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

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

tmorton23's picture

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

 

Trip Report
Bensen Lake Loop

July 14 – 21, 2018

Editor's Note
This trip begins and ends at the Twin Lakes Trailhead in the Toiyabe-administered Northern section of the Hoover Wilderness. It climbs precipitiously to, then over the Sierra Crest, into the heart of the very difficult backpacking terrain of the North Yosemite Backcountry.

Intercepting the routes of the unified PCT-TYT along Rancheria Creek in Kerrick Canyon, our route turns South with them, briefly up through the beauties of Seavy Pass before plunging down into what I call, "The Bensen Hole," only to make the precipitiously steep climb back out past the beauties of Smedberg Lake and finally over Bensen Pass, on our way back to Twin Lakes where we split off the PCT-TYT in the bottom of Matterhorn Canyon, North, to climb up through Matterhorn Canyon through Burro and Mule Passes, from the point where the PCT-TYT begin their climb East out of Matterhorn Canyon to Miller Lake, on our way back to our starting trailhead at Twin Lakes.

Check out Tim's fine description of this classic High Sierra hike, accompanied with the maps, mileages, and his excellent images of this challenging route below...
 

Time & Distance

Eight Nights

Around 54 miles

 

All Photos

 

Trail Guide

Barney Lake in the Hoover Wilderness
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.

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

 

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

Hobbitbook 2013 Trail Report: Summit City Creek along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Route sticky icon

Hi Alex,

I had a great trip through Summit City Ck canyon last week... its BEE-OO-TEE-FUL! Wow, what a gem.

Finding the trail was just fine, probably because I was expecting the worst from your website description.

People had left many cairns to follow, and it seemed like a number of folks had been there already this year, leaving their trails to follow through bracken and undergrowth, including the enchanted forest.

The trail has a real personality, very playful, and it loves big trees. There were plenty of those in the enchanted forest - wow, what an incredible place. It feels so ancient in there.

I did want to report that someone left their mark in nail polish along the trail: On the Horse Creek signpost: "Danger Not Horse Safe," "Lost the trail 2.5 mi," "GPS needed"

Horse Canyon trail junction marred by Finger Polish Lady, Summer 2013.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Peter's Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Report June 2014 sticky icon

Introduction
Upon the first publication of this report on June 8th 2014 Peter had just completed an early season snow-hiking trip along the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route. At that time he sent us very valuable information about early season conditions early in the season, which we first put up here on June 8 of 2014.

This information is not only valuable for backpackers trying to ascertain the conditions along the unmaintained segments of the trail, but also preps backpackers for the difficulties and challenges of hiking and navigating the Sierra Crest and backcountry through Spring snow conditions.

Though the particular stage of Spring conditions Peter describes transpires at a different times during each season's unique progression from Winter to Summer conditions, Peter well describes mid-to-late Spring conditions in the High Sierra.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Who’s Responsible for Your Mountain Safety? sticky icon

Repost
MOUNTAIN SAFETY & WILDERNESS ETHICS

The Folks Who Pull Us Out:
California Mountain Rescue Association

MRA met in Mammoth Lakes California to test in "Snow and Ice" for their yearly Re-Accreditation test, hosted in 2016 by Inyo County Search and Rescue. Credit Adorabutton.
I'm Seeing Red! MRA met in Mammoth Lakes California in 2016 to test in "Snow and Ice" for their yearly Re-Accreditation test, hosted by Inyo County SAR. Map. Photo Credit, Adorabutton, Wiki.

 

Who’s Responsible for Your Mountain Safety?

Should we stop rescuing people in wilderness?
Adirondack Explorer, February 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Watch Out for the Green Water: Blue-Green Algae News and Safety Information sticky icon

Watch Out for the Green Water

Toxic Algal Bloom
Blue green algae in Klamath River, credit to OSU.
Toxic Microcystis algae grow in a large bloom in the Copco Reservoir on the Klamath River, posing health risks to people, pets and wildlife. Go Beaves, credit to OSU!

 

ANNUAL ALERT
It's that time of year again, as Spring turns into Summer and our extraordinarily warming waters present increasing blue-green algae threats.

The Basics
Do not drink, or allow your animals or children to drink from or play in water containing cynobacteria, otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae. Review the Blue-Green News just below and the safety information at the bottom of this page:


Blue-Green Algae Safety and Identification Information

 

July 2018,
&
August 2015:
Rising heat and declining waters are creating conditions even more favorable for cynobacteria, otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae.

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 hike South to Sonora Pass along the PCT, to pick up the TYT again by hiking South out of Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.

 

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
July 25, 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:

Alex Wierbinski's picture

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: 2019 GREENLAND MELTING EVENTS

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: 2019 GREENLAND MELTING EVENTS

Greenland Temperatures July 30 vs. Average Temps
Greenland Temperatures July 30 vs. Average Temps, Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS), by Joshua Stevens, NASA.
July 30 Temps compared to Average
Dark Blue, -39F, White = Average, Yellow-Red +39F, Dark Red >46.4F
Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS), by Joshua Stevens, NASA.

 

Rare Melting Events Becoming Common

Warm Weather Brings Major Melting to Greenland,
NASA Earth Observatory, August 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"In late July 2019, a major melting event spread across the Greenland Ice Sheet. Billions of tons of meltwater streamed into the Atlantic Ocean throughout the month, making a direct and immediate contribution to sea level rise."

"The melting was provoked by a bubble of warm air that moved over Greenland after delivering unseasonably warm temperatures to Europe."

"...the last major melt event on July 11, 2012."

"The difference is that in 2019, the main melt event spanned two days, with a few hours of melt also occurring on July 31."

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Fungal Antidote for Skunk Spray Found

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & SKUNKS

Skunk
Skunk, Skeezer, Pixabay.
Skunk, Skeezer, Pixabay.

 

Antidote for Skunk Spray Found

Fungal Compound Deodorizes Skunk Smell,
American Chemical Society, July 24, 2019.

MAIN POINT

Skunk Unique Defense
"When skunks feel threatened, they spray fluids from their anal glands that contain several nasty-smelling organosulfur compounds. The human nose can detect extremely low concentrations of these substances, making it difficult to completely rid clothing, hair, fur or skin of the stink."

Human Tech Insufficient
"Available "de-skunking" formulas often either don't work well or can irritate the skin and eyes."

New Fungal Champion
Pericosine A
"...researchers...have identified a compound from fungi that safely and effectively neutralizes skunk spray odor."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

DNC, Devil Never Cares, Paid Pirate's Ransom by Feds, Aramark, & Taxpayers for Yosemite Place Names

 

FOREST, PARKS, PERMITS, & INFRASTRUCTURE

Camp Curry
Camp Curry Sign before DNC turned it off.
DNC forces us to pay for our own property...

 

Devil Never Cares Paid Pirate's Ransom for Yosemite Place Names

Lawsuit Settled Between National Park Service, DNC Parks and Resorts, and Yosemite Hospitality, LLC Over Trademarks and Service Marks,
Yosemite National Park, July 15, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Issue
Classic Yosemite Place Names
"Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel, and Badger Pass Ski Area"

Dealing with Thieves
"DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (Delaware North), the United States of America, and Yosemite Hospitality, LLC (Aramark) have settled the lawsuit filed by Delaware North related to Delaware North’s former concession contract at Yosemite with the National Park Service."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Europe Frequently Frying During Summer of 2019

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: EURO HEATWAVES OF 2019

European Heatwave, July 25, 2019
European Heatwave, July 25, 2019, depicts air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground. The darkest red areas are where the model shows temperatures surpassing 40°C (100°F), Joshua Stevens, NASA.
Yellow: Greater than 77 (25C), Light Red = 95 (35C), Dark Red 113 (45C)
"...depicts air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground. The darkest red areas are where the model shows temperatures surpassing 40°C (100°F)." Joshua Stevens, NASA.

 

Europe Frequently Frying

A Second Scorching Heatwave in Europe,
NASA Earth Observatory, July 26, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"On July 25, 2019, at least seven countries broke temperature records in a scorching heatwave. The United Kingdom experienced its hottest July day at 38.1°C (101°F)—0.4°C shy of the all-time UK record. Germany hit 41.7°C (107°F) to set a new record daytime high temperature. Belgium (41.8°C), France, (42.6°C), Luxembourg (40.8°C), the Netherlands (40.7°C), and Scotland (31.6°C) also registered their hottest days ever."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Pacific Salmon Going Down Hard

 

FISH, OCEANS, WATER & ICE: THE SALMON

Salmon Populations Especially at Risk from Climate Change
Mapping Pacific salmon and steelhead vulnerabilities to climate change. PLOS

Mapping Pacific salmon and steelhead vulnerabilities to climate change. BIG. Credit to PLOS.

 

Pacific Salmon Going Down Hard

Some Pacific salmon populations are especially at risk from climate change,
PLOS, July 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Climate Change Vulnerable
"Four population groups of Pacific salmon in California, Oregon, and Idaho are especially vulnerable to climate change..."

US Coastal Waters
"To better understand the vulnerability of Pacific salmon, the authors studied 33 threatened or endangered population groups of Pacific salmon, encompassing local populations from the Mexican border to the Canadian border."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Horse Story-Lost Coast Backpacker

 The picture at the bottom of the page was taken at sunset on Usal Beach. And it was the end of an excellent day at Usal Beach, on the Southern end of the Sinkyone State Park, which contains the Southern 14 miles of the Lost Coast. The next day I headed North into the temperate rain forests that characterize the Southern part of Lost Coast.

But that evening I dined on fresh abalone caught by the most interesting person I had ever encountered at Usal Beach.

I had driven my truck in the 6.8 miles on a well-maintained dirt road from an obscure turn-off about 35 miles North of Fort Bragg, California. I had found a nice camp site in the Aspens a bit behind the beach, and I had decided to walk to the beach before sunset.

On the grassy flat just before the beach, there was a strange site. There was a horse grazing about a hundred yards from an old '40s red and white international pick-up. The truck was strangely equipped, with chuck wagon style boxes set-up along the length of the bed's sides. Their downward opening doors made shelves, on which there was a Coleman white-gas four-burner, a cast iron skillet, and various food stuffs and cooking implements.

 

Horse Story-Lost Coast Backpacker
Embed Map: 
Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Russian Bee Losses Show Bee Decline an Emerging Global Disaster

 

GLOBAL BEE DISASTER EMERGING

Honey Bee Visiting Flowers
Western Honey Bee, Wiki, Louis Docker.
Western Honey Bee, Wiki, Louis Docker.

 

Russian Bee Losses Make Bee Decline a Global Situation

Russia Alarmed by Large Fall in Bee Populations,
BBC, July 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Scope
"...20 regions had reported mass bee deaths...regions include Bryansk and Kursk, south of Moscow, and Saratov and Ulyanovsk on the Volga River."

Causes & Effects
"...might mean 20% less honey being harvested. Some officials blamed poorly regulated pesticide use."

Beekeepers cite Climate
"...beekeepers blamed climate change, noting that late frosts had been followed by a severe heatwave in France."

"Sunflowers and buckwheat are just two of the staple crops pollinated by bees in Russia. Orchards also rely on bees for pollination."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

July of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index

 

Updated
July 31, 2019

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

AUGUST ALL HIGH SIERRA NEWS

JUNE ALL HIGH SIERRA NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
July
, 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

A World Without Forest Elephants Approaches

 

ANTHROPOCENE

Forest Elephant
Forest Elephant, Stephen Blake, Ph.D., Saint Louis University.
Forest elephants engineer the ecosystem of the entire central African forest, and their catastrophic decline toward extinction has implications for carbon policy. Stephen Blake, Ph.D., Saint Louis University.

 

A World Without Forest Elephants Approaches

Elephant Extinction will Raise Carbon Dioxide Levels in Atmosphere,
Saint Louis University, July 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"One of the last remaining megaherbivores, forest elephants shape their environment by serving as seed dispersers and forest bulldozers as they eat over a hundred species of fruit, trample bushes, knock over trees and create trails and clearings. Their ecological impact also affects tree populations and carbon levels in the forest,...with significant implications for climate and conservation policies."

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