April 29, 2011 News

Split Avy Claims Two Skiers

Sobering and heartbreaking news: Powder Magazine is reporting the deaths of two Sierra skiers, Kip Garre and Allison Kreutzen, whose bodies were found in a pile of avalanche debris yesterday morning near Split Mountain. According to rescuers, it appears the pair were climbing Split’s east couloir with the intention of skiing it when a large (more...)...

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April 28, 2011 Gear

Sony NEX-5

Sony’s interchangeable-lens NEX-5 is both an oddly compelling and an oddly vexing digital camera. Despite its flaws, however, once you start using an NEX-5 it’s hard to stop. I have a vision of what cameras of the future are going to look like: they’re going to be small. They’re going to be light. And they’re (more...)...

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April 19, 2011 Thor Peak Video

Thor Peak

Every time I visit the Whitney Portal area, I always look up at Thor Peak and wonder about skiing it—but I never do. This time, erratic coverage in the Eastern Sierra had us scrambling for a backup plan, and when I looked up at Thor Peak’s east couloirs, they both looked pretty well filled in. (more...)...

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April 18, 2011 395 Report (South) Current Conditions

395 Report (South)

Scouted Highway 395 between Olancha and Independence this past weekend. As has been the case the past few years, snow coverage varies greatly depending (I assume) on wind effect history. It appears generally true, once again, that high altitude north faces have been blasted clean. This is not universally the case, but given how much (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 9 Comments
April 15, 2011 Musings

My Sanity: Yours for $1.50

Here’s how it went down: my wife had my wallet. I needed lunch, so I broke into my emergency stash of credit cards, the ones I never use, activated one, and bought myself a hot dog. Then I waited for a billing statement that never came. Eventually, I remembered using the card, and checked in (more...)...

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April 13, 2011 Black Diamond Quadrant Gear

Black Diamond Quadrant

Some relationships define themselves immediately. Others refuse easy explanation. That’s about where I find myself with Black Diamond’s stubbornly-ambiguous Quadrant A/T ski boot. In terms of niche the Quadrant competes directly with Garmont’s excellent Radium, seeking to offer high performance at a tour-competitive weight. It’s easy to quantify the Quadrant’s weight—seven pounds, four ounces per (more...)...

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April 12, 2011 Marker Tour F12 Gear

Marker Tour F12

Visions of an Alpine Touring binding from a heavyweight Alpine manufacturer like Marker have been dancing in the dreams of A/T skiers for many years now—mine included. Those dreams seemed to come true with the 2008 release of Marker’s touring-capable Duke, but spontaneous performances of the Hallelujah Chorus proved a little premature (more…) (more...)...

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April 8, 2011 Salomon Shogun Gear

Salomon Shogun

Salomon’s Shogun moves away (slightly) from the powder specialization of big-brother Czar toward a more classic all-mountain design, modernized with just a touch of rocker. Compared to the Czar, sidecut is deeper and turn radius is tighter. You’ll notice this right away on groomed snow, as the Shogun brings a nice, traditional feel to your (more...)...

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April 7, 2011 Nikon P300 Gear

Nikon P300

Nikon’s 12-megapixel P300 compact is the latest addition to my quiver of field cameras. I’ve learned to carry compacts in addition to or even instead of larger DSLRs and camcorders when I’m climbing and skiing. Anything you can put in your pocket is (1) much easier to use and (2) much more likely to be (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 3 Comments
April 6, 2011 Rossignol S7 Freeride Gear

Rossignol S7 Freeride

Effortless powder skiing is the goal of Rossignol’s unusually-shaped S7 Freeride, a ski that departs radically from traditional design standards, camber and sidecut included. We’ve entered, in a way, a golden era of ski design. Technological and manufacturing advances are allowing makers to imagine and deliver skis that previously would never have been possible (more…) (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.