Baldy this morning for an early-season training hike, I was bemoaning the dearth of scantily clad women in the backcountry. I mean, I’ve been hiking a long, long time, and while initially in my hiking career I was convinced I’d one day hit the (more...)...

Posted in Hiking | 3 Comments
October 10, 2009 Winter Yearbook (2008-2009) Video

Winter Yearbook (2008-2009)

Oh no it’s a slide show! While waiting for the new ski season to start up, I’ve put together a recap of last winter’s highlights. Last year wasn’t the big winter I was hoping for in terms of snowfall, but it did offer an unexpected bounty of unforgettable moments, including that trip up Mount Harwood’s (more...)...

Posted in Video | 3 Comments

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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.