October 29, 2012 Shifting Baselines Musings

Shifting Baselines

I’ve been scanning some of my dad’s old Kodachrome slides of the Grand Canyon, and this shot in particular caught my eye. Here we see the south rim, as seen from Bright Angel Point on the north rim, taken in September 1978. Easily visible are the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona’s highest point, and Kendrik Peak, (more...)...

Posted in Musings | 3 Comments
October 20, 2012 Nikon D800 vs. Sony RX100 Gear

Nikon D800 vs. Sony RX100

Once again I am updating my Sony RX100 review page. Here’s an amazing admission: I bought a Nikon D800 specifically to shoot video on my then-upcoming Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon. D800 video for natural landscapes is astonishingly good—probably you’ve got to spend car-sized sums to do better. So which camera did (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 2 Comments
October 19, 2012 Grand Canyon: Rim to Rim in 7 Gigs Video

Grand Canyon: Rim to Rim in 7 Gigs

Is Grand Canyon but a dream, or is it instead where I am most truly awake? I shot a massive 7 gigs of raw video on this hike, starting at Yaki Point on the south rim and finishing at Bright Angel Point on the north some ten hours later. Looking back over these incredible images, (more...)...

Posted in Video | 1 Comment
October 13, 2012 Osprey Talon 11 Gear

Osprey Talon 11

Osprey’s Talon 11 gets three key daypack requirements exactly right. It’s light, it’s (relatively) cool against your back, and it’s structured enough to carry loads well. On that third point, I’d say the frameless Talon 11 is easily the best ultralight speed/endurance pack I’ve ever used. You don’t expect an 11-liter backpack to nail its (more...)...

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October 4, 2012 Wilson Mtn Panorama Video

Wilson Mtn Panorama

Nice views, to be sure—but the behind-the-scenes on this one is worth sharing. This was a training/test day for an upcoming Canyon hike with my brother. Problems began with water: I was using a borrowed water bottle, and badly misjudged how much water it held, so I wasn’t carrying nearly enough. It was in the (more...)...

Posted in Video | 1 Comment
September 28, 2012 Blizzard Kabookie Gear

Blizzard Kabookie

Blizzard’s Kabookie ski was one of two new Alpine Touring standouts I found at the 2012 SIA show—the other being Garmont’s Cosmos boot. Like the Cosmos, the big news with the Kabookie is its ability to bring the performance and especially the ‘feel’ of your favorite Alpine rig into the backcountry. On my scale, the (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 3 Comments
September 26, 2012 Nikon D600 Video: No Free Lunch Gear

Nikon D600 Video: No Free Lunch

The D600 is arguably the very first affordable full-frame Nikon DSLR, and for many still photographers, it will be nothing less than a dream come true. We Nikon faithful long ago got used to the limitations of DX-sensor cameras, and their 1.5x crop factor, but spend a day shooting with the D600 and it’s like (more...)...

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September 20, 2012 Andrew McLean Visits SoCal News

Andrew McLean Visits SoCal

Don’t miss your chance to meet legendary ski mountaineer and Chuting Gallery author Andrew McLean, who will be speaking at Caltec in Pasadena next Thursday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. I have to say, there are a lot of parallels between Andrew and me: we both started as ski racers, moved on to become steep (more...)...

Posted in News | 2 Comments
September 19, 2012 Garmont Cosmos Gear

Garmont Cosmos

Garmont’s new Cosmos delivers a perhaps unprecedented combination of skiing and touring performance, at a marvelously low weight. I’ll admit it: where Alpine Touring ski boots are concerned, I’ve long considered myself a Garmont man. Their shells have always seemed the most Lange-ish to me, in terms of fit and feel, which remains my gold (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 1 Comment
September 17, 2012 The Marine Layer Returns Current Conditions

The Marine Layer Returns

Thank goodness. It’s been a long, hot slog through August and now September, climaxing (hopefully) with this past Saturday’s downtown high of 103°. Ugh! Last night I rode my bike out to the beach to watch that happiest of events, The Return of the Marine Layer. For the uninitiated, that means the winds have shifted, (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 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.