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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At the Center of Our Galaxy: Star Orbits Our Black Hole at 2.7% of Light Speed


At the Center of Our Galaxy

Star Orbits Our Black Hole at 2.7% of Light Speed
(4971 Miles Per Second)

GRAVITY confirms predictions of general relativity,
CNRS, July 30, 2018.

"Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* Black Hole) sits at the centre of our galaxy, 26,000 light-years from Earth."

Sagittarius A* and its star cluster
Sagittarius A* and its star cluster
Credit, Copyright by Paris Observatory / LESIA

"...to follow one particular star in the Sgr A* system - S2 - before and after it passed close to the black hole on 19 May 2018. GRAVITY achieved a resolution of 50 microarcseconds: the angle at which a tennis ball placed on the moon would be visible from Earth."

"When S2 passed by Sgr A* at a distance just 120 times that of the Earth from the Sun, it reached an orbital velocity of 8000 km/s: 2.7 % of the speed of light. These extreme conditions suffice for the S2 star to be subjected to the effects of general relativity."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lobotomizing the Web of Life: Coral Escape Limits

Study shows ocean acidification is having major impact on marine life,

University of Plymouth, July 27, 2018.

"Carbon dioxide emissions are killing off coral reefs and kelp forests as heat waves and ocean acidification damage marine ecosystems."

...researchers say that three centuries of industrial development have already had a marked effect on our seas."

"...if CO2 levels continue to rise as predicted, the coming decades and lowering seawater pH levels will have an even greater and potentially catastrophic impact."

Volcanic CO2 Seeps Mimic our Future

"Their predictions follow a comprehensive study of the effects of recently discovered volcanic CO2 seeps off Shikine Island, Japan, which is on the border of temperate and tropical climates."

"...the volcanic seeps indicate how rising CO2 levels will affect future ecology, both in the northwest Pacific Ocean and across the world."

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Lobotomizing the Web of Life: King Penguins Disappearing

Lobotomizing the Web of Life

Penguins Disappearing

Largest king penguin colony has shrunk nearly 90 percent,
CNRS, July 30, 2018.

1982 "...the colony included 500,000 breeding pairs and consisted of over two million penguins."

Colony in 1982
The colony of king penguins on Île aux Cochons in 1892, in the southern Indian Ocean.Credit, Copyright by Henry Weimerskirch

"They found that the colony has shrunk, yielding its territory to encroaching vegetation. Photographs taken from a helicopter during the Antarctic Circumpolar Expedition confirm that the colony's penguin population has plummeted."

"...the decline began in the late 1990s, coinciding with a major climatic event in the Southern Ocean related to El Niño."

"...none of these possibilities seems to offer a satisfactory explanation for a decline of the magnitude observed on Île aux Cochons."


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lobotomizing the Web of Life: CO2 Increase a Time Machine to the Palogene Era



Lobotomizing the Web of Life

Humans Working Overtime

Ever-increasing CO2 levels could take us back to the tropical climate of Paleogene period,
University of Bristol, July 30, 2018.

"A new study led by scientists at the University of Bristol has warned that unless we mitigate current levels of carbon dioxide emissions, Western Europe and New Zealand could revert to the hot tropical climate of the early Paleogene period - 56-48 million years ago."


"The early Paleogene is a period of great interest to climate change scientists as carbon dioxide levels (around 1,000 ppmv) are similar to those predicted for the end of this century."

"Most of the existing estimates of temperatures from this period are from the ocean, not the land - what this study attempts to answer is exactly how warm it got on land during this period."

Land Temps of Paleogene Scary

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2018: Green Water Widespread Across United States & Whole Northern Hemisphere


Vast Summer 2012 Blue Green Algal Outbreaks across Northern Hemisphere

Three Reports: Western US, Northern Europe, Great Lakes and Florida


Green Water Widespread Across Western United States This Summer

Hot Weather, Land Abuses Fueling Algal Blooms in Western Waters,
Water Deeply, July 30, 2018.


"This summer has witnessed an explosion of algae problems in Western water bodies."

"Blooms are even popping up in unlikely places, such as high-elevation mountain lakes."

"No one knows precisely how often blooms occur because there is no monitoring of the problem on a national scale."

Environmental Working Group

"...EWG decided to gather their own data by recording how often algal blooms were mentioned in the news media...their resulting report, released in May, they documented 169 blooms in 2017 – up from 51 the year before."

EWG 2018 Blue Green Report

Monitoring Outbreaks & Conditions

California State Water Resources Control Board
Public Algae Reporting

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Video Four: Packing a Five Day Food Supply for easy storage and weather protection

The Youtube Video that lives here
Breaks Security:
Video #4, Properly Packing a Five Day Food Supply
Full five day Wintertime backpacking food supply, packed tight and waterproof.
Five day backpacking Food Supply, packed tight and waterproof



Video Four
Packing it Dry and Tight

Video Two: 
Food, Part One: Planning a Five Day
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Important JMT Access Point Severed: Bishop Pass, Dusy Basin Access Closed


Highway 168 OPEN

State Route 168W to open JULY 27 at 8 PM,
Sierra Wave, July 27, 2018.

"Since the initial rockfall/mudslide last Sunday, July 22nd, Caltrans, Inyo County, and the CHP worked relentlessly to assist over 70 stranded vehicles and 150+ people beyond the slide at Sabrina and North Lake campgrounds."

"USFS will also be reopening the North Lake Campground and Sabrina Campgrounds.  Additionally, the Sabrina Lake and North Lake trailheads (Paiute Pass and Lamarck Lakes) are now open. The USFS will honor wilderness permits held for these trailheads starting tomorrow, July 28th, and will be issuing new permits (within the quota) as well.  Please call the Wilderness Permit Office at 760-873-2483 if you have questions."


Hwy 168



Original Story

JMT Access Severed by Mudslide

Bishop Pass, Dusy Basin Access Closed

Alex Wierbinski's picture

NORTH HEMISPHERE HEATWAVE, Everything Frying: Three Articles, UPDATED



Heatwave Turns Europe Brown,
NASA Earth Observatory, July 30, 2018.


JULY 28.

The Incredible Northern Hemisphere Heatwave

Heatwaves from the Arctic to Japan: a sign of things to come?
AFP, July 27, 2018.

"Intense heatwaves...are set to become increasingly frequent around the world due to climate change, experts warn."

"...in Northern Europe the recent heatwave is exceptional, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts temperatures will continue to beat the seasonal average from Ireland to Scandinavia and the Baltic countries until early August."

Super Heatwave
"Generally we have heatwaves in one part of the planet...But now we have the entire northern hemisphere being hot -- it's stunning."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

July 2018 All High Sierra News Index


July 31, 2018









High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature


July, 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. 

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Jerry Brown, Bribed Corporate Tool, UPDATED: Limit PG&E’s liability for Fire Damages




Good, Let’s Buy their Bankrupt Asses (for Pennies on the Dollar) for a State Public Utility


Original Article

Jerry Brown: Corporate Whore

Jerry Brown’s plan lowers PG&E’s liability for wildfire damages,
Sac Bee, July 25, 2018.

About the Article Above:

Here we Are

It’s Taken a Long time to get “here,” where PGE’s blowing up cities and burning down our state is “indemnified” by bribed politicians. It took a lot of bribed politicians to get here...

Deregulated Pirates

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lake Mars Discovered by Italian Radar on Mars Express Probe


Lake Mars Discovered

Subsurface lake discovered on Mars?
EarthSky, July 26, 2018.

"Radar profiles collected between May 2012 and December 2015 contain evidence of liquid water trapped below the ice of the South Polar Layered Deposits. Anomalously bright subsurface reflections are evident within a well-defined, 20-kilometer-wide [12.5-mile-wide] zone centered at 193°E, 81°S, which is surrounded by much less reflective areas. Quantitative analysis of the radar signals shows that this bright feature has high relative dielectric permittivity (>15), matching that of water-bearing materials."

"We interpret this feature as a stable body of liquid water on Mars."


Original Research

European Space Agency

Mars Express detects liquid water hidden under planet’s south pole,
ESA, July 26, 2018.


Layers of the South Pole of Mars
 ESA/DLR/FU Berlin; Bill Dunford.
Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin; Bill Dunford

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Antibiotic Resistance Can Spread Through The Air


Flying Bacterial Resistance Squads

Antibiotic Resistance Can Spread Through The Air, Scientists Warn, And Yes You Should Be Terrified,
Science Alert, July 26, 2018.

"...antibiotic resistance genes are spreading through the air."

"...because once they die they release their entire insides into their environment – leaving little DNA packages around for other bacteria that happen to pass by."

“The bad news: they're everywhere.”

“Between 2016 and 2017, the team surveyed 30 different types of airborne antibiotic resistance genes across 19 cities around the world, including San Francisco, Paris and Melbourne.”

“...San Francisco had the highest level overall.”


Recent Antibiotic Resistance Research

Health News: Plasmid Sharing Party, Spreading Bacterial Resistance Defeating Antibiotics


Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018: Hubble Shots of Our Solar Neighbors, Mars and Saturn


Mars and Saturn

New family photos of Mars and Saturn from Hubble,
Hubble, July 26, 2018.

"In summer 2018 the planets Mars and Saturn are, one after the other, in opposition to Earth. During this event the planets are relatively close to Earth, allowing astronomers to observe them in greater detail. Hubble took advantage of this preferred configuration and imaged both planets to continue its long-standing observation of the outer planets in the Solar System."

Saturn Glows

Saturn from Hubble, July 2018
Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC) and the OPAL Team, and J. DePasquale (STScI)

6 of 62
"This composite image (above), taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope on 6 June 2018, shows the ringed planet Saturn with six of its 62 known moons."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

East Antarctic Breakdown: The Totten Glacier is Melting


East Antarctic Breakdown

The Totten

Glaciers in East Antarctica also 'imperiled' by climate change,
University of California - Irvine, July 26, 2018.

E Antarctica Losing It

"...found evidence of significant mass loss in East Antarctica's Totten and Moscow University glaciers, which, if they fully collapsed, could add 5 meters (16.4 feet) to the global sea level."

"...estimate that between April 2002 and September 2016, the two glaciers lost about 18.5 billion tons of ice per year - equivalent to 0.7 millimeters (0.03 inches) of global sea level rise over the analyzed time period."

Not Stable Anymore...

"Making up roughly two-thirds of the Antarctic continent, East Antarctica has been viewed by polar researchers as less threatened by climate change than the volatile ice sheets in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula."

"This work highlights that East Antarctic glaciers are as important to our future as those in the continent's western regions."


Alex Wierbinski's picture

OCEAN HEALTH, 2018: Only 13% of Ocean Wilderness Remains



Not Much Water Wilderness Remains

The last wild ocean,
University of California - Santa Barbara, July 26, 2018.


Not Much Left

"...only 13 percent of the ocean can still be classified as wilderness."

Isolated Wilderness

"They found that most wilderness is located in the Arctic and Antarctic or around remote Pacific island nations such as French Polynesia. Because human activities are concentrated near land, very little wilderness remains in coastal habitats such as coral reefs, salt marshes and kelp forests."

Gone in 50

"...an immediate need for conservation policies to recognize and protect the unique values of marine wilderness...We know these marine wilderness areas are declining catastrophically, and protecting them must become a focus of multilateral environmental agreements...if not, they will likely disappear within 50 years."




Alex Wierbinski's picture

Pieces of mantle found rising under north and south ends of Cascadia fault


How the Earth Conducts Quake-Stresses

Mantle Composition Affects Fault Behavior

Pieces of mantle found rising under north and south ends of Cascadia fault,
University of Oregon, July 24, 2018.


"...researchers have found anomalies in the upper mantle below both ends of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. They may influence the location, frequency and strength of earthquake events along the U.S. Pacific Northwest."

Scope of Cascadia

"The 620-mile subduction zone, which hasn't experienced a massive lengthwise earthquake since 1700, is where the Juan de Fuca ocean plate dips under the North American continental plate. The fault zone stretches just offshore from northern Vancouver Island to Cape Mendocino in northern California."

More Locking

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Genesis of The Yellowstone Super-volcano: It's a Sinking Plate, Not a Plume


Genesis of a Super volcano

It's a Sinking Plate, Not a Plume

Yellowstone super-volcano has a different history than previously thought,
Virginia Tech, July 25, 2018.

"Scientists have long thought that Yellowstone Caldera, part of the Rocky Mountains and located mostly in Wyoming, is powered by heat from the Earth’s core, similar to most volcanoes such as the recently active Kilauea volcano in Hawaii."

"...Yellowstone volcanoes were produced by a gigantic ancient oceanic plate that dove under the Western United States about 30 million years ago. This ancient oceanic plate broke into pieces, resulting in perturbations of unusual rocks in the mantle which led to volcanic eruptions in the past 16 million years.”

"The sinking section of oceanic plate slowly pushed hot materials upward to form the volcanoes that now make up Yellowstone."


USGS Yellowstone Observatory


Yellowstone Caldera


Alex Wierbinski's picture

El Nino & La Nina Research Reveals Deep Relationships


El Nino & La Nina

Research Reveals Deep Relationships

The blueprint for El Niño diversity,
Institute for Basic Science, July 25, 2018.

"Two Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Oscillations"

"...isolates key mechanisms that cause El Niño events to differ amongst each other...found that the complexity and irregular occurrence of El Niño and La Niña events can be traced back to the co-existence of two coupled atmosphere-ocean oscillations, with different spatial characteristics and different frequencies."

There is a Structure

"...there is a hidden structure in the seemingly chaotic and unpredictable occurrence of El Niño events,"

El Nino-La Nina Cycle

"El Niño events are characterized by an unusual warming of the central to eastern equatorial Pacific, which can last up to one year. Many events subsequently transition to a La Niña (cold) state, with a typical duration of 1-2 years."

Prediction Problems

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2018 Tick Alert, FYI: Tick Infections Rising


Tick Alert, FYI: Tick Infections Rising

Public Health & Mountain Safety Information

Tickborne diseases are likely to increase, say NIAID officials,
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, July 25, 2018.

We don't get many ticks up along the Sierra Crest & its high flanks, though I have rarely encountered ticks at elevation, likely shed by migrating deer. Temperate zones down the Western Flank of the Sierra, and the temperate Doug Fir Forests along Coastal Range, are full of ticks.


"The incidence of tickborne infections in the United States has risen significantly within the past decade."


"...are likely many factors contributing to increased Lyme disease incidence in the U.S., greater tick densities and their expanding geographical range have played a key role."


"...Lyme disease representing the majority (82 percent) of reported cases."

"...10 to 20 percent of patients report lingering symptoms after effective antimicrobial therapy."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

The Seasons Already Changed, Clear Human 'fingerprint' for Changes


The Seasons Have Already Changed

A 'fingerprint' for Anthropogenic Climate Change in the Changed Seasons

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