December 15, 2005

ESAC: The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center

If you've been paying attention, you may have noticed that avalanche information is conspicuously absent on SierraDescents.com's pages. This is certainly not because I don't take avalanches seriously. Avalanches worry me more than any other objective hazard in winter mountaineering. I've therefore been thinking very carefully about what I'd like to say about avalanches.

As a start, I've added an Avalanche Resources section to my links page. The first site I'm linking to is the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center. The ESAC's mission is to "advise and educate the public on avalanche conditions in the backcountry of the Eastern Sierra."

Currently, the ESAC is the only organization providing public avalanche forecasting for the Eastern Sierra (note: the Mammoth Mountain ski patrol post local snow pit info on the Mammoth website).

The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center is new, with a volunteer board of directors, and one full-time avalanche forecaster. They operate in conjunction with the US Forest Service, and they are funded (like PBS) via private donations and membership.

You can help fund the ESAC by purchasing hats and t-shirts from their website, or by becoming a member. They also welcome regional observations of conditions in the field.

Having current, professional avalanche information for our region is a rare and priceless resource. Take advantage of it—and if you can, offer your support.

Andy Lewicky

ANDY LEWICKY is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer who enjoys good books, jasmine tea, long walks in the rain, and climbing and skiing the big peaks of the California Sierra. email | follow


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