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.  

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Double Slit Experiment Kills Pilot Wave Theory sticky icon


Electron Orbits Atom

Electron orbiting atom, representation by Nicolle R. Fuller, National Science Foundation.
Electron orbiting atom, below, representation by Nicolle R. Fuller, National Science Foundation.

Double Slit Experiment Ends the Pilot Wave Theory

Famous Experiment Dooms Alternative to Quantum Weirdness,
Quanta, October 11, 2018.


Quantum World
"The standard “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics, originated at that time by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr, broke with the past by declaring that nothing at the quantum scale is “real” until it is observed."

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Oumuamua: Neither Comet nor Asteroid? sticky icon



Oumuamua Analysis

Deep Space Visitor from another Planet?

 Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF image by Joy Pollard
Oumuamua: Artist's conception. Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF image by Joy Pollard

Interstellar Visitor Found to Be Unlike a Comet or an Asteroid,
Quanta, October 10, 2018.


“...first spotted a year ago by scientists with the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii. ’Oumuamua (a Hawaiian word meaning “scout”) appeared to be a rocky, elongated asteroid at first, a stubby cosmic cigar.”

“Early measurements seemed to indicate that it was an asteroid — a dry rock much like those found orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Then by this past summer, astronomers largely came around to the conclusion that it was instead a comet — an icy body knocked out of the distant reaches of a far-off planetary system.”

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Deep Space Visitor: The Monolith! First Known Visitor from Interstellar Space sticky icon


Deep Space Visitor: The Monolith!

First Known Visitor from Interstellar Space

 European Southern Observatory, artist's conception by, M. Kornmesser.
Oumuamua: NASA, Credits: European Southern Observatory, artist's conception by, M. Kornmesser.

First known interstellar visitor is an 'oddball,'
Gemini Observatory press release, November 20, 2017.

They should have named it “The Monolith,” because its size & shape echoes Clark’s Monolith in 2001; A Space Odyessy.

We should figure out a way to send a probe to that timeless mutherfucker. That thing has travelled across intersteller space, then right past our planet, when we're old enough to see it, and track its trajectory.

I'll bet we can catch it, and take a good look at it, if we want to look at one of our Galaxy's, and maybe our Universe's, most unique objects.

This intestellar rock would tell us a lot about intestellar communication.

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Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape extinction sticky icon


Mammalian Collapse Continues

Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis,


"Humans are exterminating animal species so fast that evolution can't keep up; Unless conservation efforts are improved, so many mammal species will die out during the next 50 years that nature will need 3-5 million years to recover, a new study shows..."

Aarhus University, October 15, 2018.


“We humans are exterminating animal and plant species so quickly that nature's built-in defence mechanism, evolution, cannot keep up. An Aarhus-led research team calculated that if current conservation efforts are not improved, so many mammal species will become extinct during the next five decades that nature will need 3-5 million years to recover.”

“There have been five upheavals over the past 450 million years when the environment on our planet has changed so dramatically that the majority of Earth's plant and animal species became extinct.”

“The sixth mass extinction is happening now, but this time the extinctions are not being caused by natural disasters; they are the work of humans. A team of researchers from Aarhus University and the University of Gothenburg has calculated that the extinctions are moving too rapidly for evolution to keep up.”

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BEER-O-POCOLYPSE? Barley Biting the Global Warming Dust? sticky icon



Barley Biting the Global Warming Dust


Global warming will have us crying in what's left of our beer,
University of California - Irvine, October 15, 2018.


“On top of rising sea levels, stronger hurricanes and worsening wildfires, scientists project that human-caused climate change will result in one of the most dire consequences imaginable: a disruption in the global beer supply.”

“...concurrent droughts and heat waves, exacerbated by anthropogenic global warming, will lead to sharp declines in crop yields of barley, beer's main ingredient.”

"Our study showed that even modest warming will lead to increases in drought and excessive heat events in barley-growing areas."

(Results from the new (associated study) study reveal potential average yield losses ranging from 3% to 17%, depending on the severity of the conditions.)

No Beer for You
"Our results show that in the most severe climate events, the supply of beer could decline by about 16 percent in years when droughts and heat waves strike," he said. "That's comparable to all beer consumption in the U.S. Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world."

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Status of the High Sierra, October 16, 2018 sticky icon

Status of the Season

October 16, 2018

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


October 17, 2018








High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature


October, 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.

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September-October 2018 California Fires sticky icon


Started September 5, 2018
Updated September 16th

September 2018

The Latest
Updated News, Smoke, & Fire Info Below

 All Fed Fire Info


All State Fire Info


Best Map
2018 Statewide Fire Map


Potential Hazard Conditions


October 10

Fine backpacking conditions...

Temps have been rising and falling in a gentle cycle between warm and cool since the middle of September, without generating heat waves nor early freezes. Humidities have been elevated.

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Key Quick Reference 

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


Visible ALL California & the Sierra








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The 2018 UN, “DUH,” Report sticky icon


The “DUH,” Report

'Incredibly grim' prognosis on global warming also carries clarion call for global action,
LA-LA Land Times, October 8, 2018.


“A major new report on global warming makes a chilling prediction: Without swift and sweeping worldwide intervention, some devastating effects of climate change will hit harder — and decades sooner — than previously expected.”

The report, released Monday by a U.N. organization... served as a stark reminder of President Trump’s status as a global outlier...”

(Really? Trump says Seven Degrees by 2100, which is the most realistic estimate I’ve yet heard from any government on the face of this planet...

“Trump has rejected the 2015 Paris agreement signed by 195 nations to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions...”

Paris is a Fraud: IT EXEMPTS CHINA & INDIA!!

Hansen Calls Paris "A Fraud"

This is Hilarious!

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ECO-CRASH NEWS: The Oceans, Surf’s Up, and Rising to Record Levels sticky icon


Surf's Up, and Rising!

Global sea level could rise 50 feet by 2300, study says,
Rutgers University, October 8, 2018.


"...sea-level could rise by nearly 8 feet by 2100 and 50 feet by 2300 if greenhouse gas emissions remain high and humanity proves unlucky..."

"... Under moderate emissions, central estimates of global average sea-level from different analyses range from 1.4 to 2.8 more feet by 2100, 2.8 to 5.4 more feet by 2150 and 6 to 14 feet by 2300..."

"...with 11 percent of the world's 7.6 billion people living in areas less than 33 feet above sea level, rising seas pose a major risk to coastal populations, economies, infrastructure and ecosystems around the world..."



Sea Level Research

Climate Change News: Higher Faster, Sea level rise accelerating


ANTHROPOCENE: Ecosystem Loss at Rising Sea level, Say Bye to the California Coastline


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Pony Express Trail sticky icon

Where we Are

Pony Express Trail
Local Backpackers

October, 2018

Gross Stamp Sale: Pony Express


Brief Encounter
We briefly encounter and hike along a few hundred yards of the East-West line of the Pony Express Trail where we encounter its trail junction a couple of hundred yards West of the Echo Summit trailhead.

The Pony Express route comes East parallel with Highway 50, up from Strawberry to join our combined TYT-PCT-TRT routes just short of Echo Summit. We encounter it along our Tahoe to Whitney backpacking trip hiking from the South end of Desolation Wilderness to the North end of the Meiss Country Roadless Area.

Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Map
Click Red and Black dots.

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


September 27, 2018









High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature


September, 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

Best 2018 Weather Assessment at the Footstep of Fall sticky icon


Weather West Observations & Analysis Rocks the House

Record summer heat across much of state retreats; some deeper thoughts on El Niño,
Weather West, September 18, 2018.

The Best Weather Assessment, & Accords with my observations.

To the fine information about El Nino in the article above, I've got to reinterate that the record-setting intense 2015 El Nino came as the driest season ever seen in the High Sierra & California was happening. It's true that El Ninos can produce monumental tropical flows, but it's also true that nobody knows who & where these flows will hit.


Record breaking July

Record SoCal Sea Surfaces

NoCal Coastal Cool

Interior Record Heat

NoCal Trad Ocean Upwelling

Early Season Heat & Fire, Late Season Cool

No Surprise: Late Heat, Wind, & Fire

El Nino Probability

El Nino Trends & 2015

Extreme El Nino in Future

Bottom Line: Equal Odds of Wet or Dry Winter


Last Weather West Report

Cal to Ride the Tiger: Climate Change Weather Extremes to Lash California

The Future
Looking Perfect Now...

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It's Time to Accept We Can't maintain Endless Growth on a Finite Planet sticky icon


All Aspects of Nature are Degrading Rapidly

To Save Ourselves It's Time to Rethink Our Economic System, Warn Scientists,
Science Alert, September 10, 2018.

Main Points & Bottom Line

“...maybe it's time to accept we can't somehow maintain endless economic growth on a finite planet.”

I really don't know about "rethinking" our "economic system," but I do know that the unlimited, irresponsible, and even illegal massive growth of the population of California, and the United States generally, has seriously degraded our environment, our society, our infrastructure, and our distribution of wealth.

This irresponsible growth is the most destructive force operating in our country and world today, and is pushing our changing environment through all its tipping points.

And, everything will continue to crash until we get back within our ethical and our physical limits. We need to institute a policy of Zero Demographic Growth, and end all immigration, legal and illegal, NOW.

Allowing the greedy and corrupt to control our society, and grow it to destruction pursuing their greedy desires, was never a good idea... and was supposed to be prevented by our Constitution.

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The End of Cold: McMurdo Dry Valleys Unique Environment Threatened


The End of Cold
McMurdo Dry Valleys Unique Environment Threatened-Changing


View of McMurdo
In the McMurdo Dry Valley environment, by J Levy from Portland State.
Credit for Image by Joseph Levy of Portland State University.

Rapid, widespread changes may be coming to Antarctica's Dry Valleys, study finds,
Portland State University, October 9, 2018.


First, an introduction to a unique environment

McMurdo Dry Valleys
One of the most extreme places on Earth


"Dry Valleys are so named because of their extremely low humidity and their lack of snow or ice cover...one of the world's most extreme deserts...the largest ice-free region in Antarctica...unique conditions in the Dry Valleys are caused, in part, by katabatic winds; these occur when cold, dense air is pulled downhill by the force of gravity. The winds can reach speeds of 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph), heating as they descend, and evaporating all water, ice and snow."

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The Fun is Just Getting Started...

More wet and dry weather extremes projected with global warming,
Rutgers University, October 4,2018.


Wetter & Drier
“Global warming is projected to spawn more extreme wet and dry weather around the world...”

“...more frequent dry spells in the northwestern, central and southern United States and in Mexico, and more frequent heavy rainfall events in south Asia, the Indochinese Peninsula and southern China.“

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Hubble in Safe Mode as Bad Gyros Studied


Hubble in Trouble?

Fine image of Hubble in Space, NASA.
Fine Shot of Hubble in Space, photo credit NASA.

Hubble in Safe Mode as Gyro Issues are Diagnosed,
NASA, October 8, 2018.


 “Hubble entered safe mode after one of the three gyroscopes (gyros) actively being used to point and steady the telescope failed. Safe mode puts the telescope into a stable configuration until ground control can correct the issue and return the mission to normal operation.”

“Hubble had six new gyros installed during Servicing Mission-4 in 2009. Hubble usually uses three gyros at a time for maximum efficiency, but can continue to make scientific observations with just one.”

 “The gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behavior for approximately a year, and its failure was not unexpected; two other gyros of the same type had already failed. The remaining three gyros available for use are technically enhanced and therefore expected to have significantly longer operational lives.”

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6th Lowest Summer Minimum

Arctic Sea Ice Reaches 2018 Minimum,
NASA Earth Observer, September 28, 2018.

2018 Arctic Summer Minimum, NASA.
Image Credit to NASA. "Arctic sea ice as measured by satellites on September 19, 2018. Extent is defined as the total area in which the ice concentration is at least 15 percent. The yellow outline shows the median September sea ice extent from 1981–2010."


"Arctic sea ice likely reached its annual minimum extent on September 19 and again on September 23, 2018, according to researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA. Analyses of satellite data showed that the Arctic ice cap shrank to 4.59 million square kilometers (1.77 million square miles), tied for the sixth lowest summertime minimum on record. Researchers at NSIDC noted that the estimate is preliminary, and it is still possible (but not likely) that changing winds could push the ice extent lower."

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