Welcome to the backpacking trails and topics forums for local and long-distance hikers along the Sierra Crest between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney.

Forums cover the TYT, PCT, & JMT and their associated and alternative routes. We explore the necessary backpacking skills, fitness, and gear required. All backpacking information posted here is linked to our related Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide. These forums are the "backend" of the Guide and Magazine. 

Purposes: Expand Knowledge, Explore Potential

for Beginners: To get you off the couch, gear you up, get you into Sierra Shape, and onto the High Sierra Trails. Ask questions, get feedback, generate self-understanding and terrain awareness. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest to get you started.

for Backpackers: To get you in longer, deeper, and higher. Train for the long trails. Find your next-steps trips. Hit the Long Trails. Find and explore side trails, alternative, and cross-country routes until you hike your skills into Winter compentency. Find your potential.

for Experts: All the information to bring yourself from anywhere in the US or world and backpack from Tahoe to Whitney. The Sierra Nevada is the ultimate wonderland for expert backpackers in top shape. But don't get cocky! The Sierra is bigger, stronger, has been, and will be here much longer than any of us. 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

BACKPACKER ALERT: April 1, 2017. PCT High Sierra Spring Threats on Full Display sticky icon



May 25

Original April 1 Alert Below


May 25

Huge Snowpack Remains

Dangerous River Flows


May 25
Backpacker Alert Update

Alex Wierbinski's picture

April and May 2017: News of The Human Affect sticky icon




May of 2017


May 25

The transitions between seasons, their basic character, their timing, temp, and humidity transitions have all changed. The directions from which the seasonal winds blow have changed. These changes are reverberating through and disrupting webs of life that wrap around the whole planet.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

April and May 2017 High Sierra Backpacker's News: Man and Nature sticky icon

April & May

Happenings in the relationship between Man and Nature affecting our hike down life's trail through both worlds. We study both the reality created by humans and the uncreated reality reflected in, and tended by Nature. 

May 27, 2017



Cayenne's picture

Safety First! sticky icon

 Spring has come to the eastern Sierras and time to spring clean the first aid kit. Alex has provided excellent information about his first aid kit in the gear list. I am an avid day hiker, so the contents of my bag are a bit different. I also have extensive medical training and access to prescription drugs, so I try to keep stuff to help out others on the trail. This is the time of year I pull the first aid kit from the depths of my day pack and inspect and refill the contents.

Tahoe to Whitney Permit Nightmare???? sticky icon

I am trying to plan a Tahoe to Whitney walk, along the PCT/JMT, this summer.

I am finding that I can get as far as YNP but WILL BE STUCK THERE due to the Donahue exit quota.

I have found that getting a backcountry permit outside of YNP does not allow me to traverse the park and exit Lyell Canyon/Donahue Pass. Any help here?? Stevo


Tracking Weird High Sierra Permit Restrictions

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Best Backpacking Water Filter Options, with a close look at Filtration and Purification Basics sticky icon

We are going to identify the best backpacking water filter or system of chemical purification for you. To do that we need to identify two things. Your needs as a backpacker and the threats.


Patterns of Use

Selection Criteria

Water Filters

Water Purification Chemicals

Bladders-Squeeze Bottles



Alex Wierbinski's picture


Current Visible Satellite View of the Whole Sierra Nevada Range 1 KM National Weather Service Satillte view of Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Information about Public Transportation to, across, around, and in the High Sierra

Information about Public Transportation to, across, through, around, and in the High Sierra


This is the index, or center of various tidbits of information about High Sierra Transportation.


Quick Links to Sierra Transportation Resources


YARTS Merced to Mammoth Schedule


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Kids: Learn how to Backpack & Teach My Kid How to Backpacking

Backpacking Kids: Learn how to Backpack & Teach My Kid How to Backpack


How to Get Yourself and Your Kids Into Backpacking


A Recipe for Creating Backpacking Kids
An introduction to getting the kids ready for backpacking from Whiteblaze, the most excellent AT-East Coast Long Distance Backpacker website:


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Hunter's Camp Bear Story

Bear encounter in Upper East Fork of the Carson River drainage. Bear wanted my food, but I kept it.


Hunter's Camp Bear Story
Above Hunters Camp there is a big boulder that provides an expansive view, where we can see all the way to Ebbetts Pass. I had ate dinner and made hot chocolate and retired to the boulder to watch the view change with the setting sun and have a relaxing smoke. Hunters Camp has exceptional sunsets.

tmorton23's picture

Stream and Creek fording

Given that the 16/17 winter is proving to be quite prolific, what are the thoughts of everyone about stream and creek fords from Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows?

I checked the CDEC snow survey site the other day and saw the Bond Pass snow sensor was reading 192 inches, Grace Meadow at 199, and Wilmer Lake at over 190. My trip is planned for August 11-19, which is pretty late in the season, but this is not a normal season.

This will be my first time on this trail, and I'm wondering if there are any particularly hairy fords that I will need to be careful about.

markskor's picture

thanks for kind words

After 40+ years backpacking Sierra...still too many places to see. Working now in Tuolumne Meadows store is a 2-edge sword...Great central location but only 3 days a week to do art and explore. Still. kind of like the views from outside the office.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

FORDING: Thoughts and Guidelines

Thoughts and Guidelines

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Purple and White High Sierra Wildflower: Williamson's Clarkia

Purple and White High Sierra Wildflower:
Williamson's Clarkia 
Williamson's Clarkia, a Purple and White High Sierra Wildflower.

June 30, 2013

5400 feet.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Little Red Spider on Moraine Ridge, Yosemite

Little Red Spider on Moraine Ridge, Yosemite

6960 feet near trail junction to Vernon Lake

Little red spider scurrying away across a great granite boulder.
Little red spider scurrying away across a great granite boulder.

A closer look at the little red spider.
A closer look at little red.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lizard, Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite

Lizard, Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite

Lizard sunning and observing me as I hike down through Lower Jack Main Canyon.
Observed Friday June 30, 2013

7740 feet of elevation in Jack Main Canyon below Wilmer Lake

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Checkerspot Butterfly in Jack Main Canyon, Backpacking Yosemite, Euphydras chalcedona?

Butterfly in Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite

Euphydras chalcedona? 
Orange Red, White, Checker Wing colors with distinctive Black Trim

Butterfly and bud the size of a tree to the tiny creature.

Observed Friday June 30, 2013

7720 feet of elevation in Jack Main Canyon below Wilmer Lake

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lower Jack Main Canyon backpacking to Hetch Hetchy

Jack Main Canyon
Backpacking to Hetch Hetchy from Wilmer Lake

Important Information

Alex Wierbinski's picture


High Sierra Plant and Animal Identification Guides

High Sierra Bird Guide

Graeme Colmer's
Handy List of Images-Identifications of Sierra Birds

A Handy Thing


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tuolumne Meadows Store and Grill Staff & Managers in their Natural Habitat: The Twilight Lounge

Tuolumne Meadows Store & Grill and their Amazing Staffs

The quality of the store and grill at Tuolumne Meadows are the products of a fantastic staff well led, directed and motivated. There is something about the quality of the surroundings that draws quality folks over long periods of time.

The Store, Post Office, and Grill at Tuolumne Meadows.

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