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Alpine Conditions Report – July 8, 2015

In Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report by Howie Schwartz5 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 activity from monsoonal air flow and warm, moist air rising that condenses clouds, resulting in precipitation and electrical activity. Precipitation has been in the form of intense short or, in some cases, up to a couple sustained hours of rain …

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Alpine Conditions Report – July 1, 2015

In Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report by Howie Schwartz4 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 records for amount of rainfall and consecutive days with precipitation. In June, mountain weather has remained somewhat unusual with daily high temperatures spanning more than 30 degrees F in many locations. In Bishop, 17 days have hit highs in the …

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Alpine Conditions Report – June 6, 2015

In Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report by Howie SchwartzLeave 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 recorded in Bishop. The forecast is for more of the same lingering low pressure, with another 1+” of H2O projected over the next week with thunderstorms. The high country is currently in alpine form. Snow in couloirs ranges from styrofoam neve …

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Alpine Conditions Report – May 8, 2015

In Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report, Uncategorized by Howie Schwartz2 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 high and dry in the summer/fall and stormy in the winter/spring. That’s what all of us high mountain lovers have come to expect and appreciate. The situation is out of sync, like a mountain guide trying to dance to 90’s …

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Alpine Conditions Report – April 18, 2015

In Conditions Reports, From the Range of Light & Fast, High Sierra Alpine Report by Howie Schwartz5 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 “the big dry” (the biggest drought on record in California). The drought is a bane for almost everyone, and we should all be a lot more concerned than we seem to be, but it does represent a boon for alpine …

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Featured Alpine Route: The Southeast Ridge of Mount Russell

In From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips, High Sierra Alpine Report, Trip Reports by Howie Schwartz1 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 the route is listed in 3 of them. There are surprisingly very few details about this route that I could discover in these books, or from internet searches, so I figure this might be useful for someone.   A conversation …

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The Incredible Hulk, Red Dihedral – June 29 to July 1, 2014

In From the Range of Light & Fast, Trip Reports by Howie SchwartzLeave a Comment

  Incredible! Colin Murphy and I sent the Red Dihedral route on the Hulk this week. What a phenomenal trip it was – perfect weather, long days, warm granite, and good company. Colin said it was his hardest and best alpine climb to date, and what an honor to have been there to share it with him. Enjoy the photos and hopefully Colin will share his video footage at some point too. ~ Howie July 3, 2014: the video from …

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

In From the Range of Light & Fast, Guide Tips by Howie SchwartzLeave 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 Line One of the major considerations when evaluating the aesthetics of a climbing route is the line. Does it appear natural, allowing for consistent and continuous climbing progress? Does the climbing finish on an obvious high point like a summit? …