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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 SchwartzLeave a Comment

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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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 …

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Eastern Sierra Ice Report – December 27th, 2015

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

Happy holidays ice climbers, Not a whole lot of new to report from the Eastside. It was a strong start to the season in December and the ice remains in good form. The trail in to Lee Vining Canyon is currently decent, with a few large holes that are to be expected. The Main Wall and Chouinard Wall are looking good and climbing well. Horsetail Falls was getting there, then fell down, and now has reformed. There is climbable ice …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – December 27th, 2015

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

Happy Holidays backcountry skiers and snowboarders, December has been good to us. Small to medium storms with winds in between is the pattern. The winds of December 21-23 toppled dozens of full grown beetle-killed snags in the June Mountain backcountry and littered the snow surface with an unprecedented amount of detritus on top of sastrugi. Not such fun conditions, after a couple weeks of excellent cold powder skiing. Fortunately, it was a white X-mas and we got another 1’+ on top. …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report – December 18th, 2015

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

Hi backcountry skiers and snowboarders, The 2015-16 snow season is underway! Hopefully you have had a chance to reconnoiter with the white stuff, either at the resort or in the backcountry. If you haven’t, don’t worry, this season is still being hyped and prognosticated as the Donald Trump of El Niños, it’s HUGE! Since the beginning of December, there have been 3 small to medium sized storms that have impacted our area. From these, Mammoth Mountain recorded 24 inches of …

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Eastern Sierra Ice Report – November 25th, 2015

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz5 Comments

Season’s greetings ice climbers! Once again, the nip is in the air and thoughts turn to climbing frozen waterfalls. That means we are excited to provide consistent, up-to-date reporting on local conditions throughout the season. We guide and climb in the best ice climbing venue on the west coast, and we hope you will get a chance to enjoy the ice here this season. We have been getting a lot of questions about how the ice is doing. We have …

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Eastern Sierra Backcountry Snow Report November 24th, 2015

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

Salutations backcountry skiers and snowboarders! The backcountry season is open! That means we at SMG now continue our tradition of reporting on the current and recent snow conditions for the Eastern Sierra. As a reminder, This report is not an avalanche advisory, nor is it comparable to information offered by any avalanche information center. The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center is the local avalanche center that keeps us all informed on snow and avalanche conditions for purposes of backcountry risk management. …

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Trip Report: The Juggernaut & Peeler Pillar

In From the Range of Light & Fast, Trip Reports by Howie SchwartzLeave 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 every year. Perhaps nowhere more so than the Sawtooth Range. In 1970, a grade V 5.8 A3 route was completed on a prominent pinnacle on the northeast ridge of Eocene Peak. With its unusual scale and attitude, the wall came …

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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 …