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High Sierra Backpacker | The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide's Magazine & its Backpacker Trails & Topics Forums

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

Greatest CO2 Levels in All Human History

 

ECOCRASH NEWS: UNPRECEDENTED MODERN CO2 LEVELS

A Human First

Humankind Did Not Live With a High-Carbon Dioxide Atmosphere Until 1965,
Texas A&M University, September 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"In 1965, Earth's carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations exceeded 320 parts per million, a high-point never reached in the past 2.5 million years, this study shows."

"Humans have never before lived with the high carbon-dioxide atmospheric conditions that have become the norm on Earth in the last 60 years..."

"According to this research, from the first Homo erectus, which is currently dated to 2.1-1.8 million years ago, until 1965, we have lived in a low-carbon-dioxide environment -- concentrations were less than 320 parts per million..."

"The scientists analyzed soil carbonates from the Loess Plateau in central China, to quantify ancient atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, as far back as 2.5 million years ago."

"Our paleosol-based CO2 estimates are in line with snapshots of early-Pleistocene CO2 retrieved from Antarctic old, blue ice, suggesting that the Earth system has been operating under low CO2 levels throughout the Pleistocene."

 

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Modern Record of Ocean Oxygen Depletion Tracking Ancient Lau/Kozlowskii Extinction Event

 

OCEANS, WARMING, O2, & EXTINCTION

Modern Record Tracking Lau/Kozlowskii Extinction Event

Oxygen Depletion in Ancient Oceans Caused Major Mass Extinction,
Florida State University, September 1, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

What
Lau/Kozlowskii Extinction Event

When
"...Late in the prehistoric Silurian Period, around 420 million years ago...a devastating mass extinction event wiped 23 percent of all marine animals from the face of the planet."

Why
"...triggered by an all-too-familiar culprit: rapid and widespread depletion of oxygen in the global oceans."

Unknown Cause
"...there was no known, spectacularly destructive event responsible for the Lau/Kozlowskii extinction." No major meteors or volcanoes as the extinction trigger.

Why Important
"This makes it one of the few extinction events that is comparable to the large-scale declines in biodiversity currently happening today, and a valuable window into future climate scenarios,"

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Black Hole Eats Sun-Sized Star

 

ASTROPHYSICS: BLACK HOLE HUNGRY

Black Hole Eating a Sun-Sized Star
Black Hole Eating a Sun-Sized Star, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
This illustration shows a tidal disruption, which occurs when a passing star gets too close to a black hole and is torn apart into a stream of gas. Some of the gas eventually settles into a structure around the black hole called an accretion disk. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Big.

 

Black Hole Eats Sun-Sized Star

NASA’s TESS Mission Spots Its 1st Star-Shredding Black Hole,
NASA, September 26, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

ASASSN-19bt
Designation of a deep space event observation, in this case observing the consumption of a star by a distant black hole.

A First
"For the first time, NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) watched a black hole tear apart a star in a cataclysmic phenomenon called a tidal disruption event."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Farming Overproduction in The Valley Hits the Wall with SGMA

 

 

WATER FOR FIGHTING: SGMA

Farming Overproduction in The Valley Hits the Wall with SGMA

California Farmers Face ‘Catastrophic’ Water Restrictions. Can They Adapt to Survive?
Sac Bee, September 25, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

SGMA
"...California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. Starting next January, the law will require farmers to gradually rein in the amount of groundwater they can pump from their wells."

"...groundwater. It accounts for 38 percent of the state’s total supply in a normal year, close to 50 percent or more in a dry year."

"The SGMA law (pronounced “sigma”) says groundwater basins must be brought into “sustainability” — defined as cutting consumption to the point that they’re no longer causing “chronic lowering of groundwater levels” or other “undesirable results.” To implement the law, dozens of regional groundwater agencies have been set up. The January launch has managers scrambling to figure out just how much less water their farmers will have in the future."

"It could devastate the economy of the entire San Joaquin Valley."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Black Hole Relativistic Accretion Disk Behavior

 

ASTROPHYSICS, & THE NATURE OF REALITY

A Black Hole’s Warped World
A Black Hole’s Warped World, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman.
"Seen nearly edgewise, the turbulent disk of gas churning around a black hole takes on a crazy double-humped appearance. The black hole’s extreme gravity alters the paths of light coming from different parts of the disk, producing the warped image. The black hole’s extreme gravitational field redirects and distorts light coming from different parts of the disk, but exactly what we see depends on our viewing angle. The greatest distortion occurs when viewing the system nearly edgewise. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman"
Big View.

 

Black Hole Relativistic Accretion Disk Behavior

NASA Visualization Shows a Black Hole's Warped World,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, September 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Abstract Bird Communication Skills

 

BIRDS: BIRD COMMUNICATION

Jackdaw
A passerine bird in the crow family, by Guill McIvor.
A passerine bird in the crow family. Wiki. By Guill McIvor.

 

Abstract Bird Communication Skills

Jackdaws Learn from Each Other about 'Dangerous' Humans,
University of Exeter, September 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Smart Birds
"Jackdaws can learn from each other to identify "dangerous" humans..."

Warning: Bad Humans
Jackdaws Identify & Remember You
"The jackdaws that were played a warning call on seeing a new human returned to their nest boxes more than twice as quickly (53%) on average when seeing that human again, whereas birds that heard contact calls took longer to return to their nest (63% on average)."

"Though jackdaws returned to their nests more quickly after seeing a human associated with a warning call, the calls did not appear to influence how long birds took to enter their nest box or how long they spent inside."

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Study of Ancient PETM Climate Suggests Increasing CO2 Sensivity could Accelerate Warming

 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL CLIMATE & WEATHER

We've Got to Look Deep into the Past to Find Equal Magnitudes of Change to Put Ourselves into Our Proper Historical Perspective

Study of Ancient Climate Suggests Future Warming could Accelerate,
News Network Archaeology, September 18, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

PETM
Lessons of the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum

"The Early Eocene (roughly 48 million to 56 million years ago) was the warmest period of the past 66 million years. It began with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which is known as the PETM, the most severe of several short, intensely warm events." more

Geo Time Scales, Wiki.

"The Early Eocene was a time of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and surface temperatures at least 14 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer, on average, than today. Also, the difference between temperatures at the equator and the poles was much smaller."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Arctic Summer Sea Ice Reaches Second Lowest Minimum on Record

 

NEWS of WATER, FISH, OCEANS, & ICE
The 2019 Arctic Sea Ice Summer Minimum

Arctic Sea Ice, September 18, 2019
Arctic sea ice extent for September 18, 2019, National Snow and Ice Data. Center.
4.15 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 average extent for that day. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data.

 

Annual Downtrend of Arctic Ice Continues

Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Second Lowest Minimum in Satellite Record,
NSIDC, September 23, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Tied-Second Lowest
"On September 18, Arctic sea ice reached its likely minimum extent for 2019. The minimum ice extent was effectively tied for second lowest in the satellite record, along with 2007 and 2016..."

Previous Lows
"This year’s minimum extent was effectively tied with 2007 and 2016 for second lowest, only behind 2012, which is the record minimum."

Reinforcing Downward Trend
"...reinforcing the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent. Sea ice extent will now begin its seasonal increase through autumn and winter."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Massive 2019 Blob Forms

 

OCEANS, ICE, WATER, & THE BLOB

Comparing The Blobs of 2014 & 2019
Comparing Blobs of 2014 & 2019, NOAA Sea Surface Temperatures, Big Maps.
NOAA Sea Surface Temperatures representing the 2014 & 2019 Blobs, Big Maps.

 

UPDATE

Marine Heat Wave Returns to the Northeast Pacific,
NASA Earth Observatory, September 12, 2019.

 

Massive 2019 Blob Forms

New Marine Heatwave Emerges off West Coast, Resembles "the Blob,"
NOAA Fisheries, September 5, 2019.

 

WATCH the BLOB
Current & Recent
Sea Surface Temperatures
(Scroll up for El Nino Information)

 

MAIN POINTS

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Imelda & Harvey: 2 Hundred Year Storm-Floods in Three Years?!

 

ECO-CRASHING WEATHER: TROPICAL STORM IMELDA

Two Hundred Year Storm-Floods in Three Years?!

Tropical Storm Imelda & Hurricane Harvey

Two Reports Second

First

Tropical Storm Imelda's flooding turns deadly as southeast Texas is swamped by rain,
Texas Tribune, September 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Imelda vs. Harvey
"It dropped more than 41 inches in some areas, compared with Harvey's highest rainfall total of 60.8 inches."

"...Interstate 10 was closed because of flooding."

“I’ve seen water over rooftops,...I’ve seen vehicles stalled out. Man, it’s kind of like the Harvey deal all over again.”

"Many parts of Houston and southeast Texas still have not fully recovered from Harvey. And areas that didn’t flood in that catastrophic storm were hit hard by Imelda."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Three Billion Fewer Birds in North America since 1970

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: MASSIVE BIRD DECLINE

Bye, Bye Birdie!

Nearly Three Billion Fewer Birds in North America since 1970,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, September 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Count & Amount
"North America has lost nearly three billion birds since 1970...details widespread population declines among hundreds of North American bird species, including those once considered abundant."

Ignored Disaster
"...a long-developing yet largely overlooked biodiversity crisis occurring in avifaunal habitats across North America."

Bird Crash
"Given the current pace of global environmental change, quantifying change in species abundances is essential to assess ecosystem impacts."

The Study
"...analyzed the net change over recent decades in numbers of birds for 529 species in the continental United States and Canada."

2.9 Billion Birds Gone
But we have Cheap Labor, & Cheap Consumer Crap!!
"Their results show a loss of nearly one in four birds since 1970 - a net loss of 2.9 billion birds."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

NOAA: Assessing the Global Climate, August 2019

 

CLIMATE CRASHING NEWS

NOAA: Assessing the Global Climate, August 2019

August Second Hottest Month Ever

Assessing the Global Climate in August 2019,
NOAA, September 16, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Second Warmest August in Historical Record

August: The Second Hottest for August in the 1880–2019 Record; The Differences
August 2019 against averages from 1880 to 2019.
Global Status
"The August temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.66°F above the 20th century average of 60.1°F and tied with 2015 and 2017 as the second highest for August in the 1880–2019 record. The five warmest Augusts have all occurred since 2014. August 2016 is the warmest August on record with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average of 1.76°F." Big Map.

Long Series of Records

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Brazil Mosquitoes Defeat Genetic Manipulation

 

SKEETER NEWS

Aedes aegypti
Aedes aegypti is a mosquito that can cause yellow fever. (James Gathany - CDC - PHIL, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons)
Aedes aegypti is a mosquito that can cause yellow fever. UC Davis scientists developed a map of where flaviviruses — those spread by mosquitoes and ticks — are likely to emerge. (James Gathany - CDC - PHIL, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons)

 

Screwing with Nature Blows Up in Brazil's Face...

Failed GM mosquito control experiment may have strengthened wild bugs,
New Atlas, September 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

(Disputed Research)

Cause & Effect
"One of the most innovative ideas to control populations of the bugs has been to release genetically modified male mosquitoes that produce unviable offspring. But unfortunately a test of this in Brazil appears to have failed, with genes from the mutant mosquitoes now mixing with the native population."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

"God's" Gong Show: Merging Black Holes Ring Like Bells

 

ASTROPHYSICS & THE NATURE OF REALITY

Ringing Results of a Black Hole Merger
Ringing Results of a Black Hole Merger, Maximiliano Isi/MIT.
"A supersized black hole resulting from the merger of two smaller black holes. The collision has caused the black hole to ring and radiate gravitational waves (white), by Maximiliano Isi/MIT." Big Image.

 

"God's" Gong Show

'Ringing' black hole validates Einstein's general relativity 10 years ahead of schedule,
Simonds Foundation, September 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

LIGO
"By reanalyzing the first black hole merger ever detected, the astrophysicists measured the gravitational wave ‘tones’ emitted following the event."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tampa Bay is a Great Pool of Microplastics, & it is Likely Your Bay or Waterway is Too

 

OCEANS, ICE, WATER, PLASTICS, & HEALTH

Microplastic Sample: This is What's In Ya...
Microplastic viewed under a microscope, Cypress Hansen, University of South Florida.
Microplastic viewed under a microscope, Cypress Hansen, University of South Florida.
 

 

Great Pools of Plastic

Four billion particles of microplastics discovered in major body of water,
University of South Florida (USF Innovation), September 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Plastic Soup
"...estimates the waters of Tampa Bay contain four billion particles of microplastics, raising new questions about the impact of pollution on marine life in this vital ecosystem."

Sampling
"...they set about counting microplastics in the region at 24 stations over a 14-month period."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Physical Fitness Correlated with Intellectual Fitness

 

HEALTH FITNESS, BRAIN HEALTH & COGNITION

Brain-Mind-Body
The connection between the brain, physical and intellectual health.
Physical and Intellectual Health Coorelated. Image from GDJ, Pixabay.

 

Physical Fitness Correlated with Intellectual Fitness

The Fast and the Curious: Fitter Adults Have Fitter Brains,
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, September 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Fitness is King
"In a large study, German scientists have shown that physical fitness is associated with better brain structure and brain functioning in young adults."

MRI
"The scientists used a publicly available database of 1206 MRI brain scans from the Human Connectome Project, which had been contributed by volunteers who wanted to contribute to scientific research."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Your Physical Fate Awaits: Aging Slows Fat Cell Turnover

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, FAT, & AGING

Your Physical Fate Awaits

New study shows why people gain weight as they get older,
Karolinska Institutet, September 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Weight Awaits
"Lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during ageing and makes it easier to gain weight, even if we don't eat more or exercise less than before."

"The results indicate for the first time that processes in our fat tissue regulate changes in body weight during ageing in a way that is independent of other factors."

"Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become a global problem."

"Understanding lipid dynamics and what regulates the size of the fat mass in humans has never been more relevant."

Always the Same Solution
EXERCISE
"Prior studies have shown that one way to speed up the lipid turnover in the fat tissue is to exercise more."

 

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

STEVE; "Strong Thermal Emissions Velocity Enhancement," Exists, No Idea Why it Exists

 

NATURE IS AMAZING: ASTROPHYSICS, "STEVE"

STEVE
Alongside the Milky Way
STEVE, Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, Image courtesy of Krista Trinder and NASA.
The Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, AKA, "STEVE," visible as a pink band rising from the lower left to upper right of this photograph, appears with the Milky Way over Childs Lake, Manitoba, Canada. Scientists have recently confirmed STEVE is a unique phenomenon and not a kind of aurora, as previously thought. The picture is a composite of 11 images stitched together. Image courtesy of Krista Trinder and NASA. Big view.

 

More EM Fun

It's not aurora, it's STEVE,
University of Alaska Fairbanks, September 4, 2019.

STEVE
What We Know
"Strong Thermal Emissions Velocity Enhancement"

"It's a new phenomenon, that's pretty exciting."

"Like auroras, STEVE's appearances vary greatly, showing up anywhere from weeks to months apart."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Electromagnetic Nature of Reality Full of Superbolt Lightening Surprises!

 

 

NATURE IS AMAZING: SUPERBOLTS

Lightening Superbolts Global Strike Map
Lightening Superbolts Global Strike Map, by Holzworth et al./Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
The dots represent superbolts, lightning with an energy of at least 1 million Joules. Red dots are particularly large superbolts, with an energy of more than 2 million Joules. Superbolts are most common in the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, with smaller concentrations in the Andes, off the coast of Japan, and near South Africa. Map by Holzworth et al./Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Bigger map.

 

Electromagnetic Nature of Reality Full of Surprises!

Lightning 'superbolts' form over oceans from November to February,
University of Washington, September 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Superbolts?

"..."superbolts" -- bolts that release electrical energy of more than 1 million Joules, or a thousand times more energy than the average lightning bolt, in the very low frequency range in which lightning is most active."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

New Feedback Phenomenon Found to Drive Increasing Drought and Aridity

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: LAND-ATMOSPHERIC PROCESSES

Finding an Extreme Land-Atmospheric Feedback Loop

New Feedback Phenomenon Found to Drive Increasing Drought and Aridity,
Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, September 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

A Drier Future
"...study indicates that the world will experience more frequent and more extreme drought and aridity than currently experienced in the coming century, exacerbated by both climate change and land-atmosphere processes."

Land-Atmosphere Processes
"Concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity is a time period when soil moisture is extremely low and vapor pressure deficit is extremely high."

"The researchers demonstrate that concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity are largely driven by a series of land-atmosphere processes and feedback loops."

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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.

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