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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Climate Change: Ice News, Radical Reduction in Bridge Glacier, Alaska

Yakutat Glacer Rapid Degradation,
September, 2018.

Original Story
Climate Change: Ice News

Radical Reduction in Bridge Glacier, Alaska

Bridge Glacier, Southeast Alaska Retreat & Lake Formation,
AGU Blogs, Novermber 21, 2017.

Vast changes in seasonal onset and ending timings with temperature changes disturbing the character of the season itself, are happening all around the world, causing drastic physical, biological, and human affects, with the most drastic changes yet to come.


Last Bridge Glacier News






Generalized Degradation of Glaciers & Permafrost in Alaska

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Migration Traffic Report: More than 4 Billion Birds Make the Fall Migration


Migration Traffic Report

More than 4 billion birds stream overhead during fall migration,
Cornell University, September 17, 2018.


"...researchers can now estimate how many birds migrate through the U.S. and the toll that winter and these nocturnal journeys take."

"We've discovered that each autumn, an average of 4 billion birds move south from Canada into the U.S. At the same time, another 4.7 billion birds leave the U.S. over the southern border, heading to the tropics."

"In the spring, 3.5 billion birds cross back into the U.S. from points south, and 2.6 billion birds return to Canada across the northern U.S. border."

The Result
"Contrary to popular thought, birds wintering in the tropics survive the winter better than birds wintering in the U.S."

"Birds wintering in the U.S. may have more habitat disturbances and more buildings to crash into, and they might not be adapted for that."



All Bird News




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Tropical Planet: Tropics are widening as predicted by climate models


Tropical Planet

Tropics are widening as predicted by climate models, research finds,
Indiana University, September 17, 2018.


"The paper, "Re-examining Tropical Expansion," was published in the journal Nature Climate Change."

"Climate change should continue to expand the tropics over the next several decades," he said. "But the expansion may not continue at the rapid rate we've seen; at times it may even temporarily contract."

Rate of Expansion
"The authors conclude that the tropics have been widening at an average rate of about 0.2 degrees latitude, or about 17 miles, per decade in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The rate varies widely from year to year and from location to location."

Why this is Important
"...Widening of the tropics is important because it could be associated with severe changes in climate."

"...changes in the subtropical climate could affect billions of people."


Bottom Line

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Fear and Perception

To flee or not to flee: how the brain decides what to do in the face of danger,
Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, September 12, 2018.


"Just like any other animal in nature, our reaction to a threat is invariably one of the following three: escape, fight, or freeze in place with the hope of remaining unnoticed"

"These behaviours are fundamental, but we still don't know what the rules of the game are: in each situation, how does the brain decide which of the three strategies to implement and how does it ensure that the body carries it through?"

The Threat
“...we placed the flies in a covered dish and exposed them to an expanding dark circle (which is how a threat looks like to a fly)...”

Fear Response
“...the flies' response hinged on their walking speed at the moment the threat appeared. If the fly was moving slowly, it would freeze, but if it was walking quickly, it would run away from the threat.”


Some Thoughts on Fear

This research indicates that the Flies strategies are controlled by physics, conforming with the fundamental fact that, “things at rest tend to stay at rest, things in motion tend to stay in motion.”

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Thismia Kobensis: Extinct Before Discovery


Extinct Before Discovery

New plant species discovered in museum is probably extinct,
Kobe University September 12, 2018.


Thismia Kobensis
 Kobe U.
Thismia Kobensis when it was discovered in 1992. Credit: Kobe U


"A single non-photosynthetic plant specimen preserved in a Japanese natural history museum has been identified as a new species. However, it is highly possible that this species is already extinct."

“This plant was discovered in Kobe, Japan, in 1992, and preserved with its identity unknown. No new specimens were found in follow-up surveys between 1993 and 1999, and the plant’s original habitat was destroyed by land development in 1999.”

“The specimen in this study was originally found in 1992 in the Nishi district of Kobe...”

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It's Time to Accept We Can't maintain Endless Growth on a Finite Planet


All Aspects of Nature are Degrading Rapidly

To Save Ourselves It's Time to Rethink Our Economic System, Warn Scientists,
Science Alert, September 10, 2018.

Main Points & Bottom Line

“...maybe it's time to accept we can't somehow maintain endless economic growth on a finite planet.”

I really don't know about "rethinking" our "economic system," but I do know that the unlimited, irresponsible, and even illegal massive growth of the population of California, and the United States generally, has seriously degraded our environment, our society, our infrastructure, and our distribution of wealth.

This irresponsible growth is the most destructive force operating in our country and world today, and is pushing our changing environment through all its tipping points.

And, everything will continue to crash until we get back within our ethical and our physical limits. We need to institute a policy of Zero Demographic Growth, and end all immigration, legal and illegal, NOW.

Allowing the greedy and corrupt to control our society, and grow it to destruction pursuing their greedy desires, was never a good idea... and was supposed to be prevented by our Constitution.

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British Colombia Heat Wave Continuing: The Blob Hides in the Deep


British Colombia Heat Wave Continuing

The Blob hides in the deep,
AGU, September 13, 2018.


BC Heatwave
“A marine heatwave began more than four years ago and new research suggests it won’t be disappearing anytime soon.”

The Blob
Marine "...heatwaves are getting more intense and more frequent with a changing climate. Over the fall and winter of 2013 and 2014, satellites detected above normal temperatures in the surface waters of the northeast Pacific. At its peak, the mass of warm water—nicknamed “The Blob”—had water temperatures up to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than normal and covered an area larger than Australia."

Hidden Heat
"Scientists repeatedly thought the marine heatwave was abating when satellite observations of sea surface temperatures moderated after winter storms.”

“But satellites cannot measure temperatures below the surface."

New View
"...combined four separate time series from oceanographic monitoring programs along the coast of British Columbia."

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Aspirin Use Without Specific Medical Need Questioned


Aspirin Use Without Specific Medical Need Questioned

Aspirin found not to prolong healthy aging,
Rush University Medical Center, September 17, 2018.


Aspirin has NO Benefit
"The large clinical trial, which began in 2010, aimed to determine the risks and benefits of daily low-dose aspirin in healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, dementia or physical disability, and who were free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use. The results showed that aspirin did not extend healthy independent living (life free of dementia or persistent physical disability)."

No Reason? No Aspirin

“The results will have a significant impact on guidelines about aspirin use for prevention and in daily clinical conversations between clinicians and their older, healthy patients regarding whether aspirin should or should not be used for achieving disability-free longevity."

"This study shows why it is so important to conduct this type of research, so that we can gain a fuller picture of aspirin’s benefits and risks among healthy older persons.”

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13,000 Year Old Beer Production, before Agriculture


13,000 Year Old Beer Production

Oldest Beer on Earth, before Agriculture

A prehistoric thirst for craft beer,
Elsevier, September 12, 2018.

“...archeologists analyzed three stone mortars from a 13,000-year old Natufian burial cave site in Israel. Their analysis confirmed that these mortars were used for brewing of wheat/barley, as well as for food storage.”

"Alcohol making and food storage were among the major technological innovations that eventually led to the development of civilizations in the world...”

"We exposed a Natufian burial area with about 30 individuals; a wealth of small finds such as flint tools, animal bones and ground stone implements, and about 100 stone mortars and cupmarks.“

“They used bedrock mortars for pounding and cooking plant-foods, and for brewing wheat/barley-based beer, likely served in ritual feasts 13,000 years ago.”

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Sept, 2018: Mountain Lion Fatality, Oregon, Near Mount Hood


Mountain Lion Fatality

Oregon wildlife officials to hunt for killer cougar,
AP, Yahoo, September 12, 2018.


“…officials with guns and dogs will hunt for a cougar believed to have killed a woman while she was hiking in rugged terrain...”

“Diana Bober, who at 55 was an avid and experienced hiker, apparently fought the cougar with repellant, a sharp object and a stick, her sister said.”

"Diana stood at only 5 feet, 4 inches..."

“...body was found Monday, almost two weeks after she was last heard from. She was the first person known to have been killed by a cougar in the wild in Oregon, and the second in the Pacific Northwest this year.”

...“body was found along the Hunchback Trail, Wolfer said. The trail is described by OregonHikers .org as "wild and rugged" with frequent signs of cougars and coyotes.”

“Diana loved the outdoors, and that's how she should be remembered.”

“In May, a mountain biker in Washington state was killed by a cougar on a trail east of Seattle, the first fatal attack in that state in 94 years.”


Spring 2018 Mountain Lion Attack A Bit West of PCT at Snoqualmie

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CLIMATE CRASHING POLITICALLY: The Governor of, and for, Endless Growth of OIL CONSUMPTION


The Governor of OIL

‘It’s literally drill, baby, drill’: Did Jerry Brown’s climate crusade give Big Oil a pass?
Sac Bee, September 13, 2018.


A Rare article critical of our Corporate Masters

Jerry Brown’s Battle Cry
“...not let the federal government pillage public lands and destroy our treasured coast.”
(WHY? Pillaging our State is the Dims Job…)

The Gov of Oil

Jerry, “...has approved more than 200 new wells in state waters, and more than 23,000 oil and gas drilling permits overall, since he returned to the office nearly eight years ago.”

Growth Machine of Death
“...a refusal to curb California production of oil, whose consumption in the transportation sector is a leading cause of the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet’s temperature.”

Gov of Oil

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MOUNTAIN SAFETY in a CRASHING CLIMATE; Smoke and Fire of 2018: Two Reports UPDATED




A Video
A Season of Smoke,
NASA Earth Observatory, September 11, 2018.



Smoke and Fire: Two Reports
Mid-to-Late August

1> 1.9 million acres burned or burning, Smoke Covers Western US

2> HOT, HOT, HOT: Fire Season Just Beginning in California




Near Two Million Acres On Fire in the United States,
NASA, August 20, 2018.

Western US Covered with Smoke
NOAA HRRR Smoke ForecastImage of the distribution of smoke across the U.S. on August 20, 2018.

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John Muir, the establishment of Yosemite Nation Park, and construction of the John Muir Trail.

History of John Muir, Yosemite, and the John Muir Trail


Two elements of the history of John Muir
on this page:

1> Exploration of Sierra Nevada and formation of Yosemite National Park

2> Father of the John Muir Trail, and the History of the Construction of the John Muir Trail


John Muir Trail on Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide



A Brief History
John Muir's influence on  the establishment of Yosemite National Park.

From Green, Yosemite, Park and Resources.


Arrival of John Muir in California, page 299

March 1868

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California Aims to Drop Fossil Fuels for Electricity by 2045


Greening the Corporate Growth Machine of Death

California Aims to Drop Fossil Fuels for Electricity by 2045,
US News, September 10, 2018.


“…goal of phasing out electricity produced by fossil fuels by 2045...”

“...along with an executive order Brown signed directing California to take as much carbon dioxide out of the air as it emits...”

“...require California's utilities to generate 60 percent of their energy from wind, solar and other specific renewable sources by 2030. That's 10 percent higher than the current mandate.”

This is All Propaganda
“It's merely a goal, with no mandate or penalty for falling short.”

Oil State
“...Brown has often faced criticism that he's too lenient with the oil industry, including from environmental groups pushing him to create a moratorium on new oil and gas wells in the state.”

“California has nearly 54,000 active wells, some of them close to urbanized areas in Southern California and the Central Valley...”

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Brown signs bills blocking Trump Offshore Drilling Plan


California Blocks Federal Offshore Drilling

Gov. Brown signs bills to block Trump's offshore oil drilling plan,
LA-LA Land Times, September 8, 2018.

This article shows Jerry Brown pointing out his own hypocrisy, how his fundamental programs of endless growth into California, and endless offshoring of our manufacturing to China, both demand more and more oil for more and more, “consumers,” here in California, while his offshoring all our manufacturing to China has not only broken our environment, but gutting California’s manufacturing broke our middle class, too.


“Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed two bills that would block new offshore oil drilling in California by barring the construction of pipelines, piers, wharves or other infrastructure necessary to transport the oil and gas from federal waters to state land.”

“Today, California’s message to the Trump administration is simple: Not here, not now,” Brown said in a statement. “We will not let the federal government pillage public lands and destroy our treasured coast.”

(Jerry & the Dims do that in California...)

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Brown & Dems Stuffing The Twin Tunnels Down our Throat


Massive Irresponsible Growth and Development

& Stuffing The Twin Tunnels Down our Throat

Clendaniel: Stop the Delta debacle before property owners get gouged,
How atrocious twin-tunnels mega-deal could cost Californians billions,
Mercury News, September 6, 2017.


"...Brown’s administration will try for a third time to secure a political mega-deal that would commit millions of California property owners to pay for the $19.9 billion Delta twin-tunnels water grab. Without approval of voters or the Legislature."

Corporate Growth Machine of Death
"It’s an atrocious abuse of the political system that must be stopped. Blocking the effort would save property owners thousands of dollars over the next 20-40 years and help preserve the health of the Delta for the next generation and beyond."

Another Brown Scam
"...the state Department of Water Resources convinced the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to schedule a hearing that would enable backers of the Delta tunnels to extend state water contracts for another 50 years."

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Hermitfest 2018 Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Benefit


Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Benefit September 8

Hermitfest 2018, Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway

Save the Date – Hermitfest 2018,
EPNSB, 2018.


The 12th Annual Ebbetts Scenic Celebration or Hermitfest is September 8th,
Pine Tree, September 3, 2018.


The Bottom Line
All the mountain folk have been having a real bad fire year, so far, which has seriously affected life. So head on up the Highway 4 Corridor to show your support for the people and the place, especially during the hard times.

The Carson Iceberg Wildernesss is still closed, (as of the 5th), but there's a couple of days of potential free car camping on the East Flank, after the concert, and Highway 108 has opened up as the Donnell Fire comes under control, so a nice loop route visiting the Toiyabe NF and Emigrant Wilderness looks do-able now.

Donnell Fire



The Hiker's Physical Perspective

Terrain North & South of Ebbetts Pass

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Trouble in the Cloud Forests, Birds Ascending 23 Feet a Year


Cloud Forests Rising

Birds retreating from climate change, deforestation in Honduras cloud forests,
University of Utah, August 6, 2018.

"A cloud forest is an ecosystem that derives much of its moisture from water vapor in the surrounding air."

"A 10-year study of bird populations in Cusuco National Park, Honduras, shows that the peak of bird diversity in this mountainous park is moving higher in elevation. Additional land protection, unfortunately, may not be enough to reverse the trend, driven in part by globally rising temperatures."

"...predicted that rising temperatures and changes in precipitation would cause species, particularly birds, to shift to higher elevations, shrinking their habitat and boosting the risk of extinction."

"That...is exactly what’s happening."

"...most species moving upslope, at an average of 23 feet (7 m) per year."

Not Just Climate
"One factor is the continuing development and deforestation within the park."

"The terrain’s status as a national park...doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent for those seeking to expand agricultural land."

But Climate is Changing
“Increased protection is unlikely to mitigate the effects of climate change.”


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2018 American Space Policy: Gateway to Moon or Giant Leap into Quicksand?

Space Policy Unknown

Spending to Eternity without any clear goals

NASA says it’s building a gateway to the Moon—critics say it’s just a gate,
or, “It is the next giant leap into quicksand."
Ars Technica, September 6, 2018.


The article above discusses the state of American Space Policy.


American Space Policy

A Discussion

The Rocket to Nowhere?
This article points out the lack of any clear goals or destination for NASA’s manned spaceflight programs, except to figure out how to spend money.

In the unmanned realm, the policy has been to shift from NASA providing our orbital, scientific, and manned capacities to dispensing massive contracts to private companies such as Space-X, marking what looks like the complete corporatization of America’s unmanned orbital spaceflight capacity necessary for orbital and scientific tasks, for communications and GPS, and potentially for manned flights to keep the space station running.

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