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Re: JMT trip report

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  • 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 1 of 6 , Aug 24, 2006
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      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
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • 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 2 of 6 , Aug 24, 2006
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        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 3 of 6 , Sep 7, 2006
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          --- 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 4 of 6 , Sep 7, 2006
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            > 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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