August 13, 2013 La Sportiva Xplorer Mid Gear

La Sportiva Xplorer Mid

La Sportiva’s lightweight Xplorer Mid is not at all the shoe I was expecting. In terms of weight, stiffness, and structure, the Xplorer is almost an anti-boot. The Xplorer Mid is minimalist to the point of being primitive. In fact, the shoe reminds me most of my Pearl Izumi Peak XC trail runners—they both have (more...)...

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August 3, 2013 What The Heck Happened to Windsurfing? Video

What The Heck Happened to Windsurfing?

At one time I was a windsurfer first and a skier, believe it or not, a very distant second. My dad and I caught the leading edge of the windsurfing phenomenon way back in the 80’s when Ken Winner first started doing flared jibes on his longboard, and soon we too were fanatics, learning how (more...)...

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August 1, 2013 Between Me and Gu Gear

Between Me and Gu

Sports drinks have been making various claims of superiority to plain water for a long time, and I’ve been generally skeptical of the whole lot of them. Still, if you’re chasing someone who’s got a pocketfull of Gu gels (and you don’t have any), you do tend to wonder how much of a benefit there (more...)...

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July 23, 2013 Olancha Peak Panorama Video

Olancha Peak Panorama

Man, did I underestimate this one. Trevor and I buzzed up San Gorgonio Mountain a few weeks ago with relative ease, and based on that speedy little jaunt I was expecting Olancha Peak to be more or less in the same orbit—a little higher and a little more vertical, true, but fewer miles overall. Instead, (more...)...

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July 16, 2013 Airhead Na Pali Gear

Airhead Na Pali

If you’ve ever driven up to a scenic mountain lake and found yourself wishing you had a paddleboard or a sea kayak, Airhead’s inflatable Na Pali is worth a look. When not in use, the Na Pali rolls up into a reasonably compact package—about three feet by one feet—certainly small enough to fit in your (more...)...

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July 15, 2013 Summer Ski Tips Video

Summer Ski Tips

Waterskiing, that is. Ironically of course when I lived in Arizona, I was out on the water all the time, but now that I live two miles from the Pacific Ocean, I basically never get wet. So I felt more than a little rusty getting pulled on a slalom ski. To be honest, I’m not (more...)...

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July 11, 2013 The West Musings

The West’s Fiery Future

If you want a canary in the coalmine for climate change in the western U.S., try Northern Arizona’s Coconino National Forest. The forest features the world’s largest contiguous stand of Ponderosa Pines, all growing in a region whose sparse rainfall (about 22″ annually in Flagstaff) is far more typical of a high desert rather than (more...)...

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July 7, 2013 Lounging on Hammock in Flagstaff Video

Lounging on Hammock in Flagstaff

No more, no less. (more...)...

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June 27, 2013 Trust Issues: Steripen Freedom Gear

Trust Issues: Steripen Freedom

I’ve been twice burned by Steripen’s Adventurer hydrophoton water purification device, so forgive me if I’m a little less than glowing in my comments. No, the problem wasn’t that the light came on when it wasn’t supposed to—it was that it never came on at all. The Steripen, in its various incarnations, uses ultraviolet light (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...)...

Posted in Hiking | 0 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.

Pray for snow.