August 19, 2013 A Very Cool August Current Conditions

A Very Cool August

I do like to check in on the weather now and then for the archives, and 2103 has been an unusually cool August for us here in the Los Angeles basin. I can’t find any hard sources to link to, but I did overhear a weathercaster saying we had the coolest first half of August (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
May 27, 2013 Wahoo Gullies Are Burnt Current Conditions

Wahoo Gullies Are Burnt

Here’s a view that so struck me I had to jam on my brakes to pull over and take a picture of it: Mount Locke and the Wahoo Gullies, a favorite Bishop-area spring ski descent, almost totally devoid of snow as of today, May 25. Some of these Eastern Sierra classics are so bare right (more...)...

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May 13, 2013 White Mountain Is White Current Conditions

White Mountain Is White

Passing Olancha and entering the outskirts of Lone Pine on Highway 395, what should my wondering eyes see but snow—and lots of it—dusting the high peaks. Apparently last week’s thunderstorms did a little more work than I gave them credit for. The Whitney Zone seemed to catch a good piece of it, but farther north, (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments
May 4, 2013 Mammoth: Electrifying! Current Conditions

Mammoth: Electrifying!

It was such a beautiful sunny morning here at Mammoth Mountain California, I was beginning to hope the forecast T-storms would fail to show. Nope: right around 11 a.m. things began to cloud up, and by noon, there was an big black cloud hanging just west of the mountain, drifting steadily toward Chair 23. But (more...)...

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April 15, 2013 Mammoth Current Conditions

Mammoth

Thank goodness we have Mammoth! Your Southern Sierra looks an awful lot like summer right now, but atop Mammoth Mountain there’s got to be a solid 12 feet or so of snow. With the wind and sun in your favor, you’ll find upper mountain skiing in great shape, and lower mountain groomers offering sweet but (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 3 Comments
April 1, 2013 Snow Valley: Done Current Conditions

Snow Valley: Done

Given what a rotten winter it’s been in the backcountry, it was sure a solid season for me and my kids at Snow Valley…at least until today. The kids and I skied Easter 2012 at Snow Valley (which was April 8), and a week later we skied it again, enjoying truly excellent coverage. No such (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 8 Comments
March 28, 2013 Birch Mountain Benchmark Current Conditions

Birch Mountain Benchmark

I like Birch Mountain as a benchmark for Eastern Sierra snowpack conditions because it’s gigantic and because it’s readily viewable from Highway 395. Birch’s upper face tells us a lot about what the wind has been doing throughout the year, and its lower slopes tell us a lot about temperatures—as well as overall snowfall. So (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments
March 18, 2013 Point of No Return? Current Conditions

Point of No Return?

Well there just hasn’t been much news this winter in the current conditions category. For the Southland mountains I’d say we’re fast approaching the point of no return (though even that may be an optimistic assessment). It’s deep into March, and there’s nothing on the short or long range to suggest a happy ending to (more...)...

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February 25, 2013 Blue Ridge Benchmark Current Conditions

Blue Ridge Benchmark

Yes that is indeed Mount Baldy’s north face (aka Mt. San Antonio), as seen today from the Blue Ridge Road viewpoint on Highway 2, and yikes! there sure isn’t much snow up there. This view is absolutely one of my favorite benchmarks for Southern California conditions, and there’s just no escaping it—things are pretty grim (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
February 11, 2013 Slide Peak Sunday Current Conditions

Slide Peak Sunday

Okay, maybe it’s because I’ve got a season pass, but if you ask me, Snow Valley has by far the best vibe of any of the SoCal mountain resorts. It just feels like skiing here. Yes, the lifts are awful, but the value is great—especially if you bring your family. And on a day like (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 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.