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Tahoe to Whitney Backpacker's Forum Site Features, Point, and Purpose.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 14 October 2009

The Tahoe to Whitney Forums are for backpacker feedback, trail condition updates, trip reports, and your insights about every location covered by this Tahoe to Whitney High Sierra trail guide.

Every page on the trail guide has comments links that links up with the proper page in this forum to post up comments, updates, supplemental information or our questions about  every segment of trail this guide covers.

 Registered members and even unknown hikers can post up their own articles and images in the trails and topics forums. Registered members can post up photos and maps, while unknown hikers are limited to raw text.

The Trails and Topics Forums were created to allow us to both access and share current information, as well as get an idea about the wide range of approaches, and wildly different experiences different folks can have on exactly the same trails.

I like to say the guide is for facts, and the forum is for experiences, but that is not altogether true. The forum allows us to both express our experiences and update the facts.

 The idea behind the Forums is that each of our experiences is but one aspect, one piece of the great metaphysical puzzle of existance clearly on display in the High Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, and that each of our shared experiences enrich one another.

Main Forum Features: 
Shared Information, Experiences, Questions and Answers

Tahoe to Whitney has two parts on the web.

The TahoetoWhitney.Com Trail Guide is the main body of the trail guide. This site is the other, the Backpacker's Trails and Topics Forum, where all backpackers, but especially High Sierra backpackers can collect and exchange information. This is  just the beginning.

  As progress towards finishing the trail guide continues this forum site is to be converted into an active publishing High Sierra Backpacking Magazine, fronting the best High Sierra  Backpacking Trails and Topics Forums available online.

The magazine's High Sierra articles, features, news, and information will be sitting on and linked to the High Sierra guide and forums.

These are historical times in the evolution of the High Sierra ecosystem in context of our population and policies. We are setting up a ringside seat to observe the impacts.

Trail Guide

The Trail Guide is the basis of this project. The trail guide  currently covers the TYT and PCT from Lake Tahoe to Tuolumne Meadows in draft form. I am working dilligently to bring the North Sierra sections of the guide to finish form as quickly as possible.

Construction on the main body of the South Sierra Guide will begin as the North Guide  is brought closer to finish status.
 I've begun the South end of the guide by laying out the indexes and the 7.5 and 30 minute map series from Yosemite through the Whitney Portal.

Check out these "raw maps" on the trail guide. By "raw" I mean that the routes of the JMT and PCT have not yet been laid out, nor has the map been linked to the trail guide.


I've walked all the routes described on the trail guide a minimum of four times, with one notable exception. I've hiked most of the trails 10+ times. At least. I've geen hiking the Sierra actively since 1992, though great periods of injury have split that time up. I am either on the trail or injured, and therefore rehabbing to get back on the trails.

That's been my story for the past 22 years. Prior to that I was raised car camping in the Sierra, and backpacking until I shattered my kneecap in 1975. It took until 1992 to get it back in shape for Sierra travel, and it still breaks down on a regular basis.

So have hope. You too can hike five Tahoe to Whitney backpacking trips after severe injury, given enough rehab time, patience, and stubborness.

But that's not enough. The Sierra Nevada is not just bigger than one man's experience, I believe it is beyond the scope of human experience itself. We are all just scratching the surface of this vast thing.
  Thus this forum is an attempt to cache as many perspectives and High Sierra experiences as possible, for as big a view of the range of High Sierra Backpacking experience as possible.


This trail guide features the Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trail routes across the North Sierra, and the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails across the South Sierra.

The Northern end of the trail guide begins our long hike South from the Tahoe to Yosemite Trailhead at Meeks Bay, and ends when we  hike through the Whitney Portal at the end of the John Muir Trail. 

Unlike the typical PCT hiker, I hike from North to South. Backpackers hiking South to North can read the trail guide backwards.

It's Not Just about the Main Trails

Along the way this trail guide and forum also explore alternative and side routes that parallel the main trails, scrambles and local peaks that we can climb on our "days off" or hike to as the specific destinations of  local short and medium distance backpacking trips.

 Thus this trail guide also explores many of the local trailheads we can use to craft short and medium distance backpacking trips getting onto classic sections of the HIgh Sierra Nevada Crest trails.

Although I strongly suggest that you walk the whole span of the High Sierra Nevada Mountain trails from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney in one grand trip, I understand that many folks will have to break down this goal into smaller sections of trail due to the various social constraints many backpackers labor under.

My real point is that the trails along the Sierra Nevada crest between the Tahoe Basin down to Mount Whitney compose a special zone of reality, and my goal is to get you into that reality. The longer you stay in, the deeper into this reality you will go. These sites are designed to give you access to that reality, one step at a time, or all at once, depending on your capabilities and experience.

Reaching this goal will require some work, sweat, and pain to both prepare for, and while executing our plans, but these labors will be richly rewarded, and in fact the fruits of our labor will also turn out to be one of the rewards of our trip.

Our improved physical status will improve all natural and social aspects of our lives.

Forum-Trail Guide Relationship

Each Trail Guide page is composed of pictures, videos, elevations, maps and mileages, all drawn together with my descriptions of the each section of each route. 

On every Trail Guide page we will find "comments" and "forum" links through which you can post your comments, questions, and/or experiences about that particular location along the Sierra Crest Trails. Every page on the trail guide site has a forum site for backpacker input..

There is much more to the High Sierra than trails. The scope of classic backpacking topics is wide and deep, covering a wide range of classes of skills, knowledge, and experience.

The Gear, Weather, Food, and  Living Things forums reflect my first disorganized attempts to lay out the wide range of topics that concern  four-season backpackers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The links above bring us into the second aspect of these TahoetoWhitney efforts, to lay a foundation of technical and topical knowledge of the foundational knowledge necessary for safe High Sierra  Backpacking.
The Trails Forum gives you the oppertunity to put in your two-cents worth about specific locations, trips, and trails while the Topics Forum covers supporting topics.

Tahoe to Whitney is set up so that any unregistered user, "Unknown Hikers," can post up  text comments, questions, or relate their experiences on the trails and topics forums.

 Registered users can post images, maps, and videos.

Registered Users Posting

You can post your own pages in any of the Backpacker's Trails or Topics Forums.

How to Post
Check out the backpacking trails and topics in the Forum to find the category topic or trail location that applies to you.
Now select the type of content you want to create from the content types under the title at the top of the page, and get to work!
All posts you make will run across the front page of this site. I constantly monitor the site, and move errant posts to the proper forum.

Select the type of post you want to make. "Forum" posts are organized in order, and each page links to the previous and next post in the selected or created Forum. Trail Notes and Book Pages stand alone within a Forum.

If you want to post on a specific backpacking location, or a specific trip along a section of the trails, then locate the particular Forum that covers that particular section of the trail, then click the type of post that most suits the character of your post. Your post will be published both in that Forum, as well as across the front page of this site.

Types of Content

All types of content are avaiable to Registered Users. Only the content type "Your Story" can be used by unregistered users.  "Your Story" only allows plain-text. The content-types available to registered allows for video and map embeds, as well as embedding images within the text. It's pretty nice. You can easily share your experience through the forum. These Forums are linked to and back from the location and topic pages on the trail guide, which allows you to add your perspective to my view of the trail, as well as my approach to backpacking gear and skills. Your additions can only enrich my view of the trail, and what it take to hike it.  Welcome!

Trail Notes: Full Featured. Good for all types of posts.

Trail Forum: Full Featured. Use this to broach a new subject under a Forum topic only. Best to use another content type.

Trip Book: Full Features. Each page you make will link to the next page you make in a series of pages describing your trip. This is ideal for breaking up a trip into its logical parts.

Backpacking Notice: Full Features, but no comments allowed. Single-Page stand alone notification or information. Events, Hiker Bios, or corrections are typical uses of the Notice.

Your Story: No Video, Map, or Picture embed features. This type of content is avaiable for non-registered users to construct their own pages in the topics and locations forums, as well as across the home page. Thus it is stripped of features that would present a security threat to this site.

Registered users can select the applicable content type for their particular post.  Note the taxonomic catagories for each post. Select the terms that best describe your posts. 


Taxonomy means that when you post you will be asked to specify  the type of posting you are making, the National Forest, Wilderness Area, and Season your experience occured, and other pertinent information. This will allow the site to organize your post with other posts that share common traits, trails, or topics.

There are "none" and "all" options for most topics, to cover the wide range of information that backpackers generate. If you are not sure about a specific location, leave it blank.

Note: This site is under construction. If the Forum you need is not yet set up, make your post without specifying a Forum Topic or Location, and when I set up the Forum I will move your post to the proper Forum, if applicable. The same goes for the other taxonomic catagories. If you have any questions, hit me up, or leave it blank. I will make sure everything gets into its proper place.

 Backpacker News, Information, Experiences, and Wisdom

The third component of this Backpacker's Forum is up to you: Between you and me and the rest of our visitiors, I''m trying to gather as wide variety of sources and contributors on any and all issues of interest to High Sierra backpackers as possible. I'm always looking for current backpacking conditions, weather, trail conditions, and other "on the trail" issues in the Sierra Nevada.

On the other hand, you are also welcome to post any "off the trail" backpacker news that interests you. Information about backpacker events, news, and science are always informative and welcome here.

Feel free to post your general thoughts on backpacking across the front page of this site.


I want you to find yourself hiking from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney.
These sites are focused on, and are designed to support long-distance solo backpackers hiking between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney.
They are also designed to get your skills, fitness and gear up to the level that you can hike from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney.
This information will work well for all backpackers in different locations around the country, for Pacific Crest Trail hikers, for horse packers, fishermen, hunters, and cross country travelers who deal with high elevation mountain issues, as well as those of us hiking from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney.

I want you to post notes and descriptions of your long and short distance backpacking trips you've done along the High Sierra Crest and its feeder trails. I  want you to post your experiences with gear, weather, animals, insects, fording, and interactions with High Sierra Trail Culture.

If you are building a High Sierra backpacking trip I want the trail guide site to answer your questions, give you a general context of the terrain, and allow you to view detailed and regional topo maps, provide resupply information, accurately specify mileages and elevations, and point you in the right direction for your permits

This forum site lets you reflect on each aspect of preparing and executing a High Sierra backpacking trip.

My belief is that your perspective on the Sierra Experience is important. What you experience while backpacking the High Sierra , your approach to backpacking in general, and all issues related to how you approach the wilderness, your gear preferences, or any topic that you are interested in is important. Your experiences will be of interest and informative to me and to other backpackers.

Unlike many "trail guide" sites, The Tahoe to Whitney trail guide is not a compliation of random reports by different backpackers, but a complete trail guide from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney written from personal experiences as a detailed literary trail guide.

The forum adds the extra dimensions of other hiker's perspectives and experiences. I need you add your experiences to fill it out.

These sites are designed for a two-way relationship. This forum and its related trail guide are set up to provide High Sierra backpackers with solid information, and to collect your information, experiences, and perspectives on the Sierra Crest trails.

Related Backpacking Skills and Information: Under Construction.

New backpackers, and backpackers new to the Sierras, can use The Forum to ask questions about every segment of the trails between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney. Gear and Skills questions are also welcome. The point is to help you find what works for you from among the wide variety of approaches to High Sierra travel.

A neglected aspect of this forum, so far, is the related Backpacking Skills and Gear sections. Though this forum will ultimately cover all aspects of backpacking, construction of the Trail Guide currently has priority over the development of the related backpacking skills and Gear sections. 

As I wrestle the massive work of building this Trail Guide to completion, I will turn more of my time and attention to constructing the backpacking skills sections. In the meantime, shoot me an email if you have any questions.

If you specialize in one of the backpacking arts, such as food, navigation, rope work, or whatever, please post up under the appropriate Forum Topic. If there is no topic for your skill, shoot me an email and I'll set you up. 

All questions, comments, and contributions are welcome.

Finding Information

This Backpacker's Forum also provides detailed searches of the content of both sites, due to their interrelated nature.

When you search a topic on this site, the results will refer to posts on this site, and each post also links to the related page on the Trail Guide.

Your posts will be included in these search results, adding your experiences, questions, and comments to enrich the understanding of every visitor to the topics covered by the Trail Guide and Forum.

In addition, there are tags at the bottom of each article that are linked to all the information avaiable on that topic or location, which are also linked to the corresponding Trail Guide pages.

Welcome to Tahoe to Whitney,


now hit the trail...


Alex Wierbinski

TahoetoWhitney.ORG: Backpacker's Forum

TahoetoWhitney.COM: The Trail Guide

TahoetoWhitney: YouTube



rtecenterquot; issues in the Sierra Nevada.

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