19 votes
Accepted

Why is (almost) no one climbing hard routes on Half Dome?

Reading the comments and discussing with other users helped me get a much better idea of the possible causes why we hear of so many hard (sometimes free) ascents on El Capitan and almost none on Half ...
valerio's user avatar
  • 907
14 votes
Accepted

What would cause sudsy surf?

The suds are caused by protein. Protein is usually consumed by the nitrogen cycle and finally plant life, but if there is enough water churning by wind and white caps and breaking waves it can froth ...
Escoce's user avatar
  • 4,812
12 votes
Accepted

What is this wet/oily residue all over the rocks in my yard?

Desert Varnish There's a Wikipedia article on it right here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_varnish In a nutshell, Desert varnish (also known as rock varnish) is a dark, thin (usually 5 to 500 ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.5k
9 votes
Accepted

What mountain is used in the MacOS Sierra desktop background?

The picture for the Mac OS X Sierra desktop background is of Lone Pine Peak. You can find a similar picture taken by Don Smith at their blog, where they mentioned the following: In the scene below, ...
Kevin Brown-Silva's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Where have all the sandpipers gone?

Almost all North American sandpipers nest far up north (from the northern Great Plains to the shores of the Arctic Ocean). They winter in moderate numbers along the coasts, and very large numbers of ...
Tom Gaskill's user avatar
7 votes

Where to camp for almost free on the surroundings of Los Angeles?

Your requirements are conflicting. Think about it. It costs money to build showers and toilets and to provide running water. It's quite unlikely that someone or some organization is going to build ...
Olin Lathrop's user avatar
  • 21.4k
7 votes

Why was I attacked by a bird (twice)?

You almost certainly got close to a nest. The behavior you describe fits various raptors when intruders get close to a nest. There very likely is a nest up there somewhere. If the nest isn't on the ...
Olin Lathrop's user avatar
  • 21.4k
7 votes
Accepted

Multi-day hiking trip [California, early April]

I would recommend going to Los Padres National Forest including the Ventana Wilderness in the Santa Lucia Range. No chance of snow there as even the highest mountain does not exceed 1800 metre and ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
7 votes

How hard is the East Buttress route on El Capitan

First, the difficulty of a V1 is not consistent everywhere, especially for climbers with limited experience. A V1 crack is a very different animal from a V1 slab. Yosemite climbs and boulder problems, ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 10.7k
6 votes

Multi-day hiking trip [California, early April]

I would suggest looking at the Point Reyes National Seashore, close to Petaluma, less than a hour north of San Francisco. It is a beautiful area ranging from thick woods to large open bluffs to the ...
bitsmack's user avatar
  • 279
6 votes

How to become a falconer at a young age?

In the US you probably won't be able to become an apprentice in the traditional sense at the age of 14 as you will be legally obliged to be in school or at least educated by someone with parental ...
Chris Johns's user avatar
  • 6,202
6 votes

What is this abandoned equipment and shed on skids near Mono Lake CA?

This is likely a 1960s Mono County Television Corporation CATV (Community Access/Antenna Television) broadcast translator/repeater station. The original CATV - a precursor to modern Cable TV systems - ...
David Bailey's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Can deep wave action be partially predicted by lunar phases?

The ocean floor is almost entirely undisturbed by waves - What you are finding comes from the coastal littoral. You can gain some general estimates from direction and strength of storms, but the ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
  • 24.9k
5 votes

What would cause sudsy surf?

Sea foam, ocean foam, beach foam, or spume is a type of foam created by the agitation of seawater, particularly when it contains higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter (including ...
Cees Timmerman's user avatar
5 votes

Dispersed camping allowing gathered wood fires within 5 hours of San Francisco?

Five hours from San Francisco is enough to reach a good chunk of the Sierras and even further north in the area of Lassen and Shasta. There are large areas of national forest within this range. ...
Olin Lathrop's user avatar
  • 21.4k
5 votes
Accepted

Are Dolphin sightings seasonal or serendipitous?

My experience relates to Common Dolphin, but likely applies to dolphins of other species, too. Although dolphin may be seen at any time, you are most likely to see them in proximity to food. So if ...
Toby Speight's user avatar
  • 4,652
5 votes
Accepted

What makes some beaches better spots for beachcombers than others?

In my experience, beaches that are less protected are the ones which have the most items washing up on them. For example, in Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, many items arrive from Japan ...
Jane's user avatar
  • 96
5 votes

Camping in Yosemite in March

March in Yosemite is considered winter, so you need to be prepared for cold temperatures and for snow. A sunny but cold day in the snow can be gorgeous and fun, but you have to also be prepared, so if ...
Charles E. Grant's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Do Redwood Trees grow in families?

Former botanist here. It is not uncommon for this sort of behaviour to happen in the botanical world. There are many forms of this sort of thing, the most commonly seen one is coppicing. Coppicing is ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 10.4k
4 votes

Why was I attacked by a bird (twice)?

So, you saw it gliding away. And it didn't return to resume an attack. Which makes me think that the contact was not intended. Very likely a night hawk or a nightjar; they do not really care about ...
user58697's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
Accepted

Dispersed camping allowing gathered wood fires within 5 hours of San Francisco?

Turns out options are limited to mostly Big Sur. Luckily, there are a tremendous amount of trails and campgrounds in the area. A good place to start looking for camping in the Big Sur is their ...
Caleb Jay's user avatar
  • 211
3 votes

What would cause sudsy surf?

An interesting article from The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Research lists causes of sea foam, most of which have been covered by all your other answers. It does say that the ...
Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL's user avatar
3 votes

What would cause sudsy surf?

Sea foam is from diatoms breaking up (unless it is from pollution). Normally, it is from diatoms, which are a form of plankton that have a glass-like silica shell (also their broken shells make ...
Jane's user avatar
  • 96
3 votes

How to become a falconer at a young age?

I agree with the answer of @Chris Johns, especially about getting your parents on your side and the need to handle schoolwork and the dedication you will need to attract a sponsor. And, as @David ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
3 votes

What is this wet/oily residue all over the rocks in my yard?

It could be a sugary secretion that some insects produce and that has fallen from the trees. It is usually called "honey-dew".
Manuel González Núñez's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Remaining impacts from the very low snow pack of 2014-2015 in the Western Sierra and extra precautions we should take to minimize our impact

Severe drought effects established plants more than the annuals, as seeds often have a very extended lifespan and will germinate when new moisture arrives. Appropriate practice whenever hiking in our ...
J.P.M.'s user avatar
  • 361
3 votes
Accepted

Is Off Trail Travel Between Lakes in the Humphreys Basin, CA Feasible

Absolutely. I just returned from the area and found that once we crested over Piute Pass and into the Humphreys Basin, the terrain is easily traversable off trail. While the fragile ecology ...
J.P.M.'s user avatar
  • 361
3 votes

Lake Tahoe kayaking conditions

It looks like there is a possibility of strong winds, Lake Tahoe is also known for its vibrant blue skies, its sparkling cold waters, and its hazardous wind conditions, especially on the eastern ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
3 votes

Camping in Yosemite in March

I have never been to yosemite so I cannot answer about this part based on experience. There is however a question about backpacking in april which suggests that there will be still a lot of snow in ...
Manziel's user avatar
  • 7,245

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