December 27, 2011 The Muir Disconnect Video

The Muir Disconnect

Seen from nearly any angle, Mount Muir’s East Buttress would seem to be self-evidently unskiable. And then, from atop Thor Peak last April, Dave Braun and I saw what appeared to be a continuous thread of snow connecting the mountain’s south shoulder to the base of the buttress (more...)...

Posted in Video | 10 Comments
December 25, 2011 A (Virtual) White Christmas Musings

A (Virtual) White Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family from ours! (more...)...

Posted in Musings | 0 Comments
December 22, 2011 Exped DownMat 7 Gear

Exped DownMat 7

Yes, there is down (as in feathers) in Exped’s DownMat-series sleeping pads, which include the DownMat 7 and the DownMat 9, in lengths from short to long. Putting feathers inside your sleeping pad may sound a little strange, but it works out to have exactly the same effect as putting feathers in your jacket: it (more...)...

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December 13, 2011 Canon XF100 Gear

Canon XF100

I understand that Canon’s XF100 is currently one of the very hottest items in the compact professional camcorder market, and I understand why. But to my eye, the XF100 is compromised by the inescapable limitations of its sensor, and that compromise overshadows the XF100’s otherwise-outstanding features. What’s good about the Canon XF100? Well, it’s hard (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 2 Comments
December 11, 2011 Dressing High vs. Low Musings

Dressing High vs. Low

One of the things I pride myself on is belated insight—meaning, I do have good ideas, but they tend to occur to me a little bit late. That was definitely the case going up the Mount Whitney Trail last weekend. We knew we’d be facing weather somewhere between 0-20°F, and we knew we’d be climbing (more...)...

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December 6, 2011 Scarpa Charmoz GTX Gear

Scarpa Charmoz GTX

Scarpa’s Charmoz GTX is a light Alpine/Mountaineering boot in the same class as the very popular La Sportiva Trango S EVO. On my scale the two boots are almost identical. The Charmoz weighs three pounds, five ounces per pair (size 42.5), exactly 0.5 ounces lighter than the Trango S. Both boots are lightly insulated, waterproof (more...)...

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December 5, 2011 Mount Muir Panorama Video

Mount Muir Panorama

A very chilly December day atop 14,012′ Mount Muir, enjoying the hair-raising exposure off the summit block. I wanted to get some photos of Muir and Trevor wanted to check Muir off his list, so we teamed up for an unexpectedly long day via the Mount Whitney trail and the West Face. I have to (more...)...

Posted in Video | 3 Comments
December 1, 2011 Sony NEX-5N Gear

Sony NEX-5N

Sony’s next-generation NEX-5N looks pretty much the same as its immediate predecessor, the intriguing NEX-5A, but there the similarities end. The NEX-5N is in many ways the realization of the potential that the 5A could only hint at. The camera is capable of simply staggering image quality, no longer approaching DSLR quality but rather (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 2 Comments
November 30, 2011 The Malache Jacket Gear

The Malache Jacket

I’m a big fan of non-fleecy fleece. Yes, we all know the performance advantages of fleece, and we’ve all got at least one fleece jacket lurking somewhere in our closets—but does anyone actually like the stuff? Given the choice of fleece versus a cotton sweatshirt, I’ll take cotton every time, except those times which require (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 2 Comments
November 28, 2011 Review: Film & Television

Review: ‘Salt’

One of the most satisfying things a great film can do is also one of the simplest—it can take us someplace we’ve never been before. Michael Angus and Murray Fredericks’ film, ‘Salt’, takes us deep into the immense 3,700 square-mile salt flat of Australia’s Lake Eyre—perhaps the most featureless place on Earth. For the past (more...)...

Posted in Film & Television | 0 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.