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

Donnell Fire Controversy Begins before Fire's Out sticky icon

 

DONNELL FIRE CONTROVERSY BEGINS

This Incident and Forest Management Policy, Generally

Donnell Fire estimated 20 percent contained,
Union Democrat, August 13, 2018.

Kennedy Meadows
"The Donnell Fire had grown to more than 44 square miles as of Monday afternoon and it was estimated to be about a half-mile from Kennedy Meadows Resort & Pack Station..."

Kennedy Meadows
"A key for the continued survival of the historic Kennedy Meadows resort is the fire has so far remained north of Highway 108 on the east edges of the fire, while the resort and pack station are south of the paved road."

Today's Fire Map, the 14th, (Facecrook)

Carson Iceberg Wilderness Backpacking Map

Dardanelles Resort Gone
"The main store-restaurant building at Dardanelles Resort burned to the ground Aug. 5 in the Brightman Flat area."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

August 2018 All High Sierra News Index sticky icon

 

Updated
August 14, 2018

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

LAST MONTHS' NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 


August, 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.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

DONNELL FIRE CLOSES PCT between HWYs 108 & 4-and now-CARSON ICEBERG WILDERNESS sticky icon


DONNELL FIRE INFORMATION
Updated August 14

 

DONNELL FIRE, InciWeb

 

Serious SMOKE Hazard Conditions
ALL SMOKE RESOURCES 

 

All Regional Trail Maps

 

 

Latest
DONNELL FIRE
News

August 14

News Article of Interest

Donnell Fire Controversy Begins before Fire's Out

 

8 am
25% Contained

Today's Fire Map (Facecrook)

"...create a piece of indirect line from Haypress to Kennedy Meadow that would be utilized for a planed firing operation to halt the spread of fire towards several structures and a resort."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018 Fire News, FERGUSON-CARR-DONNELL-MENDO Fires sticky icon

Started July 16, Updated the 14th

FIRE NEWS

 FERGUSON-CARR-MENDO-DONNELL
-CRANSTON-
FIRES

The Latest
Updated News, Smoke, & Fire Info Below

All Fed Fire Info
Inciweb

All State Fire Info
Calfire

 

 

Serious Hazard Conditions
ALL SMOKE RESOURCES

 

 

HUGE FIRES
Specific FedState Status Reports

 

FERGUSON FIRE, Feds, Mariposa

86% Contained

Yosemite Valley Opened on the 14th

Yosemite Valley to Open on the 14th, announced August 10.

Yosemite Valley Closed Indefinitely, August 5th.

 

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

HIGH SIERRA ROAD NEWS: June Lake Loop Closed. UPDATED: NO RESTRICTIONS sticky icon

UPDATED AUGUST 11
Caltrans Reports
NO RESTRICTIONS

 

Original Story
ROAD NEWS

June Lake Loop Closed

Portion of State Route 158 closed due to mudslide,
Sierra Wave, July 31, 2018.

 “...closed between Silver Lake and Grant Lake. The official location is 7.3 miles south of the north junction of SR 158 & US Hwy 395.  A large mud slide is covering a large portion of the highway. Caltrans crews and CHP are on site directing traffic.  The highway will remain closed overnight and the situation will be reassessed in the morning.”

 

Caltrans

Highway 158

All Mountain Highways

 

Trail Guide

USGS TOPO Hiking Map

Donohue to Island Passes, including trails to June Lake

Trail Guide & Schematic Map

tmorton23's picture

High Sierra Backpacking: Twin Lakes-Benson Lake Loop, July 14 to July 21, 2018 Trip Report sticky icon

 

Trip Report
Bensen Lake Loop

July 14 – 21, 2018

 

Time & Distance

Eight Nights

Around 54 miles

 

All Photos

 

Trail Guide

Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Bensen Lake Loop Regional Map of North Yosemite Backcountry

 

 

Barney Lake in the Hoover Wilderness
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 

 
Current Visible Satellite View of the Whole Sierra Nevada Range 1 KM National Weather Service Satillte view of Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Above:
Current National Weather Service 3 KM VISIBLE
Sierra Nevada Mountains.

 

Visible Northern California & the Sierra

 

 

ALL
SATELLITE VIEWS

 Visible

 Vapor

 

 

 FIRES OF 2018

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018: The New Normal Emerges in California, July Hottest Month EVER sticky icon

ECO-CRASH NEWS

The New Normal Emerging in California

July 2018 Warmest Month in California History; Unprecedented Early-Season Wildfire Activity Continues,
Weather West, August 9, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Early July Heatwave
"July 2018 was an extraordinary weather month across most of California. Early in the month, a searing heatwave brought all-time record heat to some locations in Southern California."

High Temp July
"...extreme heat receded somewhat during the rest of the month, temperatures never cooled back to anywhere near average, and the past 3-4 weeks have been punctuated by heatwaves that have broken countless daily temperature records."

Nighttime Highs
"...a number of more “subtle” temperature records have fallen this July, with all-time record warm overnight temperatures occurring across a majority of the state and “consecutive 100+ degree day” records falling through parts of the Central Valley. Death Valley apparently recorded the warmest single month officially recorded anywhere on Earth."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

How the Devils Straws is Really “Working:” Political Arrogance, Corruption, Lying, and Cheating sticky icon

WATER SCAM
Draining California Dry

How the Devils Straws-(Corporate Politics)-Really “Works”

Water Policy

California Focus: Colossal arrogance in the 'water fix' tunnels,
Hanford Sentinel, August 7, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Structural, Institutionalized Corruption

"...there is no part of government in this state more arrogant than the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California."

Bribed Politicians Bribe Other Politicians
"After substantial lobbying by Brown, the MWD’s governing board without a public vote this summer committed millions of its customers to pay a large share of the project’s costs."

Funding Private Profits
"...added water charges for millions of customers are pretty much assured."

Free Money
"Agricultural water districts in the San Joaquin Valley that stand to benefit most were reluctant to make similar commitments."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

HEALTH & FITNESS: Salt is not Bad for You sticky icon

HEALTH & FITNESS

Salt is Not Bad for You

Pass the salt: Study finds average consumption safe for heart health,
McMaster University, August 9, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

NO SALT RISK
"New research shows that for the vast majority of individuals, sodium consumption does not increase health risks except for those who eat more than five grams a day, the equivalent of 2.5 teaspoons of salt."

NO SALT RISK
"Any health risk of sodium intake is virtually eliminated if people improve their diet quality by adding fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, potatoes, and other potassium rich foods."

Big Study
"...followed 94,000 people, aged 35 to 70, for an average of eight years in communities from 18 countries around the world and found there an associated risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes only where the average intake is greater than five grams of sodium a day."

Only China
"China is the only country in their study where 80 per cent of communities have a sodium intake of more than five grams a day."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

CLIMATE WARMING NEWS: Heat Dangers Rising, Will Drive Thousands to ER sticky icon

CLIMATE CRASH NEWS

Heat Dangers Rising, Many Will Suffer

New study predicts warming climate will drive thousands to ER for heat illness,
AGU Blog, August 7, 2018

MAIN POINTS

Expensive Dangers Ahead
"...a new study predicts that in the coming decades the United States’ heat problem will grow more dangerous and expensive."

Today's Emission Trajectory
"...suggests a warming climate will drive thousands more people into emergency rooms across the country and could cost tens of millions more dollars in treatment by 2050."

Reduced Emission Trajectory
"...U.S. emergency rooms could see 28,000 more hyperthermia visits annually by 2050, which could cost roughly as much as $52 million. Extended to 2090, the annual number of visits for hyperthermia could increase by up to 65,000, costing up to $118 million."

Chart
Health Threats of Warming Temps
 How our warming climate affects health.
"This table lists the various causes and ways in which climate change affects human health." Chart credit: U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

PG&E Spends $1 Million+ on Bribes to Brown, Dims, & California officials to Evade Wildfire Laws sticky icon

UPDATED STORY, August 1

How our Law & Environment are Really Managed

Open Bribery Finally Hinted at by Press, below

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY, July 26

How Politics Really Works

Jerry Brown: Corporate Whore of PGE


 

 

 

UPDATED STORY

How our Laws & Environment are Really Managed

Open Bribery

Finally Hinted at, But Still Left Unstated by Press

PG&E spends more than $1 million to lobby California officials on wildfire laws,
Sac Bee, August 1, 2018.

Evil Energy Empire

"PG&E spent $1.7 million on lobbying over three months this year as the utility pressured California officials to reduce its legal liability for wildfire property damages."

Empire of Bribes

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking: Crabtree to Gem Lake, Deer Lake, and More sticky icon

Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness

A fantastic  4 day Backpacking Trip into the Emigrant Wilderness from trailhead East of Pinecrest Lake near Highway 108.

Peter describes food resources there and back, roads, fishing, trail culture and terrain descriptions that make this a fantastic description of a fantastic backpacking trip.

Trail into Emigrant Wilderness from Crabtree Trailhead.
 Backpacking Trail into Emigrant Wilderness through Crabtree Trailhead

Thanks to Peter and Jason for sharing this!

Maps
Emigrant Wilderness NF PDF

All Tahoe to Whitney MAPS
INDEX
Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking Maps
PCT & TYT

 

Trailhead 
Emigrant Wilderness Trailheads NF PDF

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018, Hot Times in SoCal: Record Warm Waters off Southern California sticky icon

CLIMATE & OCEANS

Hot Times in SoCal

Record Warm Waters off Southern California,
NASA Earth Observatory, August 8, 2018.

New Records in Water and Sky
"California has seen a range of natural extremes this summer, from heat waves to wildfires. The state can now add to the list record-warm ocean temperatures. On August 1, 2018, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography observed water temperatures of 25.9 degrees Celsius (78.6 degrees Fahrenheit) along the coast at La Jolla, exceeding the previous record of 25.8°C (78.4°F) set in 1931."

Scripps Pier Records Highest Ocean Temperature in its 102-year History

Alex Wierbinski's picture

BIRD NEWS: New Normal of Death & Decline in Mojave sticky icon

BIRD NEWS

New Normal of Death & Decline in Mojave

Mojave Desert birds crashed over the last century due to climate change,
University of California - Berkeley, August 7, 2018.

Desert Bird Populations Crashed-Crashing
"Bird communities in the Mojave Desert straddling the California/Nevada border have collapsed over the past 100 years, most likely because of lower rainfall due to climate change..."

43% of Mojave Site-Species Lost
"30 percent, or 39 of the 135 bird species that were there 100 years ago, are less common and less widespread today. The 61 sites surveyed lost, on average, 43 percent of the species that were there a century ago."

Losing Desert Ecosystems (and everywhere else, too)
"California deserts have already experienced quite a bit of drying and warming because of climate change, and this might be enough to push birds over the edge. It seems like we are losing part of the desert ecosystem."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018 Tree Mortality Mitigation: Feds To Remove Millions Of Dead-Dying Trees From California’s Forests sticky icon

 

FOREST NEWS

Tree Mortality Mitigation

BLM has a Plan

Feds Want To Remove Millions Of Dead And Dying Trees From California’s Forests,
Capital Public Radio, July 9, 2018.

"The federal Bureau of Land Management wants to remove dead and dying trees from 35 California counties, from Siskiyou to Santa Barbara."

"...this would include prescribed fires and “mastication” work, which is grinding up vegetation and making it less of a hazard."

"The agency estimates trees on between 2,500 and 20,000 acres of land could be cut down, burned, hauled away or chipped."

"BLM says there are 127 million dead and dying trees in California forests. Agencies working through California's Tree Mortality Task Force have removed 1.2 million since February 2015."

“The scope of the problem seems to be expanding.”

"...the plan is to pay particular attention to forest land near power lines, roads, private property and trails used for recreation."

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018: Green Water Widespread Across United States & Whole Northern Hemisphere sticky icon

WATER SAFETY

Vast Summer 2012 Blue Green Algal Outbreaks across Northern Hemisphere

Three Reports: Western US, Northern Europe, Great Lakes and Florida

 

Green Water Widespread Across Western United States This Summer

Hot Weather, Land Abuses Fueling Algal Blooms in Western Waters,
Water Deeply, July 30, 2018.

 

"This summer has witnessed an explosion of algae problems in Western water bodies."

"Blooms are even popping up in unlikely places, such as high-elevation mountain lakes."

"No one knows precisely how often blooms occur because there is no monitoring of the problem on a national scale."

Environmental Working Group

"...EWG decided to gather their own data by recording how often algal blooms were mentioned in the news media...their resulting report, released in May, they documented 169 blooms in 2017 – up from 51 the year before."

EWG 2018 Blue Green Report

tmorton23's picture

Smoky Sunrise at Smedberg Lake

Smokey Sunrise at Smedberg Lake
North Yosemite Backcountry

 

From
Ted Morton's

Trip Report
July 14 – 21, 2018
Bensen Lake Loop
Day Five

 

The Ferguson Fire was picking up destructive force at this time

 

Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Smoky Sunrise at Smedberg Lake

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