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

Computer Model: More CO2 than ever before in 3 million years



Breaking Out of Nature’s Boxes:
The Past Shows Big Trouble Ahead

More CO2 than ever before in 3 million years, shows unprecedented computer simulation,
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), April 3, 2019.


“...coevolution of climate, ice sheets, and carbon cycle over the past 3 million years.”

Big Human Changes
“CO2 greenhouse gas amounts in the atmosphere are likely higher today than ever before in the past 3 million years.”

It Matters
“...we can now show in computer simulations that changes in CO2 levels were a main driver of the ice ages, together with variations of how the Earth's orbits around the sun, the so-called Milankovitch cycles.”

“...a strong sensitivity of the Earth system to relatively small variations in atmospheric CO2. As fascinating as this is, it is also worrying.”

Beyond Nature’s Limits
"It seems we're now pushing our home planet beyond any climatic conditions experienced during the entire current geological period, the Quaternary."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

April 1, 2019 High Sierra Snow Pack Survey



April 1, 2019 High Sierra Snowpack Survey

Snow Survey Boosts Runoff Predictions,
Cal Dept Water Resources, April 2, 2019.


“The April results are a key indicator for the rest of the year’s water supply.”

“Sierra Nevada snowpack is 162 percent of average”

“California has experienced more than 30 atmospheric rivers since the start of the water year, with six in February alone...”

“Based on snowpack numbers, we have the potential for some minor flooding due to melting snow so we remind folks to always stay vigilant and aware.”

Too Much Water
“The state’s largest six reservoirs currently hold between 106 percent (Oroville) and 132 percent (Melones) of their historical averages for this date. Lake Shasta, California’s largest surface reservoir, is 109 percent of its historical average and sits at 89 percent of capacity.”


Alex Wierbinski's picture

The Farce Continues: India, China, & Brazil Exempt from, Environmental “Pacts,”



Forest Restoration Agreement Map
 A World of Opportunity (World Resource Institute, 2011).

Restoration opportunity map across 43 tropical and sub-tropical countries. Data source: Minnemeyer, S., et al. Bonn Challenge: A World of Opportunity (World Resource Institute, 2011). Big Map.


The Farce Continues: India, China, & Brazil Exempt from, “Pacts,”
Cheating Forest Pact all the Way to Environmental Destruction


Restore natural forests to meet global climate goals,
University College London, April 2, 2019.


The Failing Farce
“International plans to restore forests to combat global warming are flawed and will fall far short of meeting 1.5C climate targets...”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Into the Darkness: Massacre Rim Named Dark Sky Sanctuary


Observing: Looking into the Void

Dark Night Skies
Night Sky Page Header, National Park Service
National Park Service, big image, from NPS, Night Skies


Let There Be Darkness

(Makes it Easier to See the Light...)

Public lands at Massacre Rim named International Dark Sky Sanctuary,
Dark Sky Organization, April 1, 2019.


“The 101,000-acre Massacre Rim WSA is 150 miles north of Reno and 160 miles east ofRedding, Calif. It is nearly 100 miles north of Gerlach Nev. featured in writer Oliver Roeder’s “The Darkest Town in America,” a chronicle of his search for the darkest place on the continent.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

WEATHER WEST: Winter of 2018-2019. What Happened? What’s Next?




Winter of 2018-2019

What Happened? What’s Next?

Just how wet and cold was winter 2018-2019?
Weather West, March 24, 2019.


"...punctuated by California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire in history during the uncharacteristic month of November."

Seasonal Precip
“Overall cumulative precipitation anomalies have not been particularly exceptional...”

Seasonal Temps
“...temperatures for the full period really haven’t been that cold–shaking out pretty close to average for most of the state. (Of course, that somewhat masks the very cold conditions that occurred during February).”

The Question
“So how, exactly, can California have received 156% of average snow water equivalent when precipitation over the same interval was only ~120% of average and temperatures were “near average?”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

End of Cold: Another Rapidly Disappearing Glacier, Länta Glacier, Swiss Alps



This is No April Fools Joke!
Another Rapidly Disappearing Glacier

NASA Image(s) of the Day

Lanta Glacier,  1989:
Small and Getting Smaller
 Small and Getting Smaller, NASA.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey, and topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Photos courtesy of Archive VAW/ETH Zürich (Bernard Riedi AWN/GR). Story by Kathryn Hansen. Big Topo.

Lanta Glacier,  2017
Much Smaller
 Small and Getting Smaller, NASA.
Image Credit NASA. Big Topo.


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Nasty Asian longhorned Tick Rapidly Filling up Staten Island, NY, & East Coast



 Asian Longhorned Tick
Asian Longhorned Tick, photo credit Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new species, identified last summer in Westchester and Staten island, is increasing and spreading quickly, photo credit Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Big Tick.


Nasty Tick Rapidly Filling up Staten Island, East Coast

New Yorkers brace for self-cloning Asian longhorned tick,
Columbia University, March 28, 2019.


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Waggle Dance Language Key: Science Finds The Rosetta Stone for Bees




Bee, Marked for Waggle Dance Reading
 Virginia Tech.
The researchers analyzed the dances of 85 marked bees from three hives. Credit: Virginia Tech


Science Finds The Rosetta Stone for Bees

Codifying the Universal Language of Honey Bees,
Virginia Tech, March 27, 2019.


Bee Language Key?
“...the researchers present an extraordinary foundational advance - a universal calibration, or for science fiction aficionados, a "babel fish," that translates honey bee communications across sub-species and landscapes.”

“The researchers analyzed the dances of 85 marked bees from three hives.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Exercise has Anti-Inflammatory Effect Preventing Osteoarthritis Cartilage Damage



Exercise has Anti-Inflammatory Effect

Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis,
Queen Mary University of London, March 27, 2019.


Exercise Good
“Exercise helps to prevent the degradation of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis...”

Movement is Anti-Inflammatory
“During exercise the cartilage in joints such as the hip and knee is squashed. This mechanical distortion is detected by the living cells in the cartilage which then block the action of inflammatory molecules associated with conditions such as arthritis.”

“…this is down to tiny hair-like structures called primary cilia found on living cells.”

“...this anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity is caused by activation of a particular protein, called HDAC6, which triggers changes in the proteins that form primary cilia.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Ancient and Modern Martian Water: Two Research Summaries



Martian Water Then & Now

 Two Research Summaries

1> Evidence of Deep Groundwater on Mars

2> Rivers of Ancient Mars



1>Martian Water Now

Recurrent Slope Linae (RSL) on the Martian Palikir Crater’s walls
Recurrent Slope Linae (RSL) on the Martian Palikir Crater’s walls, by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

Look at those walls! Alien climber's El Cap? This research contends that they're formed by the occasional flows of water leaking out from deep inside Mars, escaping through them.
Photo credit to NASA/JPL/University of Arizona. Big Image.


Alex Wierbinski's picture

End of The Age of Humans: Human Effects Equal Chicxulub Climate Disruption


MARCH 29, 2019

First Glimpses into the Deadly Minutes Following, 'Dinosaur-Killer,' Chicxulub Impact

"A tangled mass of freshwater fish, terrestrial vertebrates, trees, branches, logs, marine ammonites and other marine creatures was all packed into this layer by the inland-directed surge..." below



Original Research


The Age of Humans

Human Effects Equal Chicxulub Climate Disruption

The 5 degrees of meteor-induced warming that took out the dinosaurs took 100,000 years to recover,
Science Daily, May 24, 2018.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Deadliest Disease Ever: History, Mechanism, Effects of Chytrid Fungus




Cytrid Spores from Batrachochytrium Fungus
Cytrid Spores from Batrachochytrium Fungus, from the video by Luís Felipe Toledo.
Look at those wriggling little fungus devils! Batrachochytrium releases its spores in water, and the spores are able to swim until they infect a host, video by Luís Felipe Toledo. Check-out the spores in full screen mode, to get the best impression of their intense activity.


Deadliest Disease Ever
The History, Mechanism, and Effects of the Deadly Chytrid Fungus


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Exposure to Deadly Aedes Mosquitoes & their Diseases Doubling with Global Warming



It Begins Here
The Main Culprits: Humans, followed by Aedes Aegypti

 Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae, credit to NIAID (CC BY 2.0, 2016).
Aedes Aegypti Mosquito Larvae, credit to NIAID (CC BY 2.0, 2016)


It Ends Here:
Killer Skeeters Benefit Greatly from our Heating of our Environment
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Wiki.
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Wiki

Two Teams Report

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Warming Arctic Deeply Affecting North Hemisphere Weather


Changing Status of Arctic is Deeply Affecting North Hemisphere Weather

Study shows arctic warming contributes to drought,
University of Wyoming, March 27, 2019.


“When the Arctic warmed after the ice age 10,000 years ago, it created perfect conditions for drought.”

“According to new research led by a University of Wyoming scientist, similar changes could be in store today because a warming Arctic weakens the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles. This, in turn, results in less precipitation, weaker cyclones and weaker mid-latitude westerly wind flow -- a recipe for prolonged drought.”

“Our analysis shows that, when the Arctic is warmer, the jet stream and other wind patterns tend to be weaker.”

“...when temperatures have changed in similar ways to today (warming of the Arctic), the mid-latitudes -- particularly places like Wyoming and other parts of central North America -- dried out.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Kangaroo Rat Escapes Attacking Rattlesnake by Kicking the Sucker in the Head



Kangaroo Rat Kicking Rattlesnake Head while Out-Jumping Strike Speed
Kangaroo rat defensive kicking of rattlesnake while jumping, By Ninja Rats.
Lower legs planted on Rattler’s head, By Ninja Rats, Videos.


The Kangaroo Jumping Rat

High-speed videos capture how kangaroo rat escapes rattlesnake attack,
University of California - Riverside, March 27, 2019.


Alex Wierbinski's picture

March of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index


March 31, 2019









High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

, 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

Extreme Antarctic Events Common Source of Annual Averages



Percent of Annual Precip Deposited by Extreme Events
circular map, showing percentage of annual precip brought by EPEs, by British Antarctic Survey.
The contours and colours show the percentage of the annual snowfall that comes from the extremes, here taken as the top 10% of daily snowfall amounts, credit to BAS.


Extreme Events Common Source of Annual Averages

Antarctic snowfall dominated by a few extreme snowstorms,
British Antarctic Survey, March 25, 2019.


Extreme Precipitation Events (EPEs)

This “...study reveals the importance of a small number of intense storms around Antarctica in controlling the amount of snow falling across the continent.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

News of Climate & Ecological Change, The Spring of 2019




Updated Daily 

April 19,  2019


SPRING of 2019

The transitions between seasons, their basic character, their timing, temp, and humidity transitions have all changed. The directions from which the seasonal winds blow have changed. These changes are reverberating through and disrupting webs of life that wrap around the whole planet.

Blooming, feeding, mating, and migration patterns of all living things are changing around the world.

Here we track the obvious and the subtle human affects on Nature. The club and the knife, if you will.


Previous Reports-Research

Winter of 2019

2018 Climate News

October-December 2017





Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Spring Outlook: Major Flooding Risks Continuing across USA



Outlook for Spring 2019 Flooding
2019 US Spring Flood Outlook by NOAA.

Locations where there is a greater than 50-percent chance of major, moderate or minor flooding during March through May, 2019. (NOAA) Big Map.


2019 US Flooding Reaching New Levels of Extremity

Spring Outlook: Historic, widespread flooding to continue through May,
NOAA, March 21, 2019.


Widespread Flood Risk
“Nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states face an elevated risk for flooding through May, with the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states, according to NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook issued today.”

Record Flooding So Far
“...the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins including Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa – have already experienced record flooding this year.”

Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system


Latest News: RSS FEED

Syndicate content

Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

We offer valuable Trail Guide, Skills, Weather, News and Analysis.

My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

If you feel these efforts are valuable, I'm cordially inviting you to support them, here:



I am currently working towards publishing the completed guide between Tahoe & Yosemite as an e-book, while converting this "blog" to a fine magazine format. You will like the results! Help Tahoe to Whitney reach its potential!


Why Support Tahoe to Whitney?
Mission Statement