July 23, 2015 SP Crater Hiking

SP Crater

SP Crater is perfect: that is the lead. A gorgeous, perfectly-formed, symmetrical, aesthetic cinder cone volcano, SP Crater sits just north of Flagstaff (more...)...

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July 3, 2015 A Walk Around the Block Hiking

A Walk Around the Block

The question is: where do you start? The hills may be calling, but if you’ve never picked up the phone, or if you’ve been slowed or injured or otherwise just waylaid (more...)...

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August 19, 2014 University Peak Hiking

University Peak

Okay, I thought this one was supposed to be easy. When it comes to accurately sizing up a route’s difficulties, I’m beginning to fear either I’m a hopeless optimist or else I’ve gone soft because lately everything seems like a thumping (more...)...

Posted in Hiking, Video | 2 Comments
July 27, 2014 Inyo Mts: Squaw Peak Hiking

Inyo Mts: Squaw Peak

At first, I thought it was simply a case of guidebook error. Later—hours later—when I was beset by flies, and covered in scratches and pine sap, when my legs were doing the sewing-machine shake, when I saw the fresh cat tracks, when I knew I was going to run out of water—in Death Valley, of (more...)...

Posted in Hiking | 5 Comments
July 19, 2014 Mount Diablo Hiking

Mount Diablo

Rising a decidedly non-devilish 3,849 feet above sea level, Mount Diablo is not quite the highest summit in the Bay Area, but it is Contra Costa County’s highpoint, and, thanks to its remarkable prominence, Diablo offers not just fine views from San Francisco to the Sierra, but in fact one of the largest viewsheds in (more...)...

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July 11, 2014 Where Hiking

Where’s Your Sierra?

I have a distinct mental image of “The Sierra”—and this isn’t it. My Sierra is heavy on Owens Valley and fourteeners, with lots of dry, dusty, austere granite brooding high above sun-baked desert. I’m generally aware of other, wetter parts, such as Yosemite, but like the beach some two miles from my house I tend (more...)...

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September 26, 2013 Canyon With Kids, Reprised Hiking

Canyon With Kids, Reprised

We made it out! I don’t think I’ve ever been as anxious about a backpacking trip as this one, but when my brother invited me to join him on a 2-night trip with his family to Indian Garden, there was a lot of history to live up to. I’ve long thought that 1978 hike to (more...)...

Posted in Hiking | 6 Comments
August 16, 2013 House of Pain Hiking

House of Pain

Olancha Peak has long commanded my attention. First of the Southern Sierra’s big mountains, Olancha can be thought of as the range’s regional ambassador. Drive Highway 395 north just past Little Lake, and there it is: a looming outline that fills the horizon. Scrappy high desert ranges are instantly forgotten in that first glance; here (more...)...

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June 26, 2013 The South Fork Loop Hiking

The South Fork Loop

“Don’t tell me how far it is,” I say. I don’t want to know. We’re at the Mill Creek Ranger Station, waiting for it to open so we can get hiking permits. You need permits to enter the San Gorgonio Wilderness, even for day hikes, and in Summer there’s a trail quota to deal with (more...)...

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June 12, 2013 Mount Hollywood Hiking

Mount Hollywood

Rising only 1625 feet above sea level, Mount Hollywood may sound lowly. But it is surely one of the must-do summits in Southern California. You won’t need much more than a pair of sneakers and a water bottle to make it to the top, and from there, you’ll be rewarded with incomparable views of Griffith (more...)...

Posted in Hiking | 4 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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