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 ...
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  • 907
16 votes
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Can cold weather be sufficient to act as a refrigerator?

35° is 35°, whether in your car, in your pack, or in your refrigerator back home. However, handling raw meat otherwise is very different outdoors than at home. Personally, I think bringing ...
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  • 21.3k
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 ...
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  • 4,654
12 votes
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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 ...
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  • 53.1k
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, ...
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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 ...
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7 votes

Looking for secluded camping land in California, near the bay area

I'll start this as a community wiki and seed it with a few places. While places like Shasta and the Sierra may be within 3 hours drive, this is usually not the case once traffic and speed limits are ...
7 votes

Can cold weather be sufficient to act as a refrigerator?

When meteorologists tell you the temperature, likely they mean the temperature more than 1m off the ground in a shaded place (for example in a Stevenson screen). Anything sunlit is likely to be ...
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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 ...
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  • 21.3k
7 votes
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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 ...
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  • 26.2k
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 ...
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  • 21.3k
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, ...
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  • 10.6k
6 votes

Looking for secluded camping land in California, near the bay area

About 20 years ago, I had a whole day free between two business engagements in the Bay area. I stumbled upon a apparently little-known state park that if I remember right was south and a little east ...
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  • 21.3k
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 ...
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  • 6,192
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 ...
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  • 279
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 ...
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  • 24.4k
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. ...
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  • 21.3k
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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 4,357
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 ...
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  • 96
5 votes
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Bouldering in California in the summer

Bug Spray: Unless you're backpacking in and are extremely weight conscious of how much you're carrying, if you think you might need bug spray, why wouldn't you bring it? Better to have it and not need ...
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  • 1,325
5 votes

What wild animals are there in California that can be dangerous or create hassles, and how do I avoid problems with them?

Different parts of California have different wildlife, so you should probably narrow the region. Anyway, I'll talk about the areas I'm familiar with. In the Santa Cruz mountains, there are a lot of ...
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5 votes

Hiking possibilities near Silicon Valley

The Henry W Coe State Park is within reasonable driving range, and offers many hiking trails with good vistas and surprisingly few people. I go into more detail here.
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  • 21.3k
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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 211
4 votes

Bouldering in California in the summer

We didn't go to Mickey's beach, but we did boulder at Castle Rock and the Berkeley area. Hindsight is 20/20: Yes, if you're bouldering near Castle Rock. There were TONS of bugs there and they love to ...
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