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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Massive Unexpected Emissions from Melting Permafrost

 

OCEANS, WATER, ICE, & SNOW

 

Massive Unexpected Emissions from Melting Permafrost

The trouble with thaw,
Harvard University, April 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Permafrost Melting
"Forests are falling; roads are collapsing; and, in an ironic twist, the warmer soil is releasing even more greenhouse gases, which could exacerbate the effects of climate change."

Measuring Outgassing
“...scientists rushed to monitor emissions of the two most influential anthropogenic (human-generated) greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane).”

Except N2O
“...”the threat of the third largest (nitrous oxide) has largely been ignored.”

EPA on N2O
“...the agency rates these emissions as "negligible.”

Whoops
“...nitrous oxide emissions from thawing Alaskan permafrost are about twelve times higher than previously assumed.”

12X Expected Levels
“...In just one month, the plane recorded enough nitrous oxide to fulfill the expected cap for an entire year.”

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The Big Volcano: The Permian Extinction

 

EXTINCTION TRIGGERS: THE BIG ROCK from SPACE, THE SUPERNOVA KILL ZONE, THE BIG VOLCANO, & MAN

Siberian Traps Dooming Gorgonopsids
A volcanic eruption spells doom for a predatory gorgonopsid during the Permian Period, by Margaret Weiner/UC Creative Services.
A volcanic eruption spells doom for a predatory gorgonopsid during the Permian Period, by Margaret Weiner/UC Creative Services.

 

The Big Volcano: The Permian Extinction

New evidence suggests volcanoes caused biggest mass extinction ever,
University of Cincinnati, April 15, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“...five known mass extinctions over its (Earth’s) 4.5 billion years.”

252 mya
“The extinction 252 million years ago was so dramatic and widespread that scientists call it "the Great Dying."

Ancient Earth
“...killed off much of the terrestrial and marine life before the rise of dinosaurs. Some were prehistoric monsters in their own right, such as the ferocious gorgonopsids that looked like a cross between a sabre-toothed tiger and a Komodo dragon.”

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Great Basin Flyway Drying Out

 

LIVES of BIRDS

Great Basin Flyway Drying Out

Western Bird Species Are Struggling In Face Of Rapidly Changing Climate,
KPBS, April 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Changed and Changing More
“...climate change is putting stress on wetlands in the West's Great Basin and that is putting pressure on bird populations navigating the Pacific Flyway.”

“Snowmelt is arriving too early and not sticking around long enough...”

General Decline
“Eleven of those 14 birds that we looked at there were significant correlations between changes in climate and a decrease in population.”

Scope
“The basin includes most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Arizona, Oregon and the eastern edge of California.”

What’s Driving Climate Change, in the First Place?
Long Over-Development
"But that’s not to say that urbanization and other uses of water have not severely affected birds in the great basin and elsewhere.”

 

Related Research

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Normal Operations of an Antarctic Glacier Speeding Up

 

OCEANS, ICE, WATER, & FISH

Glacial Mechanics of Pine Island Glacier
Pine Island Glacier, NASA Earth Observatory animation by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.
NASA Earth Observatory animation by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.

 

Normal Operations of an Antarctic Glacier Speeding Up

The Wide View of a Shrinking Glacier: Retreat at Pine Island,
NASA Earth Observatory, April 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Thinning & Retreating Faster
“...a shrinking outlet glacier is usually doing three things: thinning (mostly at the seaward edge), retreating, and accelerating. The acceleration stretches the glacier, causing the thinning and likely making the ice more prone to crevassing (cracking) “upstream.”

Shrinking
“...over the long term at Pine Island, you can see that the ice front has retreated inland, which means the calving rate has increased more than the glacier has accelerated. “This underlies our concern that retreating outlet glaciers can ‘shrink’ rapidly.”

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Grim News about The Future of the Great Northern Hemisphere Heat Wave of 2018

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Grim News about The Great Northern Hemisphere Heat Wave of 2018

Simultaneous Heatwaves Caused by Anthropogenic Climate Change,
ETH Zurich, April 10, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Great Northern Hemisphere Heat Wave of 2018

“Multiple places around the world experienced heat so severe that people died of heatstroke, power generation had to be curtailed, rails and roads started to melt, and forests went up in flames. What was truly sobering about this heatwave was that it affected not only one area, such as the Mediterranean region, but several across the temperate zones and the Arctic simultaneously.”

One Reason: Humans
“...the only explanation of why heat affected so many areas over several months is anthropogenic climate change.”

"Without the climate change that can be explained by human activity, we wouldn't have such a large area being simultaneously affected by heat as we did in 2018."

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Two Fitness Research Summaries: Power and Protein

 

HEALTH & FITNESS
Style and Substance:

Two Fitness Research Summaries:
Food and Proper Forms for Superior Performance

Muscle Power & Protein Intake

 

1> POWER

Ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer life,
European Society of Cardiology, April 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“Prolong your life by increasing your muscle power.”

“...people with more muscle power tend to live longer.”

The Key: Power
“Power depends on the ability to generate force and velocity, and to coordinate movement.”

Power Forms
"Power training is carried out by finding the best combination of speed and weight being lifted or moved. For strength training at the gym most people just think about the amount of weight being lifted and the number of repetitions without paying attention to the speed of execution. But for optimal power training results, you should go beyond typical strength training and add speed to your weight lifts."

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HEALTH & FITNESS NEWS: Dangers of High Intensity Exercise

 

HEALTH & FITNESS

High Intensity Exercise

High-intensity interval training increases injuries, Rutgers study finds,
Rutgers University, April 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Interval Training
"These workouts, which combine aerobic exercising, weight lifting and calisthenics at maximum capacity, followed by periods of recovery, have been growing in popularity over the past decade, driven by the efficiency of the exercise to deliver fitness goals in less time."

DANGER
"People who engage in high-intensity interval training are at greater risk for injury, especially in the knees and shoulders."

Effective but Dangerous
"...acknowledged that while this type of training is effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness, boosting energy and promoting lean muscle mass and fat loss, it also increases injury risk."

Why
Improper Prep
"...many athletes, especially amateurs, do not have the flexibility, mobility, core strength and muscles to perform these exercises."

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Ice Research: Half of Euro Glaciers Gone by 2050, the remainder by 2100

 

OCEANS, ICE, WATER & FISH

Gorner Glacier
Gorner Glacier, by M. Huss, European Geosciences Union.
Gorner glacier at the end of the summer of 2017. The glacier is located in the Monte Rosa massif and is the second largest glacier of the European Alps. Wiki. By M. Huss, European Geosciences Union.

 

Euro Glaciers Gone by 2100

More than 90% of Glacier Volume in the Alps could be Lost by 2100,
European Geosciences Union, April 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Euro Glaciers
"...all glaciers in the Alps, around 4000."

Half Gone by 2050
"...from 2017 to 2050, about 50% of glacier volume will disappear, largely independently of how much we cut our greenhouse gas emissions."

"The Alps would lose about 50% of their present glacier volume by 2050 in all scenarios."

Post 2100
"After 2050, the future evolution of glaciers will strongly depend on how the climate will evolve."

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Inyo SAR-CHP Mt. Russell Rescue

 

HIGH SIERRA MOUNTAIN SAFETY

Mount Russell from CHP Inyo SAR's Perspective
Mt. Russell Rescue, Inyo SAR CHP helicopter view.
Thanks to Inyo SAR-CHP for the rescue, and the view.

 

The Southern Sierra

Mt. Russell Rescue,
Inyo SAR, April 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Call
"...April 7, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency satellite transmission requesting a rescue near Mt. Whitney."

Subjects
"...four climbers attempting to summit Mt. Russell (14,088’) had gotten off route while descending and were stuck on the side of a cliff above a steep couloir (around 13,000’ in elevation). The party had no way of getting either up or down."

Rescue
"...5:30 PM, CHP located the four subjects on Mt. Russell and lowered an Inyo SAR team member via a 100’ cable hoist to their position."

"...took the first subject to the Lone Pine airport and refueled. When the helicopter returned, the rescue team hoisted the remaining three climbers and dropped them to their camp near Lower Boyscout Lake one at a time."

 

Trail Guide

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Alaska Skips Mid-Winter to Experience Late Spring Conditions in March

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Extreme Land Surface Temp Anomalies, March, 2019
Widespread Extreme Heat
Extreme Land Surface Temp Anomalies, March, 2019, NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin.
Darker red colors depict areas that were hotter than March's average temps between 2000-2012; blues were colder than average. Note the widspread deep darkness.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin. Big.

 

Alaska Skips Mid-Winter to Experience Late Spring Conditions in March

Alaska Hit With a Hot March,
NASA Earth Observatory, April 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Weird Weather Across Alaska

Records Across Alaska
“The average temperature for March 2019 set records at 10 of 19 ground-based weather stations in Alaska."

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ECO-CRASHING NEWS: Comprehensive Arctic Warming Underway

 

ECO-CRASH NEWS: Arctic Warming

Scene of the Crime
Southern Brooks Range from Dalton Highway
Southern Brooks Range from Dalton Highway, UAF photo by Todd Paris.
Changing beauties of the peaks of the southern Brooks Range along a stretch of the Dalton Highway, about 250 miles north of Fairbanks, UAF photo by Todd Paris.

 

Traditional Arctic Climate & Global Weather Influences Almost Gone

Air temperatures in the Arctic are driving system change,
University of Alaska Fairbanks, April 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Major Changes Underway
“...increasing air temperatures and precipitation are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system."

Unprecedented
"The Arctic system is trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic."

"Never have so many Arctic indicators been brought together in a single paper."

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A Glacial Scorecard Since 1961

 

OCEANS, ICE, FISH, & WATER

Regional Share of Glaciers in Sea-Level Rise from 1961 to 2016
Regional share of glaciers in sea-level rise from 1961 to 2016, by Zemp, University of Zurich.

Credit to Zemp, University of Zurich, see the full size map

 

A Glacial Scorecard Since 1961

Melting Glaciers Causing Sea Levels to Rise at Ever Greater Rates,
University of Zurich, April 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Viewpoint
Digital measurement of glaciers, “...with geodetic satellite measurements.”

Human measurements by...“World Glacier Monitoring Service from its worldwide network of observers...”

A Comprehensive Look at Global Glaciers
“...able to reconstruct changes in the ice thickness of more than 19,000 glaciers worldwide.”

“...we can estimate how much ice has been lost each year in all mountain regions since the 1960s,"”

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Speed of Ocean Circulation Crucial to Climate

 

OCEANS, ICE, FISH, & WATER

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, Earth Institute at Columbia University.
"The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, seen here in simplified form, brings warm water northward (red arrows) until it reaches the region around Greenland and northern Europe. Here, it sinks and travels southward (yellow arrows). Much of the water re-emerges in the Southern Ocean." Courtesy Francesco Muschitiello/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

 

Speed of Ocean Circulation Crucial to Climate

Carbon lurking in deep ocean threw ancient climate switch, say researchers,
Earth Institute at Columbia University, April 8, 2019.

Main Points

Mid-Pleistocene Transition
Slowing ancient Ocean Circulation absorbing massive CO2 triggered Severe Cold

Big CO2 Effects
"...the study clearly demonstrates that the carbon missing from the air ended up in the ocean, and had a powerful effect on climate."

"..there's an intimate relationship between the amount of carbon stored in the ocean, and what the climate is doing."

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Long Consequences of Our Own, Home Brewed, Extinction Event

 

ANTHROPOCENE

What's Left?
Extinction Survivor Species
Plankton
Extinction Survivor Species, Plankton, The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences/John Maisano.
An artist's interpretation of the sea floor after the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. The three hair-covered forms (left) represent species of plankton that survived. The geometric form (bottom left) is a species of algae. The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences/John Maisano.
 

Consequences of Our Own Extinction Event

Evolution imposes 'speed limit' on recovery after mass extinctions,
University of Texas at Austin, April 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Return to Normalcy
Now, + 10 mil
“It takes at least 10 million years for life to fully recover after a mass extinction...”

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KID’S HEALTH & FITNESS: Legions of Digital Crackhead Fatties...

 

KID’S HEALTH & FITNESS

 

Engaging the Kid with Nature
Hiking the Kid. Photo Credit  Jyväskylän yliopisto, University of Jyväskylä.
I’d have that kid carrying a pack, reading the map, and consulting on route, breaks, and timing our pursuit of objectives, all while actively observing near & far… Photo Credit Jyväskylän yliopisto, University of Jyväskylä. Say that three times quickly...

 

Legions of Digital Crakhead Fatties...

Decline in physical activity often starts as early as age 7,
University of Jyväskylä - Jyväskylän yliopisto, April 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Unfit for Purpose
Fit for Consumption, Rather than Nature
“Overall physical activity starts to decline already around the age of school entry. While the proportion of physically inactive individuals rises with age there still are groups of people who manage to increase their physical activity level in adulthood and old age.”

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A Closer Look: Korolev Crater & the Moons of Mars

 

UPDATED

Observe Two Solar Eclipses from the Surface of Mars

Phobos

Demos

 

ASTROPHYSICS, ASTRONOMY, & THE ATMOSPHERE of MARS


TWO FACES of MARS
 NASA, ESA, and STScI.

Hubble reveals Clear & Dusty Faces of Mars. Credits: NASA, ESA, and STScI

Mars Seen in Clear and Dusty Conditions,
NASA, July 26, 2018

 

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The Sun’s Raining Plasma: No Umbrella Protection Possible

 

ASTROPHYSICS

Flying Over the Surface of Our Sun
Watching Plasma Raining Off Small Magnetic Loops
Solar Plasma Raining Off Small Magnetic Loops, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory/Emily Mason.
A previously overlooked magnetic structure is shown here in two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light. The coronal rain observed in these comparatively small magnetic loops suggests that the corona may be heated within a far more restricted region than previously expected. Credits: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory/Emily Mason.  Big

 

The Sun’s Raining Plasma: No Umbrella Protection Possible

Unexpected Rain on Sun Links Two Solar Mysteries,
NASA, April 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

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Brunt Ice Shelf about to Calve

 

BRUNT ICE SHELF

The Edge of Cold
This is the the edge of the Brunt Ice Shelf, Jan de Rydt, Northumbria University.
This is the the edge of the Brunt Ice Shelf, Jan de Rydt, Northumbria University.

 

Natural Cycles of Antarctic Ice

Large Antarctic Ice Shelf, home to a UK research station, is about to break apart,
Northumbria University, April 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Brunt Ice Shelf

“...150m to 250m thick…twice the size of New York City - is expected to break away from the Brunt Ice Shelf in as little as a few months, when two large cracks which have been growing over the past seven years meet.”

“...there is no indication from our research that this particular event is related to climate change.”

“...this type of event is historically consistent and part of the natural cycle and movement of the ice shelf.”

 

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Long 100 Year Gap of Major California Earthquakes

 

GEOLOGY

The Last Big One
San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
San Francisco Mission District burning in the aftermath of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By Chadwick, H. D, US Gov War Department. Wiki.

San Francisco Mission District burning in the aftermath of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By Chadwick, H. D, US Gov War Department. Wiki, Big Shot.

The last major quake in California was just over a hundred years ago, with the SF Quake measuring in at 7.9. Loma Prieta was 6.9, in 1989.

 

Long Gap of Major California Earthquakes

California's current earthquake hiatus is an unlikely pause,
Seismological Society of America, April 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

A Quiet 100 Years
“There have been no major ground rupturing earthquakes along California's three highest slip rate faults in the past 100 years.”

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Bees Winners in Mega Fire Forest Succession Debacle

 

 

BEE NEWS

 

Oregonian Bee
Triepeolus on Canada thistle, Jim Rivers, OSU.
Triepeolus on Canada thistle, Jim Rivers, OSU

 

Bees Winners in Mega Fire Forest Succession Debacle

Wild bees flock to forested areas affected by severe fire,
Oregon State University, April 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“...wildfire severity is a strong predictor of bee diversity in mixed-conifer forest.”

“...trapping bees at 43 sites in forests burned by the 2013 Douglas Complex fire (info pdf) that scorched nearly 50,000 acres north of Grants Pass.”

“...collected bees with blue-vane traps, which attract the insects by reflecting ultraviolet light, and used satellite imagery to determine fire severity.”

Bees Love the Blues

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