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Backpacking Safety


Information and tips to improve your back country and backpacking safety practices.

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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.

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BACKPACKER ALERT: February 20, 2017

 Hey Hikers,

Alex here, from Tahoe to Whitney.

Sorry about the delay contacting you. I have had a series of distracting personal events while Nature has cut loose. Nonetheless, I have been tracking the wild weather across the Backpacker News Pages on the Forum and the Backpacker's Calendar on the Trail Guide. I hope you've checked them out and found them useful and informative.

Recent Backpacker News
http://tahoetowhitney.org/content/backpacker-news-february-march-2017

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FORDING: Thoughts and Guidelines

FORDING
Thoughts and Guidelines

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May 22 2016 Backpacker Alert

May 22, 2016

BACKPACKER ALERT

Current Conditions:
Unstable weather conditions bringing snow and cold rains down onto the two feet of snow already on the crest bring very dangerous conditions for early season backpackers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

All High Sierra Rain & Snow Forecasts

All Current High Sierra Radar

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April 8 Backpacker Alert

BACKPACKER ALERT

April 8 2016


Weather Status

Current Situation

El Nino's concentration of super-hot waters have significantly moderated:
Sea Surface Temperatures

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FEB 1 2016 BACKPACKER ALERT: Winter to Spring Status under El Nino

Backpacker Alert

Status of Factors Directing El Nino
and
Winter Storm Pattern

 

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Rescue and Disaster Log Index

Also See
High Sierra Safety News 

THE SETTING
Every year the Sierra experiences a different transition from Winter through Spring into Summer conditions. Every year there is a different pattern of "overlap" between the seasons, with bits of warm happening early, and bits of snow and rain happening late.

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Big West Nile Impact on Birds and Mosquito Spread Continues, November 2015.

Huge Impact of Slight Changes in Temperatures:

West Nile virus killing millions more birds than previously thought, UCLA researchers find, November 2, 2015, University of Texas at Dallas.

Aedes japonicus mosquitoes found in western Canada, November 2, 2015, Entomological Society of America.

 

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Watch Out for the Green Water

Watch Out for the Green Water

 Do not drink, or allow your animals or children to drink from or play in water containing cynobacteria, otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae. Review the information below and at the bottom of the page for identification and safety information. 

August 2015:
Rising heat and declining waters are creating conditions even more favorable for cynobacteria,otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae.

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OCT 31 2015 BACKPACKER ALERT: First Winter Storm Watch

BACKPACKER ALERT

First Winter Storm Warning for the Sierra Crest.
FALL 2015 

Issued: Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:40 AM GMT-0700

North Sierra

"WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH MONDAY EVENING."

"SIGNIFICANT EARLY SEASON SNOW POSSIBLE LATE SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY EVENING FOR THE NORTHERN SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS"

 South Sierra 

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Aggressive nonnative mosquitoes spreading across state carry disease risk,

Aggressive nonnative mosquitoes spreading across state carry disease risk,
Oct 24, 2015, LAT.

We've seen a steady progression of tropical insects and diseases enter the US over the past twenty years as warming accelerates its effects.

The entry of the Asian tiger mosquito and Aedes aegypti into California presages the entry and spread of a number of terrible tropical diseases we are not going to enjoy at all.

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Bubonic Plague Information Index

See & Read:
Standard Sierra Plague Warning 
Bubonic Plague in the High Sierra

 

2015 Drought Outbreak

Plague Persists,
August 2015

Tuolumne Meadows Campground Closing
August 2015

Mono County Warns of Plague
August 2015

 

Plague History

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FIRE

I always say that "everything will happen to you on the trail if you are on the trail long enough."

I've added another "happening" that was harrowing but informative. I frigging caught on fire. Let me set the scene.

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Altitude Sickness, Training, and Safety as Part of Hiking Plan Prep

In our introduction to planning our Tahoe to Yosemite and Tahoe to Whitney backpacking trips we intergrate developing our fitness and skills through training trips into our plans. Thus our plans reflect and acknowledge both our strengths and weaknesses.

Planning Long Distance High Sierra Backpacking Trip

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High Sierra Cow Anxiety in Upper Clarks Fork Canyon

Moved to Mountain Safety Forum

Close Encounter of the Cow Kind

As I was hiking down the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus on the unmaintained Tahoe to Yosemite Trail I picked up the enchanting sound of softly clanging cow bells bouncing off the rocky canyon walls until absorbed by the forest.

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Fall Backpacking Safety Warning

Fall Backpacking Considerations in the High Sierra

Fall is a beautiful time for backpacking the Sierra.

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Everything you need to know: Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac

An informative article from Debra Bird's fine site,

Earth-Sky;

Everything you need to know: Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac,
Earth-Sky, June , 2015. 

High Sierra backpackers don't encounter much in the way of poison plants up high, but we can run into poison oak in the foothills.

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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

WARNING

DO NOT FEED OR TOUCH RODENTS

CHIPMUNKS, GROUND SQUIRRELS, AND OTHER WILD RODENTS IN THIS AREA MAY BE INFECTED WITH PLAGUE.

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Backpacking is Dangerous

Warning
Backpacking is Dangerous

Is backpacking dangerous?

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High Sierra Water Purity Information: Giardia Lamblia, Giardiasis, Cryptosporidium

High Sierra Water purity and contamination information and resources for backpackers.

Giardia and Cryptosporidium are generally recognized as the basic threats to backpacker water purity in the High Sierra. Our first line of defense is knowledge. Below we will get a range of information supporting a range of responses.

To treat or not to treat, that is the ultimate question.

Below Dr. Rockwell insists Sierra Water is safe, further down we see Dr. Derlet finding indications of widespread contamination.

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