November 24, 2013 Scott Cosmos Gear

Scott Cosmos

There’s a bit of a leap of faith involved in buying a pair of Scott Cosmos ski boots. Just a year ago, the Cosmos was made by legendary but now-defunct Garmont USA. Garmont’s parting gift was at least one and possibly two critical design/manufacturing flaws embedded in the otherwise-stunning Cosmos. Early adopters (including me) thus (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
November 15, 2013 Thoughts on Approach Tips & Technique

Thoughts on Approach

Waiting for snow to arrive has me contemplating a similar frustration: not being able to get to the snow even when it is here. Yes, I’m talking about those maddeningly-tough Eastern Sierra approaches. I admit I believe getting yourself and your skis to the snowline in the area between, say, Olancha Peak and the Palisades (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 4 Comments
November 3, 2013 Blind to the Bishop Musings

Blind to the Bishop

Over the years I’ve become increasingly fascinated with the discrepancy between Reality and my perception of it. If you’ve never contemplated this divide, discovering it is like finding a bottomless rabbit hole—unsettling, to say the least. If you’re dead certain that the heater is gray, for example, or if you like to leave yourself notes, (more...)...

Posted in Musings | 1 Comment
October 11, 2013 SoCal Rains; Mountain Snows Current Conditions

SoCal Rains; Mountain Snows

Well that was an unexpectedly potent mid-October surprise—a bonafide winter storm. Rain and cold temperatures punched into the Southland like a frozen fist, sending temperatures plunging some 15 degrees below normal. When it’s cold and rainy in the basin, you can expect snow in the mountains, and that’s exactly what we got: a healthy few (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments
October 6, 2013 Sea-Level Acclimatization Strategies Tips & Technique

Sea-Level Acclimatization Strategies

Californians overwhelmingly live at sea level, placing us at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to climbing mountains. The best and safest and most obvious way to acclimatize for high-altitude adventures—for example, climbing mount whitney—is to gradually adjust by spending several weeks living and training at progressively higher elevations (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 7 Comments
September 28, 2013 Backcountry Cooking: Chicken w/Broccoli Tips & Technique

Backcountry Cooking: Chicken w/Broccoli

To me, the ideal backcountry meal is not only tasty but also reasonably healthy, super-easy to prepare, easy to clean up afterward, and doesn’t leave you with a lot of waste that will have to be packed out. Yes, there’s no end of freeze-dried options available these days, but with few exceptions, I tend to (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 0 Comments
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
September 24, 2013 Elevation Film & Television

Elevation

Fall at last is here, and with it we have the newest Powderwhore film, “Elevation”, in which brothers Noah and Jonah Howell continue their quirky but heartfelt mission to spread the word. As you’d expect, Elevation showcases the Powderwhores’ remarkable knack for finding and photographing deep snow—but it also deepens their growing interest in documenting (more...)...

Posted in Film & Television | 0 Comments
September 20, 2013 Sunset at Plateau Point Video

Sunset at Plateau Point

From camp I looked at the sky and it didn’t look too promising. My feet were sore, my back was sore. We’d already been out to Plateau Point that morning. I was happy to just fire up the stove and brew some tea and go to bed. But…what if I missed something? So I dragged (more...)...

Posted in Video | 1 Comment
September 6, 2013 The Well-Cooked Andy Current Conditions

The Well-Cooked Andy

First of all, I apologize. I knew writing about our record-cool first two weeks of August was just asking for trouble, and I did it anyway, and of course mere days later Los Angeles and indeed much of California started a nasty heat wave that has been going strong ever since. So: apologies for that. (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 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.