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

UPDATE to STORY; “Cal to Drop Fossil Fuels by 2015;” Some Facts & Figures

UPDATE to STORY:
Cal to Drop Fossil Fuels by 2045

Some Facts & Figures

The high cost of a zero-emission California,
Calmatters, September 24, 2018.

The Law
SB 100

Costs of "Zero Emission" California

Current Massive Usage
"Californians burn 300 terawatt-hours of juice each year, 70 percent of which is generated in-state and more than 40 percent of which comes from natural gas- or nuclear-powered plants here or elsewhere."

"...so the 127 terawatt-hours of new generation would have to come from wind, solar and/or geothermal – essentially tripling their current output."

Non-Fossil Fuel Restrictions
"...possible to build enough solar and windmill farms to do so, albeit at immense cost, but there’s a corollary problem. They mostly generate during daylight hours, so having their power available 24 hours a day would require huge amounts of storage, presumably in massive battery banks."

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New Tick Safety Strategies Required for Euro Lyme

HEALTH & FITNESS-MOUNTAIN SAFETY

New Tick Safety Strategies Required for Euro Lyme

Lyme disease: A study on the speed of transmission by infected ticks,
Institut Pasteur, September 21, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

"...evidence of rapid bacterial transmission following a bite, with infection occurring within 24 hours of an adult tick bite and sometimes even sooner for nymph bites. This is a timely reminder of the importance of removing ticks as soon as possible after being bitten to prevent infection."

"Ticks have three lifecycle stages that can bite humans – larva, nymph and adult –, but bacteria are usually transmitted through bites from nymphs, which are higher in density and often go unnoticed because of their small size."

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SB 901 Signed: Bribe-O-Crats Serve their PG&E Corporate Bribe-masters

HOW ALL POLITICAL POLICY IS PURCHASED
Bribe-O-Crats Serve their PG&E Corporate Bribe-masters

Two Reports
Merc News & Sac Bee

1> Merc News
The Party Line, but a bit More Critical than the Sac Bee...

Brown signs wildfire safety bill blasted as PG&E bailout,
Mercury News, September 21, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“...signed bill, SB 901, obliges the powerful state Public Utilities Commission to determine whether a utility can recover its costs and expenses arising from a destructive fire that occurred in 2017. This narrowly worded provision would include the Wine Country firestorms, a number of which have been deemed to be caused by PG&E equipment.”

“When the PUC allows a utility, such as PG&E, to recover its costs, that typically is enabled through higher monthly power bills for consumers.”

“We are very disappointed the governor signed the PG&E bailout bill,” said Mark Toney, executive director of The Utility Reform Network, a consumer group.”

No Permit Logging, too…

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Cheesy Archeology: Two Blocks of Research, Who’s Got the Oldest Cheese?

HEALTH, FITNESS, & DIET: A CHEESEY HISTORY

Cheesy Archeology: Two Blocks of Research

Who’s Got the Oldest Cheese?

1> Earliest Bad Cheese Found, 3300 Years Old

2> Evidence of 7,200-year-old Cheese

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, DIET
&
SURVIVAL

A CHEESEY HISTORY

 


1> Earliest Bad Cheese Found, 3300 Years Old


Earliest 3,300 Year Old Block of Cheese Contaminated with Earliest Brucellosis

World's oldest cheese found in Egyptian tomb,
American Chemical Society, August 15, 2018.

"...thought to be the most ancient solid cheese ever found..."

"The tomb of Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis in Egypt during the 13th century BC, was initially unearthed in 1885. After being lost under drifting sands, it was rediscovered in 2010, and archeologists found broken jars at the site a few years later. One jar contained a solidified whitish mass, as well as canvas fabric that might have covered the jar or been used to preserve its contents."

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The Two Sides of the Motivation & Survival Coin

HEALTH & FITNESS

Two Sides of the Coin: Motivation Vs. Laziness in the Pursuit of Survival

Why the brain struggles to get off the sofa,
Université de Genève, September 18, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“About 30% of adults and 80% of teenagers today do not meet the minimum levels of daily physical activity for staying healthy...”

“Previous studies have already demonstrated that there is a gap between the intention to play sport and actually playing it among individuals with a leaning towards a sedentary lifestyle.”

“...what happens in the brain to prevent intention being followed by action?”

“...studied the neuronal activity of people faced with making the choice between physical activity and doing nothing.”

“...studied the neuronal activity of 29 people, all of whom wanted to be active in their daily lives without necessarily being so.”

“They noted that the brain requires far greater resources to escape a general attraction to minimising effort. A struggle then breaks out between the desire to do nothing and the physical activity.”

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Moderate warming could melt East Antarctic Ice Sheet

OCEANS, ICE, & WATER

The Old, Cold One is Going Away. Eventually...

Moderate warming could melt East Antarctic Ice Sheet,
University of Queensland, September 19, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

"Antarctica is around twice the size of Australia, with ice sheets several kilometres thick and containing around half of the world's fresh water."

"The East Antarctic Ice Sheet covers about two thirds of the area, and because its base is largely above sea level it was generally thought to be less sensitive to warming climates than the adjacent West Antarctic Ice Sheet.”

"However, some areas - like the Wilkes Land Subglacial Basin, directly south of Australia - are below sea level and contain enough ice to raise global sea levels by several metres.”

"We found that the most extreme changes in the ice sheet occurred during two interglacial periods 125,000 and 400,000 years ago, when global sea levels were several metres higher than they are today"

“...the findings were extremely concerning for humanity.”

"The evidence we have suggests that with the predicted 2°C warming in Antarctica - if sustained over a couple of millennia - the sheet would start melting in these locations."

 

more, associated research report

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DONNELL FIRE: SEPT 8, PCT FINALLY OPEN-CARSON ICEBERG-OPENING


DONNELL FIRE INFORMATION
Updated September 16

 

DONNELL FIRE, InciWeb

 

Serious SMOKE Hazard Conditions
DISSIPATED
ALL SMOKE RESOURCES 

 

All Regional Trail Maps

 

September 16

EXCELLENT HIGH SIERRA BACKPACKING CONDITIONS
Fires Suppressed, Smoke Light or Cleared, Mosquitoes Diminished, Temps looking very comfortable-cool.

TYT-PCT
Trail Map South
Kennedy Meadows & Sonora Pass South across Emigrant Wilderness

TYT-PCT
Trail Map North
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Backpacking Map

 

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Mono Basin Scenic Visitor Center Bighorn Sheep Event

VISIT MONO LAKE

Bighorn Sheep Event, Thursday, Sept. 20

Celebration for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep,
Sierra Wave, September 9, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“...an afternoon of Sierra bighorn stories and hands on activities at the Mono Basin Scenic Visitor Center, Lee Vining, CA on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 from 1 to 4 p.m.”

ACTIVITIES
“...activities for people of all ages will include classroom activities presented by Virginia Chadwick, Vice-President of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.”

INFORMATION
“Dr. John Wehausen, who has researched bighorn for nearly 50 years, will talk about unusual encounters with bighorn. Elsbeth Otto from CDFW will describe the experience of trekking into the high country to monitor bighorn populations, and Jacqueline Leary from the CDFW will give a presentation on Sierra bighorn lambs.”

STATUS
“The Sierra bighorn population has reached over 600 animals in recent years—a recovery from a low point of a little over 100 bighorn sheep around 1995.”

 

The Feds
Mono Lake Ranger District

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The End of Cold, 2018: Ice Caps Racing Away

OCEANS, ICE, & WATER

The End of Cold: Ice Caps Racing Away

Unprecedented ice loss in Russian ice cap,
University of Colorado at Boulder, September 19, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

"In the last few years, the Vavilov Ice Cap in the Russian High Arctic has dramatically accelerated, sliding as much as 82 feet a day in 2015..."

"...the ice's previous average speed of about 2 inches per day and has challenged scientists' assumptions about the stability of the cold ice caps dotting Earth's high latitudes."

" “Cold” ice caps, like Vavilov, occur in polar “deserts” with very little precipitation, and they’re normally frozen to their beds, flowing only due to bending of the ice under the force of gravity."

“In a warming climate, glacier acceleration is becoming more and more common, but the rate of ice loss at Vavilov is extreme and unexpected.”

Never Seen Before…
"Scientists have never seen such acceleration in this kind of ice cap before, and the authors of the new paper wrote that their finding raises the possibility that other, currently stable ice caps may be more vulnerable than expected."

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Climate Change: Ice News, Radical Reduction in Bridge Glacier, Alaska

 UPDATED
Yakutat Glacer Rapid Degradation,
September, 2018.
 

Original Story
Climate Change: Ice News

Radical Reduction in Bridge Glacier, Alaska

Bridge Glacier, Southeast Alaska Retreat & Lake Formation,
AGU Blogs, Novermber 21, 2017.

Vast changes in seasonal onset and ending timings with temperature changes disturbing the character of the season itself, are happening all around the world, causing drastic physical, biological, and human affects, with the most drastic changes yet to come.

 

Last Bridge Glacier News

 

 

 

UPDATE 

Generalized Degradation of Glaciers & Permafrost in Alaska

Yakutat Glacier Terminus Collapse Nears Completion, 45 km2 lost 2010-2018,
AGU, September 14, 2018.

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Migration Traffic Report: More than 4 Billion Birds Make the Fall Migration

BIRD NEWS

Migration Traffic Report

More than 4 billion birds stream overhead during fall migration,
Cornell University, September 17, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

"...researchers can now estimate how many birds migrate through the U.S. and the toll that winter and these nocturnal journeys take."

WINTER
"We've discovered that each autumn, an average of 4 billion birds move south from Canada into the U.S. At the same time, another 4.7 billion birds leave the U.S. over the southern border, heading to the tropics."

SPRING
"In the spring, 3.5 billion birds cross back into the U.S. from points south, and 2.6 billion birds return to Canada across the northern U.S. border."

The Result
"Contrary to popular thought, birds wintering in the tropics survive the winter better than birds wintering in the U.S."

"Birds wintering in the U.S. may have more habitat disturbances and more buildings to crash into, and they might not be adapted for that."

 

 

All Bird News

 

 

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tropical Planet: Tropics are widening as predicted by climate models

CLIMATE CRASHING NEWS

Tropical Planet

Tropics are widening as predicted by climate models, research finds,
Indiana University, September 17, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

"The paper, "Re-examining Tropical Expansion," was published in the journal Nature Climate Change."

"Climate change should continue to expand the tropics over the next several decades," he said. "But the expansion may not continue at the rapid rate we've seen; at times it may even temporarily contract."

Rate of Expansion
"The authors conclude that the tropics have been widening at an average rate of about 0.2 degrees latitude, or about 17 miles, per decade in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The rate varies widely from year to year and from location to location."

Why this is Important
"...Widening of the tropics is important because it could be associated with severe changes in climate."

"...changes in the subtropical climate could affect billions of people."

 

Bottom Line

Alex Wierbinski's picture

FLYING INSECT SURVIVAL INSIGHTS: Fear and Perception

FLYING INSECT SURVIVAL INSIGHTS

Fear and Perception

To flee or not to flee: how the brain decides what to do in the face of danger,
Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, September 12, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

"Just like any other animal in nature, our reaction to a threat is invariably one of the following three: escape, fight, or freeze in place with the hope of remaining unnoticed"

"These behaviours are fundamental, but we still don't know what the rules of the game are: in each situation, how does the brain decide which of the three strategies to implement and how does it ensure that the body carries it through?"

The Threat
“...we placed the flies in a covered dish and exposed them to an expanding dark circle (which is how a threat looks like to a fly)...”

Fear Response
“...the flies' response hinged on their walking speed at the moment the threat appeared. If the fly was moving slowly, it would freeze, but if it was walking quickly, it would run away from the threat.”

 

Some Thoughts on Fear

This research indicates that the Flies strategies are controlled by physics, conforming with the fundamental fact that, “things at rest tend to stay at rest, things in motion tend to stay in motion.”

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Thismia Kobensis: Extinct Before Discovery

ANTHROPOCENE

Extinct Before Discovery

New plant species discovered in museum is probably extinct,
Kobe University September 12, 2018.

 

Thismia Kobensis
 Kobe U.
Thismia Kobensis when it was discovered in 1992. Credit: Kobe U

MAIN POINTS

Here
"A single non-photosynthetic plant specimen preserved in a Japanese natural history museum has been identified as a new species. However, it is highly possible that this species is already extinct."

Gone
“This plant was discovered in Kobe, Japan, in 1992, and preserved with its identity unknown. No new specimens were found in follow-up surveys between 1993 and 1999, and the plant’s original habitat was destroyed by land development in 1999.”

“The specimen in this study was originally found in 1992 in the Nishi district of Kobe...”

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British Colombia Heat Wave Continuing: The Blob Hides in the Deep

ECO-CRASHING OCEANS

British Colombia Heat Wave Continuing

The Blob hides in the deep,
AGU, September 13, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

BC Heatwave
“A marine heatwave began more than four years ago and new research suggests it won’t be disappearing anytime soon.”

The Blob
Marine "...heatwaves are getting more intense and more frequent with a changing climate. Over the fall and winter of 2013 and 2014, satellites detected above normal temperatures in the surface waters of the northeast Pacific. At its peak, the mass of warm water—nicknamed “The Blob”—had water temperatures up to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than normal and covered an area larger than Australia."

Hidden Heat
"Scientists repeatedly thought the marine heatwave was abating when satellite observations of sea surface temperatures moderated after winter storms.”

“But satellites cannot measure temperatures below the surface."

New View
"...combined four separate time series from oceanographic monitoring programs along the coast of British Columbia."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Aspirin Use Without Specific Medical Need Questioned

HEALTH & FITNESS

Aspirin Use Without Specific Medical Need Questioned

Aspirin found not to prolong healthy aging,
Rush University Medical Center, September 17, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Aspirin has NO Benefit
"The large clinical trial, which began in 2010, aimed to determine the risks and benefits of daily low-dose aspirin in healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, dementia or physical disability, and who were free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use. The results showed that aspirin did not extend healthy independent living (life free of dementia or persistent physical disability)."

No Reason? No Aspirin

“The results will have a significant impact on guidelines about aspirin use for prevention and in daily clinical conversations between clinicians and their older, healthy patients regarding whether aspirin should or should not be used for achieving disability-free longevity."

"This study shows why it is so important to conduct this type of research, so that we can gain a fuller picture of aspirin’s benefits and risks among healthy older persons.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

13,000 Year Old Beer Production, before Agriculture

HEALTH, FITNESS, HUMAN HISTORY & BEER

13,000 Year Old Beer Production

Oldest Beer on Earth, before Agriculture

A prehistoric thirst for craft beer,
Elsevier, September 12, 2018.

MAIN POINTS
“...archeologists analyzed three stone mortars from a 13,000-year old Natufian burial cave site in Israel. Their analysis confirmed that these mortars were used for brewing of wheat/barley, as well as for food storage.”

"Alcohol making and food storage were among the major technological innovations that eventually led to the development of civilizations in the world...”

"We exposed a Natufian burial area with about 30 individuals; a wealth of small finds such as flint tools, animal bones and ground stone implements, and about 100 stone mortars and cupmarks.“

“They used bedrock mortars for pounding and cooking plant-foods, and for brewing wheat/barley-based beer, likely served in ritual feasts 13,000 years ago.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Sept, 2018: Mountain Lion Fatality, Oregon, Near Mount Hood

MOUNTAIN SAFETY-WILDLIFE

Mountain Lion Fatality

Oregon wildlife officials to hunt for killer cougar,
AP, Yahoo, September 12, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“…officials with guns and dogs will hunt for a cougar believed to have killed a woman while she was hiking in rugged terrain...”

“Diana Bober, who at 55 was an avid and experienced hiker, apparently fought the cougar with repellant, a sharp object and a stick, her sister said.”

"Diana stood at only 5 feet, 4 inches..."

“...body was found Monday, almost two weeks after she was last heard from. She was the first person known to have been killed by a cougar in the wild in Oregon, and the second in the Pacific Northwest this year.”

...“body was found along the Hunchback Trail, Wolfer said. The trail is described by OregonHikers .org as "wild and rugged" with frequent signs of cougars and coyotes.”

“Diana loved the outdoors, and that's how she should be remembered.”

“In May, a mountain biker in Washington state was killed by a cougar on a trail east of Seattle, the first fatal attack in that state in 94 years.”

 

Spring 2018 Mountain Lion Attack A Bit West of PCT at Snoqualmie

Alex Wierbinski's picture

CLIMATE CRASHING POLITICALLY: The Governor of, and for, Endless Growth of OIL CONSUMPTION

CLIMATE CRASHING POLITICALLY

The Governor of OIL

‘It’s literally drill, baby, drill’: Did Jerry Brown’s climate crusade give Big Oil a pass?
Sac Bee, September 13, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

A Rare article critical of our Corporate Masters

Jerry Brown’s Battle Cry
“...not let the federal government pillage public lands and destroy our treasured coast.”
(WHY? Pillaging our State is the Dims Job…)

The Gov of Oil

Jerry, “...has approved more than 200 new wells in state waters, and more than 23,000 oil and gas drilling permits overall, since he returned to the office nearly eight years ago.”

Growth Machine of Death
“...a refusal to curb California production of oil, whose consumption in the transportation sector is a leading cause of the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet’s temperature.”

Gov of Oil

Alex Wierbinski's picture

MOUNTAIN SAFETY in a CRASHING CLIMATE; Smoke and Fire of 2018: Two Reports UPDATED

MOUNTAIN SAFETY in a CRASHING CLIMATE
SMOKE and FIRE

 

UPDATED

THIRD REPORT
A Video
A Season of Smoke,
NASA Earth Observatory, September 11, 2018.


 

ORIGINAL REPORTS

Smoke and Fire: Two Reports
Mid-to-Late August

1> 1.9 million acres burned or burning, Smoke Covers Western US

2> HOT, HOT, HOT: Fire Season Just Beginning in California

 

 

#1> MOUNTAIN SAFETY

Near Two Million Acres On Fire in the United States,
NASA, August 20, 2018.

Western US Covered with Smoke
NOAA HRRR Smoke ForecastImage of the distribution of smoke across the U.S. on August 20, 2018.

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