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

Worse Idea in the World: Bicycles in Wilderness



Coming to the "Wilderness Area" Near You!

Watchout Below! Bikes on Wilderness Trails is a Bad Idea.
This Will be legal in our "Wilderness Areas," if the bicycle industry's bribes pay off...enjoy dodging/dealing with bikes on the PCT & JMT... Image by, "12019," Pixabay.


Worse Idea in the World: Bicycles in Wilderness

Sen. Lee Reintroduces Wilderness Bill,
Bicycle Retailer, June 12, 2019.


The Bill
"Sen. Mike Lee...Utah Republican..."

"...Senate bill S. 1695, the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act..."

"...allow local managers to permit bicycles on existing trails and roads in federal Wilderness areas."

"The bill does not require creating trails or modifying existing ones to facilitate bicycling or other human-powered uses. It calls for the character of a Wilderness area is to be preserved."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lawsuit Asks: Drought, Beetles, & Forest Mortality Justifies Chainsaws in Wilderness?

Updated June 17: Forest Service Reverses Decision

Updated May 31: Behind the Decision Allowing Chainsaws


The Situation
Sierra Nevada & Rockies
Massive Western Forest Mortality
Dying Sierra Trees, from UC Merced, can they survive another drought?
Dying Sierra Trees, from UC Merced, can they survive another drought?


Drought, Beetles, & Mortality Justifies Chainsaws?

Forest Service Sued over Decision to use Chain Saws in Wilderness Areas,
The Journal, May 22, 2019.


"A coalition of conservation groups has sued the U.S. Forest Service for its recent decision to allow chain saws for trail work in two wilderness areas in Southwest Colorado."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Star Operations, Supernova Explosions, & Neutron Star Collisions: How Elements are Created



Original Article

Star, Supernova, & Neutron Star Collision Element Production

Supernova 1987a
Boom Goes the Massive Star
 NASA/CXC/SAO/Penn State/D. Burrows et al.; Optical: NASA/STSci; Millimeter: NRAO/AUI/NSF.
Supernova: Engines of Heavy Metals and Mothers of Neutron Stars. Chandra X-Ray Obs Composite image of Supernova 1987a.


118 known elements
How they Came to Be


Periodic table
Elements #2 through 25 forged in stars. Their fuel, Element #1, was created in the Big Bang.


Create Series of Elements in their Nuclear Furnaces
Starting with #1, Stellar Element Production is Limited to Iron, #26

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Bacteria Defeats Last Effective Antibiotic



Salmonella Resistant to Antibiotics of Last Resort Found in US.
North Carolina State University, June 13, 2019.

MCR-3.1 in US
"...found a gene that gives Salmonella resistance to antibiotics of last resort in a sample taken from a human patient in the U.S. The find is the first evidence that the gene mcr-3.1 has made its way into the U.S. from Asia."

Full Antibiotic Resistance
"The drug resistance gene in question - known as mcr-3.1 - gives Salmonella resistance to colistin, the drug of last resort for treating infections caused by multidrug-resistant Salmonella."


Original Article

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Second Fastest, Largest C02 Growth in 2019, Carbon Dioxide Levels Hit Record Peak in May

Carbon Dioxide Reaches Record Levels, Plus 6 Things to Know About the Greenhouse Gas,
NASA Earth Observatory, June 14, 2019.

Global CO2
Global CO2, NASA.
NASA, read more about this image measuring global CO2 here.


Original Article

Oceans of Hot Air

Carbon Dioxide Levels Hit Record Peak in May,
Monthly average surpassed 414 parts per million at Mauna Loa Observatory,
Scripps Institute of Oceanography, June 4, 2019.


CO2 Over the Top
"...the average for May peaking at 414.8 parts per million (ppm)..."

"...highest seasonal peak recorded in 61 years of observations on top of...Mauna Loa..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Extreme Weather Increasing, Tropical Cyclones are Stalling More



West Houston, Texas
West Houston Texas, After Hurricane Harvey, NOAA Image.
After Hurricane Harvey, NOAA Image, more.


Extreme Weather Increasing

Tropical Cyclones are Stalling More,
NASA Earth Observatory, June 7, 2019.


Extreme Rainfall Hurricanes
Recently Stalled/Parked Hurricanes
'18, Hurricane Florence, "...lingered in a confined region near the North Carolina coast for 53 hours, becoming the wettest tropical cyclone on record for the Carolinas."

'17, "Hurricane Harvey stalled for more than 100 hours in the northern Gulf of Mexico, pumping disastrous amounts of moisture into Texas."

'08, "Tropical Storm Fay hovered near Florida for at least 66 hours and became one of the most prolific rain-producing storms in the area."

Longer is Stronger...
"...those stalls were not freak occurrences, but instead fit with a growing trend of slower, longer-lasting hurricanes in the North Atlantic."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Weed is a Very Old Medicinal & Fiber Crop



"The Chimney"
Oldest Weed Smoker in Existence
The typical brazier and burnt stones in ancient Pamirs. Xinhua Wu, at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
The typical brazier and burnt stones in ancient Pamirs. Xinhua Wu, at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.


Weed is a Very Old Medicinal & Fiber Crop

The Origins of Cannabis Smoking: Marijuana use in the First Millennium BC,
Max Planck Institute, June 12, 2019.


"Cannabis plants were cultivated in East Asia for their oily seeds and fibre from at least 4000 BC."

Little Evidence
"Despite being one of the most widely used psychoactive drugs in the world today, there is little archaeological or historical evidence for the use of marijuana in the ancient world."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Clothing's Plastic Fibers Surprising Ocean & Beach Distribution




Beach of Tarragona
Southeastern Edge of Spain
Beach of Tarragona, Universitat Rovira i Virgili.
The researchers are analysing samples of sea water, marine sediment and sand from Tarragona beaches. Universitat Rovira i Virgili.


Plastic is Everywhere & In Everything

57% of the Plastic Waste on the Tarragona Coast is Clothing Fibers from Washing Machines,
Universi,tat Rovira i Virgili, June 10, 2019.


Unexpected in Remote Areas
Plastic Poisoning Source
"...that up to 57% of all the plastics analysed from sea water are microscopic fibres from clothes, which flow into the treatment parts and which are only partially removed before the water is finally discharged into the sea."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Dead Zones at Record Size & Expanding



Dead Zones at Record Size & Expanding

1>Gulf Mexico --&-- 2>Chesapeake Bay


1>Gulf Mexico

2019 'Dead Zone' may be the Second Largest on Record,
Louisiana State University, June 10, 2019.

Main Points

Second Biggest on Record
"A recent forecast of the size of the "Dead Zone" in the northern Gulf of Mexico for late July 2019 is that it will cover 8,717-square-miles of the bottom of the continental shelf off Louisiana and Texas. The unusually high Mississippi River discharge in May controls the size of this zone, which will likely be the second largest zone since systematic measurements began in 1985."

"The water mass with oxygen concentrations less than 2 parts per million forms in bottom waters each year primarily as a result of nitrogen and phosphorus loading from the Mississippi River watershed, which fertilizes the Gulf of Mexico's surface waters to create excessive amounts of algal biomass."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Fertilizer Plants Underreported Emissions More CO2 than All US Industrial Production



Factory Smoke
Factory Smoke,  by JuergenPM.
Conversion of more & more energy. JuergenPM


Under Counting on the Ground--BUT--Everything Counts Up in the Sky

Fertilizer Plants emit 100 times more Methane than Reported,
Cornell University, June 6, 2019.


Fertilizer Plants
Methane Emissions

> "...100 times higher than the fertilizer industry's self-reported estimate."

> "...higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate for all industrial processes in the United States."

Self-Regulation & Reporting
"It shows us that there's a huge gap between a priori estimates and real-world measurements."

Natural Gas
"...use of natural gas has grown in recent years, bolstered by improved efficiency in shale gas extraction and the perception that natural gas is a less dirty fossil fuel."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Too Many Eggie-Weggies Still Bad for You - But Not Too Bad...



Love Them Eggs
Three chicken eggs
Three chicken eggs, Timothy Titus.
Three chicken eggs of contrasting colours. From L to R, WHITE (white leghorn hen), RED (speckled)(Marans hen), and TINTED (Rhode Island Red hen). Wiki, Timothy Titus.


Too Many Eggie-Weggies Still Bad for You - But Not Too Bad...

Study: Cholesterol in Eggs Tied to Cardiac Disease, Death,
University of Massachusetts Lowell, June 4, 2019.


Eggs Bad
"...cholesterol in eggs, when consumed in large quantities, is associated with ill health effects..."

"...high cholesterol levels..."

US Diet Guidelines
"...no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day."

Egg Semi-Reprieve
"...saturated fats (other sources of cholesterol) were the driving factor behind high cholesterol levels, rather than eggs."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Your Digital Dead-Weight Brain in our Brave New Digital World




Your Digital Deadweight Brain

Research reveals how the Internet may be changing the brain,
NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, June 5, 2019.


Cell Phonyism
"The key findings of this report are that high-levels of Internet use could indeed impact on many functions of the brain."

Stupid Phones
"...international team of researchers...have found the Internet can produce both acute and sustained alterations in specific areas of cognition, which may reflect changes in the brain, affecting our attentional capacities, memory processes, and social interactions."

Individual and Social Effects
"Instagramification of society"
"I believe that this, along with the increasing #Instagramification of society, has the ability to alter both the structure and functioning of the brain, while potentially also altering our social fabric."

Digital Hole
"It's clear the Internet has drastically altered the opportunity for social interactions, and the contexts within which social relationships can take place."


Bottom LIne

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018 Annual Euro-Bee Count



Honey Bee Visiting Flowers
Western Honey Bee, Wiki, Louis Docker.
Western Honey Bee, Wiki, Louis Docker.


Annual Euro Bee Count

Honey Bee Colonies Down by 16%,
University of Strathclyde, June 5, 2019.


Mostly Euro-Count
"...survey of 25,363 beekeepers in 36 countries..."

"...33 countries in Europe - including the four nations of the UK - along with Algeria, Israel and Mexico."

Count & Amount
16.3% Lost in 2017-18
"...out of 544,879 colonies...at the start of winter, 89124 were lost..."

Previous Years
20.9% colony loss in 2016-17.

12.0% colony loss in 2015-16.

"Loss of honey bee colonies is a highly complex issue."



Bee Troubles

2019: Massive Bee Declines in Michigan since 2000


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Counting Small Percentage of American Diet Finds Lots of Microplastic Consumption




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


Counting Small Percentage of Food Finds Lots of Microplastics,

Estimating Microplastic Consumption,
American Chemical Society, June 5, 2019.


Human Test Subjects
"...the average American consumes more than 70,000 particles of microplastics per
year, though the health effects of that consumption are unclear"

74,000 to 121,000 Particles Per Year
"...estimated microplastic consumption ranged from 74,000 to 121,000 particles per year, depending on age and sex. People who drink only bottled water could consume an additional 90,000 microplastics annually compared with those who drink only tap water."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Africa to Fry Under Any of the Current Climate "Scenarios"



Africa to Fry Under Any of the Current Climate "Scenarios"

Extreme Heat to Hit One Third of the African Urban Population,
Université de Genève, June 5, 2019.


173 African Cities
"...a range of possible scenarios regarding the rate of climate change and socio-economic development in 173 African cities for the years 2030, 2060 and 2090."

Population Growth & Urbanization
"...highlight the influence of socio-economic development on the impact of climate change."

Lethal Combination
"...Africa - are experiencing heavy urbanisation and socio-economic development, leading to an explosion in the size of urban populations. A combination of these two factors is having a major impact on the living conditions of city-dwellers in Africa, especially in terms of exposure to extreme - or even lethal - temperatures."

Measuring Unbearable
"...calculate the number of people per day exposed to apparent temperatures above 40.6°C (105°F) in cities in Africa on an annual basis."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

At the Center of Our Galaxy: Star Orbits Our Black Hole at 2.7% of Light Speed


Massive Gas Cloud Rotating Around Sag A*

Matter Itself Observed Falling into Sag A*



At the Center of Our Galaxy

Star Orbits Our Black Hole at 2.7% of Light Speed
(4971 Miles Per Second)

GRAVITY confirms predictions of general relativity,
CNRS, July 30, 2018.


"Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* Black Hole) sits at the centre of our galaxy, 26,000 light-years from Earth. This black hole, which has a mass 4 million times that of the sun, is surrounded by a star cluster - the S stars - which reach mind-boggling speeds when they approach the hole."

Sagittarius A* Within its Star Cluster
Sagittarius A* and its star cluster
Credit, Copyright by Paris Observatory / LESIA

"...to follow one particular star in the Sgr A* system - S2 - before and after it passed close to the black hole on 19 May 2018. GRAVITY achieved a resolution of 50 microarcseconds: the angle at which a tennis ball placed on the moon would be visible from Earth."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Glacier Point Road Opening May 10th



2019 Opening Dates
Highway 108, Sonora Pass, Open as of June 3
Highway 4, Ebbetts Pass,    Open as of June 3
Highway 120, Tioga Road,   Still Closed on June 3


Glacier Point Update, May 29: OPEN

Glacier Point Update, May 17: Closed Through Sunday, May 19, 2019

Glacier Point Update, May 14: Glacier Point Road Closed for Storm of 5-15


Yosemite Roads

All High Sierra Road Info


Through the Snowy High Sierra
Through the Snowy High Sierra  Driving to Sonora Pass, Hwy 108, June 2010
Driving to Sonora Pass, Hwy 108, June 2010


Yosemite Road News & Status of Trans-Sierra Highways

Alex Wierbinski's picture

MORE FREAKISH, EXTREME WEATHER: Massive 2019 Midwestern Flooding



Massive Midwestern Flooding

The Whole US is Wettest Ever
"The continental United States recently finished its wettest twelve months in 124 years of modern recordkeeping."


River Flood Outlook

All Flood Hazard Warnings Page

3-7 Day Flood Hazards Page


Corporate Press

The Wettest, Wildest Planting Season U.S. Farmers Can Remember,
Bloomberg, June 3, 2019.

Corporate Press
Flooding continues to pose threat to communities along Mississippi, Arkansas rivers,
GMA, Yahoo, May 31, 2019.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

HEALTH & FITNESS: Coffee Reduces Death

Coffee Cleared of Stiffening Artries



Coffee Reduces Death

Research suggests coffee consumption associated with reduced risk of death,
Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, July 31, 2018.

Less Death for Coffee Drinkers
“...presented unpublished original research studying a cohort of almost 20,000 participants over an average of ten years...research suggests that coffee consumption at intakes of 3-6 cups of coffee a day reduces all-cause mortality. Within this cohort, there was a 22% lower risk of all-cause mortality for each two additional cups of coffee per day.”

Not Just the Caffeine
“...suggested that caffeine alone was unlikely to explain the effect on mortality, mentioning a potential role for polyphenols found in coffee, which may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.”

Less Death
“Meta-analyses have suggested that coffee consumption versus no coffee consumption is associated with an up to 17% risk reduction of all-cause mortality.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

WARNING: Torrential Downpour Activity has been Building for Fifty Years, and is Continuing



"Atmospheric River" Smacking California
Fantastic Shot of Pineapple Express Tropical Transport Mechanism by Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory/ VIIRS satellite.
Fantastic Shot of, "Pineapple Express," Tropical Transport Mechanism by Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory/ VIIRS satellite.


Torrential Downpour Activity has, and is Building

Downpours of Torrential Rain more Frequent with Global Warming,
University of Saskatchewan, June 3, 2019.


50 Years of Increasing Downpours
"The number of extreme downpours increased steadily between 1964 and 2013--a period when global warming also intensified..."

Extreme Events
"By introducing a new approach to analyzing extremes, using thousands of rain records, we reveal a clear increase in the frequency extreme rain events over the recent 50 years when global warming accelerated."

Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system

Latest News: RSS FEED

Syndicate content

Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

We offer valuable Trail Guide, Skills, Weather, News and Analysis.

My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

If you feel these efforts are valuable, I'm cordially inviting you to support them, here:



I am currently working towards publishing the completed guide between Tahoe & Yosemite as an e-book, while converting this "blog" to a fine magazine format. You will like the results! Help Tahoe to Whitney reach its potential!


Why Support Tahoe to Whitney?
Mission Statement