Sierra Mountains

Where the Peaks Have No Name: A Season in the High Sierra

Home ranges are the great teachers. Some lessons are in your face—rocks hurt, stay away from cornices, respect avalanche conditions—but some are more subtle and take years to learn. They are life lessons that only come with time spent in one place. Learning to leave your ego at the trailhead, knowing that humility is the best tool, and being present in the moment are all essential in order to pick up the faint signs. Some lessons leave their mark—a season-ending injury or a friend who didn’t make it home.

The home range is where breakthroughs happen alongside beat-downs. It is also a place of worship. A place I go to heal over a lost friend, to work out life’s biggest questions.

The Sierra is where I ride 80 percent of the time. At 450 miles long, it is 15 times the size of the Tetons. And thanks to early pioneers such as John Muir and Norman Clyde, it is home to one of the longest untouched wilderness areas in the lower 48, stretching south from Lake Tahoe almost to Bakersfield, CA. It is where I have reached some of my highest highs, riding that perfect line, standing on a mountaintop, watching the sunrise. It was love at first sight. The 450 inches of annual snow, the sunny days, the lift-serviced access to technical terrain. But true love and devotion take more than a few bottomless days lapping Squaw Valley’s KT-22 chair…

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