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

Physical Fitness Correlated with Intellectual Fitness

 

HEALTH FITNESS, BRAIN HEALTH & COGNITION

Brain-Mind-Body
The connection between the brain, physical and intellectual health.
Physical and Intellectual Health Coorelated. Image from GDJ, Pixabay.

 

Physical Fitness Correlated with Intellectual Fitness

The Fast and the Curious: Fitter Adults Have Fitter Brains,
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, September 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Fitness is King
"In a large study, German scientists have shown that physical fitness is associated with better brain structure and brain functioning in young adults."

MRI
"The scientists used a publicly available database of 1206 MRI brain scans from the Human Connectome Project, which had been contributed by volunteers who wanted to contribute to scientific research."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Your Physical Fate Awaits: Aging Slows Fat Cell Turnover

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, FAT, & AGING

Your Physical Fate Awaits

New study shows why people gain weight as they get older,
Karolinska Institutet, September 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Weight Awaits
"Lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during ageing and makes it easier to gain weight, even if we don't eat more or exercise less than before."

"The results indicate for the first time that processes in our fat tissue regulate changes in body weight during ageing in a way that is independent of other factors."

"Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become a global problem."

"Understanding lipid dynamics and what regulates the size of the fat mass in humans has never been more relevant."

Always the Same Solution
EXERCISE
"Prior studies have shown that one way to speed up the lipid turnover in the fat tissue is to exercise more."

 

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

STEVE; "Strong Thermal Emissions Velocity Enhancement," Exists, No Idea Why it Exists

 

NATURE IS AMAZING: ASTROPHYSICS, "STEVE"

STEVE
Alongside the Milky Way
STEVE, Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, Image courtesy of Krista Trinder and NASA.
The Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, AKA, "STEVE," visible as a pink band rising from the lower left to upper right of this photograph, appears with the Milky Way over Childs Lake, Manitoba, Canada. Scientists have recently confirmed STEVE is a unique phenomenon and not a kind of aurora, as previously thought. The picture is a composite of 11 images stitched together. Image courtesy of Krista Trinder and NASA. Big view.

 

More EM Fun

It's not aurora, it's STEVE,
University of Alaska Fairbanks, September 4, 2019.

STEVE
What We Know
"Strong Thermal Emissions Velocity Enhancement"

"It's a new phenomenon, that's pretty exciting."

"Like auroras, STEVE's appearances vary greatly, showing up anywhere from weeks to months apart."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Electromagnetic Nature of Reality Full of Superbolt Lightening Surprises!

 

 

NATURE IS AMAZING: SUPERBOLTS

Lightening Superbolts Global Strike Map
Lightening Superbolts Global Strike Map, by Holzworth et al./Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
The dots represent superbolts, lightning with an energy of at least 1 million Joules. Red dots are particularly large superbolts, with an energy of more than 2 million Joules. Superbolts are most common in the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, with smaller concentrations in the Andes, off the coast of Japan, and near South Africa. Map by Holzworth et al./Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Bigger map.

 

Electromagnetic Nature of Reality Full of Surprises!

Lightning 'superbolts' form over oceans from November to February,
University of Washington, September 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Superbolts?

"..."superbolts" -- bolts that release electrical energy of more than 1 million Joules, or a thousand times more energy than the average lightning bolt, in the very low frequency range in which lightning is most active."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

New Feedback Phenomenon Found to Drive Increasing Drought and Aridity

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: LAND-ATMOSPHERIC PROCESSES

Finding an Extreme Land-Atmospheric Feedback Loop

New Feedback Phenomenon Found to Drive Increasing Drought and Aridity,
Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, September 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

A Drier Future
"...study indicates that the world will experience more frequent and more extreme drought and aridity than currently experienced in the coming century, exacerbated by both climate change and land-atmosphere processes."

Land-Atmosphere Processes
"Concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity is a time period when soil moisture is extremely low and vapor pressure deficit is extremely high."

"The researchers demonstrate that concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity are largely driven by a series of land-atmosphere processes and feedback loops."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

We Changed the Trajectory of Life & Climate on Earth Long, Long Ago...

 

ANTHROPOCENE

Mastodon
Mastodon, extinction only a small part of the Quaternary extinction event. Pixabay.
This long ago extinction is widely believed to have been caused by overexploitation by Clovis hunters. Their extinction only a very small part of the ongoing Quaternary extinction event that's really picking up speed nowadays... Wiki, Mastodon image on Pixabay.

 

We Changed the Trajectory of Life & Climate on Earth Long, Long Ago...

Archaeological Assessment reveals Earth's Early Transformation through Land Use,
University of Maryland Baltimore County, August 30, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Long Effect
"Humans have been transforming Earth's ecology for thousands of years; far longer than previously known..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Soda Pop: Death in a 16oz Bottle?

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & SODA POP

Soda-Land
Soda Pop Death, posing as liquefied, colored sugary self-gratification, by Coffee on Pixabay.
Soda Pop Death, posing as liquefied, colored sugary self-gratification, by Coffee on Pixabay.

 

Death in a 16oz Bottle

Soft drinks associated with risk of death in population-based study in 10 European countries,
JAMA Internal Medicine, September 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Soda Pop Kills Consumers
"Greater consumption of soft drinks, including both sugar- and artificially sweetened, was associated with increased risk of overall death in a population-based study of nearly 452,000 men and women from 10 European countries. Drinking two or more glasses per day (compared with less than one glass per month) of total soft drinks, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with higher risk of death from all causes during an average follow-up of 16 years in which 41,693 deaths occurred."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Voices of the Forests: Bird & Squirrel Information Networks

 

Updated
Squirrels Listen, as Well as Squawking...

 

Lives of Birds

Interconnected Information Networks

Amazonian 'lookout' birds help other species live in dangerous neighborhoods,
San Francisco State University, May 22, 2018.

Backpacker Tech, Too!

Voices of the Forest
The specifics of bird communication identified above are interesting, as far as gaining theoretical knowledge of the specifics of forest "inter-communications" between species, but this information also contains a bit of practical insight that's valuable for backpackers on the trail:

Listening to the clicking and chirping voices of the forest informs the observant backpacker about things they would otherwise be unaware of.

Bird Whispers
My favorite use of sound is to keep birds calm by clicking upon my approach, to let them know (before they freak out) that I'm not a "hostile" force, so we can enjoy each other's company. A bit more entertaining is the situation of a line of ticked-off squirrels in a line of trees along the trail.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Two Research Notices: Climate Change in Europe Drives Chaos, Rapid Flooding & Heating

 

CLIMATE CHANGE DRIVING EURO-WEATHER HEAT & FLOODING CHANGES

Two Fronts of Climate Euro Chaos, Rapid Flooding & Heating

1> Climate Driving Changes in Euro Flooding

2> Rapid Euro Climate Warming

 

 

1> Climate Driving Changes in Euro Flooding

Flooding Lyth Valley, Cumbria, 2015
Flooding Lyth Valley, Cumbria, 2015, CEH, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
Floods have become more severe in northern Britain over the past 50 years, the new study has shown. Pictured above is the flooded Lyth Valley in Cumbria after Storm Desmond in December 2015.CEH, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

 

Changing Climate Linked to Major Changes in Flooding Across Europe,
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, August 28, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Climate Change Bringing Trouble to the Source of the Blue Nile in the Ethiopian Highlands

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: AFRICAN FUTURE

Map of the Blue Nile
Map of the Blue Nile, Lourdes Cardenal, Wiki.
Lourdes Cardenal, Wiki.

 

Trouble at the Source of the Blue Nile in the Ethiopian Highlands

Upper Nile will experience more water scarcity due to hotter, drier periods,
AGU Blogosphere, August 28, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

The Problem
"An increase in hotter, drier years in the coming decades due to climate change may worsen water scarcity issues in the Upper Nile Basin."

Failure & Failure
"This region is already on the verge of water scarcity..."

"...impacts are likely to cause an increase in agricultural failure in Ethiopia and may potentially lead to civil strife, according to the authors..."

Increasing Extremity
Rain and Drought Increasing
"Climate models generally agree that rainfall will increase by roughly 10 percent by 2080 in the regions around the upper branches of the Nile River."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Global Warming Changed North Hemisphere Rainfall Patterns, More Seasonal Precip as Rain

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS; OUR NEW, WARMER WINTER WEATHER

Human-caused climate change on wintertime precipitation
in the Northern Hemisphere from 1921 to 2015

Human-caused climate change on wintertime precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere from 1921 to 2015, Simmi Sinha, UCAR, redrawn from map by Ruixia Guo of Lanzhou University and NCAR.
This map shows the influence of human-caused climate change on wintertime precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere from 1921 to 2015. The warming climate has spurred significant increases in precipitation across much of northeastern North America and northern Eurasia. The stippled regions show precipitation trends that are statistically insignificant. ©UCAR. Image: Simmi Sinha, UCAR, redrawn from map by Ruixia Guo of Lanzhou University and NCAR. Big Map.

 

Warming Changed Rainfall Patterns, More Seasonal Precip as Rain

Climate change has altered winter precipitation across the Northern Hemisphere,
NCAR-UCAR, August 26, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Alex Wierbinski's picture

New Flood Maps: Extreme Flooding to Become Regular Events

 

OCEANS, WATER, & ICE: FLOODING PROJECTIONS

Changing Storms and Rising Seas Contribute Differently to Flood Risks
The relative contributions of rising sea levels and changing storms differed according to the area of the country being studied. Reza Marsooli et al, Princeton University, Engineering School.
The relative contributions of rising sea levels and changing storms differed according to the area of the country being studied. In northern areas, sea level rise is a major contributor to increased flooding, while changing storm dynamics are relatively more important in southern areas. Reza Marsooli et al, Princeton University, Engineering School.

 

New Flood Maps: Extreme Flooding to Become Regular Events

'100-year' floods will happen every 1 to 30 years, according to new flood maps,
Princeton University, Engineering School, August 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

1 to 30 Year "100 Year Floods"
"...new maps that predict coastal flooding for every county on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts and find 100-year floods could become annual occurrences in New England; and happen every one to 30 years along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shorelines."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Any Exercise Prolongs Life

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & EXERCISE

Any Exercise Prolongs Life

Physical activity at any intensity linked to lower risk of early death,
National Institute for Health Research, August 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Any Work
"clear evidence that higher levels of physical activity - regardless of intensity - are associated with a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people."

Increasing Death
"...being sedentary, for example sitting, for 9.5 hours or more a day (excluding sleeping time) is associated with an increased risk of death."

Study of Studies
"Data from eight high quality studies...involved 36,383 adults aged at least 40 years (average age 62) were used in the analysis."

Final Test…
"During follow-up, 2,149 (5.9 per cent) participants died. After adjusting for potentially influential factors, the researchers found that any level of physical activity, regardless of intensity, was associated with a substantially lower risk of death."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Testing the Range Limits of the Asian Tiger Mosquito

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & SKEETERS

Overwintering and Collection Sites for Mosquitoes in This Study
Overwintering and Collection Sites for Mosquitoes in This Study, Journal of Applied Ecology, Washington University in St. Louis.
Overwintering sites and sample locations for experimental populations. Range-core locations in white, range-edge locations in red, and field overwintering sites indicated by red box. A climate-based distribution model (sensu Medley 2010) indicates the predicted range for Ae. albopictus at the time of this study, where darker shading indicates a higher probability of occurrence. Journal of Applied Ecology, Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Testing the Range Limits of the Asian Tiger Mosquito

Mosquitoes push northern limits with time-capsule eggs to survive winters,
Washington University in St. Louis, August 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Asian Tiger
"When the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) arrived in the United States in the 1980s, it took the invasive blood-sucker only one year to spread from Houston to St. Louis."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

THC-Weed a Very Effective Pain Killer

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, PAIN, & WEED

Cannabis Flower
Cannabis Flower, source of effective pain relief, Esteban Lopez, U of NM.
UNM researchers found further evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale. Esteban Lopez, U of NM.

 

THC-Weed a Very Effective Pain Killer

UNM study confirms cannabis flower is an effective mid-level analgesic medication for pain,
University of New Mexico, August 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Pot Kills Pain
"...found strong evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain, with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Massive Northern Forests at Risk

 

PLANTS, FORESTS, & TREES

Massive Northern Forests at Risk

Boreal forest fires could release deep soil carbon,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, August 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Feedback Loop by Fire
"Increasingly frequent and severe forest fires could burn generations-old carbon stored in the soils of boreal forests, according to results from the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment."

"Canada’s Northwest Territories were scorched by record-breaking wildfires in 2014."

Why this is Very, Very Important
Arboreal Forest Burning Accelerating for Years

Boreal Forests Burning More Now Than Any Time in Past 10,000 Years,
Scientific American, July 2013.

Legacy Carbon
"Boreal forests have long been thought to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they release into it, making them carbon “sinks.” But if bigger and more frequent fires start burning legacy carbon, these forests could start releasing more carbon than they store."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Climate Conditions Conducive to Fine Wines Changing in Italy

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: HEAT, PRECIP, & WINE

Sour Grapes; Conditions Conducive to Fine Wines Changing in Italy

Shift to More Intense Rains Threatens Historic Italian Winery,
Penn State, August 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

The Issue
"...a lack of steady rainfall brought on by a changing climate is threatening a centuries old winemaking tradition in Italy..."

Effects of Increasing Heat & Intense Rain
"Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the increasing tendency of precipitation intensity could exacerbate the effect of global warming on some premium wines that have been produced for almost 400 years,"

350 Year Prod Record
"Intense precipitation events represent the second most important factor, behind temperature, in predicting when grapes were ready at one vineyard that's been producing wine using traditional methods since the 1650s and recording harvest dates for 200 years."

"Early harvests can prevent grapes from fully developing the complex flavors found in wines."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Climate is Changing Faster than Animal Adaptation

 

ECO-CRASHING ANTHROPOCENE

Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow, Jennifer Taggart, courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Song Sparrow is one of the species considered in an international review of climate change studies, Jennifer Taggart, courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

 

Birds

Climate is Changing Faster than Animal Adaptation,
Cornell University, August 20, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"Birds and other animals cannot adapt fast enough to keep pace with climate change, throwing species survival in doubt."

"Our research focused on birds because complete data on other groups were scarce."

"...reviewed more than 10,000 published climate change studies..."

Phrenological Shift
"We demonstrate that in temperate regions, the rising temperatures are associated with a shift in the timing of biological events to earlier dates."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

SB 559, & the Friant-Kern Canal: "Socialism," for Rich Corporate Farmers & their Illegals

 

WATER WOES, THE VALLEY SUBSIDENCE BLUES

Friant-Kern Canal: Socialism for Rich Corporate Farmers

Surviving the Next Drought: It’s Political in California’s Central Valley,
Courthouse News Service, August 16, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Friant-Kern Canal
"Since 1951, the gravity-fed Friant-Kern Canal has delivered San Joaquin River water from Fresno to water districts south to Bakersfield."

Central Valley Project,
Bureau of Reclamation.

Drought Effects
"...the rush to plant the water-intensive crops – and overpumping the groundwater to quench the plants’ thirst – has caused the canal to settle in the southernmost section and form a pinch point that limits its capacity to deliver water. Experts refer to the settling as subsidence..."

Friant-Kern Canal
Fed-Local Farmer Ownership
"The canal’s owner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and its operator, Friant Water Authority, claim it has lost 60% of its ability to deliver water."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Microplastics Everywhere: Found in Remote Arctic Locations

Updated
Colorado Airborne Microplastic Pollution

 

HEALTH & FITNESS

Microplastics Everywhere

Microplastics in Arctic Snow Suggest Widespread Air Pollution,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, August 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Microplastic Air Pollution
"...high concentrations found in snow samples from disparate regions suggest microplastics - which may contain varnish, rubber, or chemicals used in synthetic fabrics - cause significant air pollution."

Arctic Microplastics
"...used an imaging technique to analyze snow samples collected between 2015 and 2017 from floating ice in the Fram Strait, a passage between Greenland and Svalbard to the Arctic Ocean. (They visited five ice floes by ship-based helicopters or dinghies during three expeditions.)"

Euro Control
"For comparison, the researchers investigated samples from the remote Swiss Alps and the City of Bremen in northwest Germany."

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