March 30, 2020 Mount Keith photography

Mount Keith

Mount Keith is a mountain I’d like to climb and ski. At least, hypothetically. This is a big one, just barely short of 14,000′, right next door to Shepherd Pass (more...)...

Posted in photography | 1 Comment
March 25, 2020 Whitney Hiking

Whitney’s North Face

For the best view of Mount Whitney’s north face, try climbing Whitney’s next door neighbor, fellow fourteener Mount Russell (more...)...

Posted in Hiking | 2 Comments
January 11, 2020 The San Francisco Peaks Skiing

The San Francisco Peaks

Truly, Northern Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks are a little slice of backcountry heaven. It’s a small mountain, relatively (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 1 Comment
December 25, 2019 Christmas Snow Current Conditions

Christmas Snow

We were just about to head to the car yesterday when they suddenly opened Chair 23 (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
February 11, 2018 Gorgonio & San Jacinto Current Conditions

Gorgonio & San Jacinto

Here’s an aerial view of the north aspects of the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Jacintos, taken yesterday Feb 11, 2018. Gorgonio, at least, has more snow than I was expecting. Weather this coming week, amazingly enough, looks unsettled, so maybe that endless blocking high is doing…something. This Southern California (non) winter has made (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments
April 15, 2013 Mammoth Current Conditions

Mammoth

Thank goodness we have Mammoth! Your Southern Sierra looks an awful lot like summer right now, but atop Mammoth Mountain there’s got to be a solid 12 feet or so of snow. With the wind and sun in your favor, you’ll find upper mountain skiing in great shape, and lower mountain groomers offering sweet but (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 3 Comments
January 3, 2011 9500 to 1500 Current Conditions

9500 to 1500

Was it really only two weeks ago that I was climbing in heavy rain on the ski hut trail? Snow levels have dropped from an awful 9500′ to near-record 1500′ in Southern California, putting snow where you don’t often see it, and causing travel havoc, including closing the 5 and 15 freeways. It’s enough to (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 8 Comments
December 25, 2010 San Jacinto: Fortress of Solitude Skiing

San Jacinto: Fortress of Solitude

Here’s a slide show of my trip up San Jacinto Peak on Thursday. Speedster Brent and I went up the tram and then up the east face. Snowfall totals and icing were eye-popping higher up the mountain. Around Mountain Station and the ranger house, there was still probably a solid 2-3 feet of snow. The (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 6 Comments
December 24, 2010 A White Christmas Current Conditions

A White Christmas

Clear skies and snowy peaks is the Christmas Day forecast here in the Southland. Expect impressive coverage above 9000 feet or so, and ice forests around the snow line. Here’s a shot of current conditions on West Baldy’s face, rising high above downtown—the classic postcard view from Kenneth Hahn State Park. Merry Christmas everyone! (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 4 Comments
June 15, 2006 Shasta Windstorm photography

Shasta Windstorm

The weather looked promising…and then came the wind. Huge contrails of snow curled overhead like giant fingers reaching out over Avalanche Gulch. The sound of it was like a thousand jet engines. No one summited that day—no one even tried. We scrambled about on hands and knees at Lake Helen to avoid being knocked to (more...)...

Posted in photography | 0 Comments

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About SierraDescents

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.