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.  

Zandar58's picture

Sunrise on Rae Lake

I checked the thermometer and it read 33 degrees, on this windless sunrise, over Rae Lake.  Just wonderful. 

By Zandar58

Sunrise on Rae Lake
Zandar58's picture

Upper Dollar Lake, just before Arrowhead Lake, enroute to Rae Lakes

We just returned from an Epic trip, The Rae Lakes Loop.  We tried to walk this loop last year, but my younger brother got sick on the second day, and we had to walk out.  So, we returned to finish the loop and it was well worth the trip.  So, after 46 miles of perfect blue skies, water crossing, and snow fields, I am glad to say it was "Epic".

By Zandar58

Upper Dollar Lake, just before Arrowhead Lake, enroute to Rae Lakes
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Kids Crossing the Sierra Video: Darwin Bench and Lamark Col

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High Sierra Backpacking Kids

I really enjoyed this video of a mixed group of kids and adults making a crossing of the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains from West to East. Check it out. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. I believe it's really instructive as to the potential of kid backpackers.

Video Two: 
Darwin Bench

John Muir Trail hiking partner

I am planning (snow and water levels permitting) to hike the JMT North-South beginning at the end of July, possibly beginning of August. I have  3 1/2 to 4 weeks.

Originally had planned to do it with my son, but he had to bail out, and none of my friends has enough time.

I am a good avearge hiker, generally do between 8 - 15 miles/day, will probably be slightly slow at the beginning. Don't like to do anything extreme, and also have respect for fast flowing water ... in other words I won't do anything stupid

Alex Wierbinski's picture

TRIP REPORT: West Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness, Meeks Bay to Crag Lake, July 2011

High Sierra Backpacking Report


July 7 to July 10, 2011

Meeks Bay to Crag Lake in the Desolation Wilderness.

Related Information

Map: Desolation Wilderness

Click along the trail route for detailed maps. Click those maps for trail guide pages.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Fitness: Related Topics. Drugs, Diet, Braces and Such

Backpacking Fitness: Related Topics. Drugs, Diet, Braces and Such

 This is the comments and questions page for the related topics section of the Trail Guide's Backpacking Fitness Guide. Post your questions or comments through the comments link at the bottom of this page.

A backpacking fitness program involves knowing the proper drugs to deal with the range of pains backpacking can bring on. We will look at some of the basic drug choices we have for inflamtion.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Fitness: Weight Lifting and Upper Body Strength

Backpacking Fitness: Weight Lifting and Upper Body Strength

This is the comments and questions page for the Trail Guide's Fitness Section on Weight Lifting and Upper Body Strength. If you have questions or comments, post them through the comments link at the bottom of this page. 

I believe that having adequete upper body strength is vital for comfortably shouldering the weight of a backpack, especially if the pack is loaded for extensive distances over difficult terrain such as the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Fitness: Legs and Lungs

Backpacking Fitness: Legs and Lungs.

This is the comments and questions page for the Legs and Lungs section of the Backpacking Fitness section of the Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide. Post your questions or comments through the commnets link at the bottom of this page.

If you have information or experiences that exceed the scope of questions and comments, Register and post your own article in this Backpacking Fitness Forum about how you keep your legs and lungs together for High Sierra backpacking.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Backpacking Fitness: Injury Recovery

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Backpacker Injury Recovery

This page is set up for your comments and questions from the Trail Guide's physical fitness section about injury recovery and starting a fitness program.

Post comments through the link at the bottom of this page. If you are a registerd member, you can post your own Forum Topic in this the Mountain Conditioning Forum.

Stretching and Flexibility

Pohono & illilouette falls next weekend??

 I am looking to see if anyone is interested in doing a 3-day hike from the Wowona tunnel (or Bridal Veil lot), up the Pohono Trail and camping night one maybe Taft Point area. Second day head down somewhere into the illilouette falls basin area. Then head down to the valley on the last day, lunch and a beer, then out of the park. I am looking at Friday-Sunday July 15-17. Anyone interested can ping me. I am a pretty experienced backpacker, typically pretty fast in my stride and have logged anywhere from 5 to 20-mile days. This shouldn't be that bad of a hike mileage wise.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Introduction: Welcome to the Backpacking Physical Fitness Forum

Introduction: Welcome to the Backpacking Physical Fitness Forum 


I believe that the most average person, male or female, possesses inherent physical and perceptive capabilities that are nothing short of amazing.

The average person can run all day long, observe the most minute details of the terrain as they pass through, and monitor their status and alter their plans on the hoof in response to changing internal and environmental circumstances.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Questing Veterans: June 29, New Plans: To the Coast?

Jean and her crew have hit the wall of snow at the Southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It appears from the communication below that these harsh conditions are going to force them South, then West out of the Sierra.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Questing Veterans Update: June 28, 2011: New Plans?

Questing Veterans Update, June 28 2011

Jean's latest report confirms on foot what our seasonal observations the snowpack data has been showing in abstract:  The Sierra is fully packed with snow that is finally rapidly depleating.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Welcome to the Map Forum

Welcome to the Tahoe to Whitney Backpacking Topo Maps Forum

This page is set up for your general questions and comments about the maps depicted on this site, and as an index for map, miles, and navigation information.

Comments or Questions?


Quick Lists of High Sierra Maps

Digital High Sierra Trail Guide Maps

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra Backpacking Camp and Trail Skills Introduction

Welcome to the Camp and Trail Skills Forum

This page here is for general comments and quesitons from the Camp and Trail Skills section of the Trail Guide.

If you have tips and tricks helpful for a backacker's Camp and Trail Skills, Register and post 'em  up as a note or topic in this forum. 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Problem Trail: Raymond Peak, Mokelumne Wilderness, Pacific Crest Trail

East Flank of Raymond Peak

Backpacking Mokelumne Wilderness

Trail Guide Page: North Side of Raymond Peak

Forum Page: North Side of Raymond Peak

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Spider, 11,154 feet, Lake Helen

Most years I walk the Tahoe to Whitney routes I scramble up to Lake Helen on the Northwest side of Banner Peak.

In 2009 I encountered this lady kicking it in the shattered rock bowl around the Lake. She was shocked to see me, and was not inclined to retreat.

Spider with egg sack near Helen Lake on the Northwest side of Banner Peak.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Spider, Jumping, Big Sam, Emigrant Wilderness

Sometimes I follow the Pacific Crest Trail South from Sonora Pass over Leavitt Peak on my way South to Yosemite.

I take the option of continuing South on the South side of Leavitt Peak to head over Big Sam into the Emigrant Wilderness to pick up the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail, rather than turn East at Kennedy Canyon to follow the PCT.

Trail Guide: On Big Sam North of High Emigrant Meadow

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Questing Veterans update: June 18, 2011.

Questing Veterans Update:

June 18, 2011

Questing Veterans

 From Jean's Website, Questing Veterans:

Questing Veterans is an expedition around the United States via foot and horseback. The purpose of the ride is to provide Veterans a buffer zone and time between Military and Civilian lives.


Howdy y'all!

Alex Wierbinski's picture

TNT Repair Is Bully on Vintage Singer Machines!

TNT Repair

PO Box 5829
Pago Pago
American Samoa, 96799

Terry's site will inform your Set up,  Maintenance, and  supply your Sewing Machine Repair needs. Focusing on Singer and Brother Sewing Machines.


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