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Issue: # 42February 2012 

Happy February!

Hope this newsletter finds you happy and well out and enjoying this wild and weird winter that we're experiencing.  The snow storm that we had a few weeks ago brought in some good snow which allowed us to ski the backcountry and run a few great avalanche courses.
Digging snow profiles near June Mountain, Jan 27-29th

Even though we have been seeing sunny skies and mild temps for a couple weeks now, we have hope that winter is not over. The Groundhog has spoken! Another shot of snow this week is setting up the snowpack perfectly for avalanche courses in February and March. Come check it out!   


Some notes from the office: 

~ Want to share a course with someone to bring down the cost? Just let us know! We currently have people interested in backcountry skiing and our ice axe/crampon seminar.  


~ With so much interest in Winter Whitney trip, We have added March 16-19, just in time to lay claim to a true winter ascent of Mt. Whitney.  



Brian Climbing in Lee Vining Canyon      

"I just wanted to thank you guys for an awesome ice climbing trip.  It was definitely harder than I thought it would be, but much more fun than I expected!  Working with Jed was awesome; he was very patient with me, and explained everything thoroughly and in great detail.  He's by far one of the best instructors I've worked with." -Brian S.

Journey to the Black Divide - Part Deux
As I listened to the President discuss the State of the Union recently, I was surprised that he mentioned nothing about the state of our Sierra snowpack. There is a huge and unfair disparity in this Nation, with the 1% of the population (in this case, Alaskans) enjoying 98% of the Nations snowfall. Californians should be outraged. Until we can get this obstructionist Congress to do something we are at risk of hitting rocks. Let us reminisce back to a bygone era... last season... when the gullies were choked with record snow and the snowline stayed low long into the Spring. We present to you part 2 in the 3 part story of the Journey to the Black Divide, featuring SMG guide Howie Schwartz and skiing super-legend Glen Plake in April 2011.
Enjoy!  - Howie  

Journey to the Black Divide, Part 2

If you missed the more educationally oriented part 1, check it out.


Owens River Gorge-ous
Winter is for Rock Climbing
Let me tell you a little story from this winter. It was snowing hard. That narrows it down to 2 possible occasions this season. We had a group come to ice climb, which they were able to do at the
Gorge climbing on a mountain storm day.  Photo: L. Wang 
Roadside Ice on day 1, but the second day they were faced with a choice: either deep trail breaking to get to the ice in Lee Vining Canyon, or rock climbing in Owens River Gorge. A few respectable diehards opted to go for the ice, and had a snowy, character-building alpine adventure. Those that chose the Gorge were surprised to find that, yes, in the Eastern Sierra it is possible to climb ice and rock on the same day in different places! 

The Owens River Gorge is amazingly sheltered and features warm, sunny stone most winter days. Cool winter air temps keep the rock sticky for hands and feet. These ice climbers unexpectedly had a rockin' good time at one of the best winter rock climbing venues in the U.S.!

The approach to the ice is great again after a dry spell, but keep in mind that with the sun shining people are also rock climbing with shirts off. Consider a multisport winter weekend with SMG - ice, rock, and snow any day of the week!  


Summer Fastpacking  & Mountain Running 

We have Mountain Running trips in the Alps and Fastpacking trips in the Sierra scheduled for this summer. Don't miss out!


Eastern Sierra Scramblers 

Summer 2012 Eastern Sierra Scrambers Summer will be here before you know it. We like to plan ahead and assume that you do too. Check out our Scrambers page for dates and more info.

The g-hog says stop waiting for snow and get out this winter!

Re-sharing the same photo this month to thank Iliana Marcus at Thrill Seekers Anonymous

Photo Credit: Iliana Marcus


All of us at
Sierra Mountain Guides

Sierra Mountain Guides operates in partnership and under permit with the Inyo National Forest

"In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer."


     WINTER PROGRAMS are on the calendar!

Sign up by Feb 29th for a winter avalanche or backcountry  

ski course and receive 10% off!  

Please mention this add when signing up. Winter programs
start before March 21st. Must submit deposit before 02/29/12