You are hereAll trail notes

All trail notes

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Elana Kundell Painting

I met Doc and Elana Kundell at Tuolumne Meadows during the Summer of 2009. I had walked down from Lake Tahoe on my way to Mount Whitney, while the Kundell's father-daughter JMT hiking  team climbed up from the Happy Isles JMT trailhead in Yosemite Valley on their way to the Whitney Portal.

That's a steep climb from bottom to top. I advise caution, and a slow start. A climb like that can tear your heart out.. It's a Hard ONE, baby.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Emigrant Wilderness and North Yosemite Backcountry Weather

Crossing Highway 108 at Sonora Pass South on the PCT or the TYT through Kennedy Meadows brings us into the Emigrant Wilderness and then the North Yosemite Backcountry. 

This section of trail ends 75 miles South at Highway 120 in Tuolumne Meadows.

We've got a nice selection of real-time snow & temp sensors across the Sierra Crest along Highway 108, so we can figure out snow, temp, and winds at the Crest, the West, and the East flanks of the Sierra up there, and we've got sensors in Tuolumne Meadows.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Sonora Pass Backpacking Weather

The Sonora Pass HIghway closes each year with the first heavy snowfall, providing an excellent Winter wonderland of backcountry snow travel for the intrepred Winter traveler.

During Spring and Fall the weather can be tame and wild in turn, and every Summer backpacker should inform themselves as to recent trends and predictions. The information below is to that purpose.

Sonora Pass Point Reporting Station

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Ebbetts Pass Backpacking Weather

 Weather Information from real time reporting stations around Ebbetts Pass, as well as long term forecasts, with current satellite and radar views.  

Ebbetts Pass Point Forecast

Ebbetts Pass real time reporting station

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Field Astronomy for the High Sierra Backpacker

Field Astronomy for the High Sierra Backpacker
 Resources and Information for precisely tracking the position of the Sun across its diurnal (daily) path. Astronomical references tell us the time and keeps us oriented in the terrain by the known time and compass points of its rising and setting positions.

Sun and Moon rise and set coordinates and times.

The same principals apply to the movement of stars across the night sky. 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Navigation: Time and Space References

2/3rds of Summertime backpacking is during the day, a third is spent under Night Skies. We are going to locate, record, and use the information about sunrise and set times and compass points as our basic backpacking clock and compass during day and night.

Basic Time and Space Orientation
The basic information establishing the relationship between time and space is available from the Trail Guide's Navigation page.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Kennedy Meadows Pack Station

Matt Bloom and family and friends provide long distance High Sierra backpackers the best of Western Hospitality, food, supplies, laundry and showers along the classic route of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail where it crosses Highway 108.

Kennedy Meadows is a standard resupply spot for Pacific Crest Trail hikers.

For visitors driving up on Highway 108, the Sonora Pass Highway Kennedy Meadows offers outstanding food, lodging, horses and horsepacking into the Emigrant Wilderness South of Kennedy Meadows Pack Station or North into the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Comprehensive Backpacking Stove Information

See the High Sierra Stove Section for all aspects of Backpacking Stoves suitable for the wide range of conditions we will encounter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the course of a year..

The backpacking stove information and experience you post up informs us all. 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Stove Review: The New MSR Windboiler

Backpacking Stove Review: The New MSR Windboiler.

MSR Windboiler Website

November 30 2014.

This review puts the new MSR Windboiler to the test in contrast to the MSR Reactor.

Section Hiker.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Forest Service Trail Crew Construction and Maintenance Notebook

The National Forest Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook is a bible for Trail Crew a basic reference and handbook for the Trail Crew Arts. 

If you are thinking about a career in Trail Crew this book will basically inform you about the nature of the job and how to observe, plan, and execute trail construction and maintenance tasks.

Below find a comprehensive list of Trail Work References

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Bubonic Plague in the High Sierra

Bubonic Plague in the High Sierra Nevada Mountain Range

This is typical of the language used on the State of California and County Health Department warnings posted on many Federal High Sierra Trailheads. 

High Sierra Bubonic Plague Trailhead Warning image and text




Alex Wierbinski's picture

Types of High Sierra Vernal Ponds: Black and Blue

High Sierra Vernal Ponds are unique locations that impart a unique feel of serene quiet to the passing backpacker.

Ponds are places where the pace of surrounding life seems to have slowed down, places of quiet solitude.

 I distinguish between two types of ponds in the High Sierra, being Black and Blue Ponds.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Powerful High Sierra Wind of November 30 2011, Devil's Wind

The look and the future trajectory of forest growth in the Sierra Nevada from the North Yosemite Backcountry down to Silver Divide was changed during one evening in November of 2011. 

That evening thousands of trees were blown down by a powerful wind centered near Mammoth Lakes, but which scoured slices of the High Sierra from North Yosemite Backcountry south to the Silver Divide.

I'm talking about fully healthy strong living trees. Just blew them right down!

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Orange-Yellow Fungus Tilden Canyon Yosemite

Fungus, burnt-orange to yellow in Tilden Canyon near Tilden Canyon Creek  along combined TYT-PCT across North Yosemite Backcountry.

Burnt orange to yellow fungus in North Yosemite's Tilden Canyon.

Very dry and hot conditions.

Map Location

Tilden Canyon Creek Map

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2001 Tahoe to Whitney Backpacking Trip Plan

Thirty Nine nights on the trail, five nights off, 44 days between the Meyers Trailhead in the Lake Tahoe Basin through the Mount Whitney Portal.

Followed the TYT South from Tahoe Basin to Spicer Meadow Reservoir where I cut up Highland Creek to the PCT at Wolf Creek Pass.

South of Sonora Pass I hiked off the PCT at the top of Kennedy Canyon following the Tungsten Road to the TYT at Grizzly Peak and on to Bond Pass.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2012 Kennedy Meadows to Whitney Portal Permit and Planning Documents

Detailed permit followed by planning documents for 2012 Kennedy Meadows to Mount Whitney backpacking trip.

Permit Cover

Faxed permit from Stanislaus National Forest for hike from Kennedy Meadows to Mount Whitney.

Page two:
The nightly campsites.

Nightly campsites for Kennedy Meadows to Mount Whitney backpacking trip.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Go Light Going Out of Business: Big Sale

November 19 2014

The GoLight site is announcing bankruptcy and 20%  off all inventory in a going out of business sale. 

On October 13 2014 GoLight filed for Chaper 11 bankruptcy with 103 creditors. On October 24 the court authorized this sale to raise cash.

GoLight's Chapter 11 plan is due 2/10/2015 according to court documents.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Aaron and Earl's Lightweight Homemade Alcohol Stoves

Here's a couple of examples of very cheap homemade ultralight self-contained alcohol backpacking camp stove systems. 

Below we have Aaron's excellent system seen in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker Camp during the Summer of 2009. 
Aaron's homemade ultralight-ultra tight and compact alcohol backpacking stove.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

SteriPen UV water purification Backpacker Review

I don't remember seeing anyone using Steripen on the trails in the Sierra Nevada prior to 2009. Since then I've seen a growing group of Steripen users.

They seem satisfied. A few are ticked off because the units just stop working.

Aaron in the Tuolumne Meadows backpacking camp liked his steripen, once he figured out how to keep it going!

Alex Wierbinski's picture

MSR Sweetwater Water Filter backpacker review

Sweetwater was bought by MSR which was eaten up by Cascade Designs.

MSR Sweetwater Water Filter

The new MSR Sweetwater is a different design of the same engineering principals as the orignal white housing Sweetwater Filters, as far as I can tell. 

I used the original white housing with red trim Sweetwater Filter in the early 1990s, until frustration drove me to the Hiker Pur, which I've used religiously ever since.

Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system

Text Translations

Flag icon for 'de' languageFlag icon for 'it' languageFlag icon for 'ru' languageFlag icon for 'fr' languageFlag icon for 'es' languageFlag icon for 'pl' languageFlag icon for 'no' languageFlag icon for 'fi' languageFlag icon for 'da' languageFlag icon for 'ro' language

Get the Latest from Tahoe to Whitney

Syndicate content

Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

We offer valuable Trail Guide, Skills, Weather, News and Analysis.

My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

If you feel these efforts are valuable, I'm cordially inviting you to support them, here:



I am currently working towards publishing the completed guide between Tahoe & Yosemite as an e-book, while converting this "blog" to a fine magazine format. You will like the results! Help Tahoe to Whitney reach its potential!


Why Support Tahoe to Whitney?
Mission Statement