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.  

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Strange Negative Mass Fluid explains Cosmological Constant, Dark Matter, & Dark Energy?


Strange Negative Mass Fluid explains Cosomological Constant, Dark Matter, & Dark Energy?

Bringing balance to the universe: New theory could explain missing 95 percent of the cosmos,
University of Oxford, December 5, 2018.


Theoretical Achievement
“...may have solved one of the biggest questions in modern physics, with a new paper unifying dark matter and dark energy into a single phenomenon: a fluid which possesses 'negative mass'.”

Negative Mass
“If you were to push a negative mass, it would accelerate towards you. This astonishing new theory may also prove right a prediction that Einstein made 100 years ago.”

“Our current, widely recognised model of the Universe, called LambdaCDM, tells us nothing about what dark matter and dark energy are like physically. We only know about them because of the gravitational effects they have on other, observable matter.”

Dark Fluid
'We now think that both dark matter and dark energy can be unified into a fluid which possesses a type of 'negative gravity', repelling all other material around them. Although this matter is peculiar to us, it suggests that our cosmos is symmetrical in both positive and negative qualities.'

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FISH NEWS: End of Spring-Run Chinook Draws Near


No Genetic Reserve in Fall-Run Salmon Populations

Human actions impact wild salmon's ability to evolve,
University of California - Davis, December 4, 2018.


Near Extinction
“...spring-run chinook are on the brink of extinction in most locations where they haven't already been lost.”

Sensitive to Everything Human
"...because they rely on clean, cold water throughout hot summer months, spring-run chinook are more vulnerable than fall-run chinook" to activities such as logging, mining, dams and water diversion, and to climate change.”

“Once spring-run chinook salmon disappear, they are not likely to re-emerge, indicates genetic analysis of the revered wild fish in a study led by the University of California, Davis.”

"If you lose the spring-run gene, you could potentially lose spring-run chinook forever.”


Bottom Line

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2018: Huge Alaska Quake & Swarming Aftershocks


Huge Alaska Quake & Swarming Aftershocks
USGS topo map of Alaska earthquake of December 2018.
USGS Topo Map

First images of slope failures triggered by the M=7.0 Alaska earthquake,
AGU, December 1, 2018.


"The M=7.0 Alaska earthquake on 30th November 2018"

“...it was comparatively deep (41 km).”

“...much of the area affected had limited potential for large-scale landslides due to the low relief topography:”


Wild series of aftershocks:



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The Corporate Growth Machine of Death Recognized by Citizens

SUM of all FEARS: Why our Environment & Country are Crashing

Government Corruption & Environmental Destruction

The Corporate Growth Machine of Death Recognized by Citizens

Government corruption tops 5th annual Chapman University survey of American fears,
Chapman University, October 18, 2018.


“...2018 survey revealed that government corruption remains Americans' primary concern, and the state of the environment, which for the first time represents fully half of Americans' top 10 fears.”

"Americans' Top 10 Fears in 2018 (percentages include those who answered afraid or very afraid):

    1. Corrupt government officials (73.6 percent)
    2. Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes (61.6 percent)
    3. Pollution of drinking water (60.7 percent)
    4. Not having enough money for the future (57 percent)
    5. People they love becoming seriously ill (56.5 percent)
    6. People they love dying (56.4 percent)
    7. Air pollution (55.1 percent)
    8. Extinction of plant and animal species (54.1 percent)
    9. Global warming and climate change (53.2 percent)
    10. High medical bills (52.9 percent"


Bottom Line

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More Coordinated Global-Scale Heatwaves in Our Future


More Coordinated Global-Scale Heatwaves in Our Future

Study shows regions increasingly suffer hot, dry conditions at the same time,
Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences , November 28, 2018.


Coordinated Climate Chaos
“...the kind of hot, dry conditions that can shrink crop yields, destabilize food prices and lay the groundwork for devastating wildfires are increasingly striking multiple regions simultaneously as a result of a warming climate.”

“...we find that before anthropogenic climate change, there were very low odds that any two regions would experience those really severe conditions simultaneously,"

Four Times More Often
"...that before 1980, there was less than a 5 percent chance that two region pairs would experience extreme temperatures in a year that was also dry in both regions. However, in the past two decades, the odds have increased to as much as 20 percent for some region pairs."

Heatwave Heaven
"So, what used to be a rare occurrence can now be expected to occur with some regularity, and we have very strong evidence that global warming is the cause."

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Climate Research, 2018: Extreme Heat Expanding with the End of Cold


Extreme Heat Expanding with The End of Cold

Extreme heat increasing in both summer and winter,
American Geophysical Union, November 26, 2018.


Hotter Hots-Warmer "Colds"
“A new study shows extreme heat events both in the summer and in the winter are increasing across the U.S. and Canada, while extreme cold events in summer and winter are declining.”

Scope of Study
“...examined absolute extreme temperatures--high temperatures in summer and low temperatures in winter--but also looked at relative extreme temperature events--unusually cold temperatures and unusually warm temperatures throughout the year.”

Extreme Heat Rising Radically
“...both relative and absolute extreme heat events have increased across the US and Canada since 1980. This upward trend is greatest across the southern US, especially in the Ozarks and southern Arizona, as well as northern Quebec. That means there are more extremely hot days during the summer as well as more days that are considered extremely hot for the time of year, like abnormally warm days in the winter.”

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Global Warming Increases the Risk of an Extinction Domino Effect


Interdependence of Ecosystems Could be Our Ultimate House of Cards

Global warming increases the risk of an extinction domino effect,
European Commission Joint Research Centre, November 28, 2018.

An extinction domino effect is already underway.


“...there are many elusive drivers of species loss that go beyond the direct effects of environmental change (and human activity) which we still struggle to understand.”

“...it is becoming clearer that co-extinctions (the disappearance of consumers following the depletion of their resources) could be a major culprit in the ongoing biodiversity crisis.”

“...predictions that fail to take into account this cascading effect might underestimate extinctions by up to 10 times.”

The Test
“...constructed 2000 "Virtual Earths", which they populated with thousands of plants and animals organized into a global system of inter-connected food-webs.”

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Water News: Colorado River in Decline LA Must Shrink Now


Water News

Colorado River in Decline

LA Must Shrink Now

Rising temperatures sucking water out of the Colorado River,
KPCC, October 31, 2017.

Colorado River  in Decline

Ironically, the radical changes in the behaviors of snow, water, temps, seasons, and river flows we've observed over the last thirty years, and are continually experiencing up and down the Sierra & Rocky Ranges, are the direct consequences of exactly the same type of irresponsible growth and development that built LA, a city that’s been supported since its inception by stealing vast amounts of Colorado River water.

And, stealing everyone else's water they can get their grubby hands on.

The growth "process," the corruption and irresponsibility, that created the presence and activities of LA puts at risk the very water LA needs to live!

The ongoing growth process that created, and is fueling growth in LA today, puts at risk the two most important things we all need to live: Mutual Trust & Water. LA's cheating, irresponsible, corrupt inception, and its current trajectory of dishonorable growth destroys both.

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SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES: Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic Southwest Drought

Rearranging the Deck Chairs inside the Titanic Southwestern Drought-Aridification

Relentless, Endless Growth vs Diminishing Resources: Something’s Gonna Give

Why the next few weeks could make or break Arizona's water future,
Arizona Republic, November 14, 2018.


Crisis on the Colorado River
"...Lake Mead – which supplies 40 percent of our water – has a one in five chance of falling to catastrophically low levels by 2026, requiring cuts that will hurt every water user in this state."

Crisis Plan
"The proposed Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan aims to lower that risk for a time by requiring Arizona, California and Nevada to leave more water in the lake."

Except Arizona
"Yet the plan has reached an impasse in Arizona, and how we resolve it will have repercussions for years, maybe even decades."


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STUDY: Greenhouse Gasses Triggering More Changes Than We Can Handle


Massive Climate Study Finds Massive Climate Problems

Greenhouse gasses triggering more changes than we can handle,
University of Hawaii at Manoa, November 19, 2018.


"...one of the most comprehensive assessments yet of how humanity is being impacted by the simultaneous occurrence of multiple climate hazards strengthened by increasing greenhouse gas emissions."

467 Highways to Hell
16 Named Below
“...analysis of thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers reveals 467 ways in which human health, food, water, economy, infrastructure, and security have been impacted by multiple climatic changes including: warming, drought, heatwaves, wildfires, precipitation, floods, storms, sea level rise and changes in land cover and ocean chemistry.”

Expect Extremes
resulting in drought, wildfires and heatwaves in normally dry places, or massive rain and floods in commonly wet areas.

Multiplex of Hazards
“...greenhouse gas emissions can aggravate simultaneously multiple climate hazards.”

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American Groundwater Overestimated, at Risk from Fracking and Climate Changes


American Water at Risk as Climate Changes

US groundwater in peril: Potable supply less than thought,
University of Arizona, November 18, 2018.


“The U.S. groundwater supply is smaller than originally thought.”

Fracking Dangers
"We show that there is potential for contamination of deep fresh and brackish water in areas where the oil and gas industry injects wastewaters into -- or in close depth proximity to -- these aquifers."

Groundwater Dependent US
"Groundwater is the primary source of domestic water supply for about half of the people living in the U.S. About 40 percent of all of the water used in the U.S. for irrigated agriculture comes from groundwater...In Tucson, Arizona, about half of our drinking water comes from groundwater."

New Fresh Water Limits
“The new research found the average depth of transition from fresh to brackish groundwater in the U.S. overall is about 1,800 feet, which contradicts previous studies suggesting that fresh groundwater extends down to 6,500 feet. ”

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Oceans, 2018: Microplastics Everywhere, Even Falklands, Ascension Is, & Southern Ocean


Microplastics Everywhere

Microplastics pollution in Falklands as high as UK,
Anglia Ruskin University, November 27, 2018.


“The first study to investigate microplastics around Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands - two of the most remote locations in the South Atlantic Ocean - has found levels of contamination comparable with the waters around the UK.”

"Identifying the source of microplastics is difficult, but some of the fibres found in this study had the appearance of weathered fragments of ropes or fishing nets. The Falklands have a relatively sizeable fishing industry, with an annual catch of around 270,000 tonnes per year, but the same cannot be said of Ascension.“

Microplastics Everywhere
"Ascension Island has a population of less than 1,000 people and is incredibly remote, located 1,000 miles off the coast of Africa and 1,400 miles from South America. However, we found levels of microplastics comparable, and in some cases greater, than levels found in the waters around mainland UK.“

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November 2018 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index


November 29, 2018









High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

November, 2018

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. 

The vast majority of our reporting on Nature comes from the American Association of Scientists summarizations of each day's bounty of the peer-reviewed research published by academic institutions and journals around the world.

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Researchers Create Virtual Reality Simulation of a Supermassive Black Hole


Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy
Image of the Black Hole Virtual Reality by J. Davelaar.
Image by J.Davelaar 2018

Researchers have created a virtual reality simulation of a supermassive black hole,
BioMed Central, November 18, 2018.


“The black hole at the centre of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, has been visualised in virtual reality for the first time.”

"Our virtual reality simulation creates one of the most realistic views of the direct surroundings of the black hole and will help us to learn more about how black holes behave. Traveling to a black hole in our lifetime is impossible, so immersive visualizations like this can help us understand more about these systems from where we are.

Outreach Effort
“...the virtual reality simulation could help encourage the general public, including children, to take an interest in astrophysics.”


2:23 Full Black Hole Video

The Short :50 video



More Black Hole Videos

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Antarctic Melting Slows Atmospheric Warming and Speeds Sea Level Rise


Melting Southern Continent Delivers Global Climate & Ocean Surprises

Antarctic melting slows atmospheric warming and speeds sea level rise,
University of Arizona, November 19, 2018.


Melting Ice Effect
“...first to project how the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet will affect future climate...current climate models do not include the effects of melting ice on the global climate.”

"No one had looked at the big picture of what Antarctic ice sheet melting means for the global climate."

“...the research team modified one of the most current climate computer models to include the ice melt.”

“...they set the level of greenhouse gas emissions for the 21st century using the scenario known as RCP8.5, sometimes called the "business-as-usual" scenario.”

Delays Air Warming, Accelerates Rising Oceans
“As the Antarctic ice sheet melts, warming of the atmosphere will be delayed by about a decade but sea level rise will accelerate...”

“...the team's new research reveals that the additional freshwater from the melting ice sheet acts like a lid on the waters around Antarctica and slows the release of heat.”

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Critically Endangered Yellow-Legged Frogs Released to Bolster Wild Populations


Disease, Decimation, and Hope

High Sierra Yellow Legged Frog
High Sierra Yellow Legged Frog, by Roland Knapp.
Photo Credit: Elliot Lowndes

High Sierra Yellow Legged Frogs Translocation, Recovery Science, & Status

Location, location, location,
University of California - Santa Barbara, November 19, 2018.


Also Published by the
Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, with pics


The Problem
“…Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, amphibian residents of Yosemite National Park left devastated by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd),...”

“...save these frogs by reintroducing them to lakes from which they have disappeared because of Bd.”

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2018 Season High Sierra Fire, Smoke, and Mountain Safety Information



High Sierra
Fire and Smoke Information





All Federal Fires
Managed Fires
Parks, Forests, and Lands


Inciweb has been downgraded in services and quality by their redesign. For a list of National and California Fires, now see:


NATIONAL INTERAGENCY FIRE CENTER, note fire lists by states...



All California State Fires
Managed Fires
CALFIRE Incident Information




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September-October, & (November!) 2018 California Fires


Page begun
September 5, 2018

LAST Update
November 25th

All Tree & Plant News



The Earliest
News, Smoke, & Fire Info-Resources on this page below begin on

Sept 3, on the bottom of this page


Previous Page, covering Our First Fire Season:




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Nov 2018: Two on Ticks, Disease Numbers & Lives of Hungry Ticks


Two Research Articles

CDC Reports Substantial Annual Tickborne Disease Increase

Metabolic Adaptations of Tick Hunting Strategies Revealed




2016-2017 The Latest Data

Tickborne Disease Surveillance Data Summary,
CDC, November 9, 2018




Lyme Disease infections increased 17% between 2016-17.

36,429 to 42,743

Total Cases of Tickborne Disease increased 22% in the same period.

48,610 to 59,349


Since 2004


All Tickborne Diseases increased 163% between 2004-17

22,527 to 59,349





Press Report

Reported tick diseases hit all-time high,
UPI, November 15, 2018.



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Bribed Legislators work for PGE, rather than Citizens


Bribed Legislators work for PGE, Corporate Bribers, rather than Citizens

PG&E-friendly wildfire bill being prepared by state lawmakers in wake of lethal Butte County inferno, SF Crate, November 21, 2018.


“Even before the cause of the deadly Camp Fire is determined, California lawmakers are drafting legislation to shield PG&E from massive liabilities connected to the blaze.”

Owned, Lock, Stock, & Barrel
“...introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Chris Holden of Los Angeles County, who is the chairman of the key legislative panel.”

You Burn Us, We Pay for Your Profits
“The bill is expected to protect California’s major investor-owned utilities from wildfire liabilities.”

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