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Alpine Conditions Report – August 6th, 2016

In From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Hi mountain folk, We are in the full steamy heat of the summer season. Climate change is real and we have seen multiple days in the past month with high temperatures in Bishop above 105 degrees. Some days in the mountains have felt too hot and lately I have not had any need to zip myself completely into a 40 degree sleeping bag, even at elevations up to 12k’. It’s been a good summer though. More snow around in early season …

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Talkin’ Sh*t about Mount Whitney. Can you handle it?

In From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz7 Comments

People are saying I have been talking shit too much, so I decided to write some shit down instead. Let’s think of this as my periodic colon cleanse for the mind. It ain’t pretty, but it is probably healthy. The thing is, we should all be talking about poop more. And why not? We do it daily, all 7.125 billion of us on Earth. This may be one of the more significant impacts humans have on each other on the …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – May 14, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz2 Comments

Howdy Skiers and Snowboarders! I am starting to write this on Friday the 13th. Spoooooky. But weather and snowpack out there are producing some down home friendly riding conditions for those that are keeping the stoke of glisse alive into the heart of spring. Last installment of this report, we talked about the below average snow cover that exhibited consistently high snow quality. Since then that has remained the case. The spring thaw was delayed by a series of small, …

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State of the High Sierra Backcountry – April 9th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz9 Comments

Happy April backcountry skiers and snowboarders! What a season. It is hard to process it all, but suffice it to say that it has been the best in years. Sure, the El Niño turned into something of an el None yo, and that left a lingering air of disappointment that many just couldn’t get over. On the bright side, complaints about snow quantity were tempered by consistently high snow quality. There were very few days this season where the goods …

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Eastern Sierra Ice Report – March 21, 2016 (End of Season)

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz1 Comment

Happy Spring Ice Climbers! Ice has been good this season, and we haven’t had many interesting ice happenings to report on until now. Spring is in the air and has recently sprung in force, so we are looking at the tail end of the ice climbing season around here. That said, we had some thick and fortuitous ice formations this winter that are holding on well at this point. As most climbers shift focus to the sunny rocky crags, the …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – March 12th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz6 Comments

Skiers and Snowboarders! Happy late winter to you all. We took a brief hiatus from writing this report so that we could do some investigative journalism on the topic of why this winter has fallen so short of the epic proportions that were advertised. I sacrificed some well-earned personal Sierra ski time to instead make a journey into the heart of the Pacific, to the source of our Sierra weather, to see what the heck is going on. What I found …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 14th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

  Howdy backcountry sliding enthusiasts and Happy Valentine’s Day! Mark here, reporting on conditions in the Eastern Sierra. The last weekend of January essentially brought the region its first big El Niño storm. It was more of a classic El Niño dump – coming in wet with rain around 9000 feet and then exiting quite cold, with temps dropping to single digits a mere 48 hours after the arrival of the storm. The cold exiting of the storm brought snow down …

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Eastern Sierra Ice Report – January 29th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz8 Comments

Howdy California ice climbers, With not much notable change lately we have been quietly climbing and not reporting, but it’s about time for an update. Ice climbing conditions in the Eastern Sierra have been quite good, and they seem to still be getting better overall with each passing day. We just had a few days of warm temps, and now a decent amount of rain on the snow. In January, we do not expect profound effects on the stability of …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – January 29th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz2 Comments

Howdy Skiers and Snowboarders, Just a quick update because we are getting lots of questions about recent backcountry conditions. Storms have been frequent and relatively small lately, but every bit counts. At this point the snow surveys are saying we are at just below average (93% of average to date) snowpack for the date in Sierra south of near the northern Yosemite border. The problem with this estimate is that it does not factor in that there is very little …

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The Future of Wilderness & Guiding in Yosemite National Park

In From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz4 Comments

As the focus of the nation remains on presidential politics and the associated reality television drama that it represents, Yosemite National Park is quietly having their own opportunity to revamp its management program as they re-evaluate their Wilderness Stewardship Plan. It is not prominent in news headlines beyond some small scale local press. People may assume that this is just a process that government agencies do, and that nothing will really change, and that if there are currently issues then they will …

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Exercising the Power of Restraint

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

I quit drinking coffee this fall. Not forever, just for 5 weeks. I do this every fall. It is not easy as I have a mild addiction to the hot beverage. It is not the effects of caffeine as much as the taste. I compensated with more than enough black tea during that time, but it never satisfied the my craving for the ritual of the bean. The grind, the aroma, the percolation and of course, the rich, smooth taste. …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – January 11th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

Howdy backcountry skiers and snowboarders! Wow, what a run we are having. Snow conditions have been incredible for almost 4 weeks now. Aside from immediately after the mega wind event that destroyed the snowpack and many trees in the Eastern Sierra just before X-mas, the powder has been light, fluffy, and cold, from boot top to waist deep. Avalanche conditions have been mostly manageable this season to date, other than a couple cycles of disconcerting direct action avalanche activity. This …