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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Polar Vortex Sliding off Top of Planet, Arctic Weather Plunges into North America

CLIMATE CHANGING FREAK WEATHER

Polar Vortex Deep-Freezes North America
2019 Broken Polar Vortex Effects, 2-meter air temps, credit to MODIS.
NASA's view of the effects of the Polar Vortex breakdown, via MODIS, Caption 
SCALE
Darkest Blue on Left: Negative 40 C. Darkest Red on Right: Positive 40 C.
 

UPDATED
Videos

Polar Vortex Sliding off Top of Planet

Arctic Weather Plunges into North America,
NASA Earth Observatory, January 30, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Broken Polar Vortex
“...disturbances in the jet stream and the intrusion of warmer mid-latitude air masses can disturb this polar vortex and make it unstable, sending Arctic air south into middle latitudes.”

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Warming Seas to Radically Increase Frequency of Extreme Storms by 2100

CLIMATE CHANGING OCEANIC EXTREMITY

Extreme Weather Increasing in all its Aspects

Nature Forges a Magnificent Anvil Storm
 UCAR.
An "anvil" storm cloud in the Midwestern U.S. Credits: UCAR,  full image.

Wild Weather

Warming Seas May Increase Frequency of Extreme Storms,
NASA, January 28, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“...warming of the tropical oceans due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rain storms by the end of the century.”

Rising Temps
SST up 4.8 by 2100

“...accepted climate models project that with a steady increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (1 percent per year), tropical ocean surface temperatures may rise by as much as 4.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century.”

Bringing
60% Rise in Extreme Storms

“...the frequency of extreme storms to increase by as much as 60 percent by that time.”

 

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2019: Gray Wolves Protection Confirmed in California

RETURN of the WOLVES

Gray Wolves in California

OR-7 Leads the Way
Gray wolf OR7. CDFW photo by Richard Shinn.
Gray wolf OR7. CDFW photo by Richard Shinn.

Judge upholds protection for gray wolves in California,
AP, January 28, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Protections Upheld
“A California judge on Monday upheld protection for gray wolves under the state’s Endangered Species Act, rejecting a legal challenge from ranchers and farmers who fear the predators will threaten their livestock.”

“...California was right to list the wolves as endangered in 2014.”

“...California Farm Bureau Federation and the California Cattlemen’s Association argued the listing was arbitrary because there are so few wolves in the state.”

OR-7
“A wolf known as OR-7 made headlines in 2011 when it traveled south from Oregon — making it the first known wolf in California since 1924.”

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January of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index

 

LAST
Updated

January 31, 2019

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

NEXT MONTHS' NEWS

LAST MONTHS' NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
January, 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. 

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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NASA's New Horizons mission to Ultima Thule in the Distant Kuiper Belt

ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS

NASA's New Horizons mission to the Kuiper Belt
NEW IMAGE
Latest Image of Ultima-Thule
 NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.
Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

UPDATED January 26, 2019

New Horizons' Newest and Best-Yet View of Ultima Thule,
NASA, January 24, 2019.



New Horizons Mission Page,
NASA.

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE & IMAGES

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Arctic Melting Exposing Ancient Terrain Unseen for 40,000 Years

 

ICE, OCEANS, FISH, & WATER

Arctic Melting Exposing Ancient Terrain
Glacial retreat in the Canadian Arctic, Photo Credit UCB.
"Glacial retreat in the Canadian Arctic has uncovered landscapes that haven’t been ice-free in more than 40,000 years and the region may be experiencing its warmest century in 115,000 years," Photo Credit UCB.

 

A landscape unseen in over 40,000 years,
University of Colorado at Boulder, January 25, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Baffin Island
“...radiocarbon dating to determine the ages of plants collected at the edges of 30 ice caps on Baffin Island, west of Greenland. The island has experienced significant summertime warming in recent decades.”

Rapid Arctic Warming
“The Arctic is currently warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe, so naturally, glaciers and ice caps are going to react faster...”

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The Sad Present & Future Status of the Mountain-Dwelling Cascades Frog

MOUNTAIN FROG NEWS

The Mountain-Dwelling Cascades Frog
The mountain-dwelling Cascades frog thrives in extreme climatic conditions. SFU, Simon Fraser University.
The mountain-dwelling Cascades frog thrives in extreme climatic conditions. Credit to Simon Fraser University.

 

Drier mountains pose a double whammy for cold-adapted amphibians, says SFU study,
Simon Fraser University, January 25, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Extreme Frog
“The mountain-dwelling Cascades frog thrives in extreme climatic conditions, ranging from dozens of feet of snow in winter to temperatures in excess of 90°F in summer.”

“...explosive breeders and their role as predators of flying insects is critical to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.”

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Lancet wants to Starve Us so they Can Continue Overpopulating Our Planet

HEALTH, FITNESS, & FOOD

The Lemmings are Massing...

Lancet's Overpopulation Planet Earth Desperation Diet
No meat for you! Lancet's ten billion planet population starvation diet.
Diet for Dumbasses. Dumbasses who allowed 10 billion folks to crush our planet (fifty million to crush California), its climate & ecology, damaging their diets dependent on them...Credit to Lancet (original).

 

Ten Billion Kills This Planet, No Matter How you Feed & Starve Them...

The Lancet: Diet and food production must radically change to improve health and avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the planet, The Lancet, January 16, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

10 Billion by 2050? F-U!
“...will be impossible...”
“Feeding a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy and sustainable diet will be impossible without transforming eating habits, improving food production, and reducing food waste.”

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On the Water-Starved Colorado River, Drought Is the New Normal

WATER

The Party’s Over…But, Our Leaders are too Greedy to Stop Stealing...

Colorado River
Upper & Lower Basins map
Upper & Lower Colorado River Water System, USGS.
Upper & Lower Colorado River Water Systems, credit to the fantastic USGS.

The Party is Coming to an End

On the Water-Starved Colorado River, Drought Is the New Normal,
YaleEnvionment360, January 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Mega Drought Here
"The region is locked in a 19-year-long drought, the most severe in 1,250 years. (recent research) And it may continue much longer. The tree ring data shows that there have been numerous multi-decadal or mega-droughts in the basin in the last 1,000 years."

"...The crunch is here,” Harris said. “It’s here, and it will stay here. We will never be out of the woods, we are in the woods forever."

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2018 Sea Surface Temperatures Hottest Ever

GLOBAL OCEANS

Hottest Sea Surface Temperatures Ever

Record-breaking ocean temperatures point to trends of global warming,
Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, January 16, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“...the year 2018 is the hottest year ever recorded for the global ocean, as evident in its highest ocean heat content since 1950s in the upper 2000m.”

“This heat increase in 2018 relative to 2017 is ~388 times more than the total electricity generation by China in 2017, and ~ 100 million times more than the Hiroshima bomb of heat. The years 2017, 2015, 2016 and 2014 came in just after 2018 in order of decreasing ocean heat content.”

“...the vast majority (more than 90%) of global warming heat is deposited in the world's oceans.”

Already Damaging
"The new data, together with a rich body of literature, serve as an additional warning to both the government and the general public that we are experiencing inevitable global warming. The ocean and global warming have already taken place and caused serious damage and losses to both the economy and society,"

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Rapid Arctic Warming, 2019: Unique Arctic Atmosphere & Local Amplification Cited

ARCTIC OCEANS

Rapid Arctic Warming: Unique Arctic Atmosphere & Local Amplification Cited

THE ARCTIC AMPLIFICATION FACTOR
 Institute for Basic Science.
Arctic Amplification Factor of observed surface temperatures relative to the global mean surface temperature (from 1951-2017), showing...a clear enhancement of warming In the Arctic region and across Siberia, Northern Canada and Alaska. Credit: Institute for Basic Science (IBS) .
 

New study reveals local drivers of amplified Arctic warming,
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST), January 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Extreme Heat
“The Artic experienced an extreme heat wave during the February 2018. The temperature at the North Pole has soared to the melting point of ice, which is about 30-35 degrees (17-19 Celsius) above normal.”

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Polar Vortex Splits Under Warming Stratosphere

 

2019 UPDATE
POLAR VORTEX UPDATE

1-13-19
FORECAST

Wet and Stormy Week for all California; Dry Dipole Pattern to Follow

MAIN POINTS

"...the consensus: the recent stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) event, followed by a breakdown of the stratospheric polar vortex, is now slowly beginning to “couple” with the troposphere below (i.e., the layer where all our weather happens)."

BLOCKING RIDGE
"As this occurs, lobes of cold polar air become displaced to lower latitudes and induce a very wavy pattern in the jet stream–setting up persistent ridges (blocks) and downstream troughs in preferred locations. Unfortunately, California and the West Coast are often at the longitude of a preferred ridge when there is a significant perturbation to the hemispheric flow pattern–and that appears to be the main cause of the projected upcoming ridge pattern. There are currently indications this pattern could persist for 4 weeks or more"

More
The Polar Vortex Has Fallen Apart, Which is Likely to Unleash a Much Colder End to January,
Weather Channel, January 16, 2019.

 

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2x- to 3x Heatwave Increase Frequency & Severity in UK Since 1878

CLIMATE CHANGED NEWS & RESEARCH

IT’S HERE: Visible Climate Consequences of WAY Too Many Humans

Two- to three- fold increase in heatwave occurrence and severity seen directly in UK temperature,
University of Warwick, January 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“...A two to three-fold increase in heatwave activity in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century has been identified...”

“...frequency, duration, and severity have increased.”

“This work quantifies the link between more frequent observations of hotter days, and increased heatwave occurrence rates, intensity and average duration”

Specifics
“...they found a two- to three-fold decrease in the average return period (the average time between two successive occurrences) of a six day long heatwave and a two-to three- fold increase in the duration of a heatwave with an average five year return period. The temperature threshold of a six day long heatwave with five year return period has increased, to being typically above 28C.”

Trends
“...we see heatwaves becoming more intense and severe on average.”

 

HEATWAVES
& Extreme Weather, Generally

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Greenland Melting Expanding & Accelerating Rapidly

GLOBAL CLIMATE CROSSING TIPPING POINTS

Greenland Iceberg
Greenland Iceberg, Credit to Ohio State University
Greenland Iceberg, Credit to Ohio State University

Greenland Melting Expanding & Accelerating

Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003, study finds,
Ohio State University, January 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“The patterns...show an alarming trend--by 2012, ice was being lost at nearly four times the rate that prevailed in 2003.”

“Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought--and will likely lead to faster sea level rise--thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth's atmosphere, a new study has found.”

“The findings could have serious implications for coastal U.S. cities, including New York and Miami, as well as island nations that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.”

New Source
“This acceleration was focused in southwest Greenland, a part of the island that previously hadn't been known to be losing ice that rapidly.”

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2019: Length and Depth of Global Warming Climate Change: Let the Past be Our Guide? I Hope Not...

 

CLIMATE CRASHING NEWS

Cores of Ancient Climate Change
 Core Sample of PETM from Maryland, Credit USGS.
Core Samples of PETM from Maryland, Credit USGS & Penn State.

Let the Past be Our Guide? I Hope Not...

Ancient climate change triggered warming that lasted thousands of years,
Penn State, January 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Why PETM Lasted So Long
“...new evidence of a climate feedback that could explain the long duration of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which is considered the best analogue for modern climate change.”

Too Late, You Frigging Greedy Fools…
“The findings also suggest that climate change today could have long-lasting impacts on global temperature even if humans are able to curb greenhouse gas emissions. ”

Big-Assed Feedback Loop
"We found evidence for a feedback that occurs with rapid warming that can release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

My 5g Cell Phone Health Concerns Run Deep

HEALTH & FITNESS

5G Phone Rollouts are, "Happening."

CELLPHONY
 a Samsung Galaxy J5 (left) and an iPhone 6S (right). Photo by Senado Federal.
Two smartphones: a Samsung Galaxy J5 (left) and an iPhone 6S (right). Photo by Senado Federa, Wiki.

Direct to Two Reference Articles

Yes it Is
All the proof you need that 5G phones are coming in 2019,
c/net, February 8, 2018.

Cities Quick, everywhere else, Slow
5G hype is coming. Don’t fall for it.
Android Authority, August 26, 2018.

 

My Cell Phone Health Concerns Run Deep

5G Health Effects: Is This Wireless Technology Even Safe?
Dr. Axe, September 21, 2016.

MAIN POINTS

“I don’t think it’s clear that there are health risks, but it’s also not clear that there are no health risks.”

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GMO: Creating Foods that Can Eat You, Each Other, & Destabilize Nature, Too...

HEALTH, FITNESS, & FRANKENSTEIN FOOD SCIENCE

All Our Basic Staples are now GMO
Top ten Genetically Modified Foods, by Raw for Beauty.
Top ten Genetically Modified Foods, by Raw for Beauty.

 

Creating Foods that Can Eat You, Each Other, & Destabilize Nature, Too...

Molecules of GM food can accumulate in human digestive tract and enter cells of body,
Far Eastern Federal University, January 17, 2019.

 

MAIN POINTS

What
“...study the potential risks of genetically modified (GM) products. Scientists have published a review of research papers on the fate of the DNA derived from GM food and feed entering the human body and animals.”

Genetically Modified YOU
“...the DNA of GM products can survive harsh processing and digestive conditions. Some of them can get into the human body, combining with the DNA of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Scientists have discovered the presence of such DNA in the blood stream and tissues of humans and animals.”

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SPACE “GEOLOGY,” The Recent Genesis of the Rings of Saturn

SPACE “GEOLOGY?”

Cassini Crosses Rings of Saturn
Artist's concept of the Cassini spacecraft shown against a real photo of Saturn and its rings as Cassini crossed the ring plane. Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Artist's concept of the Cassini spacecraft shown against a real photo of Saturn and its rings, Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Recent Genesis of the Rings of Saturn

Saturn hasn't always had rings,
University of California - Berkeley, January 17, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Ring Mass
“The new mass estimate is based on a measurement of how much the flight path of Cassini was deflected by the gravity of the rings when the spacecraft flew between the planet and the rings on its final set of orbits in September 2017.”

“...perform 22 dives between the planet and the rings to probe Saturn's gravity field. Earth-based radio telescopes measured the spacecraft's velocity to within a fraction of a millimeter per second.”

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WINTER 2019 WEATHER FORECAST, THE POLAR VORTEX, and accessing the WINTER WONDERLAND

WINTER WEATHER, THE POLAR VORTEX, and the WINTER WONDERLAND

Enjoy the Show and the Snow

Wet and stormy week ahead for all of California; Dipole pattern to follow,
Weather West, January 13, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Recap of the Season, so far.

View of the Series of Storms we just experienced-are experiencing.

Analysis of Saturated Soils-Wildfire Mud flow Dangers

 

>> KEY POINT <<

Medium-to-Long Forecast

“Unusually strong consensus regarding development of “Warm West/Cool East” pattern”

Blocking Ridge Returns
“...there is rather striking multi-model ensemble agreement (dare I say unanimity?) that a high-amplitude blocking pattern will develop across much of the Northern Hemisphere during the second half of January, and perhaps persisting for weeks (at least through mid-February).”

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Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data to Water-Stunted Tree Growth

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS & OUR CHANGING CLIMATE

Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change
Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change, Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.
Caption & Key. Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.

 

Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data with Tree Growth

Water, not temperature, limits global forest growth as climate warms,
University of Arizona, January 16, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“The growth of forest trees all over the world is becoming more water-limited as the climate warms...”

“The effect is most evident in northern climates and at high altitudes where the primary limitation on tree growth had been cold temperatures...”

"Our study shows that across the vast majority of the land surface, trees are becoming more limited by water..."

"This is the first time that anybody has projected the tree growth responses to climate at a near-global scale."

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