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.  

tmorton23's picture

Crown Lake Sunrise, Hoover Wilderness

Crown Lake


Ted Morton's

Trip Report
July 14 – 21, 2018
Bensen Lake Loop
Day Two


9520 feet


Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Crown Lake Sunrise, Hoover Wilderness
tmorton23's picture

Robinson Lakes Pond in the Hoover Wilderness

Robinson Lake Pond


Ted Morton's

Trip Report
July 14 – 21, 2018
Bensen Lake Loop
Day Two


9240 feet


Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Robinson Lakes Pond in the Hoover Wilderness
tmorton23's picture

Barney Lake in the Hoover Wilderness

Barney Lake


Ted Morton's

Trip Report
July 14 – 21, 2018
Bensen Lake Loop
Day Two


8258 feet


Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Barney Lake in the Hoover Wilderness
tmorton23's picture

Little Slide Canyon Sunrise in Hoover Wilderness

Sunrise over Little Slide Canyon


Ted Morton's

Trip Report
July 14 – 21, 2018
Bensen Lake Loop
Day One


Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Little Slide Canyon Sunrise in Hoover Wilderness
tmorton23's picture

Little Slide Canyon Sunset, Hoover Wilderness

Sunset over Little Slide Canyon


Ted Morton's

Trip Report
July 14 – 21, 2018
Bensen Lake Loop
Day One


Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map


Little Slide Canyon, Hoover Wilderness above Twin Lakes

Little Slide Canyon Sunset, Hoover Wilderness
tmorton23's picture

Twin Lakes Trailhead, Hoover Wilderness

Ted Morton's

Trip Report
July 14 – 21, 2018
Bensen Lake Loop
Day One


Bending Crestline
The map shown in the image below, mounted-up on the Twin Lake Trailhead's expansive marker, appears to lay out the Hoover Wilderness' arc of terrain running North, wedged under, up to, and along this section of the Sierra's Eastern Crestline, along this unique location where the Sierra Crestline executes a hard bend to the North from the West-Northwestern line it has been making as it wraps around the top of the North Yosemite Backcountry.

This is interesting terrain. Let's do some map study to understand it a little better.

Twin Lakes Trailhead, Hoover Wilderness
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Inital Report: Donnell Fire Threatening Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Wilderness Areas

Initial DONNELL FIRE Report
August 5, 2018

Highway 108 Corridor Just West of Clarks Fork Road

Threatening Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Wilderness Areas



Donnell Fire


Statewide Fire Map: Donnell Fire

Backpacking Trails & Maps



Latest Order

Mandatory Evacuations along Highway 108
Clarks Fork to Kennedy Meadows
August 4, 2018:

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Great Northern Hemisphere Heat Wave of 2018: Two Articles: Sweden Shrinking, Europe Frying


The Great Northern Hemisphere Heat Wave of 2018

Two Articles: Sweden Shrinking, & Europe Frying

1>Sweden Shrinking

Sweden's Highest Peak Melts Away as Record Temperatures Hit Arctic Circle,
Time, August 3, 2018.

Main Points

Arctic Circle Heatwave
"A summer heatwave in the Arctic circle has claimed a victim in Sweden’s highest point, a glacier on Kebnekaise mountain in the north of the country."

"Melting fueled by the heat has caused the peak to lose 13 feet in height."

"Just a month ago, the glacier reached 6,893 feet above sea level. At the latest measurement on Tuesday, it was just 6,879 feet high...it is now no longer the highest point in the country."

“We know that it has melted because it is very hot."

Arctic Circle at 90F
"Northern Europe has been sweltering in a heatwave that scientists fear is a result of climate change. Banak in Norway, over 350 miles into the Arctic Circle, reached 90 degrees on Monday."



2>Euros, and even the Northern Euros, are Baking

Alex Wierbinski's picture

HEALTH & STATUS of LAKE TAHOE: 2018 State of the Lake Report


2018 State of the Lake Report

IN HOT WATER? Lake Tahoe sees decreased clarity, highest ever surface water temps in 2017,
Sierra Sun, August 2, 2018.

Introduction to the Destruction of Lake Tahoe
The external, environmental factors that are clouding and warming Lake Tahoe’s waters are accelerating, not diminishing. Where we are “at” right now is just one step along a much longer path to a much warmer, wetter climate, where the majority of our annual precip will fall as rain, rather than snow.

High Sierra Forest Succession
These climate changes are being accompanied by, triggering really, what is looking like a great High Sierra forest succession. It looks to me like we’ve created a situation where the climate and weather no longer suit the contemporary stratification of forests on the West Flank of the Sierra, and they are in the process of transforming into forests that are better suited for the new, emerging hotter climate. Tree Mortality and Fire are the method of succession.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

ASTROPHYSICS & SUCH: Things that Go Boom in the Night, 2018


Things that Go Boom in the Night: Dept of Big Rocks

Meteor Explosion Over U.S. Military Base: Fireball Packing 2.1 Kilotons Of Force Detonates Near Base Thule,
Inquisitr, August 3, 2018.

“Perplexing media reports state that a mysterious meteor has penetrated Earth’s atmosphere on July 25, exploding over a U.S. military base stationed in Greenland.”

“…managed to slip past the early-warning radar at Thule Air Force Base and remained unnoticed until it disintegrated some 43 kilometers (26 miles) above the base...”

“...the detonation unleashed an energy of about 8.8 trillion Joules, equivalent to the explosion of 2,100 tons of TNT. ”

That's 2.1 Kilotons.

"Luckily, the U.S. personnel stationed at Thule Air didn’t mistake the meteor explosion of an incoming nuke, otherwise the bolide might have sparked a nuclear war," 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018 Fields Medal Award Winner Peter Scholze


The Newest-New Math

A Master of Numbers and Shapes Who Is Rewriting Arithmetic,
Quanta, August 1, 2018.

2018 Fields Medal Award Winner

Peter Scholze

"...30-year-old Scholze was awarded the medal (the Fields Medals — mathematics’ highest honor) at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Rio de Janeiro, making him one of the youngest Fields medalists ever. His award cites “the revolution that he launched in arithmetic geometry...”

"...developing a unified theory called prismatic cohomology, which envisions these different cohomologies essentially as bands of light in a cohomological rainbow."

A Fascinating Story

"...profile of Scholze from June 28, 2016..."

"Scholze’s key innovation — a class of fractal structures he calls perfectoid spaces — is only a few years old, but it already has far-reaching ramifications in the field of arithmetic geometry, where number theory and geometry come together."

"...perfectoid spaces are hard for other researchers to grasp..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Big Quakes can Trigger Big Quakes on opposite side of Earth


Bi-Polar Quakes

Research finds quakes can systematically trigger other ones on opposite side of Earth,
Oregon State University, August 2, 2018.

"New research shows that a big earthquake can not only cause other quakes, but large ones, and on the opposite side of the Earth."

"...looked at 44 years of seismic data and found clear evidence that temblors of magnitude 6.5 or larger trigger other quakes of magnitude 5.0 or larger."

"It had been thought that aftershocks – smaller magnitude quakes that occur in the same region as the initial quake as the surrounding crust adjusts after the fault perturbation – and smaller earthquakes at great distances – were the main global effects of very large earthquakes."

"...analysis of seismic data from 1973 through 2016 – an analysis that excluded data from aftershock zones – using larger time windows than in previous studies, provided discernible evidence that in the three days following one large quake, other earthquakes were more likely to occur."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Scripps Pier Records Highest Ocean Temperature in its 102-year History


Hot Times in SoCal

San Diego's Scripps Pier records highest ocean temperature in its 102-year history,
San Diego Union Tribune, August 2, 2018.

"...sea surface temperature at the Scripps Pier in La Jolla hit 78.6 degrees on Wednesday, the highest reading in the pier’s 102-year history, according to UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography."

"...broke the previous record of 78.4 degrees, which was set in 1931."

"The institute has been taking sea surface temperatures there since August 1916 as part of its scientific research."

Weird Times

"Southern California coastal waters have been anomalously warm since the beginning of 2014, when we experienced a marine heatwave."

“This event was popularly known as ‘the blob’. The following year, during 2015-2016, we had one of the strongest El Nino’s of the the last few decades and the local ocean continued warming."

“Since then SoCal waters are still anomalously warm — that is the water has not returned to temperatures that were normal in the previous seven years."

“The warm waters are posing a challenge for lifeguards, who’ve had to watch over enormous crowds.”


The Bottom Line

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Eco-Crash News: The Great Northern Hemisphere Heatwave of 2018


The New Heatwave Normal

Record 2018 Death Valley & Northern Hemispheric Heat

Death Valley posts hottest month ever recorded on Earth, for the second July in a row,
Washington Post, August 2, 2018.

Hottest of the Hot

"Last July, California’s Death Valley endured the hottest month ever measured on the planet. This July ended up even hotter."

"Over both day and night, the temperature at Death Valley averaged 108.1 degrees, ahead of the mark set a year ago by about a half-degree. That previous mark had broken a record that stood for 100 years."

"...this July’s temperature has averaged nearly six degrees above the average of 102.2."

"The high temperature hit at least 120 degrees on 21 days, sailing past the normal high of 116.5 degrees."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Warm Soil, Heatwaves & Microbes: Two Pieces of Climate Change-Soil Disaster Research



Two Pieces of Climate-Soil Research

1> Climate Change-driven Droughts & Heatwaves are getting Hotter

2> As temperatures rise, Earth's soil is 'breathing' more heavily



Climate Changed Soils Magnifying Droughts & Heatwaves

Climate change-driven droughts are getting hotter, UCI study finds,
University of California - Irvine, August 1, 2018.

Higher Drought Temps

"...report that temperatures during droughts have been rising faster than in average climates in recent decades, and they point to concurrent changes in atmospheric water vapor as a driver of the surge."

Hotter Hots

"Available soil moisture can remove surface heat through evaporation, but if the land is dry, there is no opportunity to transport it away, which increases the local temperature."

More Problems Now

Alex Wierbinski's picture

OCEANS, CHEMISTRY, & CLIMATE: Cooking Up a Toxic Brew


Cooking Up a Toxic Brew

Scientists draw new connections between climate change and warming oceans,
University of Toronto, August 1, 2018.

Climate Changes Ocean Chemistry

"...shows how an increase in CO2 in Earth's atmosphere more than 50 million years ago (the PETM), dramatically changed the chemistry of the planet's oceans."

"...global warming is not only about extreme weather events, or hotter summers, but it has the potential to alter the ocean structure with unknown consequences for fisheries."

"We show that the last time large amounts of CO2 were injected into the atmosphere, not only did the planet get hot -- which is known as the so called Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, about 55 million year ago -- but it also changed the chemistry of the ocean quite markedly."


"The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, about 55 million year ago) gets its name from the boundary between two periods in Earth's past. The amount of CO2 input into the atmosphere during the period was similar to the predicted trajectories of CO2 in the atmosphere towards the year 2100..."

Toxic Brew Ocean

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Forest News: Moving West in Response to Climate Change


Forests Responding to Multiplex of Changes

Trees travelling west: How climate is changing our forests,
Ecological Society of America, August 1, 2018.

“...studies on the impacts of global temperature rise have suggested that the range of trees will migrate poleward and upward.”

“...different combinations of changes in temperature and precipitation can result in different impacts, and different species can have different responses.”

"...found that 73 percent of tree species have experienced a westward shift while 62 percent have experienced a poleward shift. It appears that the shifts are largely associated with changes in moisture availability."

“The results suggest that changes in moisture availability have stronger near-term impacts on forest dynamics than do changes in temperature.”



I’ve been watching the predominant direction from which our seasonal precipitation comes shifting from the Northwest to the Southwest over the past forty years.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018, Injured Climber on Mount Conness Located, Freed, & Evacuated


Injured Climber on Mount Conness Located, Freed, & Evacuated

Many come to aid of climber trapped between granite slabs,
Sierra Wave, July 30, 2018.

"On July 29, 2018, at approximately 1:30 pm, Mono County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Search and Rescue (SAR) received a call from a pair of climbers in the area of the north ridge of Mount Conness."

"The pair explained that they could hear someone screaming for help approximately 1/2 to 3/4 miles northeast of their location. They were unsure of the exact location of the voice but provided SAR with an approximate GPS location..."

"The approximate location of the victim was around 11,400 feet elevation near the base of the Conness Glacier."

"Twelve (12) SAR personnel responded and readied at the Saddlebag Lake trailhead, and the SAR Team then began the hike into the area to attempt to locate and assist the injured person. CHP Helicopter H40 was requested to the area to conduct an aerial search of the area as well."

"H40 launched but shortly after was forced to return to their base due to the heavy smoke and low visibility in the area."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

The Hottest Summer of 2018: Killing Ourselves and Everything Else


Climate-Driven Antrhopocene

The Hottest Summer of 2018: Killing Ourselves and Everything Else

Record Heat, Fires Worsened By Climate Change,
KQED, July 30, 2018.

Hottest Ever, Again

"Heat waves are setting all-time temperature records across the globe, again. Europe suffered its deadliest wildfire in more than a century, and one of nearly 90 large fires in the U.S. West burned dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of at least 37,000 people..."

"Flood-inducing downpours have pounded the U.S. East this week."

"...it’s all being made worse by human-caused climate change..."

“Weirdness abounds.”

Records Falling, again...

"Japan hit 106 degrees on Monday, its hottest temperature ever. Records fell in parts of Massachusetts, Maine, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico and Texas. And then there’s crazy heat in Europe, where normally chill Norway, Sweden and Finland all saw temperatures they have never seen before on any date, pushing past 90 degrees.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Eco-Crash News: Weather Changed in the US Northeast


Weather Changed in the US Northeast

What is causing more extreme precipitation in the northeast?
Dartmouth College, July 31, 2018.

Where & What

"From Maine to West Virginia, the Northeast has seen a larger increase in extreme precipitation than anywhere else in the U.S."

53% Increase in Extreme Precip

"...these heavy rain and snow events, defined as a day with about two inches of precipitation or more, have been 53 percent higher in the Northeast since 1996."


"...hurricanes were responsible for nearly half of the increase in extreme rainfall across the Northeast. A warmer Atlantic Ocean and more water vapor in the atmosphere are fueling these storms, causing them to drop more rain over the Northeast."

"Severe thunderstorms along "fronts," especially intense downpours along cold fronts, accounted for 25 percent of the increase in extreme precipitation."

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