|Lou on Longs Peak north face, 1990, after three failed attempts due to poor snow cover that could have easily been evaluated with a web cam. (This ended up being the third ski descent of the peak and face. John Harlin did the first, Howie and Mike Fitz and Bob Pfeiffer did the second.)|
Mountain cams have eased backcountry skiing angst by providing real-time remote observation of conditions. For nostalgia reasons my favorite is the Longs Peak cam in Colorado (not linked here, because it seems to be very unreliable), but Mount Shasta runs a close second. Back when I was trying to ski Longs Peak for my ski-the-teeners project, it was nearly impossible to get a good read on conditions up there. Sure, I could call someone and get them to look at the mountain with binoculars, but that was inconvenient at best, and usually the observer didn’t know exactly what to look for. Last winter several groups made brilliant descents of Longs, both thanks to good timing supported by the Longs web cam.
Here on WildSnow.com we publish a list of cams that are useful for backcountry skiers — cams that show a specific backcountry mountain, or at least show conditions on a ski mountain or in a town near backcountry terrain. Please contact me with suggestions (use contact option in menu bar to left).
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.