Welcome to the High Sierra Backpacker's Magazine, including forums for local and long-distance hikers sharing info about hiking the Sierra between Tahoe and Whitney.

This Magazine covers everything Sierra. Its
Forums cover TYT, PCT, & JMT and alt-route hiker input from the Guide. The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide explores the trails  & the necessary skills, fitness, and gear required to hike from Tahoe to Whitney. This evolving Magazine covers Current Conditions, News, the Arts, Sciences, Physicality, Spirituality, Gear, Environment, History, and Cultures of hiking Tahoe to Whitney. 

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. Find info. Ask questions, get feedback, generate self-understanding and terrain awareness. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest.

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

for Experts: The information to come 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, and has been, and will be here much longer than any of us.  


Alex Wierbinski's picture

SPACE “GEOLOGY,” The Recent Genesis of the Rings of Saturn sticky icon

SPACE “GEOLOGY?”

Cassini Crosses Rings of Saturn
Artist's concept of the Cassini spacecraft shown against a real photo of Saturn and its rings as Cassini crossed the ring plane. Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Artist's concept of the Cassini spacecraft shown against a real photo of Saturn and its rings, Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Recent Genesis of the Rings of Saturn

Saturn hasn't always had rings,
University of California - Berkeley, January 17, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Ring Mass
“The new mass estimate is based on a measurement of how much the flight path of Cassini was deflected by the gravity of the rings when the spacecraft flew between the planet and the rings on its final set of orbits in September 2017.”

“...perform 22 dives between the planet and the rings to probe Saturn's gravity field. Earth-based radio telescopes measured the spacecraft's velocity to within a fraction of a millimeter per second.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

WINTER 2019 WEATHER FORECAST, THE POLAR VORTEX, and accessing the WINTER WONDERLAND sticky icon

WINTER WEATHER, THE POLAR VORTEX, and the WINTER WONDERLAND

Enjoy the Show and the Snow

Wet and stormy week ahead for all of California; Dipole pattern to follow,
Weather West, January 13, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Recap of the Season, so far.

View of the Series of Storms we just experienced-are experiencing.

Analysis of Saturated Soils-Wildfire Mud flow Dangers

 

>> KEY POINT <<

Medium-to-Long Forecast

“Unusually strong consensus regarding development of “Warm West/Cool East” pattern”

Blocking Ridge Returns
“...there is rather striking multi-model ensemble agreement (dare I say unanimity?) that a high-amplitude blocking pattern will develop across much of the Northern Hemisphere during the second half of January, and perhaps persisting for weeks (at least through mid-February).”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data to Water-Stunted Tree Growth sticky icon

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS & OUR CHANGING CLIMATE

Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change
Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change, Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.
Caption & Key. Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.

 

Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data with Tree Growth

Water, not temperature, limits global forest growth as climate warms,
University of Arizona, January 16, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“The growth of forest trees all over the world is becoming more water-limited as the climate warms...”

“The effect is most evident in northern climates and at high altitudes where the primary limitation on tree growth had been cold temperatures...”

"Our study shows that across the vast majority of the land surface, trees are becoming more limited by water..."

"This is the first time that anybody has projected the tree growth responses to climate at a near-global scale."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

PERMAFROST DISASTER GROWING ALMOST EVEYWHERE sticky icon

OCEANS, WATER, ICE, & PERMAFROST

First Global Assessment of Status & Rates of Different Zones of Changing Permafrost

PERMAFROST DISASTER GROWING ALMOST EVEYWHERE

The pace at which the world's permafrost soils are warming,
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, January 16, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Everything Warming
“..all regions with permafrost soils the temperature of the frozen ground at a depth of more than 10 metres rose by an average of 0.3 degrees Celsius between 2007 and 2016 - in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as the high mountain ranges of Europe and Central Asia.”

What is Permafrost
“Roughly one sixth of the land areas on our planet are considered to be permafrost regions, which means the soils there have remained permanently frozen for at least two consecutive years.”

How Measured
“...participating researchers monitored and analysed the soil temperature in boreholes in the Arctic, Antarctic and various high mountain ranges around the world for ten years. The data was gathered at depths greater than 10 metres, so as to rule out the influence of seasonal temperature variations.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

January of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index sticky icon

 

Updated
January 17, 2019

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

LAST MONTHS' NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
January, 2019

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. 

The vast majority of our reporting on Nature comes from the American Association of Scientists summarizations of each day's bounty of the peer-reviewed research published by academic institutions and journals around the world.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Melting Ice Sheets Release Tons of Methane into the Atmosphere sticky icon

OCEANS, ICE, & ATMOSPHERE

Self-Reinforcing Releases Underway?

Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere, study finds,
University of Bristol, January 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere...”

“...methane was continuously exported from beneath the ice. ”

"A key finding is that much of the methane produced beneath the ice likely escapes the Greenland Ice Sheet in large, fast flowing rivers before it can be oxidized to CO2, a typical fate for methane gas which normally reduces its greenhouse warming potency."

New Methane
“...this is the first time that meltwaters produced in spring and summer in large ice sheet catchments have been reported to continuously flush out methane from the ice sheet bed to the atmosphere.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Once Thought Invincible, East Antarctic Ice Now seen as Vulnerable sticky icon

OCEANS, ICE, & OUR RAPIDLY CHANGING CLIMATE

Once Thought Invincible, East Antarctic Ice Now seen as Vulnerable

East Antarctica’s ice is melting at an unexpectedly rapid clip, new study suggests,
Science, January 14, 2019.

The Research

MAIN POINTS

East Antarctic Melting
“...have found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet—considered largely insulated from the ravages of climate change—may also be melting at an accelerating rate. Those results, at odds with a large 2018 study, could dramatically reshape projections of sea level rise if confirmed.”

Previous Misconceptions
“...frigid temperatures and a base mostly above sea level are thought to keep the East Antarctic Ice Sheet relatively safe from warm water intrusion.” See “Earliest Research,” below)

(See: Much of West Antarctic below Sea Level)

Alex Wierbinski's picture

WEATHER for High Sierra Backpackers: REPORTS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS, SNOW, ROADS, CONDITIONS sticky icon

    HIGH SIERRA WEATHER RESOURCES

 First
Key Quick Reference 

 QUICK VIEWS of the HIGH SIERRA

 

QUICK INDEX

FULL INDEX

 

 NEW SATELLITES

GOES EAST
NW US TRUE COLOR
Smoke Fills the San Joaquin Valley

GOES E GeoColor True Color daytime, multispectral IR at night

Alex Wierbinski's picture

BIRDS & INSECTS, A Shared Decline sticky icon

BIRDS & INSECTS
UPDATE

A Shared Decline

Bugs Go, Birds Follow...

Original article, below, Oct 17, '18:

Swallow decline linked to Climate & Bugs

 

Latest Update
January 15, ‘19:

Puerto Rico Insect Collapse

Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems,’
Guardian, January 15, 2019.

"Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished."

“We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet,” Lister said. “It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this.”

 

Previous Reporting
October 19, '18:

Ecosystems Failing

Puerto Rico Insect Collapse

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Water Research: Can our Forests Survive the Next Drought? sticky icon

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS, & PEOPLE

Bleak Current Status of Sierra Tree Mortality
Dead Trees Everywhere
 UC Merced.
Many trees in the Sierra have died in the past few years because of drought. Photo & Caption Credit: UC Merced.

 

Understanding Tree Mortality

Can our forests survive the next drought?
UC Merced, January 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Understanding Tree Mortality

“Each year our forests, grasslands and shrublands depend on water stored underground to survive the dry summers, but during multiyear dry periods there is not enough precipitation in the wet winter season to replenish that supply.”

“If the drought is long enough and especially hot, as was the case from fall 2011 through 2015, large numbers of trees run out of water and die.”

Goal
“...delved into data from sites across the semi-arid West to determine the amount of water storage available in the root zones of different areas.”

“...how dependent different areas in the West are on that subsurface water storage and how many dry years the plants can survive.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Bigger Global Warming Waves a Surfer’s Dream? sticky icon

OCEANS, WARMING, & WAVES

Global Warming a Surfer’s Dream?

Upper-ocean warming is changing the global wave climate, making waves stronger,
University of California - Santa Cruz, January 14, 2018.

Main Points

“Climate change is modifying the oceans in different ways, including changes in ocean-atmosphere circulation and water warming.” And now, wave power.

Direct Association between Heat & Waves
“...researchers report that the energy of ocean waves has been growing globally, and they found a direct association between ocean warming and the increase in wave energy.”

0.4 percent per year since 1948
"For the first time, we have identified a global signal of the effect of global warming in wave climate. In fact, wave power has increased globally by 0.4 percent per year since 1948, and this increase is correlated with the increasing sea-surface temperatures, both globally and by ocean regions."

More Extreme Extremes
“...increases have been larger for the most extreme values (e.g., winter waves) than for the mean conditions.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Potential Confluence of Grand Orbital Cycles with Human Ignorance could End Antarctic Ice sticky icon

ORBITAL INFLUENCES on OCEANS, ANTARCTIC ICE, & CHANGING CLIMATE

Antarctica on Miocene
The Miocene Antarctic vs Antarctic Today, Caption, image credit Richard Levy & UW@Madison
The Miocene Antarctic vs Antarctic Today, Caption below, image credit to Richard Levy & UW@Madison

 

Potential Confluence of Grand Orbital Cycles with Human Ignorance

Antarctic ice sheet could suffer a one-two climate punch,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, January 14, 2018.

Main Points

“Scientists have long speculated that our planet's climate system is intimately linked to the Earth's celestial motions.” (See Milankovitch Cycles, below…)

“...attributable to changes in the shape of our planet's orbit around the sun as well as to cyclic changes in the tilt of the Earth on its axis and its "top-like" wobble on that axis, all of which combine to influence the distribution and intensity of solar radiation.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Two Articles: Did Camp Fire Violate PGE Probation, and, Was Camp Fire a State Crime? sticky icon

UPDATED STORY!

PGE BANCRUPTCY?

What is the Real Status of this Disturbing Situation with PG&E?

Where did this Hot Mess with PG&E Come From?

Let's Review the Recent Past to Find Out!

Let's review PG&E's recent history of fires and political disaster relief (for PG&E) bought with millions of dollars of blood-money bribes to Brown & the Legislature, and a series of multi-million dollar slick corporate-media,"feel good," propaganda campaigns from PG&E telling us how, "good," PG&E is.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

“Climategate,” and NOAA “Scandal,” were Manufactured FAKE NEWS sticky icon

CLIMATE CRASHING FAKE NEWS

Report puts quiet coda on wild allegations published in the Daily Mail.

“Climategate,” and NOAA “Scandals,” were Manufactured FAKE NEWS

Investigation of NOAA climate scientists finds bupkis,
Ars Technica, January 10, 2019

Main Points

Remember the big NOAA “Climate Scandal,” of 2015?

It was Total BS...

Allegations in 2015 of NOAA scientist/research misconduct, leading to falsely increased global warming measurements, proven completely unfounded. These allegations were the basis of a series of sensational Daily Mail articles about scientific misconduct at NOAA leading to inflated claims of global warming.

The original research documenting increased warming is correct, and those Daily Mail articles criticizing that research, are in error.

 

Original Daily Mail FAKE NEWS

FAKE NEWS

Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data,
Daily Mail, Feb 4, 2017.

 

ANALYSIS OF FAKE NEWS

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Our current drought is worse than most megadroughts, new study says sticky icon

WATER, CLIMATE, ECOLOGICAL & CULTURAL DESTRUCTION

Colorado River Behind Hoover Dam
Diminshing Waters of the Colorado River backs up as Mead Lake behind the Hoover Dam. Image by Carol Highsmith.
Diminshing Waters of the Colorado River backs up as Mead Lake behind the Hoover Dam. Image by Carol Highsmith.

THE SOUTHWESTERN "MEGADROUGHT"

Growing Megacities in the Southwestern Deserts & LA is Driving Yet More Climate Change & Intensifying the Ongoing Process of Aridification-Megadrought

Our current drought is worse than most megadroughts, new study says,
Arizona Star, January 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Current Disaster
“The Colorado River — Tucson’s drinking water supply — carries nearly 20 percent less water than in 2000. Bark beetles are chomping away at our forests and killing off ponderosa pines. Wildfires are rapidly growing in intensity.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

New View of Our Universe, and Meet Al’s, “Superstring” sticky icon

 

ASTROPHYSICS: WHAT IS THIS THING?

Is This what Our Universe really looks like?
An Expanding Bubble in An Extra Dimension, Suvendu Giri at Upsala University.
Our Universe riding on an expanding bubble in an extra dimension. By Suvendu Giri, Upsala University

 

A New View of Our Universe, and Meet Al’s, “Superstring

Our universe: An expanding bubble in an extra dimension,
Uppsala University, December 31, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“...a new model for the Universe - one that may solve the enigma of dark energy…a universe that rides on an expanding bubble in an additional dimension.”

“...dark energy and our Universe riding on an expanding bubble in an extra dimension. The whole Universe is accommodated on the edge of this expanding bubble. All existing matter in the Universe corresponds to the ends of strings that extend out into the extra dimension.”

 

Bottom Line

I’ve come to see the universe centered on what I call, “The Superstring.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra & Great Basin Transforming from Seasonal to Ephemeral Snow Pack sticky icon

TREES & FORESTS CHANGING WITH CHANGING CLIMATE

Winter Snows are a Primary Source of Water for the Western U.S.

University of Nevada, Reno uses 15 years of satellite imagery to study snow's comings and goings,
University of Nevada, Reno, January 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Seasonal to Ephemeral Snow
“...snowpacks in the Great Basin appear to be transitioning from seasonal, with a predictable amount and melt rate, to "ephemeral," or short-lived, which are less predictable and only last up to 60 days.”

"Small temperature changes can lead to large ecological changes."

"More intermittent snowpacks means water flow is more difficult to predict. We might not get as much water into the ground, throwing off the timing of water for plant root systems, reducing our supply and use, and even affecting businesses such as tourism."

The Study
“...analyzed both ground-based and satellite-based remote sensing data collected every day from 2001 to 2015.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

41% Sierra & Rocky Mountains Snow Pack Loss since ‘82 sticky icon

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: WEATHER, WATER, and MASSIVE GROWTH

Science in Action
Measuring snowpack in a "snow pit" along Arizona's Mogollon Rim during a snow survey in 2017. Credit Patrick Broxton, copyright 2017.
Measuring snowpack in a "snow pit" along Arizona's Mogollon Rim during a snow survey in 2017. Credit Patrick Broxton, copyright 2017.

Results

41% Snow Pack Loss Since ‘82,

79% of that Gone by 2100

 

Research

Declining snowpack over western US mapped at a finer scale,
University of Arizona, December 12, 2018

Original Research Report Above, for the Article Below

 

The Popular Press

As Snow Disappears, the Sierras and Rockies Are Shrinking,
Wired, December 12, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“...the High Sierra and the Rockies are, in effect, shrinking, according to a new analysis of the nation’s snowpack over the past 36 years.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Sierra Snowpack Could Drop 79% by End of Century sticky icon

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: WEATHER, WATER, and MASSIVE GROWTH

California’s Current Irresponsible Population at Risk?

Why’s Our Corporate Leadership Growing our Population into Disaster?

GREED & CORRUPTION

79% Drop in Sierra Snowpack Projected by 2100

Sierra snowpack could drop significantly by end of century,
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, December 11, 2018.

West Sierra Flank Watersheds
 Berkeley Lab)
Berkeley Lab researchers analyzed the headwaters of these 10 major California reservoirs. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

MAIN POINTS

Our ongoing self-induced climate destruction, “...will almost certainly feature a decline in fresh water from the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

December 2018 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index sticky icon

 

Updated
December 27, 2018

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

NEXT MONTHS' NEWS

LAST MONTHS' NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
December, 2018

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. 

The vast majority of our reporting on Nature comes from the American Association of Scientists summarizations of each day's bounty of the peer-reviewed research published by academic institutions and journals around the world.

Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system

Search

Latest News: RSS FEED

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...

I NEED HELP!
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