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[John Muir Trail] Re: Kearsarge resupply options for family hike?

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  • speedcenter2001
    I guess I need to speak up in defense of Taboose Pass. Every time people talk about it here, it sounds like its grade is some sort of death march into certain
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 26, 2013
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      I guess I need to speak up in defense of Taboose Pass. Every time people talk about it here, it sounds like its grade is some sort of death march into certain doom.

      I am going back to Taboose next month, because I actually enjoy the places you can access via that pass. Have gone up and down in the same day a few times, too. Great place to see how fit you are before you get serious on the JMT, and you're rewarded with High Sierra awesomeness just hours after you start hiking. Head over to Bench Lake and kick back - you've got your JMT experience compressed into a weekend right there.

      Taboose is what it is - it takes you into the deep Sierra in a few hours, very much built to serve that purpose as efficiently as possible. 8 miles TH to pass (incorrectly labeled as 5 miles in guides and many maps) and about 5000 feet uphill or downhill. That will leave a mark on a body, but that's the price you pay for admission. Comparing eastern Sierra access passes with any of the JMT passes (which are "joggable" horse highways) isn't fair. Given you are climbing one of the biggest geological obstacles in the lower 48 states, the Sierra crest from the bottom of Owens Valley, it's pretty amazing how well these passes work, especially since they aren't even maintained by trail crews any longer.

      If your body is allergic to big mountain passes, well, that's a different problem. Go slower, take an extra day, especially on the uphill. In summer when going up, start well before dawn to avoid the desert heat, or begin after sunset and make camp after the first creek crossing, then do the rest the next morning. When heading down remember to bring a lot of water after the second crossing.

      I have seen people carry kayaks and full film and camping gear up Taboose Pass wearing neoprene slippers. Now the thought of doing that is my nightmare :)

      Given your reaction to Taboose pass, you need to be careful on Shepherd, Baxter, and especially Sawmill Pass as well - that last one is a few miles longer than Taboose, starts lower and goes higher, and it comes with a nasty little counter climb surprise in the low and hot elevation range, on sandy decomposed granite slopes to boot. And it tops it all off with endless sandy switchbacks in the desert before reaching a trailhead without water. Thing is, Sawmill Pass is a gorgeous place (much prettier than Taboose). I'd go there more often if it led into an area I enjoyed more than the Woods Creek drainage. One thing is for sure - you'll have the place to yourself.

      Baxter Pass is unique in that you can get shade in the morning going up, because the trail hugs the northern slopes of the valley it ascends, but it's not maintained and most likely one of the least used passes in the area. At least on Taboose you can still see where the trail is going, while on Sawmill and Baxter you will occasionally wonder where the trail has suddenly disappeared to.

      My kids had been on Taboose Pass before we bailed, and no, they didn't decide not to go back up AFTER we exited, the decision was made before, and had little to do with Taboose Pass. They had the option to wait on top but chose to walk down and out. It was their first JMT and they had put in 172 miles at age 10. A good first try, better than many adults.

      Peter



      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Wendy Shugar <articulate@...> wrote:
      >
      > I came out over Taboose last year and NEVER would recommend that to anyone! the
      > thought of going back in over TABOOSE is a nightmare.
      >
      > Wendy Shugar
      > Articulate Interpreters, Inc.
      > 6520 Platt Avenue, Suite 218 West Hills, CA 91307
      > Telephone: 800/388-3099 818/704-4895 Fax: 818/704-7982
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: Matt <masonmj84@...>
      > To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Tue, March 26, 2013 6:00:48 AM
      > Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Kearsarge resupply options for family hike?
      >
      >
      > From what I've heard about Taboose, I'm not surprised you bailed.
      >
      > Even at Vermillion (where you're still somewhat in the mountains) it's tempting
      > for people to bail.
      >
      > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, pburke@ wrote:
      > >
      > > When we hiked out via Taboose to pick up a resupply in 2008, we never went back
      > >in... have the family camp at the lakes and go down there by yourself to get the
      > >food. It's just too easy to bail once you are out of the mountains.
      > >
      > >
      > > Peter
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Jim W <jimqpublic@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > potential for mutiny.
      > > >
      > > > Comments?
      > > >
      > >
      >
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