January 6, 2008 Current Conditions

SoCal Mountains Update

Here in the city, rainfall has been off-and-on the past 36 hours, but the local mountains are reporting snow: 6-12 inches at Mountain High, a foot plus at Mount Baldy, and 4-6 inches at Snow Summit (South winds apparently aren’t as favorable for the San Bernardino Mountains). If those numbers sound disappointing, don’t forget that (more...)...

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January 5, 2008 Current Conditions

‘Amazing’ Snowfall; Extreme Danger

Locally, it looks like snow levels have stayed high thus far in the San Gabriel Mountains. Consequently Mountain High says they’re closed and the Mt. Baldy Website is down. That makes it hard to predict what’s going on at higher elevations, but even if heavy snow is falling above 9500′, heavy rain has likely destroyed (more...)...

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January 4, 2008 Current Conditions

Storm of the Half-Century

Did I really just hear the TV News say they’re expecting snowfall rates of 7+ inches per hour in the Sierra? I also heard some forecasters are also saying this may be the biggest snowfall event in the last fifty years. Residents of Mammoth apparently got “reverse 911” calls warning them to stock up on (more...)...

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January 2, 2008 Current Conditions


Two days ago, I drove home across the desert from Flagstaff, Arizona. Incidentally, they have snow in Flagstaff—lots of it. I was able to ski at the Snowbowl, my hometown resort. Anytime the Snowbowl is open in December, conditions are good. Given how little snow there is across California, I was a little mystified as (more...)...

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September 22, 2007 Current Conditions

September Snow?

By any standard, we’ve just seen a very unusual weather event: a ‘winter’ storm in SoCal—in the month of September. NWS was forecasting accumulations of 18 inches in the Southern Sierra, with higher totals possible. It may be an exaggeration to say we saw as much rain overnight here in L.A. as all of last (more...)...

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March 29, 2007 Current Conditions

El Nino or El Nada?

Some of you may recall this was supposed to be an El Nino Winter, with above-average precipitation for the western United States. What happened? This winter can be charitably described as a cruel hoax: currently, Los Angeles is (arguably) experiencing its driest winter on record. To the north, even Mt. Shasta (!) is experiencing a (more...)...

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March 8, 2007 Current Conditions

Mount Baldy Report: Bleak

I’ve been suspecting (or maybe hoping is the better word) there’s more snow in the local mountains than reported. The only way to get good intel, I know, is to put boots on the ground, so I drove up to Mount Baldy to hit the ski area and scout out the backcountry possibilities. Ouch! God (more...)...

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January 12, 2007 Current Conditions

Sierra Winter?

As we continue to hear reports of more snow in Colorado, prospects on the home front remain kind of…well…dismal. Over at the ESAC, Sue Burak’s avy forecast for the day notes, “There is more hazard from hitting rocks than starting an avalanche.” On top of that, a bitter cold snap is settling over the range, (more...)...

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April 18, 2006 Current Conditions

Snowy Thoughts

What good is a record-setting snowpack if you can’t ski it? That’s the question some Sierra skiers may be asking, especially after yesterday’s in-bounds avalanche at Mammoth Mountain. Surveying the Southern Sierra this past weekend, I was stunned by the amount of snow I saw. Skiable lines were appearing in places that are normally bare (more...)...

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March 11, 2006 Current Conditions

Flirting with the Girly Man

A very chilly storm is working its way down California, with reports of snow falling in the metro Bay Area and Kirkwood skiers claiming the ‘best snow ever’. Down South, Mount Baldy is reporting 12″ of new snow, with more on the way. Maybe I’ll get to ski the D14-rated Girly Man Chute this year (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.