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

Another Building Block of Life Found on Titan: Ice

 

 

ASTROPHYSICS

Titan Hazy Orange Orb
Titan Hazy Orange Orb, shot from Cassini, NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.
Titan's thick hydrocarbon atmosphere makes Saturn's largest moon look like a fuzzy orange ball in this natural color view from the Cassini spacecraft. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

 

Building Blocks of Life on Titan

Researchers find ice feature on Saturn's giant moon,
University of Arizona, April 29, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Methane
"Rain, seas and a surface of eroding organic material can be found both on Earth and on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. However, on Titan it is methane, not water, that fills the lakes with slushy raindrops."

"There is no obvious source of methane..."

"...also indicates a diversity of organic material in certain regions. These surface deposits are of interest because laboratory simulations of Titan's atmosphere produce biologically interesting compounds such as amino acids."

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Much Faster Ross Ice Shelf Melting than Assumed or Expected

 

ICE, OCEANS, & RADICAL CHANGE

Science Expedition Adventure
Cambridge and NIWA scientists traverse 621 miles on the Ross Ice Shelf.
Cambridge and NIWA scientists traverse 621 miles on the Ross Ice Shelf. Credit to Cambridge & Poul Christoffersen.
Great Snowmobile Expedition! Credit to Cambridge & Poul Christoffersen.

 

Much Faster Ross Ice Shelf Melting than Assumed or Expected

Rapid melting of the World's Largest Ice Shelf Linked to Solar Heat in the Ocean,
University of Cambridge, April 29, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Ross Ice Shelf
"...part of the world's largest ice shelf is melting 10 times faster than the overall ice shelf average, due to solar heating of the surrounding ocean surface."

Ross Sea Polynya
"The melting is affected by a large area of open ocean in front of the ice shelf that is empty of sea ice due to strong offshore winds. This area, known as the Ross Sea Polynya, absorbs solar heat quickly in summer and this solar heat source is clearly influencing melting in the ice shelf cavity."

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Wild Times at a Misaligned Black Hole-Giant Star Binary System

 

ASTROPHYSICS

Artistic Impression of V404 Cygni Black Hole Sloppily Eating a Giant Star
Artistic Impression of V404 Cygni Black Hole Sloppily Eating a Giant Star, ICRAR.
"The binary star system consists of a normal (reddish giant) star in orbit with a black hole. Material from the star falls towards the black hole and spirals inwards in an accretion disk, with powerful jets being launched from the inner regions close to the black hole. The key deal here is the rotation of the jet." By the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, ICRAR.

 

Massive Plasma Jets Spraying Wildly out of Black Hole-Giant Star Binary System

Spinning Black Hole Sprays Light-Speed Plasma Clouds into Space,
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, April 29, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

V404 Cygni

"V404 Cygni was first identified as a black hole in 1989 when it released a big outburst of jets and radiation."

"...a black hole almost 8000 light-years from Earth."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Bacteria & Plankton: Another Heat Sensitive Carbon Feedback System

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Another Heat-Sensitive Carbon Feedback System

As Oceans Warm, Microbes could Pump More CO2 back into Air, study warns,
Earth Institute at Columbia University, April 29, 2019.

Main Points
"...oceans soak up about a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans pump into the air each year..."

How
"When plankton die, they sink, taking the carbon with them."

Unless
"Before many of the remains get very far, they are consumed by aerobic bacteria. And, just like us, those bacteria respire by taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Much of that regenerated CO2 thus ends up back in the air."

Carbon Sinkers
"Scientists believe that plankton produce about 40 billion to 50 billion tons of solid organic carbon each year. They estimate that, depending on the region and conditions, about 8 billion to 10 billion tons manage to sink out of the surface ocean into greater depths, past about 100 meters, without getting eaten by bacteria."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Messy Explanation of the Messy Formation of the Moon

 

 

ASTRO-PHYSICS

Moon Formation After Impact
Moon Formation After Impact, Yale, Hosono, Karato, Makino & Saitoh.
"The image is a snapshot of numerical modeling of the moon formation by a giant impact. Proto-Earth is at the center; red points indicate materials from the ocean of magma on a proto-Earth; blue points indicate the impactor materials." Yale, Hosono, Karato, Makino & Saitoh.

 

Messy Explanation of the Messy Formation of the Moon

Magma is the Key to the Moon's Makeup,
Yale University, April 29, 2019.

Main Points

The Key
Who's Key?
"....is that the early, proto-Earth -- about 50 million years after the formation of the Sun -- was covered by a sea of hot magma, while the impacting object was likely made of solid material."

Modeling
"...set out to test a new model, based on the collision of a proto-Earth covered with an ocean of magma and a solid impacting object."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Two Hubble Constants Muddle Age, Size, and Nature of Our Universe

 

THE NATURE OF REALITY

Observing & Measuring Universal Expansion
Hubble Space Telescope Observing & Measuring Universal Expansion, NASA, ESA and A. Feild (STScI).

This illustration shows the three basic steps astronomers use to calculate how fast the universe expands over time, a value called the Hubble constant. NASA, ESA and A. Feild (STScI). Big Image.

 

Double Bubble Trouble

Mystery of the Universe's Expansion Rate Widens with New Hubble Data,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, April 25, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Hubble Bubble Trouble
Hubble's found a, "...discrepancy between the two key techniques for measuring the universe's expansion rate."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Eco-Crashing News, 2019 Arctic Warming Specifics, Timing Spring

 

 

Eco-Crashing News

Arctic Warming Specifics

Early Melting of Winter Snowfall Advances the Arctic Springtime,
University of Edinburgh, April 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Earlier and Earlier Melts, Rising Temps
“The early arrival of spring in parts of the Arctic is driven by winter snow melting sooner than in previous decades and by rising temperatures”

Study Zone
“...a study of plants at coastal sites around the Arctic tundra...”

Study
“…the timing of activity in seasonal vegetation...gathered data on the greening and flowering of 14 plant species at four sites in Alaska, Canada and Greenland. ”

Sorting Influences
“...to better understand which factors have the greatest influence on the timing of spring plants in the tundra - temperatures, snow melt or sea ice melt.”

Bingo!
Snow Melt
“Variation in the timing of leaves and flowers appearing on plants between the sites was found to be linked to the timing of local snow melt and, to a lesser extent, temperatures.”

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Nitrogen Runoff & Algal Blooms Increasing Due to Global Warming

 

NASTY WATER & CLIMATE CHANGE

Massive Lake Erie Algal Bloom of July 2018
Lake Erie Algal Bloom, July 2018, For NOAA, by Aerial Associates Photography, Inc, by Zachary Haslick.
For NOAA, by Aerial Associates Photography, Inc, by Zachary Haslick

 

Nitrogen Runoff & Algal Blooms Increasing Due to Global Warming

Changes in Rainfall and Temperatures have Already Impacted Water Quality,
Carnegie Institution for Science, April 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“Changes in temperature and precipitation have already impacted the amount of nitrogen introduced into U.S. waterways...”

“This can lead to toxin-producing algal blooms or low-oxygen dead zones called hypoxia. Over the past several summers, dead zones and algal blooms in lake and coastal regions across the United States have received extensive news coverage.”

Proof in the Past
“...they looked backward to analyze long-term trends in nitrogen runoff going back to the 1980s.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Protista: Everything That’s Not Something Else...

 

OCEANS, WATER, & AMAZING LIFE

Protista: Everything That’s Not Something Else...

Protista In the Tree of Micro Life
 Two-empire system tree. Six Kingdoms of living things tree. Phylogenetic tree of life. Symbiogenetic evolution of eukaryotes, Maulucioni y Doridí, Wiki.
Pastel pencils drawing of: Two-empire system tree. Six Kingdoms of living things tree. Phylogenetic tree of life. Symbiogenetic evolution of eukaryotes. By Maulucioni y Doridí, Wiki.
 

Study Reveals Vast Diversity of Ocean Microbes,
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, April 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

What?
Study of Protista

“Protista,” The Big Catch-All for Microscopic Life

Protista; "...any eukaryote that is not an animal, (land) plant, or (true) fungus" Wiki.

Little Understood
“Advanced molecular techniques have revealed the diversity of a little-understood group of ocean microbes called protists.”

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Paris Pact: Goals Not Obtainable under Current Endless Global Growth Model

 

ECO-CRASH NEWS

Paris Pact: Goals Not Obtainable under Current Global Endless Growth Model

New studies highlight challenge of meeting Paris Agreement climate goals,
American Geophysical Union, April 22, 2019.

MAIN POINT

Failure: Pact Does Not Work
“Even if U.S., China, the European Union and India increased their contributions to limit emissions, the rest of the world would need to drop to virtually zero emissions by 2030 in order for the planet to reach its goal of limiting the increase in temperature from pre-industrial times to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Scientists on Crack Pipe
Grasping for Straws

“Peters and his co-authors argue that in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leading countries need to develop low, zero or even negative carbon emissions energy technologies that can be deployed at scale in the developing world.”

 

Bottom Line

Complete Admission of Failure
The main point seems to be that their own, “pact,” goals are not even possible or attainable under their own pact’s framework, that their worthless pact is in fact, worthless.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019: Massive Bee Declines in Michigan since 2000

 

INSECT WORLD

Bumbler in the High Sierra
Bumble Bee in Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite.
Bumbler scraping some salt off me, Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Map.

 

Massive Bee Declines in Michigan

The Buzz about Bumble Bees isn't Good,
Michigan State University, April 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Michigan
"In Michigan, there are 19 species of bumble bees and around 445 species of other bees."

Michigan
“...half of the bumble bee species studied have declined by more than 50%.”

World
“...mirror(s) what's happening across the Americas, Europe and Asia, too.”

Vital Eco-Services
"Bumble bees are important pollinators of plants across natural habitats, where they help support the seeds and berries that birds and other animals depend on."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Spring 2019: Upper Basin of Colorado Water System Flush in the Shadow of the Rockies

 

WATER

Hoover Dam Creating Lake Mead
Hoover Dam from the Air, Carol Highsmith
The Foundation of What Cannot be Sustained. Image by Carol Highsmith.

 

Colorado Water System Flush in the Shadow of the Rockies

Healthy Snowpack In The Colorado River Basin Is Improving Reservoirs Across Multiple States,
CPR, April 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Big Year
“Above-average snowpack in the upper Colorado River basin not only means a good forecast for Colorado, but for all seven states in its river system.”

“...snowpack in the basin through the winter ended up being 130 percent of average.”

“Lake Mead — the largest U.S. reservoir in Nevada and Arizona — could rise to 128 percent of its normal level.” (Lake Mead Elevation Chart)

One Big Year
“But one good year cannot reverse the effects of nearly two decades of severe drought. Current total Colorado River System storage is approximately 45 percent of full capacity.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

SEKI WARNS: Lots of Snow on the South Sierra Crest & Flanks

 

MOUNTAIN SAFETY

Seasonal News of Note

Buried
Sherman Tree Parking Area and Comfort Station
Sherman Tree Parking Area and Comfort Station, Image by SEKI, NPS.
Image by SEKI, NPS.

 

Lots of Snow on the Sierra Crest & Flanks

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Expect Some Late Facility Openings Due to Heavy Snowpack and Hazard Trees,
Sequoia National Park, April 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Expectations
"...have become accustomed to the light winters that the drought has produced."

Reality
"...Sequoia and Kings Canyon is 153% of normal."

Caution
"Azalea Campground closed on Tuesday, April 2, due to the large number of hazard trees in the campground."

"In an abundance of caution for park visitors, crews are working to address these tree hazards before facilities open for the season."

"...there are currently no open campgrounds in Kings Canyon."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings, & Beware Snow-Covered Trails through July

MONSTER SNOW PACK of the WINTER of 2019

Seasonal News of Note
Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings

Note the Snow will Affect High Trail Access, & Damages will Affect Trails Too

Yosemite National Park Announces Late Seasonal Openings for Several Park Facilities,
Yosemite National Park, March 13, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Damaged Facilities
“...that there will be late seasonal openings to facilities throughout the park...due to the exceptionally heavy snowpack in Yosemite National Park and the subsequent extensive damage to many park facilities.”

Stormy Winter
“...significant storm systems in January and February produced high levels of snow, which resulted in temporary road closures, rock and debris slides, and falling trees. Additionally, these storms resulted in extensive damage to facilities throughout the park. Damage to facilities includes trees falling on and damaging campground restrooms, utilities systems compromised, tent cabins damaged or destroyed, and falling trees impacting campsites, parking areas, hiking trails, and roads.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

SPRING 2019: Yosemite Extends Glacier Point Winter Access

SPRING THAW of 2019

Seasonal News of Note

Massive Snowpack on the Sierra Nevada

Yosemite National Park Announces Glacier Point Road and the Surrounding Trails to Remain Open for Extended Winter Season,
Yosemite National Park, March 28, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

“Yosemite National Park is pleased to announce that Glacier Point Road and the surrounding trails will remain open for winter recreational use through Sunday, April 14, 2019, conditions permitting.”

“Due to the significant snow pack, the current trail conditions are great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing throughout the area surrounding Glacier Point Road. Typically, winter recreational use in this area ends at the end of March when the park closes Glacier Point Road to begin seasonal plowing operations.”

 

Last Yosemite News

Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings

Note the Snow will Affect High Trail Access, & Damages will Affect Trails Too

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Daily Lottery for Camp 4, Yosemite Valley

 

TRAILHEAD YOSEMITE VALLEY

The Rules Have Changed at Camp Four
The Rules of Camp Four, Yosmeite Valley, 2012.
The Rules Posted on Camp 4, Yosemite Valley's Backpacker (really climber) Camp, 2012.

 

Oh, My Aching City...in the Wilderness

Yosemite National Park Announces the Launch of a Pilot Daily Lottery for Camp 4 Campground,
Yosemite National Park, April 16, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Lottery Reservations
“Yosemite National Park announces that a new pilot lottery program for Camp 4 Campground will launch on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Daily Lottery
“This daily lottery system will be operated through Recreation.gov and will help improve the visitor experience at Camp 4 Campground.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

April of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index

 

Updated
April 30, 2019

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

NEXT MONTH'S NEWS

LAST MONTHS' NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
April
, 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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Weather Report for Cloud Forests: Death Ahead

 

ECO-CRASH NEWS

Elfin Cloud Forest
Elfin cloud forest in the El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico, USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, by María Rivera.
Elfin cloud forest in the El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico, USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, by María Rivera.

 

Weather Report for Cloud Forests: Death Ahead

Neotropical Coud Forests to lose what most defines them: Clouds,
USDA Forest Service - Southern Research Station, April 17, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Cloud Forests
90% Gone by 2060
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue increasing as they have been, 90% of Western Hemisphere cloud forests would be affected as early as 2060. The current cloud and frost environment of the highly diverse alpine ecosystems above these equatorial cloud forests, known as páramo, will nearly disappear.”

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March 2019 NOAA Disasters, Climate, & Weather Trends: Cool, Wet, and Saturated

 

WEATHER

Major Midwest Flooding in March

 

Offutt Air Force Base Flooded, Nebraska
Offutt Air Force Base Flooded, Nebraska, March 17, 2019, U.S. Air Force, Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake.
March 17, 2019, U.S. Air Force, Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake.

 

2019 Climate & Weather Trends: Cool & Wet

U.S. hit with Two Billion-Dollar Disasters so far in 2019,
NOAA, April 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Two events so far this Year.

#1>
Bomb Cyclone
"...heavy snow, blizzard conditions and major flooding to the Midwest..."

#2>
Major NE, SE, & Ohio Storm of February

More
Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview
“In 2019 (as of April 9), there have been 2 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 1 flooding event and 1 severe storm event.”

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Gobekli Tepe: The Highest Evolution of Human, “Field Arts.”

 

ANCIENT HUMANS

Göbekli Tepe, Şanlıurfa, Southern Turkey
Göbekli Tepe, Şanlıurfa, by Teomancimit.
By Teomancimit, big image.

 

A Deep Dive
The Long History of Human Field Operations


The Highest Evolution of Human, “Field Arts?”
Late Stone Age Man: The Ultimate Outdoorsmen

A First: Coming Out of The Field

Proof
Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?
Smithsonian, November, 2008.

Gobekli Tepe,
Wiki

When
Late Stone Age,
Operating from 11,600 to 8000 years ago

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