September 6, 2010 Half Dome Cables & Crowds Video

Half Dome Cables & Crowds

Bill Henry and I made a go of Half Dome’s infamous cables route on a very crowded August day. This marked the last year of the no-quota era. Rangers have subsequently instituted a permit system for all hikers above Sub Dome to prevent exactly this kind of traffic jam. Still, the weather was perfect, no (more...)...

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June 11, 2010 Split Mountain - South Face Video

Split Mountain – South Face

Originally our objective was a fiercely ambitious loop in the Williamson arena, but conditions didn’t look favorable, or maybe we just weren’t stoked about putting in that much work, so we kept driving north. Farther up Highway 395, Split Mountain’s south face looked enticing, so we gave it a go (more...)...

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June 1, 2010 U-Notch Ice Dancing Video

U-Notch Ice Dancing

Here’s what I was thinking: I was nine hours deep on a ski attempt of North Palisade’s U-Notch Couloir, and all was going well until the easy snow I was climbing abruptly transitioned to ice thirty vertical feet or so below the top of the couloir. The ice was steep—probably 45° to 50°—and it definitely (more...)...

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May 2, 2010 San Gorgonio Mountain Video

San Gorgonio Mountain

I’m going to have to make the drive out to the San Bernardino Mountains more often! Al and I skied San Gorgonio Mountain yesterday, and aside from a little wind up top, we were treated to a positively gorgeous day of Southern California backcountry skiing. In terms of snow quality, this was probably one of (more...)...

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March 1, 2010 Telluride: Top To Bottom Video

Telluride: Top To Bottom

I’d been thinking about getting this shot ever since I first bought my Contour helmet cam: a continous clip skiing Telluride from the top of the Revelation chairlift, elevation 12,570′, all the way down to the Gondola station in the Town of Telluride, elevation 8,750′. Getting the shot proved trickier than expected, thanks to the (more...)...

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February 21, 2010 A Powdery Plunge Video

A Powdery Plunge

Lots of fresh snow here in Telluride, Colorado, where I’m taking a little lift-served vacation. Video is helmet cam footage from the ContourHD 1080p. I upgraded from the 720p ContourHD to check out the new model. Interestingly, after a week of testing the camera, I decided I like the 720p better. There’s just too much (more...)...

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February 16, 2010 San Antonio Ridge Traverse Video

San Antonio Ridge Traverse

Ah, where to begin? In the immortal words of Tech and Talk’s Chad, ‘A bad snake charmer always blames his snake.’ So I guess I can’t blame the snake. I knew, going in, that a ski traverse linking Mount Baldy and Iron Mountain via San Antonio Ridge was definitely pushing the limits. But still, something (more...)...

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February 1, 2010 Telegraph Peak: North Face Video

Telegraph Peak: North Face

The Problem with Telegraph Peak is that it’s way too easy to access. The typical San Gabriel Mountain approach serves as a fine gatekeeper to most of the range’s technical adventures, but not so with Telegraph. This little shark tooth of a peak sits just beyond the rope of a popular (if quirky) Southern California (more...)...

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January 25, 2010 Video

Jean Peak: East Face

Driving across the L.A. Basin on Saturday was like being transported to a new and wintery world. Snow levels were down around the 3000′ mark across Southern California, putting snow atop nearly all the foothill ranges, and coating the major ranges in vast sheets of gleaming white. I confess I actually felt a bit of (more...)...

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December 28, 2009 At the Snowbowl Video

At the Snowbowl

Back home in California now and watching these upcoming storms to see what develops. Here’s video of my day skiing the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Arizona—the mountain, for all practical purposes, where I grew up and learned to ski. I still love skiing the Snowbowl, and conditions were excellent, if a bit chilly. The day (more...)...

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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.