Author Archives: Howie Schwartz

Trip Report: The Juggernaut & Peeler Pillar

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whosoever touches this gem shall possess the power of the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak! Henceforth, you who read these words, shall become forevermore a human juggernaut! With respect to alpine rock climbing, the Sierra Nevada gets more and more amazing
READ MORE

Record Breaking Mountain Feats and the Art of Keeping It Real

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being a self-described mountain pundit is not easy. It takes a deep commitment to reading the shameless spray of countless bloggers, the perseverance to wade through outdoor reportage by experts and dilettantes, trying to discern between the two, and the excruciating
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – July 8, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hi Sierra Nevada aficionados and enthusiasts, Quick update to our last report on July 1, as things in the high country are changing quite rapidly. As we have been reporting, the Sierra remains in a steady stream of daily thunderstorm
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – July 1, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Howdy mountaineers and high country enthusiasts, Hope you are all enjoying summer at this point. We are! After the driest winter on record, the High Sierra experienced one of the wettest calendar months ever. The town of Bishop hit May
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – June 6, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howdy Mountain People! Happy almost summer, as it may be. Certainly isn’t acting like summer. But 2015 is a year for weather extremes. After the biggest drought year ever recorded in the Sierra Nevada, somehow May was the wettest ever
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – May 8, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crazy year. After the biggest drought on record in California, we enter late spring with a series of storms, the last two of which are the biggest of the year to date. This weather is wackbards! It’s supposed to be
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – April 18, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

  Hi everyone, Welcome to the High Sierra Alpine Conditions Report! This is the first one of 2015, transitioning early from the Backcountry Snow Report for skiers and snowboarders which we will not be updating further this season, courtesy of
READ MORE

State of the High Sierra Backcountry – March 24, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I know it’s been a long hiatus from this report skiers and snowboarders, but we wanted to keep the pictures up as long as possible from the epic 2 days of backcountry powder skiing we had reported on at the
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – March 24, 2015 (End of Season)

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hi there ice climbers!, Happy spring. The end of another Eastside ice season is nigh. It’s been an interesting one, with lots of warm temps and falling ice, but it always provided just enough fun, with reasonable access conditions. It
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 25, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Hi bc skiers and snowboarders, The pictures tell most of the story. Best worst winter ever! People are asking us about where to find the goods. It is a bit tricky at the moment but if you succeed then you
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – February 25, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hi there ice climbers, We are finally having a return to winter! The high temperatures have dropped around 25 degrees F over the weekend and have remained cool at night since. We even have received some much needed snow. That means
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 13th, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backcountry skiers and snowboarders, Happy Friday the 13th! Well, in case you haven’t been paying attention, the Groundhog Day spell has been broken. Today is tomorrow! We had an atmospheric river weather event that put up to around a foot
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – February 2nd, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hi Ice Climbers, Happy Groundhogs Day. 6 more weeks of winter, according to the little marmot. Hope you are enjoying the warm temps. The ice is hanging in there since last report. There are limited climbs for this time of
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – February 2nd, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Howdy backcountry skiers and snowboarders, It’s Groundhog Day!!! Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning which means 6 more weeks of winter. We had a couple weeks of it so far this season and we are looking forward to some
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – January 28, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Not feeling too inspired to update the last report, but I figured we all could use another shot of Groundhog Day humor. Maybe we are all becoming better people for living the same dry and stormless winter weather day after
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – January 21, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey Ice Climbers, Hope you get to enjoy the ice before it is gone. We usually don’t say that until mid-March, but this year all bets are off. We all know that ice does not fare well in a warming
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – January 12, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howdy Ice Climbers!  It’s been an exciting week here on the Eastside. June-uary is in full effect with mega warm temps and amazing rock climbing weather. Unfortunately, this is not good news for ice. After an awesome cold snap, warm
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – January 12, 2015

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hi there backcountry skiers and snowboarders. I hope you have been getting out in the backcountry lately. But not in the Eastern Sierra. Here, cold temps and north winds turned to warm temps and sun, which turned to warm temps
READ MORE

Avalanche Airbags vs. Avalanche Education?

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

This fall I went to the first annual California Avalanche Workshop in South Lake Tahoe, California. It was a nicely run event with great turnout and some interesting presentations. For me, one of the more memorable ones was a session by Elyse Saugstad. Elyse
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – December 31, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howdy backcountry skiers and snowboarders! May auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind. Goodbye 2014. We hardly knew ye. And frankly – other than a bare handful of backcountry days that were “the. best. ever.” – I’d be happy
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – December 29, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ice Climbers! Brrrrrrrr, it’s cold. Just what we need for building ice! With these temps expect the ice to be growing and attaching well to the cliffs of Lee Vining Canyon and June Lake.   Horsetail Falls and Tatums in
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

December 17th, 2014 Howdy backcountry skiers and snowboarders, The backcountry season has begun! Rarely have we seen such consistently inconsistent weather forecasting here as we have this month. The snow amounts have been way off almost every time, some in
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – December 15, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Howdy ice climbers, Temps have been dropping so we went to Lee Vining Canyon to have a look see. The ice is a bit anemic this early season, but better than last report and well attached to the rock, even
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – December 13, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mount Tom near Bishop, CA at 8:30am on December 13, 2014   Hi bc skiers and snowboarders, This is a quick post-storm morning update. Classically, this storm was overhyped by forecast models and discussions, at least for this part of
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – December 8, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bishop Skyline 12/7/14   Howdy Backcountry Skiers and Snowboarders! Hope you are all well this holiday season and looking forward to more snow. We are all due for it here in CA. Nature owes us big time. That said, the last
READ MORE

Eastern Sierra Ice Report – November 22, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howdy ice climbers! It’s been a while, how have you been? It’s fall and we have emerged from a bit of a cold spell. It is no surprise that we receiving inquiries on ice conditions. We are excited about it too,
READ MORE

Preparing for a Season of Decision Making

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It was exactly a year ago that I stood ski guiding on a 45 degree virgin slope on the Antarctic Peninsula in a decision making quandary. Doug Stoup of Ice Axe Expeditions had put together another one of his outrageous
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – November 2, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Split Mountain and the Big Pine skyline emerge from the clouds on November 1, 2014   Well mountain lovers, another summer has gone down in the books and autumn is in full gear. The High Sierra has just received its
READ MORE

Featured Alpine Route: The Southeast Ridge of Mount Russell

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips, High Sierra Alpine Report, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Southeast Ridge of Mount Russell (III, 5.9) is a classic alpine gem of a route that gets relatively little traffic or mention by guidebook authors. There are 7 different guidebooks for climbing on Mount Russell in my library and
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – September 5th, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hi Sierra scramblers and ramblers, After a busy Labor Day weekend here, we are coming into our favorite time of year in the Eastern Sierra. The aspens are beginning to turn, the fireweed has gone to seed, the night air
READ MORE

Trip Report – Mount Whitney, Mountaineer’s Trout – August 18-20, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanks to Steve from Atlanta, GA for great company and a hard-earned summit of Mount Whitney from the more adventurous side. This was like no hike or climb he had ever experienced and he did a great job. Besides the
READ MORE

Want to see commercial airline service in Bishop? You can help!

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, News & Press | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey everyone who may be interested:   The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power has granted a long-term lease to the Bishop airport, here at the gateway to the Eastern Sierra. This means it is eligible for FAA funding
READ MORE

New Routes in Sequoia National Park

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Over the last two summers Sierra Mountain Guides has visited Lone Pine Canyon in Sequoia National Park on 2 separate guided explorations. The soon-to-be-Sierra-classic climb and ridge traverse that has come to be known as Sabre Ridge and the adjacent
READ MORE

The Hidden Value of a Mountain Guide – from Middle Palisade & Mount Russell

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tom and Andy are a couple of very intelligent and engineers from the Eastern US. They work for the Department of Defense to help keep all of us Americans safe. They are also experienced mountaineers. Why then have they had
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – Incredible Hulk – July 2, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Howdy alpine rock climbers. This edition of the Alpine Conditions report is focused on the Sawtooth Range and specifically the vicinity of the Incredible Hulk. We just spent a few days there in Little Slide Canyon and would like to
READ MORE

Mount Whitney: East Face vs. East Buttress. Which is better?

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Which route is better, the East Face or the East Buttress? The classic question we get regarding technical routes on Mount Whitney. Well, do you like chocolate or vanilla? Very different flavors, both immensely pleasurable. Let’s break it down. The
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – June 7th

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mountain people, We have been out and about for the past few weeks. Not much new to report for alpine ice climbers. Couloirs are still quite snowy, and the firnification process has been slow due to continued snowstorms through May.
READ MORE

Alpine Conditions Report – May 13, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hi there mountain people! It is that time again when we start getting calls and questions asking us about mountain conditions for alpine climbing and general mountain access. We have been running this report for the last 7 or 8
READ MORE

Backcountry Snow Report – May 6, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Skiers and Snowboarders… …that is, if there are any of you left out there. After a lot of wrangling, I was able to find one interested and available ski partner for a 3-day tour who wasn’t busy shaving their legs
READ MORE

Sublimation: A Journey to the Black Divide with Glen Plake

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in From the Range of Light & Fast, Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Prologue It has been 3 seasons of drought for the Sierra. This makes a skier harken back to wetter and better times. Exactly 3 years ago, Easter week 2011, Glen Plake and I went on a multiday ski tour together
READ MORE

Backcountry Snow Report – April 13, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eastside panorama: Williamson to Split in the southern zone.  Since the last report conditions have changed significantly, due to a major spring thaw in the past week. Evening temps have been below freezing above 10,000′ and radiation has been cooling
READ MORE

Backcountry Snow Report – April 4, 2014

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hi there backcountry skiers and snowboarders! Today’s conditions report features the Bishop zone (for a change). If you are reading this then it is possible that, like us,  you have not yet hung up your skis and skins and moved on
READ MORE

Mt. Ritter

Posted on by Howie Schwartz / Posted in Trip Reports | 1 Comment

Mount Ritter is classic.  It’s the highest peak in the Ritter Range, which includes Banner Peak and the Minarets.  R.J. Secor says, “Mount Ritter is perhaps the most prominent peak in the High Sierra, and can even be seen from certain
READ MORE