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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Polar Vortex Sliding off Top of Planet, Arctic Weather Plunges into North America


Polar Vortex Deep-Freezes North America
2019 Broken Polar Vortex Effects, 2-meter air temps, credit to MODIS.
NASA's view of the effects of the Polar Vortex breakdown, via MODIS, Caption 
Darkest Blue on Left: Negative 40 C. Darkest Red on Right: Positive 40 C.


Polar Vortex Sliding off Top of Planet

Arctic Weather Plunges into North America,
NASA Earth Observatory, January 30, 2019.


Broken Polar Vortex
“...disturbances in the jet stream and the intrusion of warmer mid-latitude air masses can disturb this polar vortex and make it unstable, sending Arctic air south into middle latitudes.”

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Warming Seas to Radically Increase Frequency of Extreme Storms by 2100


Extreme Weather Increasing in all its Aspects

Nature Forges a Magnificent Anvil Storm
An "anvil" storm cloud in the Midwestern U.S. Credits: UCAR,  full image.

Wild Weather

Warming Seas May Increase Frequency of Extreme Storms,
NASA, January 28, 2019.


“...warming of the tropical oceans due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rain storms by the end of the century.”

Rising Temps
SST up 4.8 by 2100

“...accepted climate models project that with a steady increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (1 percent per year), tropical ocean surface temperatures may rise by as much as 4.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century.”

60% Rise in Extreme Storms

“...the frequency of extreme storms to increase by as much as 60 percent by that time.”


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2019: Gray Wolves Protection Confirmed in California


Gray Wolves in California

OR-7 Leads the Way
Gray wolf OR7. CDFW photo by Richard Shinn.
Gray wolf OR7. CDFW photo by Richard Shinn.

Judge upholds protection for gray wolves in California,
AP, January 28, 2019.


Protections Upheld
“A California judge on Monday upheld protection for gray wolves under the state’s Endangered Species Act, rejecting a legal challenge from ranchers and farmers who fear the predators will threaten their livestock.”

“...California was right to list the wolves as endangered in 2014.”

“...California Farm Bureau Federation and the California Cattlemen’s Association argued the listing was arbitrary because there are so few wolves in the state.”

“A wolf known as OR-7 made headlines in 2011 when it traveled south from Oregon — making it the first known wolf in California since 1924.”

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



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.

I long ago wrote that we humans were having an effect on the Earth equilivant to a, "big rock from space," striking our planet. It now seems a very long time ago, that I wrote this.

The years that have passed since I wrote that, until now, are a mere fraction of a second in the bigger scale of, "climate time," and much less than a milli-second in the scale of,  "geological time."

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January of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index



January 31, 2019









High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

January, 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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NASA's New Horizons mission to Ultima Thule in the Distant Kuiper Belt


NASA's New Horizons mission to the Kuiper Belt
Latest Image of Ultima-Thule
 NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.
Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

UPDATED January 26, 2019

New Horizons' Newest and Best-Yet View of Ultima Thule,
NASA, January 24, 2019.

New Horizons Mission Page,



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Arctic Melting Exposing Ancient Terrain Unseen for 40,000 Years



Arctic Melting Exposing Ancient Terrain
Glacial retreat in the Canadian Arctic, Photo Credit UCB.
"Glacial retreat in the Canadian Arctic has uncovered landscapes that haven’t been ice-free in more than 40,000 years and the region may be experiencing its warmest century in 115,000 years," Photo Credit UCB.


A landscape unseen in over 40,000 years,
University of Colorado at Boulder, January 25, 2019.


Baffin Island
“...radiocarbon dating to determine the ages of plants collected at the edges of 30 ice caps on Baffin Island, west of Greenland. The island has experienced significant summertime warming in recent decades.”

Rapid Arctic Warming
“The Arctic is currently warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe, so naturally, glaciers and ice caps are going to react faster...”

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The Sad Present & Future Status of the Mountain-Dwelling Cascades Frog


The Mountain-Dwelling Cascades Frog
The mountain-dwelling Cascades frog thrives in extreme climatic conditions. SFU, Simon Fraser University.
The mountain-dwelling Cascades frog thrives in extreme climatic conditions. Credit to Simon Fraser University.


Drier mountains pose a double whammy for cold-adapted amphibians, says SFU study,
Simon Fraser University, January 25, 2019.


Extreme Frog
“The mountain-dwelling Cascades frog thrives in extreme climatic conditions, ranging from dozens of feet of snow in winter to temperatures in excess of 90°F in summer.”

“...explosive breeders and their role as predators of flying insects is critical to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.”

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Lancet wants to Starve Us so they Can Continue Overpopulating Our Planet


The Lemmings are Massing...

Lancet's Overpopulation Planet Earth Desperation Diet
No meat for you! Lancet's ten billion planet population starvation diet.
Diet for Dumbasses. Dumbasses who allowed 10 billion folks to crush our planet (fifty million to crush California), its climate & ecology, damaging their diets dependent on them...Credit to Lancet (original).


Ten Billion Kills This Planet, No Matter How you Feed & Starve Them...

The Lancet: Diet and food production must radically change to improve health and avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the planet, The Lancet, January 16, 2019.


10 Billion by 2050? F-U!
“...will be impossible...”
“Feeding a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy and sustainable diet will be impossible without transforming eating habits, improving food production, and reducing food waste.”

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On the Water-Starved Colorado River, Drought Is the New Normal


The Party’s Over…But, Our Leaders are too Greedy to Stop Stealing...

Colorado River
Upper & Lower Basins map
Upper & Lower Colorado River Water System, USGS.
Upper & Lower Colorado River Water Systems, credit to the fantastic USGS.

The Party is Coming to an End

On the Water-Starved Colorado River, Drought Is the New Normal,
YaleEnvionment360, January 22, 2019.


Mega Drought Here
"The region is locked in a 19-year-long drought, the most severe in 1,250 years. (recent research) And it may continue much longer. The tree ring data shows that there have been numerous multi-decadal or mega-droughts in the basin in the last 1,000 years."

"...The crunch is here,” Harris said. “It’s here, and it will stay here. We will never be out of the woods, we are in the woods forever."

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2018 Sea Surface Temperatures Hottest Ever


Hottest Sea Surface Temperatures Ever

Record-breaking ocean temperatures point to trends of global warming,
Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, January 16, 2019.


“...the year 2018 is the hottest year ever recorded for the global ocean, as evident in its highest ocean heat content since 1950s in the upper 2000m.”

“This heat increase in 2018 relative to 2017 is ~388 times more than the total electricity generation by China in 2017, and ~ 100 million times more than the Hiroshima bomb of heat. The years 2017, 2015, 2016 and 2014 came in just after 2018 in order of decreasing ocean heat content.”

“...the vast majority (more than 90%) of global warming heat is deposited in the world's oceans.”

Already Damaging
"The new data, together with a rich body of literature, serve as an additional warning to both the government and the general public that we are experiencing inevitable global warming. The ocean and global warming have already taken place and caused serious damage and losses to both the economy and society,"

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Rapid Arctic Warming, 2019: Unique Arctic Atmosphere & Local Amplification Cited


Rapid Arctic Warming: Unique Arctic Atmosphere & Local Amplification Cited

 Institute for Basic Science.
Arctic Amplification Factor of observed surface temperatures relative to the global mean surface temperature (from 1951-2017), showing...a clear enhancement of warming In the Arctic region and across Siberia, Northern Canada and Alaska. Credit: Institute for Basic Science (IBS) .

New study reveals local drivers of amplified Arctic warming,
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST), January 19, 2019.


Extreme Heat
“The Artic experienced an extreme heat wave during the February 2018. The temperature at the North Pole has soared to the melting point of ice, which is about 30-35 degrees (17-19 Celsius) above normal.”

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Polar Vortex Splits Under Warming Stratosphere




Wet and Stormy Week for all California; Dry Dipole Pattern to Follow


"...the consensus: the recent stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) event, followed by a breakdown of the stratospheric polar vortex, is now slowly beginning to “couple” with the troposphere below (i.e., the layer where all our weather happens)."

"As this occurs, lobes of cold polar air become displaced to lower latitudes and induce a very wavy pattern in the jet stream–setting up persistent ridges (blocks) and downstream troughs in preferred locations. Unfortunately, California and the West Coast are often at the longitude of a preferred ridge when there is a significant perturbation to the hemispheric flow pattern–and that appears to be the main cause of the projected upcoming ridge pattern. There are currently indications this pattern could persist for 4 weeks or more"

The Polar Vortex Has Fallen Apart, Which is Likely to Unleash a Much Colder End to January,
Weather Channel, January 16, 2019.



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Our Frightening Groundwater Future of, Fright, Flight, & Fight


The Subsidence Pole
The Subsidence Pole, by Dr. Polard & NOAA.
Visible Effects of Groundwater Draw, caption, credit to Dr. Polard, shown, & USGS

Our Frightening Future of, Flight, & Fight

Environmental 'time bomb' warning for world's groundwater reserves,
Cardiff University, January 21, 2019.

Main Points

A Global Picture
“...a global insight in to what will happen should our groundwater systems start to see changes in their replenishment.”

Long Response Time
“...in more than half of the world's groundwater systems, it could take over 100 years for groundwater systems to completely respond to current environmental change.”

100 Year Lag Time
“...groundwater systems take a lot longer to respond to climate change than surface water, with only half of the world's groundwater flows responding fully within 'human' timescales of 100 years.”

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2x- to 3x Heatwave Increase Frequency & Severity in UK Since 1878


IT’S HERE: Visible Climate Consequences of WAY Too Many Humans

Two- to three- fold increase in heatwave occurrence and severity seen directly in UK temperature,
University of Warwick, January 21, 2019.


“...A two to three-fold increase in heatwave activity in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century has been identified...”

“...frequency, duration, and severity have increased.”

“This work quantifies the link between more frequent observations of hotter days, and increased heatwave occurrence rates, intensity and average duration”

“...they found a two- to three-fold decrease in the average return period (the average time between two successive occurrences) of a six day long heatwave and a two-to three- fold increase in the duration of a heatwave with an average five year return period. The temperature threshold of a six day long heatwave with five year return period has increased, to being typically above 28C.”

“...we see heatwaves becoming more intense and severe on average.”


& Extreme Weather, Generally

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2019 Greenland Melting Expanding & Accelerating Rapidly


Greenland Iceberg
Greenland Iceberg, Credit to Ohio State University
Greenland Iceberg, Credit to Ohio State University

Greenland Melting Expanding & Accelerating

Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003, study finds,
Ohio State University, January 21, 2019.


“The patterns...show an alarming trend--by 2012, ice was being lost at nearly four times the rate that prevailed in 2003.”

“Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought--and will likely lead to faster sea level rise--thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth's atmosphere, a new study has found.”

“The findings could have serious implications for coastal U.S. cities, including New York and Miami, as well as island nations that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.”

New Source
“This acceleration was focused in southwest Greenland, a part of the island that previously hadn't been known to be losing ice that rapidly.”

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2019: Length and Depth of Global Warming Climate Change: Let the Past be Our Guide? I Hope Not...



Cores of Ancient Climate Change
 Core Sample of PETM from Maryland, Credit USGS.
Core Samples of PETM from Maryland, Credit USGS & Penn State.

Let the Past be Our Guide? I Hope Not...

Ancient climate change triggered warming that lasted thousands of years,
Penn State, January 22, 2019.


Why PETM Lasted So Long
“...new evidence of a climate feedback that could explain the long duration of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which is considered the best analogue for modern climate change.”

Too Late, You Frigging Greedy Fools…
“The findings also suggest that climate change today could have long-lasting impacts on global temperature even if humans are able to curb greenhouse gas emissions. ”

Big-Assed Feedback Loop
"We found evidence for a feedback that occurs with rapid warming that can release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

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My 5g Cell Phone Health Concerns Run Deep


5G Phone Rollouts are, "Happening."

 a Samsung Galaxy J5 (left) and an iPhone 6S (right). Photo by Senado Federal.
Two smartphones: a Samsung Galaxy J5 (left) and an iPhone 6S (right). Photo by Senado Federa, Wiki.

Direct to Two Reference Articles

Yes it Is
All the proof you need that 5G phones are coming in 2019,
c/net, February 8, 2018.

Cities Quick, everywhere else, Slow
5G hype is coming. Don’t fall for it.
Android Authority, August 26, 2018.


My Cell Phone Health Concerns Run Deep

5G Health Effects: Is This Wireless Technology Even Safe?
Dr. Axe, September 21, 2016.


“I don’t think it’s clear that there are health risks, but it’s also not clear that there are no health risks.”

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GMO: Creating Foods that Can Eat You, Each Other, & Destabilize Nature, Too...


All Our Basic Staples are now GMO
Top ten Genetically Modified Foods, by Raw for Beauty.
Top ten Genetically Modified Foods, by Raw for Beauty.


Creating Foods that Can Eat You, Each Other, & Destabilize Nature, Too...

Molecules of GM food can accumulate in human digestive tract and enter cells of body,
Far Eastern Federal University, January 17, 2019.



“...study the potential risks of genetically modified (GM) products. Scientists have published a review of research papers on the fate of the DNA derived from GM food and feed entering the human body and animals.”

Genetically Modified YOU
“...the DNA of GM products can survive harsh processing and digestive conditions. Some of them can get into the human body, combining with the DNA of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Scientists have discovered the presence of such DNA in the blood stream and tissues of humans and animals.”

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SPACE “GEOLOGY,” The Recent Genesis of the Rings of Saturn


Cassini Crosses Rings of Saturn
Artist's concept of the Cassini spacecraft shown against a real photo of Saturn and its rings as Cassini crossed the ring plane. Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Artist's concept of the Cassini spacecraft shown against a real photo of Saturn and its rings, Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech


Recent Genesis of the Rings of Saturn

Saturn hasn't always had rings,
University of California - Berkeley, January 17, 2019.


Ring Mass
“The new mass estimate is based on a measurement of how much the flight path of Cassini was deflected by the gravity of the rings when the spacecraft flew between the planet and the rings on its final set of orbits in September 2017.”

“...perform 22 dives between the planet and the rings to probe Saturn's gravity field. Earth-based radio telescopes measured the spacecraft's velocity to within a fraction of a millimeter per second.”

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