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

Science Performs Intellectual Gymnastics to Preserve Paris Accord Farce



Modern Industrial Infrastructure
A Power Plant
 Last of the Mohicans, if Paris is going to, "work?" Credit Carnegie Inst. Sci.
Last of the Mohicans, if Paris is going to, "work?" Credit Carnegie Inst. Sci.


Science Performs Intellectual Gymnastics to Preserve Paris Accord Farce

Two-degree climate goal attainable without early infrastructure retirement,
Carnegie Institution for Science, July 2, 2019.

Main Points

Current CO2 Production
"...China is predicted to produce the largest share--41 percent--and the United States and European Union 9 percent and 7 percent respectively."

What about India?

Present Costs Exceed Limits
"...future emissions from these existing facilities would take up the entire carbon budget needed to to limit mean warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and close to two-thirds of the budget needed to constrain warming to below 2 degrees Celsius over the next three decades."

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Alaska Setting Heat and Dryness Records during July of 2019




It Was A Balmy 90 Degrees Yesterday In Anchorage — For The First Time On Record,
NPR, July 5, 2019.


90 Degrees
"...the all-time heat record for the northerly city."

"Anchorage's previous record high (at least since 1952) was 85 degrees Fahrenheit, set on June 14, 1969."

Hottest & Driest June Ever
(After Shortest Winter Cold)
"...hottest June ever, according to the National Weather Service. Average temperature for the month was 60.5 degrees, 5.3 degrees above normal. It was the 16th consecutive month with above-average temperatures."

"...the driest June on record."

Baking Alaska
"Several Alaskan cities set or matched all-time heat records on Thursday: 89 degrees in Kenai and King Salmon, 88 in Palmer."

Fire & Smoke
"...battling wildfires across the state, and on Monday authorities issued an air quality advisory for south-central Alaska."


More Information

Better than NPR

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Minaret Summit Road, Highway 203, Reds Meadow to Open Thursday, July 4, 2019



Backpacker Access to the High Sierra

Minaret Summit Road Shuttle
Minaret Summit Road Shuttle to JMT at Reds Meadow and PCT at Agnew Meadow.
Only access to and from JMT to Reds Meadow, PCT to Agnew Meadow, & Devils Postpile

Minaret Summit Road, Highway 203

Reds Meadow Pack Station, Devils Postpile, JMT-PCT Trailheads Access into the sweet hiking, scrambling, and climbing terrain of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Reds Meadow to open Thursday, July 4,
Sierra Wave, July 1, 2019.


"...made the decision to open the area to the public with the provision of the mandatory shuttle and the placement of restroom facilities for day-use visitors."

"The Reds Meadow Shuttle is scheduled to operate seven days/week through Wednesday, September 4, 2019."

"Backcountry hikers can purchase shuttle tickets from the bus driver in the valley."

"Due to the winter storm impacts and required infrastructure repairs, no campgrounds are open in the Reds Meadow area."

Shuttle Service Information

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Early-Season June 2019 Heatwave Tortures Europe



Euro Temps June 27, 2019
Extreme Euro Temps June 27, 2019, by Joshua Stevens, at NASA GSFC.
"...represents air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground. The drkest red areas are where the model shows temperatures surpassing 40°C (100°F), by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC. Convert C-F


Heatwave Tortures Europe

Heatwave Scorches Europe,
NASA Earth Observatory, June 28, 2019.


Heat Wave
“Many parts of the continent saw the hottest temperatures so far for 2019, with some cities recording their hottest day on record.”

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Highway 120, Tioga Road Fully Opening July 1, 2019



Tioga Road Opening July 1, 2019, Highway 120

Yosemite National Park Announces Tioga Road To Open to Unrestricted Vehicular Traffic on Monday, July 1,
Yosemite National Park, June 27, 2019.


Unrestricted Vehicular Traffic
“...unrestricted vehicular traffic on Monday, July 1st, at 8:00 a.m..”

Previously & Still Limited Traffic, Until July 1
Tioga Road Limited Opening June 21, 2019
"...open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm."

“From now until the full opening Monday morning, vehicular access will continue to be available from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will continue to be no stopping along the road and no overnight parking.”

Backpackers-Bicycle Restrictions/Requirements in Force
From Previous Order

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Half Dome Permit Policy Safety Analysis



Half Dome
From the Trail Guide
Liberty Cap in Shadows with Half Dome towering over Mount Broderick.
Liberty Cap in Shadows with Half Dome towering over Mount Broderick, Looking from just West of Nevada Falls, Guide, Map.


Half Dome Safety Analysis

Restricted permit-only access to Yosemite National Park's Half Dome summit, anticipated to improve hiker safety, did not,
Elsevier, June 26, 2019.


2010 Half Dome Permit Restrictions
"Implementation in 2010 of permit-only access to Half Dome cable handrails along the final ascent of this iconic landmark reduced the number of people on the summit at one time, but this did not result in a significant reduction in the overall toll of associated human suffering and mortality, or search and rescue (SAR) activity and costs."

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A Look at National Park Trash Production, Perceptions, and Reductions



National Park Trash
National Park Trash, Zach Miller/Utah State University.
The amount of waste produced in national parks in a concern for park and protected area managers. Handling visitor waste...can tax systems to the extreme. Zach Miller/Utah State University.


National Amusement Parks, Or Natural High Points?

National Trash: Reducing Waste Produced in US National Parks,
S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, June 25, 2019.


Overwhelmed Nation
Overwhelmed National Parks
"Given the recent substantial increase in national park visitation in the United States, impacts on visitor experience and ecological conditions have correspondingly increased."

Annual National Park Trash Output
"100 million pounds"

Extreme Stress
Too Many People

"Handling park waste costs money, involves significant effort, and requires human and natural resources that tax parks to the extreme."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

June of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index


June 28, 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. 

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Veillonella Gut Bacteria that Turns Soreness Into Energy



Gut Bacteria that Turns Soreness Into Energy

Performance-Enhancing Bacteria Found in the Microbiomes of Elite Athletes,
Joslin Diabetes Center, June 24, 2019.


Veillonella Gut Bacteria
"New research has identified a type of bacteria found in the microbiomes of elite athletes that contributes to improved capacity for exercise. These bacteria, members of the genus Veillonella, are not found in the guts of sedentary people."

"One of the things that immediately caught our attention was this single organism, Veillonella, that was clearly enriched in abundance immediately after the marathon in the runners."

Veillonella Eats Lactic Acid
"As we dug into the details of Veillonella, what we found was that it is relatively unique in the human microbiome in that it uses lactate or lactic acid as its sole carbon source."

"Lactic acid is produced by the muscles during strenuous exercise. The Veillonella bacteria are able to use this exercise by-product as their main food source."

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Health & Fitness News & Research during the Summer and Fall of 2019


Health, Fitness, & The Human Condition 
News and Science

August 19, 2019

 Summer & Fall

January 1, 2019:



Latest News Below


Health & Fitness, Fall & Winter of 2019

Health & Fitness News, 2018

Health & Fitness News, 2015-2017

Our goal here is to provide the best information how to deal with internal and external threats to your health. But why?


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June 2019 Mount Whitney Missing Hiker Search Finds Fatality




The Whitney Zone

Mount Whitney Fatality,
Mono SAR, June 20, 2019.

Mount Whitney
East Flank: John Muir Wilderness in Inyo NF
West Flank: John Muir Wilderness in SEKI


Mount Whitney Trail Map
Tyndall Creek to Whitney Portal Map



Missing Hiker Search
Mutual Aid
"...contacted for a mutual aid request in support of the search for a 47-year-old Virginia hiker in the Mt. Whitney area missing since June 12. 4 Team members responded, and were assigned a search area to the north of Mirror Lake."

Area Search
"The field team concluded the search of their area without any evidence of the missing hiker. They returned to base via the Mt. Whitney trail."

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Inyo Sheriff June 2019 Temple Crag Rescue



Temple Crag Rescue,
Inyo Sheriff, June 17, 2019.

Temple Craig
The Palisades
John Muir Wilderness in Inyo National Forest
East of Bishop Pass, West of Big Pine, Permits


Rockfall Accident
"On June 15 at around 5:45pm, a male and female party of two were "simul-climbing" (a climbing technique where all climbers climb at the same time while tied into the same rope) the technical rock route “Sun Ribbon Arete” on Temple Crag in the Palisades region of the Sierra Nevada. At about 12,600’ (about 200' from the summit) a rock broke causing the second climber to fall about 20-30’ before being caught by their rope. The team sent a distress signal via their Personal Locator Beacon, and ultimately Inyo County Sheriff’s Office was notified."

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Mono SAR June 2019 Mt Morrison Rescue



CHP H40 Rescue Copter Framed by Mount Morrison
H40 landed at the Mammoth-Yosemite airport, Mount Morrison in background. Mono SAR Photo.
"H40 landed at the Mammoth-Yosemite airport," Mount Morrison in background. Mono SAR Photo.


Eastern Sierra Accident

Mt Morrison Rescue,
Mono SAR, June 11, 2019.


Mount Morrison
In the John Muir Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest. I don't currently have a map depicting Mt Morison, but it is located a short distance off the East edge of this map from Lake Genevieve. This map depicts the route of the JMT-PCT over the Silver Divide, which locates Mount Morrison on a line between the Silver Divide and the Mammoth Airport, on the Eastern Flank of the Sierra overlooking the Airport, as we can see in the image above.

"...respond to a report of a 68 year old male from Chalfant, CA, injured in a fall on the south side of Mt. Morrison, at an approximate elevation of 11,200’."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tioga Road Limited Opening June 21, 2019



First Highway 120 Opening for 2019 Season

Yosemite National Park Announces Limited Access on Tioga Road Beginning on Friday, June 21, 2019,
Yosemite National Park, June 19, 2019.


Limited Access
"...open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm."

No Parking
"...no visitor parking available at either end of the road closure."

Tuolumne Meadows Closed
"There are no visitor services available along Tioga Road. The Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Wilderness Center, and the Tuolumne Meadows Campground remain closed."

"Opening dates for the 2019 season have not been determined."

"The road will remain closed outside of these times to allow for continued roadwork and snow clearing."

"Cyclists traveling over Tioga Road will need to be prepared to cross over the full length of Tioga Road during daylight hours. Tioga Road is closed to overnight camping."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

News of Climate & Ecological Change, The Summer of 2019





Updated Daily 

August 20,  2019


Summer 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

Spring of 2019

Winter of 2019

2018 Climate News

October-December 2017


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Global Warming Spruce Beetles are Fat, Happy, Sexed-Up Spruce Beetles



Hey, Hi,... I'm Your New Neighbor...
The Head of a Spruce Beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis)
The Head of a Spruce Beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis), Joseph Benzel, Colorado State University.
Joseph Benzel, Colorado State University.


Warm Spruce Beetles are Fat, Happy, Sexed-Up Spruce Beetles

New Research Shows Importance of Climate on Spruce Beetle Flight,
Colorado State University, June 19, 2019.


Current Situation
"...the current spruce beetle epidemic affecting Colorado Engelmann spruce forests has been one of the largest on record. The Colorado State Forest Service estimates that since 1996, over 40 percent of the state's high-elevation forests, encompassing an area larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, have already been affected by this latest cycle."

The Future
"...slightly warmer conditions could contribute to longer flight periods and more eruptive beetle populations, due to larger populations of fertile females. This combination could equate to more intense insect pressure on spruce forests."

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US Commercial Bees Taking Heavy Losses in 2018, Hanging in There...



Bees in the Hive at Roberson Farm
Bees in the Hive at Roberson Farm, Farmers.Gov.
Bees at Roberson Farm, FarmersGov.

US Bee Status Report

Commercial Bees Taking Heavy Losses, Hanging in There...

US Beekeepers Lost Over 40% of Colonies Last Year, Highest Winter Losses Ever recorded,
University of Maryland, June 19, 2019.


41% Hive Loss
"Beekeepers across the United States lost 40.7% of their honey bee colonies from April 2018 to April 2019..."

Over-Wintering Losses
"...winter losses of 37.7%, which is the highest winter loss reported since the survey began 13 years ago and 8.9 percentage points higher than the survey average."

The New Normal?
"Overall, the annual loss of 40.7% this last year represents a slight increase over the annual average of 38.7%."

Grim Long Term Trends
"Just looking at the overall picture and the 10-year trends, it's disconcerting that we're still seeing elevated losses after over a decade of survey and quite intense work to try to understand and reduce colony loss."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Biggest Global Glaciers Going Down Fast: The Himalayas



Wasting Himalayan Glacial Ice
Wasting of Changri Nup Glacier in Himalayas, Joshua Maurer.
Changri Nup Glacier, one of the hundreds studied by the researchers. Much of it is covered by rocky debris. The peak of Mt. Everest is in the background at left. Joshua Maurer.


Biggest Global Glaciers Going Down

Melting of Himalayan Glaciers has Doubled in Recent Years,
Earth Institute at Columbia University, June 19, 2019.

Main Points

2000 to Present
Losing a Foot of Ice per Year
Himalayan glaciers in, "...India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, indicates that glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000..."

Thaw Accelerating
"...double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000."

Major Threat to Billions
"...potentially threatening water supplies for hundreds of millions of people downstream across much of Asia." (See, "Disappearing Buffer," below.)

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Monkeys Face Climate Change Extinction Threat



Guatemalan Black Howler
Guatemalan black howler (Alouatta pigra) in Belize Zoo. Dave Johnson.
Guatemalan black howler (Alouatta pigra), a New World Monkey in the Belize Zoo. Dave Johnson, Wiki.


Background of Destruction

Monkeys Face Climate Change Extinction Threat,
University of Stirling, June 12, 2019.


Global Monkey Trouble
"...a large percentage of non-human primates - including monkeys, lemurs and apes - are facing substantial temperature increases and marked habitat changes over the next 30 years."

Esp New World
"New World monkeys - which live primarily in tropical South America - will be particularly affected."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Clearer View of Greenland Ice Melting Potentials



Study Predicts More Long-Term Sea Level Rise from Greenland Ice
Study Predicts More Long-Term Sea Level Rise from Greenland Ice, NASA / Cindy Starr.
"The researchers ran their model 1500 times, testing a variety of land, ice, ocean and atmospheric variables to see how they affected ice melt rate - including three possible future climate scenarios (from left to right: low, medium, and high emissions out to the year 2300). Credits: NASA / Cindy Starr."


Clearer View of Greenland Ice Melting Potentials

Study Predicts More Long-Term Sea Level Rise from Greenland Ice,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, June 19, 2019.


Data from Ice Bridge Observations
“NASA’s space and airborne campaigns, like IceBridge, have fundamentally transformed our ability to try and make a model mimic the changes to the ice sheet.”

Fancy New Model
"In the next 200 years, the ice sheet model shows that melting at the present rate could contribute 19 to 63 inches to global sea level rise..."

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