March 17, 2020 Cirque Peak Climbing

Cirque Peak

I’ve always wanted to ski Cirque Peak. This is a handsome sub-13K’ peak in the Golden Trout Wilderness, near Army Pass and Mount Langley (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 2 Comments
August 22, 2014 Sierra Class 3 Climbing

Sierra Class 3

Insofar as I can tell, the Yosemite Decimal System, which is by far the most widely-used climbing route grading system in the United States, works extremely well provided you stay within the bounds of the Class 5 designation (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 5 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
August 27, 2009 Mt. Whitney Climbing

Mt. Whitney’s East Face

When I close my eyes I see granite. Gray-white blocks angle sharply beneath my feet, plunging downward past my rubber-tipped toes. I press my back against a wall of rock as if I could somehow dissolve myself into the mountain. Everything feels like it’s moving—the rock, the ground, the air—all conspiring together, pushing me toward (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 5 Comments
October 16, 2008 Falling Headfirst Down an Ice Cliff Climbing

Falling Headfirst Down an Ice Cliff

Blame it on Chamonix—exposure to the big mountains of the French Alps made a big impression on me. I bought a Charlet-Moser axe and crampons, intending to incorporate the tools in my backcountry skiing when I got home. That axe and crampons stayed in the closet until our local ski area, the Arizona Snow Bowl, (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 4 Comments
July 7, 2008 Climbing

North Palisade: the U-Notch Couloir

What an absolutely amazing adventure this was! North Palisade offers the gamut of high alpine mountaineering challenges, from glacier travel to ice climbing to technical rock, making it not only one of the most challenging Sierra fourteeners, but also one of the most rewarding. I had wanted to climb this route for some time, but (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 5 Comments
June 30, 2007 Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route Climbing

Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route

If you are considering climbing the Mountaineer’s Route, I heartily recommend it. The route is spectacular. Be aware, however, that hiking conditions are currently unusually favorable on the mountain. Under more normal circumstances (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 11 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.

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