September 28, 2010 Platypus CleanStream Gravity Filter Gear

Platypus CleanStream Gravity Filter

Here’s my review of Platypus’ Cleanstream Gravity Filter: as soon as I see the word “backflush” appear in the instruction manual, I’m out. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely fair. But memories of MSR’s Hyperflow Microfilter, with its mandatory but inscrutable backflushing requirement, still haunt me. Yes, the Platypus Cleanstream does require (or at least strongly (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 5 Comments
September 27, 2010 Current Conditions


Or was it even hotter? The LA Times reports the official thermometer downtown reached 113° F today, the highest temperature ever recorded (going back to 1877) — and then the thermometer stopped working. Have mercy! (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments
September 25, 2010 Film & Television

Beyond Survival

I have to say Les Stroud has acquitted himself nicely. When I first saw his show Survivorman, he was wandering the canyons of Southern Utah, cold, hungry, and miserable, complaining about everything every step of the way until he announced, abruptly, that he’d had enough and was going home. Compared to That Other Survival Guy, (more...)...

Posted in Film & Television | 1 Comment
September 23, 2010 Deuter ACT Trail 24 Gear

Deuter ACT Trail 24

Think of Deuter’s ACT 24 Trail as a well-executed example of traditional backpack design. You don’t get anything anything particularly cutting-edge here, but what you do get is functional and well-built. The 24-liter ACT Trail sits right in the middle of the day pack spectrum, both in terms of volume and also weight. The ACT (more...)...

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September 9, 2010 Nemo Losi Gear

Nemo Losi

Nemo’s Losi 2P makes a big impression right out of the box: with a packaged weight of five pounds, fifteen ounces, this isn’t the tent I would normally carry for solo use. The Losi fits into the category of “larger” 2-man tents. If you’re traveling with a partner and you don’t want to rub shoulders (more...)...

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September 6, 2010 Half Dome Cables & Crowds Video

Half Dome Cables & Crowds

Bill Henry and I made a go of Half Dome’s infamous cables route on a very crowded August day. This marked the last year of the no-quota era. Rangers have subsequently instituted a permit system for all hikers above Sub Dome to prevent exactly this kind of traffic jam. Still, the weather was perfect, no (more...)...

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September 4, 2010 Half Dome via the Cables Hiking

Half Dome via the Cables

It is perhaps the most famous hike in the United States. Every Summer, thousands attempt the 16 mile round trip from Yosemite Valley’s floor to Half Dome’s 8836-foot summit. Along they way they will travel through some of Yosemite’s most inspiring terrain, passing not one but two major waterfalls and countless jaw-dropping vistas. But the (more...)...

Posted in Hiking | 8 Comments

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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.