Brad Rassler Brad Rassler, Editor-in-Chief of Sustainable Play, lives and writes in the Tahoe Sierra. He and his partner, Jane Grossman, live in the Carson Range without a dog.
  • Snowmaking in the Time of Drought THAT THE SIERRA might not be so very nevada one day might have been inconceivable to the Spaniards who named the range, or to members of the Donner Party who struggled through house-high drifts, or to those World War II-era entrepreneurs who built ski lifts reaching to the tops of Mammoth Mountain, Tahoe's Slide Mountain, Mount Lincoln, Heavenly Peak, and Squaw Peak. But Sierran snow seems to have become more fickle. Although there have been the hallelujah winters February 17, 2018
  • Ashes into the Shadow of Arrows “There is a Paiute proverb to the effect that no man should attempt the country east of the Sierras until he has learned to sleep in the shade of his arrows. This is a picturesque way of saying that he must be able to reduce his wants to the limit of necessity. Those who have […] September 11, 2017
  • Finding Flow I CAME INTO FISH from my mother’s side of the family. Every Sunday the matrilineal clan would gather to nosh on lox, red as a California sunset, herring, both kippered and creamed, and whitefish. It was the whitefish that proved my undoing. The sight of those wrinkled silver corpses with dumb eyes dull as coal gave […] June 19, 2016
  • Figures on a Landscape IN AN OBSCURE WASH in the high Mojave stand two domes, their north faces steeped in shadows. Four friends scrutinize the rune-like creases on the northeast face of the northernmost monolith, searching for a path up the steep wall. They are young, in that boggling interval between adolescence and manhood. Much later, they’ll remember the time as a golden age, […] June 9, 2016
  • The Natural IN THE PREDAWN hours of a recent midsummer day, Peter Mayfield walked through the skeletal remains of the Manzanar National Historic Site, the mothballed World War II Japanese internment camp located hard by Highway 395, in California’s Eastern Sierra. Seven miles distant, in serpentine repose, lay Mayfield’s objective: the Himalayan-scaled northeast ridge of Mt. Williamson, its […] June 3, 2016
  • The Majesty Polarity IN THE LAST DECADE OF THE LAST CENTURY, the videographer, writer and bon vivant Michael Strassman spied a line on a certain Minaret in the High Sierra, a slab-to-knife-edge buttress so obvious in its stegosaurus-like sweep from snowfield to summit that he double-checked the usual sources to ensure that his efforts would result in a first ascent. […] February 22, 2016
  • The Greening of Alex Honnold GO AHEAD: ASK ALEX HONNOLD about his unprecedented solo ascents, and watch how he reflexively flips the toggle switch to autopilot. He’ll rhapsodize about climbing – sure he will – he loves scaling walls — but he’s painfully aware of how these conversations swirl into dialogues about his putative dance with death. In a recent interview on the main stage of the […] November 7, 2015
  • The Adventure Gap and Narratives of Inclusion The reality is that if you have a constituency of voters who have no direct relationship with the natural world, why would they ever vote, allocate federal tax dollars to support it in perpetuity to the future the way it is now? September 29, 2015
  • The Alchemist IT HAPPENED ON A CRISP SAN FRANCISCO EVENING. February of 1968 at the Carousel Ballroom. Jerry Garcia and the Dead were deep into “Morning Dew” to “Dark Star.” The band was locked in tight, and the crowd was locked into the band. Doug Robinson, the 23-year-old wanderlust California climber, he of compact build and mellow mien and soft […] May 19, 2015
  • Fall DR. JESSE LEAMAN, ASTROPHYSICIST, KNOWS THE COSMOS. It’s his turf, in a manner of speaking. So we don’t interrupt as he explains the outer reaches of the universe while wheeling through the University of Nevada, Reno’s Fleischmann Planetarium, where fellow journalist, Regina Revazova, and I have come to learn about the last 16 years of his life: […] May 14, 2015
  • Art of the Wild: Gessner, Stegner, and Abbey WRITER, PROFESSOR, AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROVOCATEUR, David Gessner, is lounging in his writing shack out back of his North Carolina house, a non-smartphone to his ear, a Ranger pale ale in his belly, and another in his hand. We’re chatting about the latest book, All The Wild That Remains, an encomium to two giants of American literature, Ed Abbey and Wallace Stegner. The […] April 10, 2015
  • The Jensen Archive Documents and photos, mostly from the Don C. Jensen Collection at the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center. Although the contents have not been themed, they fall into three broad categories: the four Alaska expeditions, the Sierra / Palisades, and gear: mostly the Jensen pack. Periodically check back for additions to the collection. And for […] March 3, 2015
  • Searching for Jensen YES, I KNEW SOMETHING of the great mountaineer Don Jensen; after all, I bore wit­ness to his Sierran legacy with every ram­ble up either fork of the Sierra Nevada’s Big Pine Creek. But I didn’t really know Jensen, nor did but a hand­ful of people. Last sum­mer, while intern­ing at Alpinist Magazine, I set out to discover who he was. By […] March 3, 2015
  • Abbey’s Back THOUGH IT’S BEEN NEARLY THREE DECADES since Edward Abbey drained his last can of beer and flung it onto a Forest Service byway, his suasive prose and thorny legacy still thrive within certain enclaves, including those of the disaffected youth, thank goodness, who seem to arrive with each generation like the hardy grasses that poke through buckled concrete; by the time they find Abbey they’ve dispatched their […] January 23, 2015
  • The Pied Pipers of Pow I SKI BECAUSE Allan Bard and Tom Carter told me to. Anyone who banked a telemark turn in the Sierra Nevada in the go-go 80’s knows those names and their legacy; Bard and Carter were climbing and skiing partners, business partners, fellow guides, co-conspirators, and the masterminds of gobsmacking tours across the Range of Light, the latter of which they did on […] January 12, 2015
  • Heretical Pilgrims, or You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down ON THE EVENING of November 12, 1958, Warren Harding, Wayne Merry, and George Whitmore surmounted Yosemite’s El Capitan, having made the first ascent of the 2,900-foot Nose route — a campaign of 47 days spread over nearly 18 months. When Harding, the leader, returned to the valley floor, he was approached by a scrum of reporters seeking a statement from […] October 31, 2014
  • On the Sustainability of Summits [dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’re one of the 1,200 climbers attempting Denali’s popular West Buttress route next year, the nearly two metric tons of human waste you’ll collectively dump into the Kahiltna Glacier’s crevasses will emerge in the ablation zone in about 2085, according to a 2012 study sponsored by the National Park Service. When it does, it […] August 7, 2014
  • David Beck: Architect of the Sierra High Route I’M SCHLEPPING A 65-POUND PACK up Symmes Creek Gorge, playing Sherman to David Beck’s Mr. Peabody, helping him escort seven clients on a ski tour of California’s Sierra High Route. We’re just an hour into the first day’s climb of 4,000 feet, and I’m stressed, spent, and wondering why I agreed to be Beck’s Sherpa […] March 25, 2014

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