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

Rapid Degradation of West Antarctic Ice Underway



Antarctic from Space
From Big Ice Hole research, beautiful image from NASA Scientific Visulation Studio
From Big Ice Hole research, beautiful image from NASA Scientific Visulation Studio


Rapid Degradation of West Antarctic Ice Underway

Study finds 24% of West Antarctic Ice is now Unstable,
American Geophysical Union, May 16, 2019.


"In only 25 years, ocean melting has caused ice thinning to spread across West Antarctica so rapidly that a quarter of its glacier ice is now affected, according to a new study."

"Antarctica's ice sheet has thinned by up to 122 meters in places, with the most rapid changes occurring in West Antarctica where ocean melting has triggered glacier imbalance. "

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra Spring Snow Backpacking II: Round Top to Round Lake Coyote, June 8, 2010

Spring Backpacking

Coyote Video, Meiss Country Roadless Area,
Tahoe to Whitney, YouTube.


Next Video: Spring Snow Backpacking trip, Round Lake to Showers Lake, June 6, 2010

South Tahoe Basin & Roundtop Review
These are two of the many videos I took of a grand snow shoe loop from Meyers to Showers Lake, from Showers Lake out of the Lake Tahoe Basin to Round Top Lake, then back into the Basin via Round Lake to exit the snow at Meyers, where we first started.

Spring Fun
This was a delightful Spring Snow backpacking trip, full of fun navigation challenges, route finding, terrain reading, and other Spring Snow delights.

On the fourth day, as we were working our way from Meiss Meadow down to Round Lake, I heard a coyote coming through the underbrush, and even caught a glimpse of her before she heard or saw us.

I signaled for complete stop and silence, then pointed to my estimated point of emergence from the underbrush of the coyote, who soon popped through the spot I anticipated.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Spring Snow May 2011: Doc's trip from Little Yosemite Valley to Sunrise Lakes

Doc sent us this report and photos about his Late May Spring Snow trip from Little Yosemite Valley up to Sunrise Lakes and back. Doc's original goal was Tenaya Lake, but the storm held him a little short. Disgression is the better part of valor!

Doc's trip began on Thursday the 26th, and was turned back by the weekend storm we experienced on the 28th and 29th.

This report will inform Pacific Crest Trail hikers as well as early season John Muir Trail hikers as to the deep snow at elevation in the Sierra Nevada.

Here's Doc's Report:


Well, this old fart did make it to Sunrise.

Day 1: Started the hike on Thursday and camped a couple miles up from the Clouds rest junction on the jmt, along Sunrise Creek.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Peter's Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Report June 2014

Upon the first publication of this report on June 8th 2014 Peter had just completed an early season snow-hiking trip along the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route. At that time he sent us very valuable information about early season conditions early in the season, which we first put up here on June 8 of 2014.

This information is not only valuable for backpackers trying to ascertain the conditions along the unmaintained segments of the trail, but also preps backpackers for the difficulties and challenges of hiking and navigating the Sierra Crest and backcountry through Spring snow conditions.

Though the particular stage of Spring conditions Peter describes transpires at a different times during each season's unique progression from Winter to Summer conditions, Peter well describes mid-to-late Spring conditions in the High Sierra.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Hobbitbook 2013 Trail Report: Summit City Creek along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Route

Hi Alex,

I had a great trip through Summit City Ck canyon last week... its BEE-OO-TEE-FUL! Wow, what a gem.

Finding the trail was just fine, probably because I was expecting the worst from your website description.

People had left many cairns to follow, and it seemed like a number of folks had been there already this year, leaving their trails to follow through bracken and undergrowth, including the enchanted forest.

The trail has a real personality, very playful, and it loves big trees. There were plenty of those in the enchanted forest - wow, what an incredible place. It feels so ancient in there.

I did want to report that someone left their mark in nail polish along the trail: On the Horse Creek signpost: "Danger Not Horse Safe," "Lost the trail 2.5 mi," "GPS needed"

Horse Canyon trail junction marred by Finger Polish Lady, Summer 2013.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

July 2015 TYT Unmaintained Trail Update: Clarks Fork Trailhead to Saint Marys Pass Trailhead

Video embed: 
See video

Tropical storm brings heavy hail, lightening to Saint Marys Trailhead, just below the Sierra Crest, July 8 2015.


Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire


Post-Storm July Tropical Sunset
Fine tropical-influenced sunset from Clarks Meadow hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail in July of 2015
  From the North Edge of Clarks Fork Meadow along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Clarks Fork Trailhead 
Saint Marys Pass Trailhead
Highway 108
11.25 miles along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
 The Iceberg, sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.
Above: The Iceberg sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.

July 2015 TYT Status Report
The Trail

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Trip Report: Rich, Scott, & Melika report on Unmaintained Clarks Fork of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail, 2016

June 18, 2017


Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire



Tahoe to Yosemite Trail


Unmaintained Trail Report


This Report:
Section Hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

This Section

Lake Alpine to St. Mary’s Pass

Trip Start Date 
August 7, 2016

The Team:
Rich, Melika and I were dropped off by my wife at Silver Creek Trailhead near Lake Alpine on August for a 7 day trip up to St. Mary’s Pass. We can't do these trips without family support crews. Thanks to all!

Meet The Team

Rich and Scott after route-finding their way South to Saint Marys Pass Rich and Scott found their route up the untrailed Tahoe to Yosemite Trail to Saint Marys Pass.
American Farmers

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Scott's Summit City Creek Trail Report June 2014


An excellent way to approach the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail is as a section hiker. This is how Scott, his hiking partner Rich, and their backcountry hiking dog Melika approached the difficult Carson Pass to Lake Alpine section of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Carson Pass
Scott Rich and Melika begin their TYT section South out of Carson Pass.

Mokelumne Wilderness Backpacking Map

Scott and Rich executed this TYT section hike early in the hiking season. Despite the drought conditions and earlier Spring Thaws a late May hiking trip is still early in the backpacking season.

Hitting the Snow at Frog Lake
Melika digging the snow with Frog Lake in the background.

  High water levels in the river fords, the potential for extensive snow covering the trail, and the much more unpredictable weather during early Spring brings makes Spring a challenging time to hike an already challenging trail.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking: Crabtree to Gem Lake, Deer Lake, and More

Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness

A fantastic  4 day Backpacking Trip into the Emigrant Wilderness from trailhead East of Pinecrest Lake near Highway 108.

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire


Peter describes food resources there and back, roads, fishing, trail culture and terrain descriptions that make this a fantastic description of a fantastic backpacking trip.

Trail into Emigrant Wilderness from Crabtree Trailhead.
 Backpacking Trail into Emigrant Wilderness through Crabtree Trailhead

Thanks to Peter and Jason for sharing this!

Emigrant Wilderness NF PDF

All Tahoe to Whitney MAPS
Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking Maps


tmorton23's picture

High Sierra Backpacking Trip Report: Twin Lakes-Benson Lake Loop, July 14 to July 21, 2018


Trip Report
Bensen Lake Loop

July 14 – 21, 2018

Editor's Note
This trip begins and ends at the Twin Lakes Trailhead in the Toiyabe-administered Northern section of the Hoover Wilderness. It climbs precipitiously to, then over the Sierra Crest, into the heart of the very difficult backpacking terrain of the North Yosemite Backcountry.

Intercepting the routes of the unified PCT-TYT along Rancheria Creek in Kerrick Canyon, our route turns South with them, down through the beauties of Seavy Pass before plunging down into the Bensen Hole, only  to climb back out and over Bensen Pass, on our way back to Twin Lakes by splitting off the PCT-TYT to climb up through Matterhorn Canyon, on our way back to our starting trailhead at Twin Lakes.

Check out the maps, miles, and description of this fine route below...

Time & Distance

Eight Nights

Around 54 miles


All Photos


Trail Guide

Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Barney Lake in the Hoover Wilderness
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Carol Crooker Trip Report Desolation Wilderness Lollypop Loop.

Carol Crooker Trip Report
Desolation Wilderness Lollypop Loop.
Member Profile


Trip Statistics
Lower Echo Lake North PCT
to Middle Velma Lake.
West to Camper Flat.
South to Lake Aloha,
PCT to Lower Echo Lake

Distance & Duration
40 miles in 9 Days
June 9 to 18, 2015

Temps and Weather
33 degrees and the highest was 83 degrees

Starting Pack Weight
About 32 pounds

Trail Guide Resources 
Desolation Wilderness Map

Detailed Map of Carol's Route

Trail Guide
Lower Echo Lake Trailhead

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit


Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Murder on the Appalacian Trail



Crazy on the AT in Virginia, One AT hiker Killed, One Injured,

Knife attack prompts precautions on Appalachian Trail,
WHSV TV, May 14, 2019.

Judge orders psych evaluation for Appalachian Trail suspect,
WHSV TV, May 13, 2019.

Updated Below


Weird Dude
"...the past couple of weeks, hikers along the Appalachian Trial had been warning each other about a hiker who was threatening other hikers with a large knife."

"The man, who had the trail nickname of "Sovereign," was arrested in North Carolina last month after some hikers reported him to authorities."

"James Jordan, 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is charged with murder and assault with intent to commit murder. During his initial appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, a judge ordered him to be held in custody and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

May 2019 Owens Valley-Mount Whitney Mosquito Warning



In California, Now…
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Wiki. Image by Muhammad Mahdi Karim.
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. "...Originally found in tropical and subtropical zones, but now found on all continents except Antarctica, " Wiki. Image by Muhammad Mahdi Karim.


East Flank Preps for Skeeter Onslaught: Are You Ready?

Officials bracing for the mosquito invasion,
Sierra Wave, May 9, 2019.


2019 a Potentially Heavy Mosquito Season
"...a joint communication from the Mono County Health Department and the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program (OVMAP): Big snow years can mean big mosquito seasons and we are expecting some bugs!"

Alex Wierbinski's picture

400 Year El Nino Record Shows Dramatic Recent Increase in Frequency & Intensity



Drilling Coral Cores
 Researchers dive down to corals to extract coral cores that will give us information about Earth's past climate, copyright Jason Turl.
Researchers dive down to corals to extract coral cores that will give us information about Earth's past climate, copyright Jason Turl.


Radical Recent Increases of El Nino Frequency & Intensity

Impossible research produces 400-year El Niño record, revealing startling changes,
University of New South Wales, May 6, 2019.


400 Years of El Nino Observations
"...cores drilled from coral to produce a world first 400-year long seasonal record of El Niño events, a record that many in the field had described as impossible to extract."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

UN Reports Major Planetary Climate & Ecosystem Breakdown, Global Extinction Event Underway



Destructive Development
Beach pollution at Kuta Beach, Bali
UN IPBES 2019 Report, Beach pollution at Kuta beach, Bali, Maxim Blinkov/Shutterstock.
The High Tide of Human Crap. UN IPBES Report, Maxim Blinkov/Shutterstock


Major Planetary Breakdown Underway

Media Release
Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating,’
IPBES, May 4, 2019.


Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

"All States Members of the United Nations are eligible for IPBES membership, with a large number of NGOs, organisations, conventions and civil society groupings participating in the formal IPBES process as observers."


Vast Rapid Changes
"Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Rana Virus Expanding in England with Expanding Warmth



Sweet Little Common Frog
England's Common frog (Rana temporaria), Greg Hitchock, Zoological Society of London.
England's Common frog (Rana temporaria), Greg Hitchock, Zoological Society of London.


Rana Virus Expanding with Expanding Warmth

Climate change responsible for severe infectious disease in UK frogs,
Zoological Society of London, May 9, 2019.


UK Frogs
"Climate change has already increased the spread and severity of a fatal disease caused by Ranavirus that infects common frogs (Rana temporaria) in the UK..."

Heat-Disease Correlation
"Historic trends in mass-mortality events attributed to the disease were found to match the pattern of increased temperatures recorded over recent decades..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Bald Cypress in Wetland Forests are East Coast's Oldest Trees



Prof. David Stahle in North Carolina’s Black River
Prof. David Stahle in North Carolina’s Black River, UARK Research Frontiers, Photo by Dan Griffin.
UARK Research Frontiers, Photo by Dan Griffin.


Bald Cypress in Wetland Forests are East Coast's Oldest Trees

Researchers document the oldest known trees in eastern North America,
University of Arkansas, May 9, 2019.


Oldest Trees in East US
"A recently documented stand of bald cypress trees in North Carolina, including one tree at least 2,624 years old, are the oldest known living trees in eastern North America and the oldest known wetland tree species in the world."

"...discovered the trees in 2017 in a forested wetland preserve along the Black River south of Raleigh, North Carolina."

Long Run of Ancient Trees
"The ancient trees are part of an intact ecosystem that spans most of the 65-mile length of the Black River."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Desolation Wilderness, One of the Busiest Wilderness Areas, Seek Volunteers



Northwest Desolation Wilderness on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
East Desolation Wilderness and Mount Tallac looking down at Jobs Sister and Freel Peak from Phipps Pass
View Southeast from Phipps Pass across Northeast Desolation to NE tip of Fallen Leaf Lake, with the Southeast end of the Tahoe Rim beyond.
Closer, we see Mount Tallac rising highest on Right, with Maggies Peaks blocking the body of Fallen Leaf Lake. Jobs Sister and Freel Peak are the highest points from L to R in the furthest distance on the Tahoe Rim, sitting SE of the South end of Lake Tahoe. From Phipps Pass, on the Trail Guide. Map.


Tending Desolation, One of the Busiest Wilderness Areas

Lake Tahoe Basin Mgmt Unit seeks Desolation Wilderness volunteers,
LTBMU-Desolation, May 8, 2019.


Alex Wierbinski's picture

FROGS & AMPHIBIANS: New Count Finds More Trouble



Sierran Treefrog
Noble Lake, Carson Iceberg Wilderness, PCT-TYT, more info.
Noble Lake, Carson Iceberg Wilderness, PCT-TYT, more info. Frog Forum.


New Count Finds More Trouble

Many more amphibian species at risk of extinction than previously thought,
Yale University, May 6, 2019.


"Amphibians are highly threatened and are declining worldwide at an unprecedented rate."

"...1,012 additional species of amphibians who have now been newly identified as at risk of extinction..."

"Until this study, less than two-thirds of all amphibian species had been assessed for extinction risk by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Climate Extremes Cause up to Half Global Crop Variability



Map of Global Regions
Continental regions for staple crops, Supplied by author, University of New South Wales..
Continental regions for staple crops, Supplied by author, University of New South Wales.


Turning Up the Heat

Climate extremes explain 18%-43% of global crop yield variations,
University of New South Wales, May 3, 2019.


Extreme Weather & Crop Yields
"Researchers from Australia, Germany and the US have quantified the effect of climate extremes, such as droughts or heatwaves, on the yield variability of staple crops around the world."

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