Killer Sunset at The Sisters near Carson Pass
Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail
Need a Map? Lost Al near Lost Keys Lake
Emigrant Wilderness under Tropical Thunderstorm, September.
Round Top Lake
Whitebarks and Grizzly Peak in Emigrant Wilderness under Tropical Clouds during September 2013
Lost Keys Lake
 

Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney
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HIGH SIERRA BACKPACKER'S
Calendar

 

September
2018

 

Important Seasonal Happenings, Transitions, Events, & Dates
for
High Sierra Backpackers

 

Road Conditions, Resupply, Seasonal Transition Concerns, Permit Dates, Weather, Water, and Mosquitoes

 

 

 

Last Year
2017

 

THIS YEAR
News, Views, & Issues
September
2018
High Sierra
News
AUGUST
2018
Backpacker
Alerts
2018
Natural Meltdown
High Sierra
Backpacking
TOPICS
High Sierra
Backpacking
TRAILS
High Sierra
Backpacking
FITNESS
High Sierra
Backpacking
SKILLS

High Sierra
RESUPPLY
High Sierra
PERMITS
High Sierra
WEATHER
High Sierra
Trail
GUIDE
INDEX
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MAPS
INDEX
High Sierra
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MILES
INDEX
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2018
High Sierra
Backpacking Calendar

January         February         March         April         May         June

July         August         September         October         November         December

 

 

September
2018

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

TRAILHEAD

Last Year

 

September 2018
View down Tuolumne River from Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp

East Carson River just below PCT under April Snow.
Massif under Blacktop Peak from unnamed lake in Island Pass. Donohue Pass and Peak are to the Left out of the image.

Trail Guide           Map           Miles and Elevations

September 2018

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January       February       March       April       May       June     July     August     September       October       November       December
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

 

 

September 2018

FIRE DANGERS
Cooling into early September helping contain the brutal fires of July & August...so far...

2017 HISTORY
Heatwaves, Fire, & Smoke

In 2016 we dodged a bullet, a bullet of fire...

2015 HISTORY
EL NINO BOILING THE CENTRAL NORTH PACIFIC

FIRES BURNING ACROSS CALIFORNIA.

For backpackers these conditions require awareness of potential Fire and Tropical Downpours.

Fire and Smoke Information

El Nino Report

 

 

 

More
High Sierra
Backpacker Information

Guide Trailhead

Guide Index

High Sierra Magazine

Blog-Forums

 

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LAST MONTH

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COOL-
Fires coming under Containment,
Smoke Diminishing

 

ALL
SMOKE RESOURCES

 

CURRENT FIRES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP

31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More
High Sierra
Backpacker Information

Guide Trailhead

Guide Index

High Sierra Magazine

Blog-Forums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017

Major Heatwave, Fires, and Smoke covering Western US

2017 Calendar

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST MONTH

NEXT WEEK

 

 

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
2

DONNELL FIRE
approaching containment

Status
PCT STILL CLOSED
between Sonora and Ebbetts Passes, across the Carson Iceberg Wilderness

CARSON ICEBERG WILDERNESS CLOSED

 

Weather Page

 

 

 

2017

RECORD-SETTING DANGEROUS HEAT

3

LABOR DAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

2017

Major Heatwave, Fires, and Smoke covering Western US

2017 Calendar

 

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TOP

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Cooler than Average

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LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK


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8

PCT between Sonora and Ebbetts Passes finally Opens

 

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

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Cooler than Average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP

13

Cooler than Average

 

LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK

 

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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

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Cooler than Average

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LAST WEEK

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FALL SOLSTICE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NEXT MONTH

 

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2018

September

Typical Year: The chances of early season cold and even an unexpected snow storm require we gear-up for the expected and the unexpected.

Each month is getting colder, bringing rising potential for some serious unexpected early snow as each day passes. Though hiking the Fall conditions of August, September and October offer some of the most spectacular views and beautiful experiences the High Sierra Nevada Mountain Range offers, we're also under expanding threat and increasing potential for a wide range of Winter weather conditions. We've got to keep an eye on the sky, as always. But especially during Fall.

 

2015 HISTORY : High temperatures and a boiling El Nino make snow seem like an unlikely memory and impossible future. Cauldrons of hot water from the West Coast of Mexico down to the South of Peru and reaching West across the Central Pacific have created a center of fierce tropical storm production in the Central-East Pacific generating lines of hurricanes it is pushing East-Northeast across the Central Pacific.

A persistent trough over California has been sucking vast unconsolidated chunks of this tropical moisture North in the early days of September. Here's what I see:

El Nino storms will miss California if the weird tropical high that has been setting up over the North Pacific during the drought Winters reestablishes itself and persists. This High will transport El Nino moisture around California and the High Sierra. This High is forming up as strongly in mid-September as are El Nino conditions. That makes sense, as it's the same un-natural heat in water and sky driving both.

We may see a historic flow of tropical moisture into California and the High Sierra If the Winter High Pressure Zone does not set up over the North Pacific, and North Pacific Surface heating and Arctic "weakness" (Another warm Winter Arctic) perpetuates the breakdown of the North Pacific Jet Stream.
Warming Arctic Winters are feeding the growing pattern of Winter storms coming out of the tropics from the West and Southwest. In the case of a warm Arctic Winter without building a Winter High over the North Pacific could transport potentially historically unparalleled storm activity moving vast amounts of tropical moisture across California and the High Sierra.

In other words, we could get slammed or shut down.

In either case these conditions are unique in the span of human history. Enjoy the ride.

 

2014 Calendar          2015 Calendar          2016 Calendar          2017 Calendar

 

The
Bookends

of
High Sierra Experience

JULY
2015

RECORD MINIMAL SNOW PACK

 

JULY
2017

MASSIVE, RECORD MAX SNOW PACK

 

 

The Season is Tapering Down
Labor Day marks the beginning of the end of the Summer Backpacking Season in the High Sierra.

Resupply Facilities begin closing up for the Season.

Danger
The potential for low temps is increased. Early season storm possibilities rise significantly.
Carefully begin monitoring weather conditions while
considering Fall additions to Insulation and Gear.

 

2014 Calendar          2015 Calendar

2016 Calendar

September

September brings the full pallet of Fall beauty as cold conditions return to the High Sierra.

From the golden grasses around diminished lakes to the great sweeps of bright yellow aspens bursting through the uniform evergreen canopy, beauty is bursting forth even as much of life slows down to settle into its Winter sleep.

The weight of the bear-proof can be left behind, but the pack gets heavier as the necessity of thicker insulation and Winter travel gear demands we carry greater weight.

Well, not yet. But we are now watching carefully for the physical signs of impending Fall and the approach of Winter.

2015 HISTORY

BACKPACKER ALERT

The threats are fire and tropical weather.

The enduring trend of shortening Winters and the subsequent significant diminishment of Rain and Snowpack during the last 25 years has evolved into a completely different weather pattern. The storms out of the Northwest, in fact the whole North Pacific Weather Pattern has been disrupted. I would say it has been shattered.

The various unhinged elements of our old pattern have not re-established a new pattern (they are still changing!), but two facts are crystal clear. First, our traditional pattern of Winter storms out of the Northwest has been shattered. It will likely re-occur every 3 to 7 years on a diminishing cycle. Winters dominated by storms out of the Northwest is done as the dominant feature driving Winter weather on the whole Northwest Coast of the US.

(I see two factors driving the Degradation of the North Pacific Winter Weather Pattern:

Factor
A> The significant warming of the Arctic Circle during Winter has diminished the polar region's ability to draw West Pacific storms up to the perimeter of its once powerful spinning vortex of brutal cold, to "power them up," and toss them across the West Coast of the US.

Factor B> The warmth of the North Pacific ocean surface and atmosphere during Winter in N Latitudes has deflected the path of the typical North Pacific Winter Jet Stream across the Northeast Pacific, leaving the West Coast of the US dry.
The combined effects of the warming Arctic Circle and North Pacific Jet Stream changes are also responsible for the great "slides" South of Cold Arctic air masses over the Mid-West and East Coast over the last few Winters, causing those "polar vortexes."

Typical Winter storm patterns are not being drawn up to the Arctic Circle, they are not being fired up by the spinning vortex of the North Polar Region during Winter, nor are the resulting super-charged storms riding the Jet Stream down to California. That's the pattern that's over, the old pattern that drove fertility in California and the High Sierra.)

Second, the temperatures and humidity have risen to levels un-natural for the North Latitudes. We appear to be moving towards a tropical "Wet and Dry"-season type of pattern at 38 N. We'll see. We've loosened the forces of chaos, now we will see what happens, and where they end up.

The establishment of new basic metrological conditions in the North Pacific and Arctic Ocean assures that this new weather pattern has just now begun to re-order the type and distribution of plant and animal life rapidly under its changed footprint, forcing all to adjust to the new reality. Here in California that will be through fire for the trees, and lack of water for the animals and humans.

New plants, animals, and trees more suited to the hotter, drier climate will replace those burned, until they too are supplanted.

For backpackers this means that the rising threats into this year's September are massive fires and unexpected tropical downpours.

 

 

Mountain Safety

Thunderstorms?

As snow travel and fording dangers receede on the High Sierra terrain, the next danger grows in the skies.

July brings the peak of the Summer Thunderstorm Season in the High Sierra.
These are typically local weather, caused by heat waves in the San Joaquin Valley swept up the West Sierra Flank.

Hot wet air on a fast ride up the West Sierra flank to high elevations squeezes out what can be substantial daily rain and lightening activity lasting between 2 pm and sunset.

Don’t cross open ground under one of these storms. They are deadly. Lightening and Fording are the leading causes of High Sierra backpacker deaths.

More Lightening Information                  Lightening Prediction Tools

Typical Scene: Video

Story
Caught Out with Bubba & Dave

 

Tahoe to Whitney

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2018
High Sierra
Backpacking Calendar

January         February         March         April         May         June

July         August         September         October         November         December

 

2014 Calendar          2015 Calendar

2016 Calendar          2017 Calendar

Trailhead
 
Contact
Alex Wierbinski

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Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your guide to backpacking the Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

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