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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Climate is Changing Faster than Animal Adaptation sticky icon

 

ECO-CRASHING ANTHROPOCENE

Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow, Jennifer Taggart, courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Song Sparrow is one of the species considered in an international review of climate change studies, Jennifer Taggart, courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

 

Birds

Climate is Changing Faster than Animal Adaptation,
Cornell University, August 20, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"Birds and other animals cannot adapt fast enough to keep pace with climate change, throwing species survival in doubt."

"Our research focused on birds because complete data on other groups were scarce."

"...reviewed more than 10,000 published climate change studies..."

Phrenological Shift
"We demonstrate that in temperate regions, the rising temperatures are associated with a shift in the timing of biological events to earlier dates."

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SB 559, & the Friant-Kern Canal: "Socialism," for Rich Corporate Farmers & their Illegals sticky icon

 

WATER WOES, THE VALLEY SUBSIDENCE BLUES

Friant-Kern Canal: Socialism for Rich Corporate Farmers

Surviving the Next Drought: It’s Political in California’s Central Valley,
Courthouse News Service, August 16, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Friant-Kern Canal
"Since 1951, the gravity-fed Friant-Kern Canal has delivered San Joaquin River water from Fresno to water districts south to Bakersfield."

Central Valley Project,
Bureau of Reclamation.

Drought Effects
"...the rush to plant the water-intensive crops – and overpumping the groundwater to quench the plants’ thirst – has caused the canal to settle in the southernmost section and form a pinch point that limits its capacity to deliver water. Experts refer to the settling as subsidence..."

Friant-Kern Canal
Fed-Local Farmer Ownership
"The canal’s owner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and its operator, Friant Water Authority, claim it has lost 60% of its ability to deliver water."

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Microplastics Everywhere: Found in Remote Arctic Locations sticky icon

Updated
Colorado Airborne Microplastic Pollution

 

HEALTH & FITNESS

Microplastics Everywhere

Microplastics in Arctic Snow Suggest Widespread Air Pollution,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, August 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Microplastic Air Pollution
"...high concentrations found in snow samples from disparate regions suggest microplastics - which may contain varnish, rubber, or chemicals used in synthetic fabrics - cause significant air pollution."

Arctic Microplastics
"...used an imaging technique to analyze snow samples collected between 2015 and 2017 from floating ice in the Fram Strait, a passage between Greenland and Svalbard to the Arctic Ocean. (They visited five ice floes by ship-based helicopters or dinghies during three expeditions.)"

Euro Control
"For comparison, the researchers investigated samples from the remote Swiss Alps and the City of Bremen in northwest Germany."

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NOAA: Assessing the Global Climate, July 2019 sticky icon

 

CLIMATE CRASHING NEWS

Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles, July 2019
HOTTEST on Record
Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles, July 2019, NOAA map and report.

SEA of RED
The July temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.71°F above the 20th century average of 60.4°F and was the highest for July in the 1880–2019 record. July 2019 bested the previous record—set in 2016—by 0.05°F. NOAA. Big Version.

 

NOAA: JULY HOTTEST MONTH EVER

Assessing the Global Climate in July 2019:
July was the warmest month on record for the globe,
NOAA, August 2019.

MAIN POINTS

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

 

Updated
August 20, 2019

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

JULY ALL HIGH SIERRA NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
August
, 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.

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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

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It's Raining Exoplanets: James Webb Space Telescope Trappist-1 Solar System Potentials sticky icon

 

ASTROPHYSICS, ASTRONOMY, EXOPLANETS

TRAPPIST-1 SYSTEM
TRAPPIST-1 SYSTEM, NASA/JPL-Caltech.
This artist's concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses and distances from the host star, in order from "b" closest to the star, to, "h," being the furthest distance from Trappist-1, as of February 2018. Image credit to NASA/JPL-Caltech. Full Size.

 

It's Raining Exoplanets: Trappist-1 Solar System

James Webb Space Telescope could begin learning about TRAPPIST-1 atmospheres in a year,
University of Washington, August 13, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

JWST
Limits of Sensitivity

Using..."the intriguing TRAPPIST-1 planetary system as a kind of laboratory to model not the planets themselves, but how the coming James Webb Space Telescope might detect and study their atmospheres."

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How Many of the Universe's Exo-Planets are in the Liquid Water Sweet Spot? sticky icon

 

ASTRO-PHYSICS: PROBABILITY OF HABITABILITY

Kepler Oil Painting
Kepler Space Telescope Oil Painting, by NASA/Ames Research Center/W. Stenzel/D. Rutter.
Artist's impression of NASA's Kepler space telescope, which discovered thousands of new planets. New research, using Kepler data, provides the most accurate estimate to date of how often we should expect to find Earth-like planets near sun-like stars. By NASA/Ames Research Center/W. Stenzel/D. Rutter.

 

How Many Planets are in the Liquid Water Sweet Spot?

How Many Earth-like Planets are Around Sun-like Stars?
Penn State, August 14, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Eye on the Sky
A Universe of Exoplanets
"...Kepler observed a large enough sample of stars that we can perform a rigorous statistical analysis to estimate of the rate of Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of nearby sun-like stars."

The Sweet Spot
"The habitable zone is a range of orbital distances at which the planets could support liquid water on their surfaces."

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Growing into Destruction: The Diminished, and Diminishing Western US Snow Packs sticky icon

 

CRASHING OUR OWN ECOSYSTEMS

"California Consumers" Formed Themselves into Nature-Killing Kamikaze Weapon

Back-to-Back Low Snow Years will Become more Common, study projects,
American Geophysical Union, August 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Already Happening
"Consecutive low snow years may become six times more common across the Western United States over the latter half of this century, leading to ecological and economic challenges such as expanded fire seasons and poor snow conditions at ski resorts."

Get Used to It
"Across the West, we're generally losing a lot of our snowpack - in many places, low snow conditions will be increasingly consistent from year to year."

Destroying Our Natural Legacy
ALREADY Beyond Sustainable
"Every time we have a snow drought, we're delving into our water resources and the ecosystem's resources. We're drawing down on our savings without restocking the bank."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Recent Rapid 88 Percent Decline of Big Freshwater Animals sticky icon

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Alligator Gar
Alligator gar, by Zeb Hogan, Forschungsverbund Berlin.
With a maximum weight of about 130 kilograms, the alligator gar (wiki) is one of the largest freshwater fishes in North America. By Zeb Hogan, Forschungsverbund Berlin.

 

Already Outrageous Human Population Still Rising -- Nature Crashing Rapidly

88 Percent Decline of Big Freshwater Animals,
Forschungsverbund Berlin, August 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"Freshwater megafauna include all freshwater animals that weigh 30 kilograms or more, such as species of river dolphins, beavers, crocodiles, giant turtles and sturgeons."

1970 to 2012
88% Decline
"From 1970 to 2012, global populations of freshwater megafauna declined by 88 percent - twice the loss of vertebrate populations on land or in the ocean."

Major Decliners
"Large fish species such as sturgeons, salmonids and giant catfishes are particularly threatened: with a 94 percent decline, followed by reptiles with 72 percent."

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PFAS. What's Really Inside Your Body? sticky icon

 

 

HEALTH & FITNESS

What's Really Inside Your Body?

California 1st State to Require Notification of Toxic 'Forever' Chemicals in Water,
Desert Sun, July 31, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

PFAS Reporting
"California's law would mandate that consumers receive information on about 5,000 of them if they're detected."

PFAS
"The PFAS chemicals, which have been widely used in everything from firefighting foam to Teflon pans, rain gear and even some dental floss, have been linked in research to cancers, developmental problems and thyroid and liver disease. They're known as "forever chemicals" because they don't break down in the environment or in human bodies."

SOCAL Contamination
"More than 2.4 million people across Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange Counties may be exposed to the dangerous chemicals, according to estimates by environmental advocates and based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data. Major airports, military bases and refineries are all conducting testing or will be, per state requirements. While New Hampshire and New Jersey have imposed limits on two PFAS chemicals..."

 

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Autism Increase Linked to Endocrine Disruptors in Womb sticky icon

 

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & UBIQUITOUS ENDROCRINE DISRUPTORS FROM PLASTIC USE & WASTE

Keys to Understanding the Mechanisms of Our Degradation of Ourselves & Our Environment

High levels of Estrogen in the Womb Linked to Autism,
University of Cambridge, July 29, 2019. 

MAIN POINTS

"Scientist have identified a link between exposure to high levels of oestrogen sex hormones in the womb and the likelihood of developing autism."

"...further evidence to support the prenatal sex steroid theory of autism first proposed 20 years ago."

"Today, the same scientists have built on their previous findings by testing the amniotic fluid samples from the same 98 individuals sampled from the Danish Biobank, which has collected amniotic samples from over 100,000 pregnancies, but this time looking at another set of prenatal sex steroid hormones called oestrogens. This is an important next step because some of the hormones previously studied are directly converted into oestrogens."

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Acid Rain Makes Thirsty Forests sticky icon

 

PLANTS & TREES

Acid Rain Makes Thirsty Forests

Previously unknown mechanism causes increased forest water use, new study says,
Indiana University, July 31, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

New Approach
"The impacts of soil biogeochemistry on large-scale forest water use had not been investigated."

Acid Rain Consequences
"Sulfuric and nitric acid fall to the ground when fossil fuels are burned, causing acidification of the soil. When that happens, a significant amount of soil calcium washes out of the soil, and then plants suffer from calcium deficiency."

Plant Biochemistry
"Calcium plays a unique role in plant cells by regulating the minute pores, called stomata, in the plants' leaves or stems."

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2019 Season High Sierra Fire, Smoke, and Mountain Safety Information sticky icon

 

 

 

SUMMER & FALL
FIRE & SMOKE INFORMATION FOR BACKPACKING
SEASON
of
2019

 

Latest
FIRE & SMOKE
Report---Analysis

 

ALL
FIRE & SMOKE
INFORMATION & RESOURCES

FIRE

All Federally Managed Fires
Parks, Forests, and Federal Lands

INCIWEB 

Inciweb has been downgraded in services and quality by their redesign. For a list of National and California Fires, now see:

 

NATIONAL INTERAGENCY FIRE CENTER, note fire lists by states...

 

All California Managed
State Fires

Managed Fires


CALFIRE Incident Information 

 

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Axionic Approach to Dark Matter and The Elemental Universe sticky icon

 

ASTRO-PHYSICS

The Elemental Universe

Dark matter may be older than the big bang, study suggests,
Johns Hopkins University, August 7, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

What
Though not directly observable, scientists know dark matter exists by its gravitation effects on how visible matter moves and is distributed in space.

Failed Particle Search
"If dark matter were truly a remnant of the Big Bang, then in many cases researchers should have seen a direct signal of dark matter in different particle physics experiments already."

Scalar Particle
"...the study shows that dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang during an era known as the cosmic inflation when space was expanding very rapidly. The rapid expansion is believed to lead to copious production of certain types of particles called scalars. So far, only one scalar particle has been discovered, the famous Higgs boson."

"...if it has anything to do with any scalar particles, it may be older than the Big Bang."

New Search Points
"The new study also suggests a way to test the origin of dark matter by observing the signatures dark matter leaves on the distribution of matter in the universe."

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Disturbances in the Force: El Nino & La Nina Ocean-Land Weather Relationship Disruptions sticky icon

 

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: EL NINO & LA NINA

Weather Patterns Breaking Up

How the Pacific Ocean influences long-term drought in the Southwestern U.S.,
AGU Blog, August 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

The Rule
"The general rule of thumb had been that El Niño years — when the sea surface in a region off the coast of Peru is at least 1 degree Celsius warmer than average — tend to have more rainfall, and La Niña years, when that region is 1 degree Celsius cooler than average, tend to have less rain. But that simple rule of thumb doesn’t always hold true."

2015: Driest Year in Ca History during Biggest El Nino seen…
"About 1 in 20 drought years could see an El Niño that doesn’t deliver rain."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

NASA Does the PCT from Space sticky icon

 

 

 

NASA DOES THE PCT, FROM SPACE

New PCT Emblems, North Yosemite 2016
New, large PCT emblems in the North Yosemite Backcountry, Falls Creek at Wilmer Ford.
New, large PCT emblems, 2016, in the North Yosemite Backcountry, Falls Creek at Wilmer Ford. Hiking Map.
 

 

The Ultimate Top Down View

Trailing the Pacific Crest from Space,
NASA Earth Observatory, August 1, 2019.

 

The Ground-Up View

 An Older Emblem, Same Location
Old PCT emblem, Falls Creek Ford at Wilmer Lake, 2016.
 

 

More Information on the
Crown Jewel of the PCT

The Tahoe to Whitney Trails

 

 

Trail News, August 2019

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Where are we, Exactly? Mapping the Vast Void in Our Cosmic Neighborhood sticky icon

 

ASTROPHYSICS

YOU ARE HERE
A Smoothed Rendition of the Structure Surrounding the Local Void
Local Void in our Neighborhood of the Universe, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

A smoothed rendition of the structure surrounding the Local Void. Our Milky Way galaxy lies at the origin of the red-green-blue orientation arrows (each 200 million lightyears in length). We are at a boundary between a large, low density void, and the high density Virgo cluster. University of Hawaii at Manoa.

 

Where are we, exactly?

Astronomers Map Vast Void in Our Cosmic Neighborhood,
University of Hawaii at Manoa, July 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"The universe is a tapestry of galaxy congregations and vast voids."

"...our Milky Way galaxy is also at the edge of an extensive empty region that they called the Local Void. The existence of the Local Void has been widely accepted, but it remained poorly studied because it lies behind the center of our galaxy and is therefore heavily obscured from our view."

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Carol Crooker Trip Report Desolation Wilderness Lollypop Loop. sticky icon

Carol Crooker Trip Report
Desolation Wilderness Lollypop Loop.
Member Profile

 

Trip Statistics
Lower Echo Lake North PCT
to Middle Velma Lake.
West to Camper Flat.
South to Lake Aloha,
PCT to Lower Echo Lake

Distance & Duration
40 miles in 9 Days
June 9 to 18, 2015

Temps and Weather
33 degrees and the highest was 83 degrees

Starting Pack Weight
About 32 pounds

Trail Guide Resources 
Desolation Wilderness Map

Detailed Map of Carol's Route

Trail Guide
Lower Echo Lake Trailhead

Permits
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

 

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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
July 7, 2019

 

2019
SNOW PACK STATUS
THIS YEAR

A Heavy Snow Year

July 5 2019
A Month of Warm-"Temperate" Temps with Rapid & Slow periods of Thawing.
Heavy Spring Snowpack Persisting into Summer: Extra Caution, Information, Skills, Fitnesss and Proper Gear still REQUIRED.
71% of Average Snowpack
Calendar

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

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