May 28, 2011 Skiing Whitney Skiing

Skiing Whitney’s North Face

Whitney has eluded me. When I first tried to ski this mountain the defeat was so humbling and so absolute it was years before I dared return to the Sierra backcountry. But, every winter, the thought remained on my mind. The allure of climbing Whitney is obvious. The allure of skiing Mount Whitney, perhaps not (more...)...

Posted in Skiing | 5 Comments
May 23, 2011 Whitney! Video

Whitney!

I’m so excited—Whitney has eluded me since 2006, when I passed on skiing the Mountaineer’s Route, figuring I’d get to it next season. Every year since then, I’ve waited for the north chute (above the notch) to fill in…and waited, and waited, and waited (more...)...

Posted in Video | 12 Comments
May 3, 2011 Portal Road, Snow, Permits Current Conditions

Portal Road, Snow, Permits

Despite the ease of access, the Whitney Portal region has a less than glowing reputation when it comes to backcountry skiing. Perhaps it’s not so much that there’s something wrong with the area, as that there is almost always better skiing to be found elsewhere. Still, I can report that Whitney Portal Road is now (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 3 Comments
August 27, 2009 Mt. Whitney Climbing

Mt. Whitney’s East Face

When I close my eyes I see granite. Gray-white blocks angle sharply beneath my feet, plunging downward past my rubber-tipped toes. I press my back against a wall of rock as if I could somehow dissolve myself into the mountain. Everything feels like it’s moving—the rock, the ground, the air—all conspiring together, pushing me toward (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 5 Comments
August 16, 2009 The Fresh Air Traverse Video

The Fresh Air Traverse

Mount Whitney’s East Face is perhaps the classic Alpine climbing route in the Sierra, featuring an otherworldly mix of moderate climbing and breathtaking exposure. I had wanted to climb the East Face from the moment I first summited Whitney—but at the time it seemed like a dream that would permanently remain unfulfilled. Last weekend, I (more...)...

Posted in Video | 8 Comments
July 16, 2008 Whitney Fish Hatchery Destroyed Current Conditions

Whitney Fish Hatchery Destroyed

Sounds like it was a wild weekend in the Whitney Portal region, with heavy storms closing the portal road (due to mudslides) and even Highway 395 (which remains closed at Independence – detour available). Posters on the Whitney Portal Store Forums have a thread going which talks about the conditions. A lot of people got (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments
March 29, 2008 Whitney Portal Road: ‘Closed’ vs. Closed Current Conditions

Whitney Portal Road: ‘Closed’ vs. Closed

Well, I drove up to Lone Pine yesterday with big plans for some climbing and skiing in the Whitney Portal region, only to discover the road, which is normally “closed” for winter had been Closed (more...)...

Posted in Current Conditions | 5 Comments
June 30, 2007 Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route Climbing

Mount Whitney — the Mountaineer’s Route

If you are considering climbing the Mountaineer’s Route, I heartily recommend it. The route is spectacular. Be aware, however, that hiking conditions are currently unusually favorable on the mountain. Under more normal circumstances (more...)...

Posted in Climbing | 11 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.