December 15, 2012 Mt. San Antonio and Downtown Current Conditions

Mt. San Antonio and Downtown

I’m out with my camera today, partly because it’s a beautiful day in Southern California, mostly because it’s easier than sitting at home and reading the news. Here’s downtown Los Angeles with the San Gabriel Mountains and a very snowy Mount San Antonio in the background. For you local resort skiers, Mountain High, Snow Summit, (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 7 Comments
December 15, 2012 The Sun Rises... Musings

The Sun Rises…

Over a world both familiar and strange. Los Angeles, California, December 15, 2012. (more...)...

Posted in Musings | 0 Comments
December 14, 2012 News

As I Write These Words…

As I write these words, my five-year-old son is sitting in his kindergarten class, making Christmas tree ornaments and enjoying a last-day-of-class party before his long Christmas vacation begins. And the thought that sends me into uncontrollable fits of sobbing, over and over, is that he is coming home today. My son will come home (more...)...

Posted in News | 5 Comments
December 14, 2012 The Ghost Whisperer Gear

The Ghost Whisperer

Think of Mountain Hardwear’s 6.7-ounce Ghost Whisperer as a high-end heat infusion. If you want the best possible warmth-to-weight ratio in an ultralight top, this is it. The insulated Ghost Whisperer pairs 850-fill down with an incredible 7×10 denier nylon—a next-generation fabric developed as part of Mountain Hardwear’s Ueli Steck Project. The fabric’s super-tight weave (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
December 12, 2012 My Quick ’n Dirty Bootfitting Tips Tips & Technique

My Quick ’n Dirty Bootfitting Tips

At Mammoth last weekend I had the interesting experience of hearing two exactly opposite bootfitting opinions in two consecutive days at two consecutive shops. US bootfitters overwhelmingly tilt toward putting people into the smallest possible boot shell, and that was indeed the gist of Opinion A, best summed up as, “It’s always better to size (more...)...

Posted in Tips & Technique | 1 Comment
December 10, 2012 The Mammoth Report Current Conditions

The Mammoth Report

Thank goodness we have Mammoth! Yes, Mammoth did see rain all the way up to about McCoy Station during last week’s Mega-Wet, but enough of that moisture fell as snow across the mountain to produce a dense, saturated early-season base that is currently making for excellent skiing. Despite the snow’s high water content, upper mountain (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments
December 5, 2012 First Steps: Kids on Snow Kids

First Steps: Kids on Snow

In my teach your kids to ski series from last season, we talked a lot about the process of getting your kids familiar with and interested in skiing, from the philosophical (promoting ski culture) to the practical (gearing up and dry land training). While I can’t stress enough the benefits of these off-the-hill preparations, at (more...)...

Posted in Kids | 1 Comment
November 29, 2012 Death Valley In Books

Death Valley In ’49

Does anyone read books anymore? This is not a rhetorical question—my books section is basically a ghost town nowadays. Still, for those of you who still like to hold a bound stack of old paper in your hands for hours at a time, here’s William L. Manly’s Death Valley in ’49, a classic story of (more...)...

Posted in Books | 0 Comments
November 28, 2012 November Snow Current Conditions

November Snow

I’m starting to think last season traumatized me. I’ve got this jonesy, pessimistic mindset right now—not helped much by the fact that the big Southern California ranges are currently bare-bones dry at all elevations. Check that: you can find a few sickly snowmaking patches at Mountain High and the Big Bear resorts. NOAA is showing (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments
November 24, 2012 Nikon D800 Gear

Nikon D800

Perhaps the best way to introduce Nikon’s full-frame D800 DSLR is to note that it is not at all the camera Nikon enthusiasts were expecting. In hindsight, there is a certain logic to the D800’s massive, 36-megapixel sensor—it delivers very nearly the same pixel density as Nikon’s DX-sensor D7000, only spread across a much larger (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 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.