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JMT trip report

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  • David Armstrong
    Hi all I am just back from an 11-day solo hike on the JMT. I set out from Tuolumne Meadows on 8/12 and finished at Whitney Portal this Tuesday the 22nd. I
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 24, 2006
      Hi all

      I am just back from an 11-day solo hike on the JMT. I set out from Tuolumne
      Meadows on 8/12 and finished at Whitney Portal this Tuesday the 22nd. I
      averaged 18 miles and about 3500 ft. of elevation gain a day. My only resupply
      was at Muir Trail Ranch which I reached after 4.5 days; I had way too much food
      for the first part of the hike and gave a lot away, and just the right amount
      for the last 6 days. I had about 1.5 lbs of food per day for roughly 3200
      calories, but had planned on shorter days, so was carrying too much for the
      first part. I generally didn't hike at a fast pace, but put in very long days,
      typically from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on average. I found that I was able to cover a
      lot of ground by taking my time, eating and drinking constantly, and stopping
      to chat or take a break whenever I felt the need.

      I thought I would share some info on trail conditions and other miscellany with
      this forum, and also pass on that I really appreciated the information people
      have shared in this group and in answering emails I sent privately: it was a
      tremendous help in planning my trip and as a result I was able to enjoy it more
      and be better-prepared. If some of the info below is nothing new to the old
      hands out there, I hope at least it will be useful to newbies such as I was
      this year.

      WEATHER
      I had absolutely gorgeous daytime weather for the 11 days I was on the trail.
      The only time I ever felt hot was on the interminable descent down to Whitney
      Portal. Most of the ascents to the passes were done early in the day, in shade
      or moderate sun, and I never suffered due to weather (the passes were hard
      enough already!). At night however it was a lot colder than on my previous
      summer trips to the Sierras, with temps into the low 30s. There was
      considerable ice on the trail heading up to Silver Pass on Day 4 (this was
      around 7 a.m.), and some snow on a steep section of trail going up to the pass
      that was frozen and somewhat treacherous (I would not have wanted to descend it
      in the early a.m.)

      STREAM CROSSINGS
      Unlike what was described on this forum last summer, the stream crossings were
      quite straightforward this year. In fact I only got my feet wet twice: at
      Evolution Creek (knee-high on this 6'2" hiker), and Bear Creek (shin-high). I
      was wearing waterproof Goretex boots, so I could blast through a lot of the
      shallower ones, and I rock-hopped or used logs for the other deeper ones. None
      of them seemed particularly dangerous this year but of course it pays to
      concentrate on your footing and plan your way across each one. Trekking poles
      were a huge help on these.

      SNOW
      Little snow on the trail itself. There was some on Silver Pass as mentioned
      above. The most was south of Muir Pass (the only time I slipped and fell was on
      a stretch of snowy trail here, but it was nothing too worrisome). There was
      also a big snowbank heading up to Forester. I followed in the footsteps of
      those who had ascended thru the snow along a ridgeline and re-descended to the
      trail, but saw afterwards that the direct route probably would have been doable
      (although perhaps a bit tricky to clear the snowbank). Again this was no big
      deal and nothing to fret over if you are heading out.

      WATER AVAILABILITY
      There were only two times I carried more than 1 liter: heading up from Mono
      Creek and back down to Bear Creek (dry stretch of around 5 miles, and a long,
      long climb). The second time was on the last day for the trip up to Whitney.
      The other fairly long dry stretches that I remember were between Duck Creek and
      Deer Creek (about 5 miles), and between Tyndall and Wright Creeks (less than
      4).

      TRAIL CONDITIONS
      I was amazed at how impeccably maintained the vast majority of the trail was.
      There was however a glaring exception, which was the first part of the trail
      along Palisade Creek up to Mather Pass. There were many downed trees to
      circumnavigate. It looks as though the trail has been in this state for awhile.
      Does anyone know for how long, and why this section is in such bad shape when
      the rest is so good?

      MUIR TRAIL RANCH
      The resupply here was seamless, and for those who are not aware, there are
      plastic buckets full of food that people have left behind if you need extra, or
      have extra to jettison. (Some of the food items were incomprehensible: a full
      jar of honey and one of olive oil were two of the funniest ones). An 8-oz. fuel
      canister will set you back $8, and they charge $10 for 15 minutes on their very
      slow satellite Internet connection.

      I was able to get a full nine days out of an 8 oz. MSR fuel canister - had I
      known I would have only brought an 8 and a 4 oz. instead of lugging a nearly
      full one for the second part of the trip. I did 2-4 boils per day.

      All in all it was an excellent adventure - I met a lot of nice people,
      marvelled at the scenery, and found it hard to re-enter civilization even
      though I wasn't out all that long.

      David Armstrong
      San Francisco




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    • Catra Corbett
      Great report David. I was out there too. I started on July 27th I did the JMT a section of the PCT & the Tahoe rim trail it took me a total of 21 days 511
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 24, 2006
        Great report David. I was out there too. I started on July 27th I did the JMT a section of the PCT & the Tahoe rim trail it took me a total of 21 days 511 miles.

        The trees you mentioned that were down were from this year I have fastpacked/run the JMT 6 times. 5 times in the past four years. The trees weren't there last year.

        At Muir trail ranch a couple from France left 3 bottles of French wine in the freebie bucket, somebody I'm sure was happy.

        I believe the weather was a lot colder this year to me personally than in the past. I never got super hot.

        I will say I was hot on the Tahoe rim trail.

        Cheers,
        Catra

        http://www.trailgirl.blogspot.com


        David Armstrong <darmstrong99@...> wrote:
        Hi all

        I am just back from an 11-day solo hike on the JMT. I set out from Tuolumne
        Meadows on 8/12 and finished at Whitney Portal this Tuesday the 22nd. I
        averaged 18 miles and about 3500 ft. of elevation gain a day. My only resupply
        was at Muir Trail Ranch which I reached after 4.5 days; I had way too much food
        for the first part of the hike and gave a lot away, and just the right amount
        for the last 6 days. I had about 1.5 lbs of food per day for roughly 3200
        calories, but had planned on shorter days, so was carrying too much for the
        first part. I generally didn't hike at a fast pace, but put in very long days,
        typically from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on average. I found that I was able to cover a
        lot of ground by taking my time, eating and drinking constantly, and stopping
        to chat or take a break whenever I felt the need.

        I thought I would share some info on trail conditions and other miscellany with
        this forum, and also pass on that I really appreciated the information people
        have shared in this group and in answering emails I sent privately: it was a
        tremendous help in planning my trip and as a result I was able to enjoy it more
        and be better-prepared. If some of the info below is nothing new to the old
        hands out there, I hope at least it will be useful to newbies such as I was
        this year.

        WEATHER
        I had absolutely gorgeous daytime weather for the 11 days I was on the trail.
        The only time I ever felt hot was on the interminable descent down to Whitney
        Portal. Most of the ascents to the passes were done early in the day, in shade
        or moderate sun, and I never suffered due to weather (the passes were hard
        enough already!). At night however it was a lot colder than on my previous
        summer trips to the Sierras, with temps into the low 30s. There was
        considerable ice on the trail heading up to Silver Pass on Day 4 (this was
        around 7 a.m.), and some snow on a steep section of trail going up to the pass
        that was frozen and somewhat treacherous (I would not have wanted to descend it
        in the early a.m.)

        STREAM CROSSINGS
        Unlike what was described on this forum last summer, the stream crossings were
        quite straightforward this year. In fact I only got my feet wet twice: at
        Evolution Creek (knee-high on this 6'2" hiker), and Bear Creek (shin-high). I
        was wearing waterproof Goretex boots, so I could blast through a lot of the
        shallower ones, and I rock-hopped or used logs for the other deeper ones. None
        of them seemed particularly dangerous this year but of course it pays to
        concentrate on your footing and plan your way across each one. Trekking poles
        were a huge help on these.

        SNOW
        Little snow on the trail itself. There was some on Silver Pass as mentioned
        above. The most was south of Muir Pass (the only time I slipped and fell was on
        a stretch of snowy trail here, but it was nothing too worrisome). There was
        also a big snowbank heading up to Forester. I followed in the footsteps of
        those who had ascended thru the snow along a ridgeline and re-descended to the
        trail, but saw afterwards that the direct route probably would have been doable
        (although perhaps a bit tricky to clear the snowbank). Again this was no big
        deal and nothing to fret over if you are heading out.

        WATER AVAILABILITY
        There were only two times I carried more than 1 liter: heading up from Mono
        Creek and back down to Bear Creek (dry stretch of around 5 miles, and a long,
        long climb). The second time was on the last day for the trip up to Whitney.
        The other fairly long dry stretches that I remember were between Duck Creek and
        Deer Creek (about 5 miles), and between Tyndall and Wright Creeks (less than
        4).

        TRAIL CONDITIONS
        I was amazed at how impeccably maintained the vast majority of the trail was.
        There was however a glaring exception, which was the first part of the trail
        along Palisade Creek up to Mather Pass. There were many downed trees to
        circumnavigate. It looks as though the trail has been in this state for awhile.
        Does anyone know for how long, and why this section is in such bad shape when
        the rest is so good?

        MUIR TRAIL RANCH
        The resupply here was seamless, and for those who are not aware, there are
        plastic buckets full of food that people have left behind if you need extra, or
        have extra to jettison. (Some of the food items were incomprehensible: a full
        jar of honey and one of olive oil were two of the funniest ones). An 8-oz. fuel
        canister will set you back $8, and they charge $10 for 15 minutes on their very
        slow satellite Internet connection.

        I was able to get a full nine days out of an 8 oz. MSR fuel canister - had I
        known I would have only brought an 8 and a 4 oz. instead of lugging a nearly
        full one for the second part of the trip. I did 2-4 boils per day.

        All in all it was an excellent adventure - I met a lot of nice people,
        marvelled at the scenery, and found it hard to re-enter civilization even
        though I wasn't out all that long.

        David Armstrong
        San Francisco

        __________________________________________________
        Do You Yahoo!?
        Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
        http://mail.yahoo.com





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jay Strine
        Hello David, that was a excellent report. I am planning to go from Yosemite to Red s Meadow area next year around the begining of August. Thank you for
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 24, 2006
          Hello David, that was a excellent report. I am planning to go from
          Yosemite to Red's Meadow area next year around the begining of
          August. Thank you for posting your trip report I learned alot from
          it. I am planning to do the entire length the following year.
          Did you see or have any problems with Bears??
          And if you don't mind me asking, did you use a tent, bivy sack, or
          modified shelter?? What was your average pack weight?
          Thank you again for the report

          Jay Strine
          Rancho Cucamonga CA.

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, David Armstrong
          <darmstrong99@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi all
          >
          > I am just back from an 11-day solo hike on the JMT. I set out from
          Tuolumne
          > Meadows on 8/12 and finished at Whitney Portal this Tuesday the
          22nd. I
          > averaged 18 miles and about 3500 ft. of elevation gain a day. My
          only resupply
          > was at Muir Trail Ranch which I reached after 4.5 days; I had way
          too much food
          > for the first part of the hike and gave a lot away, and just the
          right amount
          > for the last 6 days. I had about 1.5 lbs of food per day for
          roughly 3200
          > calories, but had planned on shorter days, so was carrying too
          much for the
          > first part. I generally didn't hike at a fast pace, but put in
          very long days,
          > typically from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on average. I found that I was
          able to cover a
          > lot of ground by taking my time, eating and drinking constantly,
          and stopping
          > to chat or take a break whenever I felt the need.
          >
          > I thought I would share some info on trail conditions and other
          miscellany with
          > this forum, and also pass on that I really appreciated the
          information people
          > have shared in this group and in answering emails I sent
          privately: it was a
          > tremendous help in planning my trip and as a result I was able to
          enjoy it more
          > and be better-prepared. If some of the info below is nothing new
          to the old
          > hands out there, I hope at least it will be useful to newbies such
          as I was
          > this year.
          >
          > WEATHER
          > I had absolutely gorgeous daytime weather for the 11 days I was on
          the trail.
          > The only time I ever felt hot was on the interminable descent down
          to Whitney
          > Portal. Most of the ascents to the passes were done early in the
          day, in shade
          > or moderate sun, and I never suffered due to weather (the passes
          were hard
          > enough already!). At night however it was a lot colder than on my
          previous
          > summer trips to the Sierras, with temps into the low 30s. There was
          > considerable ice on the trail heading up to Silver Pass on Day 4
          (this was
          > around 7 a.m.), and some snow on a steep section of trail going up
          to the pass
          > that was frozen and somewhat treacherous (I would not have wanted
          to descend it
          > in the early a.m.)
          >
          > STREAM CROSSINGS
          > Unlike what was described on this forum last summer, the stream
          crossings were
          > quite straightforward this year. In fact I only got my feet wet
          twice: at
          > Evolution Creek (knee-high on this 6'2" hiker), and Bear Creek
          (shin-high). I
          > was wearing waterproof Goretex boots, so I could blast through a
          lot of the
          > shallower ones, and I rock-hopped or used logs for the other
          deeper ones. None
          > of them seemed particularly dangerous this year but of course it
          pays to
          > concentrate on your footing and plan your way across each one.
          Trekking poles
          > were a huge help on these.
          >
          > SNOW
          > Little snow on the trail itself. There was some on Silver Pass as
          mentioned
          > above. The most was south of Muir Pass (the only time I slipped
          and fell was on
          > a stretch of snowy trail here, but it was nothing too worrisome).
          There was
          > also a big snowbank heading up to Forester. I followed in the
          footsteps of
          > those who had ascended thru the snow along a ridgeline and re-
          descended to the
          > trail, but saw afterwards that the direct route probably would
          have been doable
          > (although perhaps a bit tricky to clear the snowbank). Again this
          was no big
          > deal and nothing to fret over if you are heading out.
          >
          > WATER AVAILABILITY
          > There were only two times I carried more than 1 liter: heading up
          from Mono
          > Creek and back down to Bear Creek (dry stretch of around 5 miles,
          and a long,
          > long climb). The second time was on the last day for the trip up
          to Whitney.
          > The other fairly long dry stretches that I remember were between
          Duck Creek and
          > Deer Creek (about 5 miles), and between Tyndall and Wright Creeks
          (less than
          > 4).
          >
          > TRAIL CONDITIONS
          > I was amazed at how impeccably maintained the vast majority of the
          trail was.
          > There was however a glaring exception, which was the first part of
          the trail
          > along Palisade Creek up to Mather Pass. There were many downed
          trees to
          > circumnavigate. It looks as though the trail has been in this
          state for awhile.
          > Does anyone know for how long, and why this section is in such bad
          shape when
          > the rest is so good?
          >
          > MUIR TRAIL RANCH
          > The resupply here was seamless, and for those who are not aware,
          there are
          > plastic buckets full of food that people have left behind if you
          need extra, or
          > have extra to jettison. (Some of the food items were
          incomprehensible: a full
          > jar of honey and one of olive oil were two of the funniest ones).
          An 8-oz. fuel
          > canister will set you back $8, and they charge $10 for 15 minutes
          on their very
          > slow satellite Internet connection.
          >
          > I was able to get a full nine days out of an 8 oz. MSR fuel
          canister - had I
          > known I would have only brought an 8 and a 4 oz. instead of
          lugging a nearly
          > full one for the second part of the trip. I did 2-4 boils per day.
          >
          > All in all it was an excellent adventure - I met a lot of nice
          people,
          > marvelled at the scenery, and found it hard to re-enter
          civilization even
          > though I wasn't out all that long.
          >
          > David Armstrong
          > San Francisco
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > __________________________________________________
          > Do You Yahoo!?
          > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
          > http://mail.yahoo.com
          >
        • darmstrong99
          ... No. The only report I had of a bear was from a couple that thought they heard/smelled one during the night at Crater Meadows. As far as I know no bears
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 24, 2006
            Jay, answers below:

            > Did you see or have any problems with Bears??

            No. The only report I had of a bear was from a couple that thought
            they heard/smelled one during the night at Crater Meadows. As far as I
            know no bears visited my campsites or those of any of the other hikers
            I met.

            > And if you don't mind me asking, did you use a tent, bivy sack, or
            > modified shelter?? What was your average pack weight?

            I am working on shedding pack weight but have a long way to go. With
            the full 7 days of food, my pack clocked in at 35 pounds, for a base
            weight of around 25. I used an REI Roadster tent, which is quite
            sturdy and not too heavy. I also carried the rainfly which I
            thankfully did not have occasion to use. The only problem w/ the tent
            other than the weight (just under 3 lbs.) is that you have to stake it
            out, and there were 3 times that this was impossible at my chosen
            campsite due to rocks, so I just slept out.

            Have a great hike. I would second what Frank said about going in at
            Cottonwood; a group of us did Whitney that way last year, and it sure
            beats the hell out of trudging up from W. Portal.

            David

            P.S. One detail I forgot to mention in my post: they want you to use
            the "Wag Bags" now when you enter the Whitney Zone, so your pack may
            be a little heavier than you thought for the last day :-)
          • onkelb0b
            ... I was amazed at how impeccably maintained the vast majority of the trail was.There was however a glaring exception, which was the first part of the trail
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 7, 2006
              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, David Armstrong
              <darmstrong99@...> wrote:
              >TRAIL CONDITIONS
              I was amazed at how impeccably maintained the vast majority of the
              trail was.There was however a glaring exception, which was the first
              part of the trail along Palisade Creek up to Mather Pass. There were
              many downed trees to circumnavigate. It looks as though the trail has
              been in this state for awhile. Does anyone know for how long, and why
              this section is in such bad shape when the rest is so good?<

              This is an aggregation of last year's storms and mostly this year's
              April storms. From what I heard, an avalanche came down in May and
              that's when the majority of these trees fell. I through hiked the JMT
              in '04 and it was clear. I hiked this in early August and it wasn't
              that bad, at least to me. Now that crossing of Palisade Creek was a
              different story.
            • Eng-Shien Wu
              ... As of a week ago, the section of the trail before the Golden Staircase to Mather Pass was clear--maybe a tree or two to walk around. I found the trip
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 7, 2006
                > I was amazed at how impeccably maintained the vast majority of the
                > trail was.There was however a glaring exception, which was the first
                > part of the trail along Palisade Creek up to Mather Pass. There were
                > many downed trees to circumnavigate. It looks as though the trail has
                > been in this state for awhile. Does anyone know for how long, and why
                > this section is in such bad shape when the rest is so good?<


                As of a week ago, the section of the trail before the Golden Staircase to
                Mather Pass was clear--maybe a tree or two to walk around.

                I found the trip report very helpful for the JMT section I did, especially
                the info on the dry sections of the trail. Thanks David.

                Eng-Shien


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