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

Training Beyond Exhaustion can Prevent Learning


Don’t Over-train

Training beyond exhaustion can prevent learning,
eLife, March 5, 2019.


"...we set out to disentangle the effects of fatigue on performance of a task from its effects on the ability to learn and get better at it."

Hurts for Days
"...muscle fatigue caused by overexertion when practicing a skill can affect the task in hand and impair learning afterwards."

Pinch Test
“The researchers asked 120 people to learn a pinch-force task over two days.”

"...they found that those people who had reached the point of exhaustion performed less well using both their fatigued and unfatigued hands.

I’m Tired
"This suggested that fatigue impairs motor skill learning mechanisms in the brain."

“...fatigue may affect the formation of memories that help people to retain new skills they have learned.”

Overtraining Bad
“We have shown that learning in a fatigued state results in detrimental effects on a person’s ability to acquire a new skill.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Can We Find Dark Matter in the Light?

The Stars above Our Heads


Shooting Some Light into the Darkness

Our Galaxy Rotating Equally, without Differential Rotation
The spiral structure of our galaxy, the Milky Way, in an artistic impression, from NASA/JPL-Caltech.
The spiral structure of our galaxy, the Milky Way, in an artistic impression, from NASA/JPL-Caltech.


Physicists Analyze Rotational Dynamics of Galaxies and Influence of the Photon Mass,
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz, March 5, 2019.


The Missing Matter
“The orbital speeds of stars should decrease with their distance from the center of the galaxy, but in fact stars in the middle and outer regions of galaxies have the same rotational speed.”

We see gravity, but not matter.

Dark Matter
“...seeking it for decades, the existence of such 'dark matter' has yet to be definitively proven and we still don't know what it might be made of.”

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Growing Land Use Apocalypse Approaches


Land Use Apocalypse

Urban Nighmare - Nature's Reality
LA in 2050?
Land Use Urban Nighmare is Nature's Reality, by Stark8, Pixabay.
Our, "leaders," are trying to create this here; Land Use, Xiamen, China, by Stark8, Pixabay


Due to humans, extinction risk for 1,700 animal species to increase by 2070,
Yale University, March 4, 2019.


Extinction Targets 1700 Species
Cause: Land Use

“The study shows that under a middle-of-the-road scenario of moderate changes in human land-use about 1,700 species will likely experience marked increases in their extinction risk over the next 50 years: They will lose roughly 30-50% of their present habitat ranges by 2070.
These species of concern include 886 species of amphibians, 436 species of birds, and 376 species of mammals -- all of which are predicted to have a high increase in their risk of extinction.”

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Widespread Endocrine Disruptors Killing & Damaging Boys & Their Dog’s Sperm


Endocrine Disruptors DEHP & PCBs Killing & Damaging Dudes & Their Dog’s Sperm

PCBs, Polyvinyl Chlorides, EVERYWHERE
 Corporate Corruption Kills Man & Nature.
The, "Health & Safety," Policies of, "our," corporate-bribed political parties and politicians make Skully a much more appropriate symbol for them than any Burro or Elephant.


Corporate Political Pirates are Poisoning Our Planet

The, “Profitability,” Principal, (ie, bribery), rules our, “regulatory framework,” (ie, politics), not the, “Precautionary” Principal, The RESULTS:

Chemical pollutants in the home degrade fertility in both men and dogs, study finds,
University of Nottingham, March 4, 2019.


“...a 50% global reduction in sperm quality in the past 80 years.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Endocrine Disruptors and Plastics Everywhere, In Deepest Ocean Trenches


Endocrine Disruptors Everywhere

The Flag of the Corporate-Chemical-Corruption Pirates:
Corporate Corruption Perverts & Kills Man & Nature
 Corrupted Regulatory Apparatus allows Dangerous Chemicals in Everything
"Skully," is the, "battle flag," a representative symbol, and practical result of Our Bribed & Corrupted Political Regulatory Apparatus allowing Dangerous Chemicals into Everything, among many other dangerous policies (!), that are highly detrimental to us and our environment's health, our wealth, and everything's welfare.


Heavy Plastic and Endocrine Disruptor Distrubition.



A Troubling Discovery in the Deepest Ocean Trenches,
The Atlantic, February 27, 2019.


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Warm Seas Scatter Fish


Fish Already Suffering


Big Old Trout Fishing Tilden Lake
Tilden Lake Trout fishing as I hike by on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail across North Yosemite.
Hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail around Tilden Lake in North Yosemite. This Big Old Trout was fishing for insects, mostly, but it'd consider alternatives...


Warm seas scatter fish,
University of California - Santa Barbara, February 28, 2019.


Massive Fish Study
“...study looked at historical abundance data for 124 species in 38 regions, which represents roughly one-third of the reported global catch. The researchers compared this data to records of ocean temperature and found that 8 percent of populations were significantly negatively impacted by warming, while 4 percent saw positive impacts. Overall, though, the losses outweigh the gains.”

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Yeast Converted into THC Factories, & Weed Good for Senior Citizen Medical Issues


Two Weed Stories
1> Yeast turned into THC Factories, first below.
2> Weed Great for Senior's Medical Issues, second below.

Old School
 Living in the Past with non-toxic urban agriculture
Living in the Past: Non-Toxic Urban Agriculture...Old School THC, "factories," AKA. plants.


Yeast Converted into THC Factories

Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids,
University of California - Berkeley, February 27, 2019.

Main Points

Money Factories, er, Yeast Factories
New Products
“...synthetic biologists have engineered brewer's yeast to produce marijuana's main ingredients--mind-altering THC and non-psychoactive CBD--as well as novel cannabinoids not found in the plant itself.”

"...the possibility of new therapies based on novel cannabinoids: the rare ones that are nearly impossible to get from the plant, or the unnatural ones, which are impossible to get from the plant."

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February of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index



February 28, 2019









High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

February, 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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Watching the Changing Character of the High Sierra & California’s Climate


Tropical Storm into Eastern Sierra, Fall of 2013
Fall Tropical Storm sucking up dust crossing Deserts to the Eastern Sierra
Fall Tropical Storm sucking up dust crossing Deserts before hitting the Eastern Sierra




Living Under The Changing Character of the High Sierra & California’s Climate,
High Sierra Backpacker, February 28, 2019


It’s Going Tropical
The Tropical Winter Weather of 2019

“Traditional” Weather
Heavy Cold Precip from North: Feb 4 Calendar


First TTM Tropical Downpours Feb 15, ‘19


Second TTM Feb Tropical Downpours Feb 26, ‘19


Next TTM?

March 1 or 2?



Tracking Tropical Moisture

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Horse Story-Lost Coast Backpacker

 The picture at the bottom of the page was taken at sunset on Usal Beach. And it was the end of an excellent day at Usal Beach, on the Southern end of the Sinkyone State Park, which contains the Southern 14 miles of the Lost Coast. The next day I headed North into the temperate rain forests that characterize the Southern part of Lost Coast.

But that evening I dined on fresh abalone caught by the most interesting person I had ever encountered at Usal Beach.

I had driven my truck in the 6.8 miles on a well-maintained dirt road from an obscure turn-off about 35 miles North of Fort Bragg, California. I had found a nice camp site in the Aspens a bit behind the beach, and I had decided to walk to the beach before sunset.

On the grassy flat just before the beach, there was a strange site. There was a horse grazing about a hundred yards from an old '40s red and white international pick-up. The truck was strangely equipped, with chuck wagon style boxes set-up along the length of the bed's sides. Their downward opening doors made shelves, on which there was a Coleman white-gas four-burner, a cast iron skillet, and various food stuffs and cooking implements.


Horse Story-Lost Coast Backpacker
Embed Map: 
Alex Wierbinski's picture

New Measure of Strength and Impacts of Atmospheric River Storms


 "Atmospheric River" Smacking California
Atmospheric river hits California, more precisely, a Tropical Transport Mechanism. Credit to Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory/ VIIRS satellite
Fantastic Shot by Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory/ VIIRS satellite.


Tropical Transport Mechanism Quantification

CW3E Research Notice

CW3E Releases New Scale to Characterize Strength and Impacts of Atmospheric Rivers,
CW3E, February 5, 2019.


New scale to characterize strength and impacts of atmospheric river storms,
University of California - San Diego, February 5, 2019.



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Who’s Responsible for Your Mountain Safety?


The Folks Who Pull Us Out:
California Mountain Rescue Association

MRA met in Mammoth Lakes California to test in "Snow and Ice" for their yearly Re-Accreditation test, hosted in 2016 by Inyo County Search and Rescue. Credit Adorabutton.
MRA met in Mammoth Lakes California in 2016 to test in "Snow and Ice" for their yearly Re-Accreditation test, hosted by Inyo County SAR. Map. Photo Credit, Adorabutton, Wiki.


Who’s Responsible for Your Mountain Safety?

Should we stop rescuing people in wilderness?
Adirondack Explorer, February 12, 2019.


New York Wilderness
New York’S 288 conservation officers and 134 forest rangers participated in 346 search-and-rescue missions in 2018.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra Cow Anxiety in Upper Clarks Fork Canyon

Close Encounter of the Cow Kind

As I was hiking down the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus on the unmaintained Tahoe to Yosemite Trail I picked up the enchanting sound of softly clanging cow bells bouncing off the rocky canyon walls until absorbed by the forest.

I figured I'd meet some cows. The narrow canyon certainly makes "our" shared route along the visible bits of route along the unmaintained trail the best solution for both grazing stock and passing backpackers to reach our respective goals. It's cozy. No problem. I like cows.

My goal is always to get past cows with as little trouble as possible. I've dealt with cows many times before, and always gotten myself through quickly, sometimes employing sweet talk, and other times threatening a re-branding if cow-cooperation is found lacking.

I will go freeking cowboy on their huge cow asses.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Great Balls ‘O Fire! Why’s Our Star’s Atmosphere So Hot?



We Like “Weather” Everywhere!

Solar tadpole-like jets seen with NASA'S IRIS add new clue to age-old mystery,
Tadpole-shaped jets containing pseudo-shocks streaking out from the Sun, Abhishek Srivastava IIT (BHU)/Joy Ng, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, February 19, 2019. Image Credits: Abhishek Srivastava IIT (BHU)/Joy Ng, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


Great Balls ‘O Fire!
Why’s Our Star’s Atmosphere So Hot?

Tadpole-shaped jets containing pseudo-shocks streaking out from the Sun,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, February 19, 2019.


What? State of the Sun
Atmosphere Hotter than Surface
“...scientists have been trying to figure out why the wispy upper atmosphere of the Sun — the corona — is over 200 times hotter than the solar surface.”

New Discovery
“Scientists have discovered tadpole-shaped jets coming out of regions with intense magnetic fields on the Sun…”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Don’t Cut Yourself: Your Risks of Deadly, Antibiotic-Resistant Infections are Rising




EUSR on Anti-Microbial-Resistance from Humans, Animals, & Food, 2017
EUSR on Anti-Microbial-Resistance from Humans, Animals, & Food, 2017, Credit to ECDC/EFSA, 2019.
Credit to ECDC/EFSA, 2019. Full-sized map image.


Don’t Cut Yourself: Your Risks of Deadly, Antibiotic-Resistant Infections are Rising


Zoonoses: Antimicrobial resistance shows no signs of slowing down,
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), February 26, 2019.


Antibiotic Resistance Rising
“The joint report, which presents the data collected from 28 EU Member States from humans, pigs and calves under one year of age, confirms the rise in antibiotic resistance already identified in previous years.”

“...antimicrobials used to treat diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, such as campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis, are becoming less effective.”

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Global Bird Migrations Shifting With Climate


Migrations Shifting With Climate


Western Tanager near Kennedy Meadows
Western Tanager near Kennedy Meadows
Highway 108 at Kennedy Meadows Pack Station, Map.


Spring migration is now earlier in European and North American birds,
University of Helsinki, February 25, 2019.


“The greatest advances were found among short-distance migrants that winter in Europe or North America: about 1.5-2 days per decade. Long-distance migrants that winter in the tropics have also advanced the start of their migration, but only by approximately 0.6-1.2 days per decade.”

"Based on changes in median migration dates, birds have on average advanced their spring migration by a little over a week since the late 1950s."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High CO2 Levels can Destabilize Marine Layer Clouds



Cloudless Coastal Sunrise
 Is this Our Future? Image by Patty Jansen on Pixabay.
Is this our future? Image by Patty Jansen on Pixabay


Loss of Clouds Could Cook Planet

High CO2 Levels can Destabilize Marine Layer Clouds,
California Institute of Technology, February 25, 2019.


CO2 Driven Cloud Loss Triggering
Massive Temp Spike
“At high enough atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, Earth could reach a tipping point where marine stratus clouds become unstable and disappear, triggering a spike in global warming, according to a new modeling study.”

“...could raise surface temperatures by about 8 Kelvin (14 degrees Fahrenheit) globally--may occur at CO2 concentrations above 1,200 parts per million (ppm)...”

“...our results show that there are dangerous climate change thresholds that we had been unaware of...”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tahoe Snowpack Best in US; Resorts Shatter February Snowfall Records


Tahoe Ski Resorts, Western US, get a Record Snowpack Break

Route from Meyers out of Tahoe Basin to Carson Pass
Snow route out of Meyers, Christmas Valley to Carson Pass.
Winter Backpacking the Tahoe Basin is a gas, gas, gas!!! Guide Page

Lake Tahoe snowpack best in western US; resorts shatter February snowfall records,
Tahoe Daily Tribune, February 22, 2019.


Lake Tahoe Snow
"...holds the best snowpack in the western United States and the crowds are flocking to the world-class slopes."

"... has been insane, infuriating and downright miserable at times — all while the snow continues to fly."


Record Feb Snowfalls at:

Diamond Peak


Squaw Valley and Homewood

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Death on the Mist Trail: Visitor Fatality in Yosemite National Park


Death on the Mist Trail

Happy Isles Trailhead
Happy Isles Trailhead for the John Muir Trail, Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite Valley, the start point of the JMT, from the trail guide.

Visitor Fatality in Yosemite National Park,
February 25, 2019.

Yosemite Valley Backpacking Map


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Our Frightening Groundwater Future of, Fright, Flight, & Fight

Feb 25, 2019, below


The Subsidence Pole
The Subsidence Pole, by Dr. Polard & NOAA.
Visible Effects of Groundwater Draw, caption, credit to Dr. Polard, shown, & USGS

Our Frightening Future of, Flight, & Fight

Environmental 'time bomb' warning for world's groundwater reserves,
Cardiff University, January 21, 2019.

Main Points

A Global Picture
“...a global insight in to what will happen should our groundwater systems start to see changes in their replenishment.”

Long Response Time
“...in more than half of the world's groundwater systems, it could take over 100 years for groundwater systems to completely respond to current environmental change.”

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