April 9, 2011

Backcountry Resources

For those of you who browse the links to the right here on the home page, I’ve added a section called ‘Backcountry Resources’ where I’m listing some of the resources I use to plan trips. Generally these include forums, live web cams, weather reports, and such. If you’ve got a resource that you think ought to be on the list, post it here as a comment and I’ll check it out. Thanks!

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September 5, 2009

Station Fire Video

Photographer Brandon Riza has posted a stunning time-lapse of the Station Fire. It’s definitely worth checking out. We could only see the top half of the smoke cloud from here in West L.A., and even that view was impressive.

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March 26, 2009

Shane McConkey Dies in BASE jumping Accident

Various net sources are reporting that Shane McConkey has died in Italy in a basejumping accident. The Tahoe Daily Tribune has one of the more detailed reports available at present. McConkey was nothing less than an artist when it came to skiing and big air. He was a pioneer in the high-stakes game of combining skiing and parachuting (more…)

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January 6, 2008

SierraDescents Blog Receives Unprecedented Fan Adulation

Well, I’ve made at least one person happy:

Hey, I love the new blog. Especially the last couple of posts about the 50-year storm in the sierras. There’s a sense of immediacy and local-relevance I haven’t seen on your site before. This adds a compelling new dimension to your content.

Thanks for the feedback! You’ve inspired me to update my header to better reflect the new content…

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June 29, 2006

Shifting Toward Summer

Well, with scheduling snafus making it difficult for me to get back to Shasta, I’m reluctantly shifting toward summer mode, so I thought I’d re-edit one of my few (actually only) summer hiking trip reports: the Langley Loop.

This is a great overnight or long dayhike in the Cottonwood Lakes/Horseshoe Meadows region of the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains, with a stop, of course, atop Mount Langley, California’s southernmost fourteener.

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May 25, 2006

Road Trip

I’m tempted to turn this into a Trip Report: just got back from a 1500+ mile road trip, helping my brother-in-law and his family move from Livermore, California to Castle Rock, Colorado.

The drive was very, very long, as you’d expect. We took I-80 from Oakland to Salt Lake City, and I must say Northern Nevada wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Fairly mountainous. I saw a few peaks, in fact, that looked tempting for a little backcountry skiing—if we weren’t doing 12-hour days on the road.

The salt flats of Utah were impressive, if bleak, and we diverted south from SLC to hook up with good old I-70 through Grand Junction to Denver, a route that rekindled many happy memories of driving to Colorado ski areas for my brother’s FIS races.

Aside from the usual moving attractions—lifting heavy furniture and being driven crazy by inlaws—this was a fine way for me to wander more of this great land of ours. And it’s always nice to be able to help out family in need.

As for my brother-in-law, he’s a freelance graphic designer who worked for Adobe for a few years, and also does web design. If you’re in the metro Denver area and you can stand to hire a Californian, check out his website, NathanTanemori.com.

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March 7, 2006

Sue Burak: ‘Nervous’

If you haven’t been following Avy forecaster Sue Burak’s updates on the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center website, now might be a good time to pay attention.

The Sierra has been getting incredible snowfall totals the past week or so (I believe Mammoth claims over a hundred inches in seven days). Unfortunately, this new snow sits on top of several problematic layers.

Check out the ESAC website for the complete discussion—especially if you’re planning on visiting avalanche country anytime soon.

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March 2, 2006

Avy Debris and More Snow Coming

Beware the ides of March…some reports on the ESAC website of massive avalanche debris fields visible from Highway 395.

I’ll try to get some pictures this weekend, though the weather (more snow) may not make that possible. In any case, the big concern in the Southern Sierra is a lot of new snow sitting on some weak/junky layers from February’s weird cold snap.

As for SoCal, it looks like temps will be cold enough to snow, but the storm doesn’t look potent enough to offer much help.

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January 19, 2006

Take an Online Tour in Avy Country

Here’s something fun I stumbled across: the National Avalanche Center’s Interactive Backcountry Tour. You are given a brief itinerary and sent off into the wild, where you will face a variety of choices in changing conditions.

The interactive-ski-tour idea isn’t quite as developed as it could be, but if you’re desk-bound, it’s still a good way to kill a few minutes. And hey, maybe you’ll even learn something.

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December 15, 2005

ESAC: The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that avalanche information is conspicuously absent on SierraDescents.com’s pages. This is certainly not because I don’t take avalanches seriously. Avalanches worry me more than any other objective hazard in winter mountaineering. I’ve therefore been thinking very carefully about what I’d like to say about avalanches (more…)

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