December 9, 2013 Reading the SoCal Backcountry Skiing

Reading the SoCal Backcountry

I know what you’re thinking: it’s snowing! How much has it snowed? Has it snowed enough? It is worth it to try hitting the SoCal backcountry? How do you know if it’s deep enough out there? Well, as it turns out, there’s a great and easy way to find out what’s happening in the local (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 4 Comments
June 8, 2013 The Winter Wrap Skiing

The Winter Wrap

Well it looks like I’m finally hanging up the skins on this unfinished-business of a 2012-2013 ski season. I’d hoped to add a volcano trip here in the waning weeks, but even that has fallen through, so I spent the day instead looking over posts and pictures from these past few months, thinking about some (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 2 Comments
April 21, 2013 El Gringo Eskiador Skiing

El Gringo Eskiador

In 1979, Patrick Vallencant skied the west face of Peru’s 21,768′ Yerupaja. Lou Dawson describes the route as “Possibly the continuously steepest mountain ski descent ever done.” Incredibly, Vallencant’s descent was filmed, and that footage was made into a documentary called “El Gringo Eskiador.” Unfortunately, copies of the film are almost impossible to find (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 6 Comments
February 1, 2013 Skiing: The Greatest Sport on Earth Skiing

Skiing: The Greatest Sport on Earth

Telluride, Colorado. It wasn’t supposed to snow Wednesday night, but it did—nine inches of perfectly light snow on top of nearly three feet of fresh snow that fell earlier this week. And then, in that incomparably magic way, the clouds parted at nine a.m., just as the lifts opened. Snow crystals sparkled in sunlight, floating (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 0 Comments
June 14, 2011 Split Skiing

Split’s North Face

It is one of California’s big mountains, colorful, complex, and consequential, and for ski mountaineers, it holds not one but several of the range’s most coveted lines. Split’s south face is a backcountry skier’s dream—if you can get there. Wrap around to the east, and you’ll quickly encounter an astounding abundance of ski extreme options. (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 6 Comments
May 28, 2011 Skiing Whitney Skiing

Skiing Whitney’s North Face

Whitney has eluded me. When I first tried to ski this mountain the defeat was so humbling and so absolute it was years before I dared return to the Sierra backcountry. But, every winter, the thought remained on my mind. The allure of climbing Whitney is obvious. The allure of skiing Mount Whitney, perhaps not (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 5 Comments
May 18, 2011 Steep Turns & Skiing

Steep Turns & ‘Edge of Never’

One of the things I love about ski mountaineering is that there’s always something new to learn. Over the course of this season I’ve been trying to improve my steep skiing technique, sparked in part by studying last season’s C2N footage. The video revealed I was using a bit of a stem to initiate my (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 2 Comments
May 12, 2011 Muir Skiing

Muir’s East Buttress

In a way, I wished I’d never seen it. I was having a nice, easy backcountry skiing season, perfectly fine, and I didn’t need any trouble. I didn’t need to do anything special. I didn’t need to be special. I didn’t need to be obsessing about hanging snowfields and massive, dead-drop cliffs. And I especially (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 14 Comments
May 2, 2011 The Paradigm of the Extreme Skiing

The Paradigm of the Extreme

There in some understandable confusion over how, if the hazard level was rated low throughout the Eastern Sierra, two people could have been killed by an avalanche this past week on Split Mountain. Over at ESAC, Sue Burak elaborates a bit on the subject in her May 1st advisory, writing: “Avalanche advisories do not apply (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 3 Comments
April 1, 2011 Thoughts On That Helmet Article... Science

Thoughts On That Helmet Article…

An article in Ski Canada Magazine examining helmet use stats in the US is generating quite a bit of buzz right now in the ski world. I’ve read the article and given it some thought, and my impression is that it’s easy to misread and/or misinterpret the article’s conclusions. Let’s take a closer look at (more...)...

Posted in Science, Skiing | 5 Comments

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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.