November 15, 2013

Thoughts on Approach

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 ranks among the more grueling touring challenges in the lower 48 (more…)

Posted in technique | 4 Comments

November 3, 2013

Blind to the Bishop

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, watch out (more…)

Posted in Musings | 1 Comment

October 11, 2013

SoCal Rains; Mountain Snows

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 inches accumulated in the San Jacintos, from the look of the Long Vally Cam (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments

October 6, 2013

Sea-Level Acclimatization Strategies

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 technique | 7 Comments

October 5, 2013

I Am Not In The Grand Canyon

I Am Not In The Grand Canyon

Checking the clock this morning I see right about now I was supposed to be passing Ooh-Aah Point in the Grand Canyon on a planned rim-to-rim-to-rim hike with my brother. Instead…well, you know. Every time I read about the shutdown, I find myself thinking it’s junior high all over again, only with trillion-dollar budgets and nuclear missiles. Kudos to Republicans for threatening to blow up the world if they don’t get what they want. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

September 28, 2013

Backcountry Cooking: Chicken w/Broccoli

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 find all-in-one packaged meals somewhat wanting (more…)

Posted in Camping | 0 Comments

September 26, 2013

Canyon With Kids, Reprised

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 Grand Canyon’s Cottonwood Camp was one of the most formative backcountry experiences of my life (more…)

Posted in arizona | 6 Comments

September 24, 2013

Elevation

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 the people who ride it (more…)

Posted in Film & Television | 0 Comments

September 20, 2013

Sunset at Plateau Point

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 my boots on and grabbed my camera and a liter of water and started walking (more…)

Posted in video | 1 Comment

September 6, 2013

The Well-Cooked Andy

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. I’ve been tempted to delete the post, as the sight of it now seems to mock me, but I guess I’ll leave it as a cautionary reminder (more…)

Posted in Current Conditions | 2 Comments

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