View Post

A case for guide certification from the Sierra

In From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz111 Comments

Today I ran into a local climber and mountain enthusiast in the Black Sheep Coffeehouse in Bishop. She worked for us as a porter and as a camp cook last summer, and I asked if she might be interested and available for some of that work again. She said “yes” but she explained that she just took a Wilderness First Responder course and has been hired by another local mountain guide service as a guide, specifically for trips on Mt. Whitney …

View Post

Packing for a Multi-day Ridge Traverse

In From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips by Jediah PorterLeave a Comment

reposted from January 2014 By IFMGA Mountain Guide, Jed Porter So, something about a multi-day ridge traverse has captured your attention. Maybe it’s a 2-day itinerary on Lone Pine Peak, the 4 day version of the Palisade Traverse, or something bigger and further out there. In any case, you want to cover some ground and be ready for technical climbing. You will spend cool nights at altitude, burn lots of calories, and carry all of your gear the entire time. …

View Post

Backcountry Snow Report – May 13, 2014 – Season Wrap-up

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

Well, it’s an early wrap-up for this season’s edition of the Backcountry Snow Report. We may update again if something noteworthy happens with the weather, but overall things are settling in to their predictable spring patterns. Expect sunny warm days with cool nights to provide epic corn skiing above 10,500 to 11,000 feet for a little while yet. So far, we are not seeing any major sun cups or penitentes forming, which means I, for one, have not necessarily hung …

View Post

Alpine Conditions Report – May 13, 2014

In Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report by Howie SchwartzLeave 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 years, but we hope to up our game this year with this new website format to give you the best, most useful, and most up-to-date information on the web about conditions in the High Sierra.   History & Background After …

View Post

Backcountry Snow Report – May 9, 2014

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

Howdy Skiers and Snowboarders! Hope you have been getting into the Sierra in the past month or so. The end of season wrap-up has been as good as it gets, considering the winter drought. Corn conditions have been excellent and some cold storms have kept the powder skiing dream alive. On Monday and Tuesday we had a fantastic cold front pass through that dropped 2-4 inches of snow that stuck down to 8000 feet. A little moderate winds from SW …

View Post

Backcountry Snow Report – May 6, 2014

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz2 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 for a bike ride, complaining about the short ski season. Although things look like late May-early June out there, conditions are absolutely all-time. We enjoyed some of the best spring skiing imaginable during the last high pressure window. No sun …

View Post

Backcountry Snow Report – April 27, 2014

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

Hi there skiers and snowboarders!  Apologies to all the followers of this blog. I hope both of you will forgive us, as we have been busy “getting it while we can” here in the Eastern Sierra. It has been great to run into so many friends from near and far around here with the same idea. Although it has been one of the driest seasons on record, the spring is actually shaping up for us. So many people are talking …

View Post

Sublimation: A Journey to the Black Divide with Glen Plake

In From the Range of Light & Fast, Trip Reports by Howie Schwartz4 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 and had a grand old time skiing some of the wildest and under-explored terrain in the High Sierra in a 5 day point-to-point tour. This was one of the biggest snow years on record and we had epic snow conditions. …

View Post

Backcountry Snow Report – April 13, 2014

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave 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 the snowpack surface as well. Transitional spring snow conditions have transformed to Sierra corn and skiing has been excellent on most sun-exposed slopes with enough snow to ski, above 9500′, and without forest cover. Slopes that have yet to completely …

View Post

Backcountry Snow Report – April 7 & 8, 2014

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

Get it while you can – Janis Joplin Skiers and Snowboarders, The first half of April generally features the maximum snowpack of the season in the Eastern Sierra. This year coverage is thin, but surprisingly adequate if you choose your location thoughtfully. Yesterday on the 7th, SMG ski guide Mark Shelp and I were able to easily ski from and to the truck parked on the upper Buttermilk Road into Birch Creek. Today, we also skied from the Virginia Lakes Road …

View Post

Backcountry Snow Report – April 4, 2014

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie SchwartzLeave 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 to other endeavors like so many so-called Sierra skiers and riders. We are pleased as powder that our High Sierra has seen over a foot of new snow from the last series of spring storms. Temps have been cold too, …