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

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

  ALL
HIGH SIERRA WEATHER RESOURCES


QUICK INDEX

FULL INDEX

NEW
GOES-17-WEST

TWO VIEWS
of the
NE PACIFIC, CALIFORNIA COAST, & THE HIGH SIERRA
NOW

THE WIDE VIEW

The NOAA VIEWER
Northern Pacific GeoColor
The Last 11 Hours over the Northeastern Pacific
New GOES-17, "West," last 11 hours over the North Pacific GeoColor View by NOAA.

 Also See
NE Pacific Water Vapor
 

A CLOSE UP VIEW
West US

Alex Wierbinski's picture

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

 

Updated
June 25, 2019

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

MAY ALL HIGH SIERRA NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
June
, 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

Veillonella Gut Bacteria that Turns Soreness Into Energy sticky icon

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & SUPERIOR GUT BACTERIA

Gut Bacteria that Turns Soreness Into Energy

Performance-Enhancing Bacteria Found in the Microbiomes of Elite Athletes,
Joslin Diabetes Center, June 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Veillonella Gut Bacteria
"New research has identified a type of bacteria found in the microbiomes of elite athletes that contributes to improved capacity for exercise. These bacteria, members of the genus Veillonella, are not found in the guts of sedentary people."

"One of the things that immediately caught our attention was this single organism, Veillonella, that was clearly enriched in abundance immediately after the marathon in the runners."

Veillonella Eats Lactic Acid
"As we dug into the details of Veillonella, what we found was that it is relatively unique in the human microbiome in that it uses lactate or lactic acid as its sole carbon source."

"Lactic acid is produced by the muscles during strenuous exercise. The Veillonella bacteria are able to use this exercise by-product as their main food source."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

June 2019 Mount Whitney Missing Hiker Search Finds Fatality sticky icon

 

 

MOUNTAIN SAFETY HIKER DEATH

The Whitney Zone

Mount Whitney Fatality,
Mono SAR, June 20, 2019.

Mount Whitney
East Flank: John Muir Wilderness in Inyo NF
West Flank: John Muir Wilderness in SEKI

 

Mount Whitney Trail Map
Tyndall Creek to Whitney Portal Map

 

MAIN POINTS

Missing Hiker Search
Mutual Aid
"...contacted for a mutual aid request in support of the search for a 47-year-old Virginia hiker in the Mt. Whitney area missing since June 12. 4 Team members responded, and were assigned a search area to the north of Mirror Lake."

Area Search
"The field team concluded the search of their area without any evidence of the missing hiker. They returned to base via the Mt. Whitney trail."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Inyo Sheriff June 2019 Temple Crag Rescue sticky icon

 

MOUNTAIN SAFETY CLIMBER RESCUE

Temple Crag Rescue,
Inyo Sheriff, June 17, 2019.

Temple Craig
LOCATION
The Palisades
Map
John Muir Wilderness in Inyo National Forest
East of Bishop Pass, West of Big Pine, Permits

MAIN POINTS

Rockfall Accident
"On June 15 at around 5:45pm, a male and female party of two were "simul-climbing" (a climbing technique where all climbers climb at the same time while tied into the same rope) the technical rock route “Sun Ribbon Arete” on Temple Crag in the Palisades region of the Sierra Nevada. At about 12,600’ (about 200' from the summit) a rock broke causing the second climber to fall about 20-30’ before being caught by their rope. The team sent a distress signal via their Personal Locator Beacon, and ultimately Inyo County Sheriff’s Office was notified."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Mono SAR June 2019 Mt Morrison Rescue sticky icon

 

MOUNTAIN SAFETY

CHP H40 Rescue Copter Framed by Mount Morrison
H40 landed at the Mammoth-Yosemite airport, Mount Morrison in background. Mono SAR Photo.
"H40 landed at the Mammoth-Yosemite airport," Mount Morrison in background. Mono SAR Photo.

 

Eastern Sierra Accident

Mt Morrison Rescue,
Mono SAR, June 11, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Mount Morrison
LOCATION
In the John Muir Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest. I don't currently have a map depicting Mt Morison, but it is located a short distance off the East edge of this map from Lake Genevieve. This map depicts the route of the JMT-PCT over the Silver Divide, which locates Mount Morrison on a line between the Silver Divide and the Mammoth Airport, on the Eastern Flank of the Sierra overlooking the Airport, as we can see in the image above.

Fall
"...respond to a report of a 68 year old male from Chalfant, CA, injured in a fall on the south side of Mt. Morrison, at an approximate elevation of 11,200’."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Carson Iceberg Wilderness Backpacking Loops and Trips sticky icon

Medium and Long distance
Backpacking Loops
and trips
in the
Carson Iceberg Wilderness

Despite the Fire, Some Beautiful Places to Visit
Summer's Here. The Eastern end of the Carson Iceberg is pretty much closed South of Clarks Fork Road, excepting the route of the Pacific Crest Trail, which is complimented by the still open segment of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail coming South down from Lake Alpine to Woods Gulch.
Now, prospective Tahoe to Yosemite Trail hikers will need to make use of our alternative routes, just to get around the closed section of the TYT across the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

Alternative Year...
The route tying together what we can hike of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail across the Carson Iceberg, then connecting with the Pacific Crest Trail as described below, is where we can bend our route either North into a nice Summer Backpacking trip, maybe ending at Ebbetts Pass despite the carnage of last year's Donnell Fire, or turning South along the PCT to bypass these closed segments of the TYT, so we can pick it up again South of Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Status & Evolution of the High Sierra Spring Thaw of 2019 sticky icon

High Sierra Spring of 2019
Evolution of Conditions

Page Started
March 30, 2019

Updated
June 25, 2019

 

2019
SNOW PACK STATUS
THIS YEAR

A Heavy Snow Year

June 17 2019
Two Weeks of Warm Temps & Rapid Thawing
120% of Average Snowpack
Calendar

June 11 2019
Second Day of Heat Wave
Highways 4 and 108 OPEN
Highway 120       CLOSED
175% of Average Snowpack
Calendar

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire sticky icon

 

CRITICAL UPDATES

May 29 & June 17, 2019
Donnell Lake and Crabtree Trailhead Closures ADDED

May 23, 2019
Forest Closure Order Modification,
North & East Carson Iceberg Wilderness Opened, Half TYT still Closed
 

 

SPRING 2019
DONNELL FIRE AFTERMATH REPORT

During the Donnell Fire, August 2018
Bringing Water to Fire

FEO Engine 344 on Groveland Ranger District, by Josiah Dewey.
Photo by Josiah Dewey, FEO Engine 344 of Groveland Ranger District. More.

 

Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

Stanislaus National Forest, Recent Forest Orders,
Stanislaus National Forest. Alerts & Notices.

The Donnell Fire

Donnell Fire Timeline

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tioga Road Limited Opening June 21, 2019 sticky icon

 

HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS: ROAD ACCESS

First Highway 120 Opening for 2019 Season

Yosemite National Park Announces Limited Access on Tioga Road Beginning on Friday, June 21, 2019,
Yosemite National Park, June 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Limited Access
"...open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm."

No Parking
"...no visitor parking available at either end of the road closure."

Tuolumne Meadows Closed
"There are no visitor services available along Tioga Road. The Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Wilderness Center, and the Tuolumne Meadows Campground remain closed."

"Opening dates for the 2019 season have not been determined."

CLOSED
"The road will remain closed outside of these times to allow for continued roadwork and snow clearing."

BIKES
"Cyclists traveling over Tioga Road will need to be prepared to cross over the full length of Tioga Road during daylight hours. Tioga Road is closed to overnight camping."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Global Warming Spruce Beetles are Fat, Happy, Sexed-Up Spruce Beetles sticky icon

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: GOING BUGGY

Hey, Hi,... I'm Your New Neighbor...
The Head of a Spruce Beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis)
The Head of a Spruce Beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis), Joseph Benzel, Colorado State University.
Joseph Benzel, Colorado State University.

 

Warm Spruce Beetles are Fat, Happy, Sexed-Up Spruce Beetles

New Research Shows Importance of Climate on Spruce Beetle Flight,
Colorado State University, June 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Current Situation
"...the current spruce beetle epidemic affecting Colorado Engelmann spruce forests has been one of the largest on record. The Colorado State Forest Service estimates that since 1996, over 40 percent of the state's high-elevation forests, encompassing an area larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, have already been affected by this latest cycle."

The Future
"...slightly warmer conditions could contribute to longer flight periods and more eruptive beetle populations, due to larger populations of fertile females. This combination could equate to more intense insect pressure on spruce forests."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

US Commercial Bees Taking Heavy Losses in 2018, Hanging in There... sticky icon

 

THE BUZZ

Bees in the Hive at Roberson Farm
Bees in the Hive at Roberson Farm, Farmers.Gov.
Bees at Roberson Farm, FarmersGov.

US Bee Status Report

Commercial Bees Taking Heavy Losses, Hanging in There...

US Beekeepers Lost Over 40% of Colonies Last Year, Highest Winter Losses Ever recorded,
University of Maryland, June 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Year
41% Hive Loss
"Beekeepers across the United States lost 40.7% of their honey bee colonies from April 2018 to April 2019..."

Over-Wintering Losses
"...winter losses of 37.7%, which is the highest winter loss reported since the survey began 13 years ago and 8.9 percentage points higher than the survey average."

The New Normal?
"Overall, the annual loss of 40.7% this last year represents a slight increase over the annual average of 38.7%."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Biggest Global Glaciers Going Down Fast: The Himalayas sticky icon

 

OCEANS, ICE, FISH, & WATER

Wasting Himalayan Glacial Ice
Wasting of Changri Nup Glacier in Himalayas, Joshua Maurer.
Changri Nup Glacier, one of the hundreds studied by the researchers. Much of it is covered by rocky debris. The peak of Mt. Everest is in the background at left. Joshua Maurer.

 

Biggest Global Glaciers Going Down

Melting of Himalayan Glaciers has Doubled in Recent Years,
Earth Institute at Columbia University, June 19, 2019.

Main Points

2000 to Present
Losing a Foot of Ice per Year
Himalayan glaciers in, "...India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, indicates that glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000..."

Thaw Accelerating
"...double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Clearer View of Greenland Ice Melting Potentials sticky icon

 

OCEANS, ICE, WATER, & FISH

Study Predicts More Long-Term Sea Level Rise from Greenland Ice
Study Predicts More Long-Term Sea Level Rise from Greenland Ice, NASA / Cindy Starr.
"The researchers ran their model 1500 times, testing a variety of land, ice, ocean and atmospheric variables to see how they affected ice melt rate - including three possible future climate scenarios (from left to right: low, medium, and high emissions out to the year 2300). Credits: NASA / Cindy Starr."

 

Clearer View of Greenland Ice Melting Potentials

Study Predicts More Long-Term Sea Level Rise from Greenland Ice,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, June 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Data from Ice Bridge Observations
“NASA’s space and airborne campaigns, like IceBridge, have fundamentally transformed our ability to try and make a model mimic the changes to the ice sheet.”

Fancy New Model
"In the next 200 years, the ice sheet model shows that melting at the present rate could contribute 19 to 63 inches to global sea level rise..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Worse Idea in the World: Bicycles in Wilderness sticky icon

 

FORESTS, TREES, WILDERNESS EXPERIENCES, & THE LAW

LOOK OUT BELOW!
Coming to the "Wilderness Area" Near You!

Watchout Below! Bikes on Wilderness Trails is a Bad Idea.
This Will be legal in our "Wilderness Areas," if the bicycle industry's bribes pay off...enjoy dodging/dealing with bikes on the PCT & JMT... Image by, "12019," Pixabay.

 

Worse Idea in the World: Bicycles in Wilderness

Sen. Lee Reintroduces Wilderness Bill,
Bicycle Retailer, June 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

The Bill
"Sen. Mike Lee...Utah Republican..."

"...Senate bill S. 1695, the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act..."

"...allow local managers to permit bicycles on existing trails and roads in federal Wilderness areas."

"The bill does not require creating trails or modifying existing ones to facilitate bicycling or other human-powered uses. It calls for the character of a Wilderness area is to be preserved."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lawsuit Asks: Drought, Beetles, & Forest Mortality Justifies Chainsaws in Wilderness? sticky icon

Updated June 17: Forest Service Reverses Decision

Updated May 31: Behind the Decision Allowing Chainsaws

FORESTS, TREES, & PLANTS

The Situation
Sierra Nevada & Rockies
Massive Western Forest Mortality
Dying Sierra Trees, from UC Merced, can they survive another drought?
Dying Sierra Trees, from UC Merced, can they survive another drought?

 

Drought, Beetles, & Mortality Justifies Chainsaws?

Forest Service Sued over Decision to use Chain Saws in Wilderness Areas,
The Journal, May 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"A coalition of conservation groups has sued the U.S. Forest Service for its recent decision to allow chain saws for trail work in two wilderness areas in Southwest Colorado."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

MORE FREAKISH, EXTREME WEATHER: Massive 2019 Midwestern Flooding sticky icon

 

HISTORIC, FREAKISH, EXTREME WEATHER

Massive Midwestern Flooding

KEY POINT
The Whole US is Wettest Ever
"The continental United States recently finished its wettest twelve months in 124 years of modern recordkeeping."

NOAA

River Flood Outlook

All Flood Hazard Warnings Page

3-7 Day Flood Hazards Page

 

Corporate Press
UPDATE

The Wettest, Wildest Planting Season U.S. Farmers Can Remember,
Bloomberg, June 3, 2019.

Corporate Press
Flooding continues to pose threat to communities along Mississippi, Arkansas rivers,
GMA, Yahoo, May 31, 2019.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

May 2019 TYT UPDATE: Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Closure Requires TYT Hikers Detour across Carson Iceberg Wilderness sticky icon

 

2019
Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
CLOSURE

Update

2019 Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
CLOSURE-DETOUR
As of
May 23, 2019
FOREST ORDER

Critical Stanislaus National Forest Donnell Fire Closure Order No. STF-16-2019-09,

 

The TYT is closed from just above Arnot Creek South to Clarks Fork Meadow.

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

INDEX: ALL Mosquito and Tick News and Information for High Sierra Backpackers sticky icon

Tick and Mosquito
News, Information
&
Research
Aedes Aegypti Feeding, James Gathany - CDC.
Mosquitoes are a major issue in the High Sierra,

ticks less so the higher you go.

Aedes Aegypti Feeding, by James Gathany of the CDC.

 

 Updated
May 31, 2019

 

LATEST MOSQUITO NEWS BELOW

 

Also See
Mosquitoes and Seasonal Temperature Shifts:
Backpacking the High Sierra

 

Cayenne's picture

Safety First! First Aid Kit for High Sierra Backpackers sticky icon

Cayenne's
First Aid Kit for High Sierra Day Hikers & Backpackers

 Red Cross, international symbol of First Aid, wiki by Jon Harald Søby

Be Ready
High Sierra Day Hikers & Backpackers

Springing!
Spring has come to the eastern Sierras and time to spring clean the first aid kit. Alex has provided excellent information about his first aid kit in the gear list.

Day Use
I am an avid day hiker, so the contents of my bag are a bit different. I also have extensive medical training and access to prescription drugs, so I try to keep stuff to help out others on the trail. This is the time of year I pull the first aid kit from the depths of my day pack and inspect and refill the contents. My bag is not huge and contains all the things I need to survive the sun, rain, cold, bugs and injury/illness for a few days.

Injuries Encountered
The injuries that I have encountered on the trail are blisters, splinters, cuts and scrapes and the occasional laceration that needs stitches. The illness that I have encountered are mild cases of upset stomach, sunburn, bug bites, sore/strained muscles, heat exhaustion and high altitude sickness.

 

First Aid Gear:

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