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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Tahoe Winter Mountain Safety Event

Beacons and Beers offers backcountry advice ahead of ski season,
Sierra Sun, November 17, 2018.


“...representatives from Black Diamond, Mammut and ORTOVOX gave presentations on the latest beacons, probes and avalanche rescue techniques.”

Safety Skills
"We want to remind people that traveling in the backcountry is dangerous, and we want to make sure that people have the skills to be safe."

Backpacking is Dangerous

Gear & Knowledge
“...centered on the importance of having proper equipment and knowing how to use it before heading into the backcountry.”

What You Are Getting Into
"It's just really important to know what you are getting into and to travel smartly in the backcountry. That's what it comes down to for us."



Bottom Line

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Mountain Road Closures

Pass update and State of the Inyo National Forest,
Sierra Wave, November 15, 2018.


“State Route 203 (SR-203) from Mammoth Mountain Inn to the Mono/Madera County Line is now closed for the winter season.”

TRAIL MAP: Donohue Pass to Reds Meadow, including bottom of 203

“State Route 168W (SR-168W) (Bishop Creek) will temporarily close at the winter gate just above Cardinal Village for maintenance work and incoming inclement weather on Monday, November 19th at 9:00 a.m. The reopening of this route is dependent upon the completion of road work and favorable weather.”

TRAIL MAP: Muir Ranch to Bishop Pass, including top of 168, where it splits for Lake Sabrina or South Lake

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Unrecognized Carrington Event blew the Mines, Effects of Space Weather blows my Mind


Unrecognized Carrington Event blew the Mines, Effects of Space Weather blows my Mind

Powerful solar storm likely detonated mines during Vietnam War,
AGU, November 12, 2018.


"A strong solar storm in 1972 caused widespread disturbances to satellites and spacecraft, and may have led to the detonation of mines during the Vietnam War..."

“This is a Carrington-class storm that has gone under the radar.”

"The solar activity damaged spacecraft and satellites, and led to power issues across North America. Auroras, resulting from charged particles from the Sun interacting with air in Earth’s upper atmosphere, were visible in the northern United States and southern United Kingdom."

"On the same day, while observing the coastal waters of North Vietnam from aircraft, US Navy personnel witnessed dozens of destructor sea mines exploding with no obvious cause."

"...the destructor mines were designed to trigger if they sensed changes in magnetic fields associated with moving ships. Solar activity is known to perturb Earth’s magnetic field, and in early August 1972, the perturbations were likely strong enough to meet the magnetic requirements for detonation."

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Mid-November, 2018: Will it Be Wet, or Will it Continue to be Bone Dry?


A Tropical Brew Bubbling? Or Not?

Will it Be Wet, or Will it Continue to be Bone Dry?

Current Conditions
A couple of Big Storms are potentially moving into the, "West Coast Launch Zone," meaning into the position off the NE coast of Indonesia, from where common configurations of Highs and Lows in the North-East Pacific can deliver vast tropical flows generated by these storms to the West Coast of the US.

Unless the storms don’t get into their, “launch,” position, or, unless a big blocking ridge knocks these potential tropical flows to the North and South of California and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, around us, as happened during the biggest wettest, hottest, El Nino on record, that transpired through 2015. During the 2015 monster El Nino, which also happened to transpire during the driest single year in California’s living memory and its written history, during the deepest drought in five hundred years.

Water News: Epic Drought: California 2012-2017 Drought one for the Ages

Hummm. This configuration of human and natural forces bears close observation and tracking.

Tracking Resources

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Carbon Calculations Wrong? More CO2 into Oceans than Previously Predicted?


Or Not?
A Major Problem with "Carbon Calculations Wrong," the Paper Below

It seems the researchers got their carbon calculations wrong...

A major problem with the Resplandy et al. ocean heat uptake paper,
Climate, Etc., November 6, 2018.

Main Point
"Assuming I am right that Resplandy et al. have miscalculated the trend in ΔAPOClimate, and hence the trend in ocean heat content (OHC), implied by their data, the corrected OHC trend estimate for 1991–2016 (Figure 2: lower horizontal red line) is about average compared with the other estimates they showed, and below the average for 1993–2016."

The Error
Error acknowledgement by one of the original researchers:

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Hidden Trends in our Changing Global Climate Revealed


Statistical Reanalysis Reveals-Explains Anomalous Weather Trends

Overlooked trends in annual precipitation reveal underestimated risks worldwide,
University of Maine, November 13, 2018.


Overlooked Weather Trends
“A reanalysis of worldwide annual trends in precipitation demonstrates that risk to human and environmental systems has been underestimated… they found more than 38 percent of the global population and over 44 percent of land area have been experiencing overlooked precipitation trends.”

Standard Analysis
Performed using, “...the probability distribution function (PDF), where the frequency with which precipitation amounts within a certain interval occur and the probability of exceedance (non-exceedance) above (below) a given threshold can be readily estimated.”

New Analysis using Quantile Regression
“...an innovative trend typology using quantile regression and offer a comprehensive analysis of overlooked trends worldwide.”

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Beetle Fertility Crashing in Heatwaves


Beetle Fertility Crashing in Heatwaves

Climate change damaging male fertility,
University of East Anglia, November 13, 2018.


“...heatwaves damage sperm in insects - with negative impacts for fertility across generations.”

“...explain why climate change is having such an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.”

"We know that biodiversity is suffering under climate change, but the specific causes and sensitivities are hard to pin down.“

"Heatwaves are particularly damaging extreme weather events. Local extinctions are known to occur when temperature changes become too intense. We wanted to know why this happens. And one answer could be related to sperm."

Poor Red Flour Beetle
50% Fertility Reduction
The team found that heatwaves halved the amount of offspring males could produce, and a second heatwave almost sterilised males.

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HEALTH & FITNESS: Slinging Steel Good for You


Slinging Steel Good for You and Your Heart

Weightlifting is good for your heart and it doesn't take much,
Iowa State University, November 13, 2018.


One Hour, No More, No Less
“Lifting weights for less than an hour a week may reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent, according to a new Iowa State University study. Spending more than an hour in the weight room did not yield any additional benefit, the researchers found.”

Just Weights
“...benefits of strength training are independent of running, walking or other aerobic activity. In other words, you do not have to meet the recommended guidelines for aerobic physical activity to lower your risk; weight training alone is enough.”

Generally Heart Better Outcomes
“...measured three health outcomes: cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke that did not result in death, all cardiovascular events including death and any type of death. Lee says resistance exercise reduced the risk for all three.”

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The Unintended Consequences of Dams and Reservoirs


What we’ve Already Done. Now We’re Screwed...

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs,
Uppsala University, November 13, 2018.


Corporate Growth Machine of Death
“An international team of drought scientists show that while many dams and reservoirs are built, or expanded, to alleviate droughts and water shortages, they can paradoxically contribute to make them worse.”

Building Dams to Build Bigger Unsustainable Populations
“As such, the supply-demand cycle can trigger an accelerating spiral towards unsustainable exploitation of water resources and environmental degradation. ”

They’ve Already Overpopulated California & the Whole Southwest…
“The supply-demand cycle describes cases where increasing water supply leads to higher water demand, which can quickly offset the initial benefits of reservoirs.”

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Organophosphate Insecticides Unsafe at Any Level


Organophosphates Unsafe at Any Level

(but no worries, there're everywhere & on everything...)

Leading researchers call for a ban on widely used insecticides,
UC Davis, November 9, 2018.


“Public health experts have found there is sufficient evidence that prenatal exposure to widely used insecticides known as organophosphates puts children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.”

“...the researchers call for immediate government intervention to phase out all organophosphates.”

“...compelling evidence that exposure of pregnant women to very low levels of organophosphate pesticides is associated with lower IQs and difficulties with learning, memory or attention in their children,”

All of Them
“Although a single organophosphate — chlorpyrifos — has been in the national spotlight, our review implicates the entire class of these compounds. ”

Origin and Method
“...developed as nerve gases and weapons of war, organophosphates today are used to control insects at farms, golf courses, shopping malls and schools. They kill pests by blocking nerve signaling.”

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US Anopheles Skeeter Spreading New Mayaro Virus in US?


Another US Skeeter Spreading Another New Disease?

Anopheles mosquitoes could spread Mayaro virus in US, other diverse regions,
Penn State, November 8, 2018.


New Disease, Mayaro Virus
"Mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are well known as primary vectors of malaria. But a new study suggests that Anopheles species, including some found in the United States, also are capable of carrying and transmitting an emerging pathogen, Mayaro virus, which has caused outbreaks of disease in South America and the Caribbean."

Widespread Concerns
"...imported cases may be on the rise, with several reported recently in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland."

Regional Skeeter Suitability
"In this study, the researchers tested six mosquito species -- Aedes aegypti, Anopheles freeborni, An. gambiae, An. quadrimaculatus, An. stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus -- for their ability to transmit two strains of the Mayaro virus."

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Tomorrow's Population will be Larger, Heavier and Eat More


Strapping on the Feed Bag as Ecosystems Crash

Tomorrow's population will be larger, heavier and eat more,
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, November 9, 2018.


“An average adult in 2014 was 14 per cent heavier, about 1.3 per cent taller, 6.2 per cent older, and needed 6.1 per cent more energy than in 1975. Researchers expect this trend to continue for most countries.”

"An average global adult consumed 2465 kilocalories per day in 1975. In 2014, the average adult consumed 2615 kilocalories."

“Globally, human consumption increased by 129 per cent during this time span. Population growth was responsible for 116 per cent, while increased weight and height accounted for 15 per cent. Older people need a little less food, but an ageing population results in only two per cent less consumption.”

"The additional 13 per cent corresponds to the needs of 286 million people."

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Nicotine-Based Poisons affecting the Home Lives of Bees


Nicotine-Based Poisons affecting the Home Lives of Bees

Bees on the brink,
Harvard University, November 8. 2018.


In-the-Hive Behaviors Affected
"...a study that shows exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides - the most commonly-used class of pesticides in agriculture - has profound effects on a host of social behaviors."

Less Socially Effective Bees
“...following exposure to the pesticide, bees spent less time nursing larvae and were less social that other bees. Additional tests showed that exposure impaired bees ability to warm the nest, and to build insulating wax caps around the colony.”

Widespread Use
"These pesticides first came into use around the mid-1990s, and are now the most commonly-used class of insecticide around the globe.”

In the Bee Food, Too
“...the problem is they also show up in the pollen and nectar bees are feeding on.”

Outside Behavior Affected, Too
“Over the past decade...a number of studies have linked pesticide exposure with disruptions in foraging.”

"Foraging is only a part of what bumblebees do."

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Thoughts on the Composition of Spacetime


What's the Nature and Rules of this Playground we're Playing In?

Let's Ask Ski !

Spacetime -- a creation of well-known actors?
The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences, November 8. 2018.


"What is spacetime? The absolute, unchanging, ever- and omni-present arena of events? Or perhaps it is a dynamic creation, emerging in some way on a certain scale of distance, time or energy?"

"Are space and time separated from matter, creating a “container” for motions and events occurring with the participation of particles, as Democrit proposed in the 5th century BC? Or perhaps they are attributes of matter and could not exist without it, as Aristotle suggested a century later?"

"In quantum mechanics, events take place in a rigid arena with uniformly flowing time. Meanwhile, in the general theory of relativity, matter deforms elastic spacetime (stretching and twisting it), and spacetime tells particles how to move."

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Fish Rapidly Shifting Ranges following Rapid Temp Changes


Fish Rapidly Shifting Ranges following Rapid Temp Changes

Warming waters caused rapid -- and opposite -- shifts in connected marine communities,
Cell Press, November 8. 2018.


"Two connected marine ecosystems--the Eastern English Channel and Southern North Sea--experienced big and opposite changes in their fish communities over a 30-year period”

“Rapid warming drove smaller ocean fishes to shift abruptly northward from one ecosystem to the other."

Warming Disrupting Fishing Grounds
“...increase in the frequency and severity of climate oscillations and extreme warming events could trigger shifts in the distribution and abundance of species with profound consequences for the way ecosystems around the world function.”

"This warming caused an abrupt change in fish communities as small, rapidly maturing fishes, particularly pelagic fishes, simultaneously decreased in the English Channel and increased in the North Sea,."

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Changing Climate Increasing Predation Removing Reasons for Long Arctic Bird Migrations


Nest Predation to test Value of Arctic Bird Migration?

Climate change flips the global pattern of shorebird nest predation,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, November 8. 2018.


“Once a haven for breeding shorebirds worldwide, nest predation in the Arctic has been on the rapid rise, putting global populations at increased risk.”

“The results suggest that disruptions in historic patterns of predator and prey are driven by global climate change.”

“Historically, predation rates for birds that breed nearer to the equator are higher than those for birds who breed nearer to the poles. As a result, many birds have adapted strategies to ensure the survival of their offspring, including migrating thousands of miles, away from the tropics, to rookeries in Arctic areas.”

"...explore the global impacts of climate change on patterns of nest predation by assembling a database of over 38,000 individual shorebird nests from 237 populations.”

“They report that overall rates of nest predation have been on the rise for the last 70 years.”

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Florida Monarch Butterflies dropped 80 percent since 2005


Long Disaster tied to Human's Glyphosate & Climate Effects Disrupting Milkweed

Florida monarch butterfly populations have dropped 80 percent since 2005,
Florida Museum of Natural History, November 8. 2018.


Radical Decline
"A 37-year survey of monarch populations in North Central Florida shows that caterpillars and butterflies have been declining since 1985 and have dropped by 80 percent since 2005."

"...decrease parallels monarchs' dwindling numbers in their overwintering grounds in Mexico."

Milkweed Connection
"This study shows the tight connection between monarchs and milkweed and highlights very dramatic losses in abundance in Florida that further confirm the monarch is declining."

Herbicide Glyphosate & Milkweed
"...shrinking native milkweed populations and a boost in glyphosate use in the Midwest are part of the problem."

"...is lethal to milkweed, the monarchs' host plant."

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2018: Free Press Failure puts 5 Major Crops In Crosshairs Of Climate


NPR-PBS Lead the Overpopulation-Offshoring Charge
that broke our Environment, while Dissassociating itself from Consequences-Responsibility

5 Major Crops In The Crosshairs Of Climate Change,
NPR, October 25, 2018.


"Climate change is coming like a freight train, or a rising tide."

"Here are five foods, and food-growing places, that will see the impact."

"...the country where the impact may be greatest also is among least well-equipped to cope with a shortfall. India is likely to see a large drop in wheat production due to heat stress — about 8 percent if average global temperatures rise by 1 degree Celsius..."

"...wheat may not be in short supply in a warmer world. Russia, which is already a major wheat exporter, may be able to expand the amount of land devoted to this crop."

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Genetics has Limited Influence on Longevity



Another Use of “Public” Genetic Databases

We’ve Got Your Number...&...What’s Your Number?

Family tree of 400 million people shows genetics has limited influence on longevity,
Genetics Society of America, November 6, 2018.

Main Points

Previous Estimates of 15 to 30%
“Heritability is a measure of how much of the variation in a trait--in this case life span--can be explained by genetic differences, as opposed to non-genetic differences like lifestyle, sociocultural factors, and accidents. Previous estimates of human life span heritability have ranged from around 15 to 30 percent.”

A Private, Corporate Effort…
“Ruby's employer, Calico Life Sciences, is a research and development company whose mission is to understand the biology of aging. They teamed up with scientists from the online genealogy resource Ancestry, led by Chief Scientific Officer Catherine Ball, to use publicly available pedigree data from Ancestry.com to estimate the heritability of human life span.”

Their Object of Study
“Starting from 54 million subscriber-generated public family trees representing six billion ancestors...”

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Moths Survive Bat Predation through Acoustic Camouflage Fur


Why are Some Insects Furry?

Moths survive bat predation through acoustic camouflage fur,
Acoustical Society of America, November 6, 2018.


Bat Food
“Moths are a mainstay food source for bats, which use echolocation (biological sonar) to hunt their prey.”

Moth Stealth Coating
“...some moths have evolved ears that detect the ultrasonic calls of bats, many types of moths remain deaf. In those moths, Neil has found that the insects developed types of "stealth coating" that serve as acoustic camouflage to evade hungry bats.”

38% Survival Advantage
"The thorax fur of moths acts as a lightweight porous sound absorber, facilitating acoustic camouflage and offering a significant survival advantage against bats." Removing the fur from the moth's thorax increased its detection risk by as much as 38 percent.”

But Not the Butterflies…
“...found that thoracic fur determines acoustic camouflage of moths but not butterflies.”

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