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

The Relationship between Jet Stream Breakdown, Polar Vortex Instability, & Loss of Sea Ice

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

The Jet Streams
Actual Jet Stream Configuration, Lyndon State College Meteorology.
Actual Jet Stream Configuration, Lyndon State College Meteorology.

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

The Relationship between Jet Stream Breakdown, Polar Vortex Instability, & Loss of Sea Ice:

A Warming Arctic Produces Weather Extremes in our Latitudes,
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research,
May 28, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Increasing Jet Stream Disruptions-Freak Outs
"For years, climate researchers around the globe have been investigating the question as to whether the jet stream's winding course over the Northern Hemisphere - observed with increasing frequency in recent years - is a product of climate change, or a random phenomenon that can be traced back to natural variations in the climate system."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Our Freak, "Modern," Weather: Nope, It's Not Natural

 

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Nope, It's Not Natural

Natural Cycles had Little To Do with 20th-Century Temperature Trends,
Ars Technica, May 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

The Question
How Much Climate Change is Natural Variability?
"...a look at the influence of natural causes on the temperatures of the last century."

The Answer
Natural Variability Not A Factor
"...the study shows that our knowledge of the climate system can explain the major 20th century temperature changes without much contribution from natural ups and downs..."

Not Natural Change
"Overall, the study shows that our knowledge of the climate system can explain the major 20th century temperature changes without much contribution from natural ups and downs, contrary to uninformed claims that global warming is “just a cycle.”

 

The Bottom Line

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lots of Water on Mars

 

DOING GEOLOGY on MARS

Target: Martian North Polar Ice Cap
A view of Mars showing the planet's northern polar ice cap. A new study has found remnants of ancient ice caps buried in the north polar region, that if melted, would cover the planet in five feet of water. ISRO/ISSDC/Emily Lakdawalla.
A view of Mars showing the planet's northern polar ice cap. A new study has found remnants of ancient ice caps buried in the north polar region, that if melted, would cover the planet in five feet of water. ISRO/ISSDC/Emily Lakdawalla.

 

Lots of Water Ice on Mars

Massive Martian Ice Discovery Opens a Window into Red Planet's History,
University of Texas at Austin, May 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"...layers of ice buried a mile beneath Mars' north pole are the remnants of ancient polar ice sheets and could be one of the largest water reservoirs on the planet." 

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May, 2019: Important Recent West Coast Seismic Activity?

 

GEOLOGICAL NEWS

Important Recent Seismic Activity?

Small tremors along West Coast could lead to 'big one.'
This is called a "slow slip" event,
KOIN, May 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"A small burst of tremors have been recorded along the West Coast in the last few weeks, causing scientists and geologists to pay close attention."

"This is what we call a slow slip type of movement."

"...scientists predict the "big one" will likely occur during one of these slow slip events."

"He cautioned that the slow slip events are a good reminder to be prepared and have a plan with family and an emergency kit at your home."

 

Bottom Line

Life Happens
Be Ready
There's not much we can do to change the odds of a major earthquake occuring, but we can hedge our outcomes as backpackers, by keeping a pack set-up sufficient for the current season, with at least a three-day food supply, ready to go. I call it my, "Safety Pack." Everyone should have one...

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May 2019 Mono SAR Rescue: Back Country Skier Falls, Breaks Leg Badly

 

 

MOUNTAIN SAFETY

Nasty Accident above Twin Lakes

Back Country Skier Falls, Breaks Leg Badly,
Mono Search and Rescue, May 20, 2019.

Rescue of May 18-19, 2019.

Little Slide Canyon, off Robinson Creek, above Twin Lakes

Backpacking Trail Map

MAIN POINTS

Adventure
"...up Little Slide Canyon. About 30 minutes after crossing the creek, they hit the snowline, and put on their skis and skins and continued up the canyon."

Little Slide Canyon

Knarly Back Country Accident
"On the descent, one of the skiers fell from about 3/4 height, and tumbled and slid down the couloir, and when the fall ended, he found he had multiple left leg fractures, but most notably an open tib-fib with considerable bone exposed."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Highest, Coldest, Permafrost is Changing Rapidly

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: PERMAFROST

Cluster of Retrogressive thaw Slumps
Cluster of High Longitude Retrogressive thaw Slumps, Melissa Ward Jones, McGill University.
Due to record summer temperatures in recent years, high Arctic polar terrain is changing at Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands, located at approximately 80 °N! Melissa Ward Jones, McGill University.

 

Highest, Coldest, Permafrost is Changing Rapidly

Widespread Permafrost Degradation seen in High Arctic Terrain,
McGill University, May 23, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Observing
"...close to 30 years of aerial surveys and extensive ground mapping of the Eureka Sound Lowlands area of Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands located at approximately 80 °N."

Retrogressive Thaw Slump
"...a particular landform (known as a retrogressive thaw slump) that develops as the ice within the permafrost melts and the land slips down in a horseshoe-shaped feature. The presence of these landforms is well documented in the low Arctic."

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China Cheating the World: Ozone Edition

 

ECO-CRASH NEWS

China's Illegal, Cheating Ozone Emissions
Emissions Inferred from Atmospheric Observations at Gosan and Hateruma Monitoring Stations
China's Cheating Ozone Emissions Inferred from Atmospheric Observations at Gosan and Hateruma Monitoring Stations, University of Bristol.
These are emissions inferred from atmospheric observations at Gosan and Hateruma monitoring stations show an increase from eastern China between the periods 2008 - 2012 (left) and 2014 - 2017 (right). The emission rise is primarily from Shandong and Hebei and surrounding provinces. University of Bristol.

 

China Cheating the World

Again...

Scientists discover the source (China) of new CFC emissions,
University of Bristol, May 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

CFC-11
Cheating, Again
"Since 2013, annual emissions of a banned chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) have increased by around 7,000 tonnes from eastern China..."

"...despite a global phase-out since 2010 under the Montreal Protocol."

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Temperature Dataset Correlation Supports Grim Climate Models

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

UPDATE

Global Warming-2014-2018
Compared to GISTEMP's 1951-1980 baseline
Global Warming-2014-2018, compared to GISTEMP's 1951-1980 baseline, NASA.
The years 2014-2018, averaged on this map, were the warmest years in the modern record compared to GISTEMP's 1951-1980 baseline. The areas in red experienced warmer than normal temperatures, while the areas in blue were cooler than normal during this period. NASA, Big.

UPDATE

New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, May 23, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

May 2019 High Sierra Storm Activity to Recharge High Sierra Snow Pack

 

HIGH SIERRA WEATHER PROSPECTS

A, "Spring Recharge," is Underway...

Highly Unusual Sequence of Winter-Like Storms Headed for California (In late May!),
Weather West, May 14, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

End of Dry-Warm Strecth
"A very warm April and relatively warm start to May–coupled with rather dry conditions throughout the state during that period–will come crashing to an end tomorrow."

"...perhaps even downright stormy, conditions are expected across most of California over the next 10 days or so."

PCT & Widespread Effects
"...highly unusual nature of widespread significant rainfall (and mountain snowfall) this late in the season will likely catch a lot of folks by surprise, and will have some substantial impacts for the agricultural sector and those traveling (not to mention those poor souls just starting out on the Pacific Crest Trail)."

Get Ready to Rumble
"Widespread soaking rains will arrive across the northern half of California tomorrow, and will continue on and off for the next 10-12 days. Significant rainfall is also possible across much of southern California, although that will more likely come from subsequent systems."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Wolf Return Conflicts & Solutions

Updated
Dogs Present Genetic Threat

 

LIVING THINGS and GENERAL NEWS

Endangered Wolves Moving into Northern California
Wolves Moving into Northern California. Lassen Pack 6, remote trail camera, June 29, 2017, CDFG.
Lassen Pack 6, remote trail camera, June 29, 2017, CDFG. Bigger, and More.

 

Wolf Return Conflicts & Solutions

The Return of the Wolves,
University of Freiburg, May 20, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Success Breeds Problems
"The current return of wolves to human-dominated landscapes poses a major challenge for the protection of this species."

This Study
"...analyzed the existing knowledge on how to deal with large carnivores living in the wild in Europe and other parts of the world."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Moon Morphology and Geology: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

 

SPACE GEOLOGY

Moon Impact Image
Planetary Demolition Derby
Moon Impact Image, Planetary Demolition Derby, NASA/JPL-Caltech.
New research suggests the stark difference between the Moon’s heavily-cratered farside and the lower-lying open basins of the nearside were caused by a wayward dwarf planet colliding with the Moon in the early history of the solar system, thanks to NASA/JPL-Caltech.*

 

Moon: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Giant Impact Caused Difference Between Moon's Hemispheres,
American Geophysical Union, May 20, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Very Different Faces of the Moon
"...stark difference between the Moon’s heavily-cratered farside and the lower-lying open basins of the Earth-facing nearside has puzzled scientists for decades."

GRAIL Gravity Survey
"Measurements made by the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission in 2012 filled in more details about the structure of the Moon..."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

F&W Service Extends Comment Period on Proposed Delisting of Gray Wolves

 

LIVING THINGS & GENERAL NEWS

RETURNEE
Rare Californian: Adult gray wolf

Adult gray wolf in Lassen National Forest, July 2018. Photo by T. Rickman, USFS.
Happy Boy! Adult gray wolf in Lassen National Forest, July 2018. Photo by T. Rickman, USFS. More rare Ca Gray Wolves.

 

Gray Wolf
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Short-Changing Gray Wolf

F&W Service Extends Comment Period on Proposed Delisting of Gray Wolves

Service Extends Comment Period on Proposed Delisting of Gray Wolves

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is re-affirming the success of this recovery with a proposal to remove all gray wolves from protection under Endangered Species Act (ESA)."

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending by 60 days the public comment period on a proposed rule to remove the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act."

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Rapid Degradation of West Antarctic Ice Underway

 

END of COLD: ANTARCTIC ICE

Antarctic from Space
From Big Ice Hole research, beautiful image from NASA Scientific Visulation Studio
From Big Ice Hole research, beautiful image from NASA Scientific Visulation Studio

 

Rapid Degradation of West Antarctic Ice Underway

Study finds 24% of West Antarctic Ice is now Unstable,
American Geophysical Union, May 16, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"In only 25 years, ocean melting has caused ice thinning to spread across West Antarctica so rapidly that a quarter of its glacier ice is now affected, according to a new study."

"Antarctica's ice sheet has thinned by up to 122 meters in places, with the most rapid changes occurring in West Antarctica where ocean melting has triggered glacier imbalance. "

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra Spring Snow Backpacking II: Round Top to Round Lake Coyote, June 8, 2010

Spring Backpacking

Video
Coyote Video, Meiss Country Roadless Area,
Tahoe to Whitney, YouTube.

 

Next Video: Spring Snow Backpacking trip, Round Lake to Showers Lake, June 6, 2010

South Tahoe Basin & Roundtop Review
These are two of the many videos I took of a grand snow shoe loop from Meyers to Showers Lake, from Showers Lake out of the Lake Tahoe Basin to Round Top Lake, then back into the Basin via Round Lake to exit the snow at Meyers, where we first started.

Spring Fun
This was a delightful Spring Snow backpacking trip, full of fun navigation challenges, route finding, terrain reading, and other Spring Snow delights.

Gotcha
On the fourth day, as we were working our way from Meiss Meadow down to Round Lake, I heard a coyote coming through the underbrush, and even caught a glimpse of her before she heard or saw us.

I signaled for complete stop and silence, then pointed to my estimated point of emergence from the underbrush of the coyote, who soon popped through the spot I anticipated.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Spring Snow May 2011: Doc's trip from Little Yosemite Valley to Sunrise Lakes

Doc sent us this report and photos about his Late May Spring Snow trip from Little Yosemite Valley up to Sunrise Lakes and back. Doc's original goal was Tenaya Lake, but the storm held him a little short. Disgression is the better part of valor!

Doc's trip began on Thursday the 26th, and was turned back by the weekend storm we experienced on the 28th and 29th.

This report will inform Pacific Crest Trail hikers as well as early season John Muir Trail hikers as to the deep snow at elevation in the Sierra Nevada.

Here's Doc's Report:

 

Well, this old fart did make it to Sunrise.


Day 1: Started the hike on Thursday and camped a couple miles up from the Clouds rest junction on the jmt, along Sunrise Creek.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

July 2015 TYT Unmaintained Trail Update: Clarks Fork Trailhead to Saint Marys Pass Trailhead

Video embed: 
See video

Tropical storm brings heavy hail, lightening to Saint Marys Trailhead, just below the Sierra Crest, July 8 2015.

  

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

 

Post-Storm July Tropical Sunset
Fine tropical-influenced sunset from Clarks Meadow hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail in July of 2015
  From the North Edge of Clarks Fork Meadow along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Clarks Fork Trailhead 
to
Saint Marys Pass Trailhead
on
Highway 108
11.25 miles along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
 The Iceberg, sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.
Above: The Iceberg sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.

July 2015 TYT Status Report
The Trail

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Trip Report: Rich, Scott, & Melika report on Unmaintained Clarks Fork of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail, 2016

Published
June 18, 2017

 

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

 

 

Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
TRIP REPORT

 

Unmaintained Trail Report

 

This Report:
Section Hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

This Section

Lake Alpine to St. Mary’s Pass

Trip Start Date 
August 7, 2016

The Team:
Rich, Melika and I were dropped off by my wife at Silver Creek Trailhead near Lake Alpine on August for a 7 day trip up to St. Mary’s Pass. We can't do these trips without family support crews. Thanks to all!

Meet The Team

Rich and Scott after route-finding their way South to Saint Marys Pass Rich and Scott found their route up the untrailed Tahoe to Yosemite Trail to Saint Marys Pass.
American Farmers

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Scott's Summit City Creek Trail Report June 2014

Introduction

An excellent way to approach the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail is as a section hiker. This is how Scott, his hiking partner Rich, and their backcountry hiking dog Melika approached the difficult Carson Pass to Lake Alpine section of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Carson Pass
Scott Rich and Melika begin their TYT section South out of Carson Pass.

Mokelumne Wilderness Backpacking Map

Scott and Rich executed this TYT section hike early in the hiking season. Despite the drought conditions and earlier Spring Thaws a late May hiking trip is still early in the backpacking season.

Hitting the Snow at Frog Lake
Melika digging the snow with Frog Lake in the background.

  High water levels in the river fords, the potential for extensive snow covering the trail, and the much more unpredictable weather during early Spring brings makes Spring a challenging time to hike an already challenging trail.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Murder on the Appalacian Trail

 

MOUNTAIN SAFETY

Crazy on the AT in Virginia, One AT hiker Killed, One Injured,

Knife attack prompts precautions on Appalachian Trail,
WHSV TV, May 14, 2019.

Judge orders psych evaluation for Appalachian Trail suspect,
WHSV TV, May 13, 2019.

Updated Below

MAIN POINTS

Weird Dude
"...the past couple of weeks, hikers along the Appalachian Trial had been warning each other about a hiker who was threatening other hikers with a large knife."

"The man, who had the trail nickname of "Sovereign," was arrested in North Carolina last month after some hikers reported him to authorities."

Arrested
"James Jordan, 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is charged with murder and assault with intent to commit murder. During his initial appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, a judge ordered him to be held in custody and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

May 2019 Owens Valley-Mount Whitney Mosquito Warning

 

MOUNTAIN HEALTH & SAFETY

In California, Now…
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Wiki. Image by Muhammad Mahdi Karim.
Aedes aegypti feeding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. "...Originally found in tropical and subtropical zones, but now found on all continents except Antarctica, " Wiki. Image by Muhammad Mahdi Karim.

 

East Flank Preps for Skeeter Onslaught: Are You Ready?

Officials bracing for the mosquito invasion,
Sierra Wave, May 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

2019 a Potentially Heavy Mosquito Season
"...a joint communication from the Mono County Health Department and the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program (OVMAP): Big snow years can mean big mosquito seasons and we are expecting some bugs!"

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