I apologize for going dark for so long. I have slowly begun reengaging in activities I once took for granted -- driving, reading, hiking, talking to people, even skiing with my kids a bit. Other things, like cooking dinners, or sleeping, or writing here, remain very challenging.
Thank you to those of you who reached out in concern. I'm sorry I wasn't able to respond. We lost our home, at the start of the pandemic, just before the lockdowns. And then we lost me. My doctors tell me I have an injured brain, but they are optimistic about the possibility of recovery.
It has been a long road even to get to this post, but it's a start.
— February 26, 2021
Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents
John February 27, 2021 at 8:04 pm
Andy - I’ve been wondering if you had skied this year, and figured with the lockdown, accommodation restrictions, and meh snow season you were lying low. I am so sorry to read about your family’s housing situation and your physical condition. I read your past trip reports with jealousy, and reference you when snow levels/snow pack changes come up in conversation.
Hang in there!
Dan Conger March 1, 2021 at 6:39 pm
So deeply sorry to hear of your troubles. I have followed SD for years and it has often been a place of solace. A place where, even if I was unable to venture out myself, I could live vicariously through your adventures. Your stories, photos, and narratives have been sorely missed.
No one should have had to lose a home in these times.
I have lost two people to the pandemic. Both were people I considered mentors when I was in high school. More people I know have survived their ordeals, but emerged with long-term debilitating neurological damage. This thing is such a mystery ...
Andy, so glad you are alive. Wishing you and your family all the best, and hoping for a complete recovery.
George March 2, 2021 at 12:13 am
Glad to hear you are ok. Was worried about you
Hope you get better soon
Joseph Gregory March 2, 2021 at 7:35 am
We are sending well-wishes, compassion, and prayer to your family. It sounds like you have had an unbelievably difficult year. Here's to a steady return to health and normalcy for your family, for you, and maybe even to your outdoor pursuits.
Erik Skindrud March 2, 2021 at 9:13 am
Same thoughts here. Have enjoyed your writing. Hope there will be many posts to come.
Jacob March 3, 2021 at 7:17 am
Andy, I've been following your site for many years without commenting. I'm sending you my best wishes. Your posts have long been a source of vicarious adventure and inspiration. When the lockdown began last year, sharing The Couloir To Nowhere with a ski partner was a source of excitement and also a reminder, in a time of darkness, that we would hopefully be able to get back out there someday in a brighter future.
I don't know your situation, but I can share mine - years ago I was quite sick for a long time. So sick that there were times when I couldn't walk myself to the bathroom, let alone climb a mountain. Of course, with that came depression. I had gone from climbing the high peaks to not being able to walk my dog or carry my kids. At the time, I had very little hope that I would ever return to my active past life... but I was wrong. For me, it took time, hardwork, and the miracle of modern medicine. This may or may not be your situation, but I hope that you will hold on to hope and know that given time, hardwork, and modern medicine, recovery is possible. All the best to you for a peaceful mind and a strong recovery.
Christian Lefay March 3, 2021 at 7:17 am
I am sorry to hear of your struggles. Your blog and videos have been a great source of inspiration and information for my own pursuits in Southern California and the High Sierra. Although I’m sure it’s the least of your concerns, you haven’t missed much this season. As a devoted follower of Sierra descents, I know you will get through this rough patch that so many of us are experiencing. I mean, if you can ski the u notch and that line on Muir, I’m sure you can figure this out. I stood on top of Muir and my plums disappeared to somewhere near my ilium. Strapping into my snowboard was not my initial inclination... We look forward to seeing you back on top and sending rad lines dude!
Scott Jacobs March 3, 2021 at 11:00 am
I too have followed your site for many years. You are a talented writer and I have enjoyed reading your trip reports multiple times over the years. I had begun to fear the worst since you had not posted since 6/2020. I'm sorry about the challenges you have faced in the last year, but I'm so glad that you are on the road to recovery. I don't pretend to know you, but reading about your experiences has taught me that you are not one to shy away from a challenge.
Nothing is more important than family. As a father, hearing that you have skied with your kids brings a smile to your face.
Good luck in your recovery. I hope to one day read about your new experiences.
Stephen Allen March 7, 2021 at 1:46 am
Andy — sending you positive thoughts. First time commenter as well but I have read your blog for a couple of years and it has opened up doorways to some great skiing in SoCal for me and I have shared a few good conversations in car rides up Highway 2 about your adventures and misadventures. Please take time to heal and recover and if there is anything at all you need (seriously) please don’t be afraid to reach out.
Adam Franklin March 7, 2021 at 7:39 pm
Hi Andy, positive energy headed your way. I’m pulling for you to be able to get back to more of the things you love most.
You and your website are an inspiration. Thanks for showing us the way!
Mello March 7, 2021 at 10:46 pm
"This is good training for Williamson"
You've got this,
Paul March 8, 2021 at 9:06 am
Andy, another long time reader here (since 2005!) - I'm so sorry to hear the news. I hope you heal well and quickly!
Teddy March 8, 2021 at 9:31 am
Andy, I want to add to the chorus of admirers and well-wishers. We've never met but I've read just about everything you've written on this site. You've inspired me to go deeper into the backcountry, which has enriched my life considerably. I'm so sorry to hear about the horrible year you've had. I'm wishing the best for you and your family and sending all of the positive energy that I can muster!
Brad Brown March 13, 2021 at 2:22 pm
2008-2010 I went through a near loss of my business, went from semi retired to double shifts to keep afloat, funded 2 of 3 kid weddings (3rd in 2011), downsized our lifestyle, near foreclosure on our home, all while adding caretaking role for my MS afflicted wife. My therapist advised at the time I literally had brain injury from the stress-a form of PSTD. I was “reinjured” in 2018 when my wife was hospitalized with a severe MS flare up for 6 months-again with the double shift role between work/hospital. The caretaker role has since expanded with the advance of this progressive degenerative neurological disease never mind a couple dozen ER trips and associated hospital stays. Sandy now has all the challenges of a paraplegic combined with numerous functional losses. My latest insult was a double shot of Covid (April 2020, Feb 2021)that also killed a close friend, left me without my wife’s caretaker help per quarantine plus another hospital stay for her.
Being old school I figured mind over matter plus I couldn’t consider my self to have suffered what service members have so suck it up buttercup. I tried to power through it like a big day in the hills. As you well know, there’s always an aftermath for those big days. So to is the aftermath for big life events. I suspect from your post you’re referring to this same PSTD phenomenon.
If so I get it. I’ve learned you can’t “control” the recovery of brain injury anymore than you can from a physical injury-it can only be managed. My son’s recovery from physical brain trauma in 1999 had essentially the same “treatment” course as mine was/is plus the added Covid brain kicker. Recovery is basically a matter of time. Sure rest, nutrition, good mental health practices are all important but in the end time heals all wounds.
I’m finding a major mental health contributor is mountain time, your adventure stories surely inspired me to return to the hills. In a few shortbreads I’ve topped Whitney (again), Langley, fire sadly cancelled both Split and Middle Palisades the last 2 seasons. Locally my resume only lacks Iron Mnt in the San Gabriel’s, 6 of 9 majors in San Gorgonio Range are completed (SG proper 2x), I’ve only completed San Jacinto proper and Cactus to Clouds route in the SJ range. I re “booted” mountain time at age 64, now 5 years later I’ve still got big plans, I credit you for that re-awakening.
Personally, and as the other posts show, you mean a lot to us. Us wanna be and actual mountaineers who read this site look forward to the inspiration it provides along with the humanity of special days. Right now your working through another “Andy Special” you talk about, it’s just not caused by mountain adversity this time. We await reports of your progress and discovery as you are able. Recovery will come.
So, after missing 5 weeks in a row (Covid hiatus) I’m back on skis as of 2-27. I’ll be at SS every Saturday until season ends or on any snow dumps. Look for the same skis, diff pack (grey Osprey). Hope to see you and the crew soon...best therapy I know!
Brad brown March 13, 2021 at 2:29 pm
* “shortbread” is iPhone speak for short years in paragraph 4🤦🤷♂️
Scott Brown March 13, 2021 at 3:39 pm
Wishing you all the best on your road to recovery. Like so many others, your writing has been a great source of inspiration for me.
Louis March 14, 2021 at 8:37 pm
Another distant admirer wishing you the best Andy, glad to see you posting again. As others said, you've been an amazing source of inspiration.
Wishing you a full recovery to a full life.
Chris Moon March 15, 2021 at 6:03 pm
So sorry to hear you've had such a difficult year.
I've always enjoyed your site and been inspired by your trips.
Here's to a full and rapid recovery.
Ian March 30, 2021 at 2:59 pm
Sorry to hear about what you’ve been through. Always have loved this site. Get well soon!
Bill G April 2, 2021 at 10:23 pm
I have read your blog for many years. I has been a source of hope, adventure and inspiration. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself, for the inspiration of others.
Please add me to the list of followers sending positive thoughts and vibes your way. Although I don't know exactly what you are facing, I have hope and faith in your ability to not only perservere, but thrive. When time is right, I look forward to hear of the journey, the parts about camp doom AND the the special powder day or perfect descent.
Wishing you well!
Zeke April 4, 2021 at 6:03 am
Wishing you well, thanks for all the inspiration to get up on some peaks in California and beyond. Looking forward to your recovery.
Charles April 9, 2021 at 7:22 pm
Hi Andy- so sorry to hear about your difficulties. Was wondering where you had been and hoping you had not suffered during the pandemic. You have made this site one of the great corners of the internet and your dedication, writing, and photography have been inspiring. Both as guidance to specific places, and as an escape during times when far-flung mountain access is difficult, and we dream through the computer screen.
We all hope to hear from you again soon.
All the best, and thanks for your hard work over the years exploring and sharing these extraordinary places we love.
(I'll be getting my Couloir to Nowhere DVD out this weekend for a watch...!!)