December 7, 2014 Snow, Rain, & Mesh Canopies Current Conditions

Snow, Rain, & Mesh Canopies

The good news is it’s early December and there is skiing in Southern California. The bad news is last week’s heavy rain did exactly what you’d expect to the local resorts’ man-made snow: it hammered it. In the space of a week we’ve gone from pretty good inbounds skiing to disturbingly-familiar, just-barely-hanging-on ribbons of coverage (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 6 Comments
November 27, 2014 Summit Opens Current Conditions

Summit Opens

Skis touch snow once again and I say AAHHH it feels good. Opening day 2014: once again I am in awe of Snow Summit’s snowmaking capability. We drove past an utterly bare Snow Valley (my 5-year-old called it “dead”) and I began to worry, but Summit with its higher base elevation and its bountiful lake (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments
November 23, 2014 Backcountry Skiing Returns... Books

Backcountry Skiing Returns…

Dan Mingori & Nate Greenberg have just released the 2nd edition of their backcountry skiing guidebook, ‘Backcountry Skiing California’s Eastern Sierra,’ and it is a substantial update. You can read my review of their original 2008 edition here; the 2014 release happily keeps all the original material (with minor tweaks), and adds coverage of (more...)...

Posted in Books | 2 Comments
November 13, 2014 Black Diamond Carbon Convert Gear

Black Diamond Carbon Convert

If you ask me, Black Diamond has been victimized, to an extent, by the very same perfect powder that makes Utah skiing so famous. Skis tuned to perform in that incomparable Wasatch snow just don’t tend to translate as well in other, less amenable climates. For that reason, reviewing Black Diamond skis always makes me (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
November 12, 2014 La Sportiva Vapor Nano Gear

La Sportiva Vapor Nano

If you want a ski with lots of surface area and very, very little weight, La Sportiva presents the aptly-named Vapor Nano: 103mm underfoot and 5.29lbs per pair (spec). The Vapor Nano is a carbon fiber ski, and an expensive one at that, featuring what Sportiva calls “Nanotube” construction, a nano-ish technology designed to deliver (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
November 4, 2014 Lange RS 130: Liner Updates Make a Difference Gear

Lange RS 130: Liner Updates Make a Difference

Lange has been making the RS-130 for so long and for so well it seems almost presumptuous to review it. This is the boot for citizen racing and elite frontside performance. Still, there’s an update for the 2014-2015 season, and while modest, it is consequential. First, the skier: you’re a racer. Lange makes a number (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
November 3, 2014 Pumpkins, Snow, & Rainbows Current Conditions

Pumpkins, Snow, & Rainbows

Are we not overdue? Depending on how you see the glass, we have now gone three years in a row without a true Sierra winter. Three years! It seems like a lifetime. Throughout this summer I have avoided all news of warmer ocean temperatures and shifting patterns and currents because my poor heart simply can’t (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 1 Comment
October 30, 2014 Dynafit Huascaran Gear

Dynafit Huascaran

Dynafit’s Huascaran took me completely by surprise. With the Huascaran we know we’re getting a light ski, but who could have expected how solid it is? Skiing the Huascaran in-bounds at Copper Mountain, I got no sense I was on an underweight touring plank. To the contrary, the ski seemed right at home across a (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments
October 28, 2014 Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo Gear

Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Here are two interesting tents with very different approaches to the challenge of building a viable solo shelter. The overriding ethic of Big Agnes’ Fly Creek Platinum 1 is “make it light!” MSR’s Hubba NX Solo, on the other hand, comes at the problem more from the angle of “make it right!” (more...)...

Posted in Gear | 5 Comments
October 21, 2014 Wildrose Peak Panorama Video

Wildrose Peak Panorama

As with next-door neighbor Telescope Peak, Death Valley’s Wildrose Peak features striking juxtapositions of desert and alpine landscapes. Wildrose is in the Panamint Range, squeezed in between Death Valley, to the east, and Panamint Valley, to the west—both places so severe and austere they practically demand contemplation (more...)...

Posted in Video | 2 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.