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Some thoughts/advice on weather preparedness

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  • markedwardrode
    I just got back from my JMT hike which started July 19th and ended on August 3rd. It was an amazing, incredible experience with some very, very high highs and
    Message 1 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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      I just got back from my JMT hike which started July 19th and ended on August 3rd.  It was an amazing, incredible experience with some very, very high highs and some lows.  The lows stemmed from weather.  Of the 16 days on the trail, we had either hail, rain, snow, thunderstorms during 8 days.  The Sierras are currently experiencing a monsoonal episode of weather, coupled with el nino systems from the coast.  The result is way more precipitation and unpredictable weather patterns.  There were also some very low temperature nights. An experienced Sequoia ranger told us that he had never seen that type of weather during his entire career as a ranger.


      On our exit date, we unfortunately could not summit Whitney due to a big storm that rolled in. We were given a heads-up from the ranger at Crabtree who told us to get up real early in order to have a chance at summiting, which we did--2AM.  We hiked up to Whitney Junction with our headlamps.  By the time we got to the junction the wind was so intense, and it started to hail/snow fiercely, with very, very close lightening activity all around us.  Visibility was reduced significantly and it was very cold.  Suffice to say, we didn't summit, and had to keep going down to the portal.  It was definitely the hairiest situation I've been in in the wild.  The trail coming down was a river--washed out and very difficult to navigate.  We later heard through the hiker grapevine that people who didn't wake up early to summit were stranded at Guitar Lake, not able to even get over the Trail Crest due to knee deep snow. I'm bummed about not summiting, but I know that is part of the game--when you are in wilderness, you are there under nature's rules.  People who think they are entitled to summiting or that they just need to finish it or those that get into serious trouble.


      I'm not here to complain about the experience.  I knew what I was getting into and was prepared for it, but I saw so many people--thru-hikers and dayhikers alike--who were astonishingly unprepared for that kind of weather. For those that are about to embark on a JMT thru-hike, especially if leaving soon, I would seriously take stock at your bad-weather/emergency equipment list--solid rain gear, warm clothes, solid shelter, emergency blanket, maybe even a bit of extra food in case of emergencies.  I saw some people that were seriously distraught on the trail this past week.  There is such a push to go lighter and lighter at the expense of safety these days.  I tried to go as light as possible too, but there is definitely a limit. 


      Anyways, again, just a heads up to those that are planning and about to start.  I know a lot of us are prepared, but I was a little taken aback by what I saw, especially during the second half of the hike.  


      Even though the weather sometimes sucked, hiking the JMT was one of the most amazing experiences I've had, and it was kind of cool to see what kind of weather the sierras is capable of throwing at you :-). 

    • Ray Rippel
      Knee-deep snow in August. Wow. I guess one need not worry about fires that way!
      Message 2 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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        Knee-deep snow in August. Wow.

        I guess one need not worry about fires that way!
      • bjroach
        I had a very similar experience. As opposed to proceeding to Guitar Lake on Sunday August 3rd, I exited early to Independence via Shepherd Pass in a
        Message 3 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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          I had a very similar experience.  As opposed to proceeding to Guitar Lake on Sunday August 3rd, I exited early to Independence via Shepherd Pass in a frostbiting hurricane.  

          Mark's comments about the conditions and gear are spot on.  


        • Barbara Karagosian
          Can u give examples of poor choices? Thanks! And glad you re both safe.
          Message 4 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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            Can u give examples of poor choices?  Thanks!  And glad you're both safe. 



            On Aug 6, 2014, at 10:56 AM, "brianjroach@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

             

            I had a very similar experience.  As opposed to proceeding to Guitar Lake on Sunday August 3rd, I exited early to Independence via Shepherd Pass in a frostbiting hurricane.  


            Mark's comments about the conditions and gear are spot on.  


          • Bill Hegardt
            I was hiking Evolution Lake to LeConte canyon on Sunday, August 3rd. We got lots of rain and some wind, but no thunder or lightning. I was wishing we had a
            Message 5 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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              I was hiking Evolution Lake to LeConte canyon on Sunday, August 3rd. We got lots of rain and some wind, but no thunder or lightning. I was wishing we had a good way to start a fire with us after the rain let up as we were camping between 6000 and 10000 feet where it is legal at least in SEKI. My skills getting a fire going when most all the wood is wet are lacking.

              - Bill


              On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM, brianjroach@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
               

              I had a very similar experience.  As opposed to proceeding to Guitar Lake on Sunday August 3rd, I exited early to Independence via Shepherd Pass in a frostbiting hurricane.  


              Mark's comments about the conditions and gear are spot on.  



            • skrapp138
              All of these nasty reports are reminding me of last August though (only because I was reading them like a hawk preparing for my Sept hike last year). But, I
              Message 6 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                All of these nasty reports are reminding me of last August though (only because I was reading them like a hawk preparing for my Sept hike last year). But, I remember  a ton of people bailing out Roads End and Kearsarge because of never-ending storms, I also remember several snow reports. I was quite nervous for what Sept would bring, yet true to Septembers reputation, by the time it rolled around the nasty weather went away and there was beautiful typical Sept weather.

                For those that have been on the forum long, is it true that this isn't typical August weather. Seems very similar to last year? Or is this in fact worse and is really looking like it might be a rougher than normal Aug/Sept?
              • Ned Tibbits
                There are many of us in our little “Trail Community” who have watched all sorts of weather hit the sierra in the summer over the years. Not so much in the
                Message 7 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                  There are many of us in our little “Trail Community” who have watched all sorts of weather hit the sierra in the summer over the years. Not so much in the last 20 or 30, but I remember a whole different summer hiking experience back in the ‘60s!
                   
                  The mountains can make their own local weather and the sierra does a great job of sucking all the moisture out of a passing storm system. Now that I spend a fair amount of time just east of the crest, in the shadow zone, it amazes me how much precipitation gets dumped on the west or leading edge of the sierra compared to how little makes it as far as the eastern side! For example, Kirkwood Ski Area can get nailed with snow while Heavenly, just to the east a bit, can receive very little. Furthermore, and it’s a joke around Lake Tahoe, we call the east side of the lake “the banana belt” because it doesn’t get nearly the amount of rain or snow that the west side does.
                   
                  When I was a kid, I remember my dad driving us up to the “mountains” over Christmas Holliday to go skiing. I can vividly recall the “tunnels” and high banks of snow we had to drive through to get to Tahoe from the Bay Area. I remember getting out of the car in the plowed driveway and having to climb up the snowbank to see the house, then slide down to the front door!
                   
                  Early Kings Canyon NP backpacking in the ‘60s when I was just 8 was always about the heat and getting wet. Creeks were never low or dry. It wasn’t unusual to get snowed on, either. So, in those days, you hiked prepared for anything, enjoyed everything (even getting stuck in your tent for a few days, if needed as it rained a torrent outside), and came home full of stories to share via picture postcards. If we didn’t eat all the food we brought or didn’t wear all the clothes we carried or didn’t use all the gear we packed, it didn’t matter. We understood that the mountains just didn’t throw at us that trip the conditions where we needed all that stuff, but we were glad we brought it anyway ‘cause you never knew!
                   
                  Seemingly, during the last 30 years, the weather in the sierra has been milder, both winter and summer. Of course there have been exceptions. But in this lull of nasty conditions, we have slacked off a bit in the preparedness scheme of things. Hey, if the conditions are nice, why bring all that “old school” way of thinking stuff? So, at least from my perspective, our thoughts about wilderness preparation have slid off to the idealistic side during these years, so it’s no wonder why modern day hikers are being caught off-guard and unprepared by weather conditions no one has seen in “forever.”
                   
                  The wilderness is too beautiful a place to have a bad experience. An ounce of preparedness is worth a pound of cure!
                   
                   
                  Ned Tibbits, Director
                  Mountain Education, Inc.
                  www.mountaineducation.org
                  ned@...


                  Mission:
                  "To minimize wilderness accidents, injury, and illness in order to maximize wilderness enjoyment, safety, and personal growth, all through experiential education and risk awareness training."
                   
                  Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 10:43 AM
                  Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Some thoughts/advice on weather preparedness
                   
                   

                  Knee-deep snow in August. Wow.
                   
                  I guess one need not worry about fires that way!
                • Ned Tibbits
                  Hey, Bill! Thanks for saying that about your fire-making skills because it makes me realize the sense in the recent encouragement Mountain Education has been
                  Message 8 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                    Hey, Bill!
                     
                    Thanks for saying that about your fire-making skills because it makes me realize the sense in the recent encouragement Mountain Education has been receiving about teaching Survival Skills!
                     
                    Most folks figure “wilderness” instruction is about survival and we’ve never gone that way. All we’ve wanted to help new hikers learn how to do is thoroughly plan, make practical preparations for what’s expected, then “Play Safe and Stay Found!” Nothing technical or fancy. Good practical stuff.
                     
                    Recently, however, we’ve gotten emails encouraging us to teach “Survival Techniques.” The funny thing is, that is how I started out in the woods, learning survival techniques like catching fish and animals in traps, skinning, cooking, starting fires without matches, building shelters, and so forth.
                     
                    So, my question to anyone reading this is, “Would you be interested in learning these sort of skills, as well?”
                     
                     
                    Ned Tibbits, Director
                    Mountain Education, Inc.
                    www.mountaineducation.org
                    ned@...


                    Mission:
                    "To minimize wilderness accidents, injury, and illness in order to maximize wilderness enjoyment, safety, and personal growth, all through experiential education and risk awareness training."
                     
                    Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 11:27 AM
                    Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Some thoughts/advice on weather preparedness
                     
                     

                    I was hiking Evolution Lake to LeConte canyon on Sunday, August 3rd. We got lots of rain and some wind, but no thunder or lightning. I was wishing we had a good way to start a fire with us after the rain let up as we were camping between 6000 and 10000 feet where it is legal at least in SEKI. My skills getting a fire going when most all the wood is wet are lacking.
                     
                    - Bill


                    On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM, brianjroach@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                     

                    I had a very similar experience.  As opposed to proceeding to Guitar Lake on Sunday August 3rd, I exited early to Independence via Shepherd Pass in a frostbiting hurricane. 

                     
                    Mark's comments about the conditions and gear are spot on. 
                     
                     
                     
                  • markedwardrode
                    Barbara- Can u give examples of poor choices? Thanks! And glad you re both safe. I think in general a lot of people just expect the JMT to be really sunny,
                    Message 9 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                      Barbara-
                      "Can u give examples of poor choices?  Thanks!  And glad you're both safe."

                      I think in general a lot of people just expect the JMT to be really sunny, dry, and generally pleasant weather-wise. When a rain shower occurs it usually passes.  This actually is most often the case, but it can also change dramatically for long stretches at a time, which was the case over the past week.  

                      I think a lot of people hedged their bets and planned for the former, more common scenario and didn't bring adequate rain gear (I saw a lot of softshells or windshirts with no rain pants).  A lot of people didn't plan on the cold weather and didn't pack enough layers.  I definitely used my hat and gloves often...  I know I might get some pushback from this, but there were a few that I saw who used a tarp tent set-up.  I know it is super light, but there are so many campsites that are above tree-line and are exposed that I feel like it is a risk to take a shelter so open to the elements.  Just my opinion.  With the storms that came through, I just couldn't imagine using a tarp shelter in those conditions.  I also think an emergency blanket is a good idea, especially when you have to hunker down when a storm rolls in and you are climbing a pass or something.  A good first-aid kit is a must.  

                      In general, just know that, while it usually is nice in the sierras, weather can change very dramatically from nice to being very, very unpleasant.  The second half of the JMT is pretty remote and bail-out trails are long.  If you are prepared and make good choices during storms, everything will be fine.  Just go over your gear list and really second guess yourself if you are thinking about cutting things out for weight-savings.


                    • Barbara Karagosian
                      2011 was a heavy winter but good summer. 2012 and 2013 have had wet summers up there, thru August, due to monsoonal flow, not just mountain afternoon
                      Message 10 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                        2011 was a heavy winter but good summer. 2012 and 2013 have had wet summers up there, thru August, due to monsoonal flow, not just mountain afternoon convection. But Sunday's episode was extreme. 



                        On Aug 6, 2014, at 11:37 AM, "xericamunsonx@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                         

                        All of these nasty reports are reminding me of last August though (only because I was reading them like a hawk preparing for my Sept hike last year). But, I remember  a ton of people bailing out Roads End and Kearsarge because of never-ending storms, I also remember several snow reports. I was quite nervous for what Sept would bring, yet true to Septembers reputation, by the time it rolled around the nasty weather went away and there was beautiful typical Sept weather.


                        For those that have been on the forum long, is it true that this isn't typical August weather. Seems very similar to last year? Or is this in fact worse and is really looking like it might be a rougher than normal Aug/Sept?

                      • Luis Velasco
                        Ned, ... Yesïin a Heart Beat! * Luis From: Ned Tibbits ned@mountaineducation.org [johnmuirtrail] Reply-To:
                        Message 11 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                          Ned,

                          >> “Would you be interested in learning these sort of skills, as well?


                          Yes—in a Heart Beat!

                          • Luis

                          From: "'Ned Tibbits' ned@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
                          Reply-To: <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
                          Date: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 11:57 AM
                          To: <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
                          Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Some thoughts/advice on weather preparedness

                           

                          Hey, Bill!
                           
                          Thanks for saying that about your fire-making skills because it makes me realize the sense in the recent encouragement Mountain Education has been receiving about teaching Survival Skills!
                           
                          Most folks figure “wilderness” instruction is about survival and we’ve never gone that way. All we’ve wanted to help new hikers learn how to do is thoroughly plan, make practical preparations for what’s expected, then “Play Safe and Stay Found!” Nothing technical or fancy. Good practical stuff.
                           
                          Recently, however, we’ve gotten emails encouraging us to teach “Survival Techniques.” The funny thing is, that is how I started out in the woods, learning survival techniques like catching fish and animals in traps, skinning, cooking, starting fires without matches, building shelters, and so forth.
                           
                          So, my question to anyone reading this is, “Would you be interested in learning these sort of skills, as well?”
                           
                           
                          Ned Tibbits, Director
                          Mountain Education, Inc.
                          www.mountaineducation.org
                          ned@...


                          Mission:
                          "To minimize wilderness accidents, injury, and illness in order to maximize wilderness enjoyment, safety, and personal growth, all through experiential education and risk awareness training."
                           
                          Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 11:27 AM
                          Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Some thoughts/advice on weather preparedness
                           
                           

                          I was hiking Evolution Lake to LeConte canyon on Sunday, August 3rd. We got lots of rain and some wind, but no thunder or lightning. I was wishing we had a good way to start a fire with us after the rain let up as we were camping between 6000 and 10000 feet where it is legal at least in SEKI. My skills getting a fire going when most all the wood is wet are lacking.
                           
                          - Bill


                          On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM, brianjroach@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                           

                          I had a very similar experience.  As opposed to proceeding to Guitar Lake on Sunday August 3rd, I exited early to Independence via Shepherd Pass in a frostbiting hurricane. 

                           
                          Mark's comments about the conditions and gear are spot on. 
                           
                           
                           

                        • es
                          So is a go lite poncho ok. If I have rain pants the water still gets into my boots eric On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 11:57 AM, markedwardrode@yahoo.com
                          Message 12 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                            So is a go lite poncho ok.  If I have rain pants the water still gets into my boots
                            eric


                            On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 11:57 AM, markedwardrode@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                             

                            Barbara-

                            "Can u give examples of poor choices?  Thanks!  And glad you're both safe."

                            I think in general a lot of people just expect the JMT to be really sunny, dry, and generally pleasant weather-wise. When a rain shower occurs it usually passes.  This actually is most often the case, but it can also change dramatically for long stretches at a time, which was the case over the past week.  

                            I think a lot of people hedged their bets and planned for the former, more common scenario and didn't bring adequate rain gear (I saw a lot of softshells or windshirts with no rain pants).  A lot of people didn't plan on the cold weather and didn't pack enough layers.  I definitely used my hat and gloves often...  I know I might get some pushback from this, but there were a few that I saw who used a tarp tent set-up.  I know it is super light, but there are so many campsites that are above tree-line and are exposed that I feel like it is a risk to take a shelter so open to the elements.  Just my opinion.  With the storms that came through, I just couldn't imagine using a tarp shelter in those conditions.  I also think an emergency blanket is a good idea, especially when you have to hunker down when a storm rolls in and you are climbing a pass or something.  A good first-aid kit is a must.  

                            In general, just know that, while it usually is nice in the sierras, weather can change very dramatically from nice to being very, very unpleasant.  The second half of the JMT is pretty remote and bail-out trails are long.  If you are prepared and make good choices during storms, everything will be fine.  Just go over your gear list and really second guess yourself if you are thinking about cutting things out for weight-savings.



                          • Barbara Karagosian
                            Thanks for your reply. I was up there for 2 weeks in 2012, with daily downpours. I use a freestanding tent with bathtub floor and wouldn t ever change that.
                            Message 13 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                              Thanks for your reply. I was up there for 2 weeks in 2012, with daily downpours. I use a freestanding tent with bathtub floor and wouldn't ever change that. 

                              What's a "soft shell"?  I have a rain jacket and pants, and a down jacket, plus capilene 2 mid layers. Is the rain jacket a "soft shell?"!  I guess we call it something else in the UK.  Thanks!  



                              On Aug 6, 2014, at 11:57 AM, "markedwardrode@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                               

                              Barbara-

                              "Can u give examples of poor choices?  Thanks!  And glad you're both safe."

                              I think in general a lot of people just expect the JMT to be really sunny, dry, and generally pleasant weather-wise. When a rain shower occurs it usually passes.  This actually is most often the case, but it can also change dramatically for long stretches at a time, which was the case over the past week.  

                              I think a lot of people hedged their bets and planned for the former, more common scenario and didn't bring adequate rain gear (I saw a lot of softshells or windshirts with no rain pants).  A lot of people didn't plan on the cold weather and didn't pack enough layers.  I definitely used my hat and gloves often...  I know I might get some pushback from this, but there were a few that I saw who used a tarp tent set-up.  I know it is super light, but there are so many campsites that are above tree-line and are exposed that I feel like it is a risk to take a shelter so open to the elements.  Just my opinion.  With the storms that came through, I just couldn't imagine using a tarp shelter in those conditions.  I also think an emergency blanket is a good idea, especially when you have to hunker down when a storm rolls in and you are climbing a pass or something.  A good first-aid kit is a must.  

                              In general, just know that, while it usually is nice in the sierras, weather can change very dramatically from nice to being very, very unpleasant.  The second half of the JMT is pretty remote and bail-out trails are long.  If you are prepared and make good choices during storms, everything will be fine.  Just go over your gear list and really second guess yourself if you are thinking about cutting things out for weight-savings.


                            • markedwardrode
                              I don t know how durable the golite poncho is, but maybe? I saw some ripped ponchos on the trail and some ponchos that were flailing around in the wind during
                              Message 14 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                I don't know how durable the golite poncho is, but maybe?  I saw some ripped ponchos on the trail and some ponchos that were flailing around in the wind during the storms, but I know a lot of people really like them.  Personally I liked wearing a shell because it was durable and provided warmth.

                                When I wore rain pants, I mostly appreciated them for not only deflecting hail and rain, but also for warmth and windbreaking properties.  Getting your feet wet is probably inevitable.

                              • Edwardo Rodriguez
                                     When ever am on the John Muir Tail I always make it a point to have some kind of rain gear. For me I have a gatewood cape (poncho) that also use as my
                                Message 15 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                       When ever am on the John Muir Tail I always make it a point to have some kind of rain gear. For me I have a gatewood cape (poncho) that also use as my tent. Back in 2012 the weather was more or less like how it is now allot of afternoon showers. What ever system some one uses need to be prepare for afternoon showers. I was bless in not have any bad weather on my trek this year.


                                  On Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12:23 PM, "Barbara Karagosian barbara@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                                   
                                  Thanks for your reply. I was up there for 2 weeks in 2012, with daily downpours. I use a freestanding tent with bathtub floor and wouldn't ever change that. 

                                  What's a "soft shell"?  I have a rain jacket and pants, and a down jacket, plus capilene 2 mid layers. Is the rain jacket a "soft shell?"!  I guess we call it something else in the UK.  Thanks!  



                                  On Aug 6, 2014, at 11:57 AM, "markedwardrode@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                   
                                  Barbara-
                                  "Can u give examples of poor choices?  Thanks!  And glad you're both safe."

                                  I think in general a lot of people just expect the JMT to be really sunny, dry, and generally pleasant weather-wise. When a rain shower occurs it usually passes.  This actually is most often the case, but it can also change dramatically for long stretches at a time, which was the case over the past week.  

                                  I think a lot of people hedged their bets and planned for the former, more common scenario and didn't bring adequate rain gear (I saw a lot of softshells or windshirts with no rain pants).  A lot of people didn't plan on the cold weather and didn't pack enough layers.  I definitely used my hat and gloves often...  I know I might get some pushback from this, but there were a few that I saw who used a tarp tent set-up.  I know it is super light, but there are so many campsites that are above tree-line and are exposed that I feel like it is a risk to take a shelter so open to the elements.  Just my opinion.  With the storms that came through, I just couldn't imagine using a tarp shelter in those conditions.  I also think an emergency blanket is a good idea, especially when you have to hunker down when a storm rolls in and you are climbing a pass or something.  A good first-aid kit is a must.  

                                  In general, just know that, while it usually is nice in the sierras, weather can change very dramatically from nice to being very, very unpleasant.  The second half of the JMT is pretty remote and bail-out trails are long.  If you are prepared and make good choices during storms, everything will be fine.  Just go over your gear list and really second guess yourself if you are thinking about cutting things out for weight-savings.




                                • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
                                  I know I might get some pushback from this, but there were a few that I saw who used a tarp tent set-up. I m not sure if you are familiar with the tarps that
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                    "I know I might get some pushback from this, but there were a few that I saw who used a tarp tent set-up."I'm not sure if you are familiar with the tarps that are available now in terms of weather protection. I have used a Z Packs Hexamid Solo for several years, including most sites above treeline, and I have remained toasty and dry in even the worst downpours. I was on the JMT in 2012 during the monsoonal flow and again this year a week ago with major rainfall, with all but one night over 10,500' and above treeline. There are times I have to use a rock instead of a ti stake to anchor a line, but my tarp is rock solid after I set it up.
                                  • es
                                    I have a SMD haven. I plan on using it without the bug net. Have you ever had any problems with water running under it? If not, can you offer some
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                      I have a SMD haven.  I plan on using it without the bug net.  Have you ever had any problems with water running under it?  If not, can you offer some suggestions on best practice for campsite selection? 
                                      Thanks
                                      Eric


                                      On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 2:45 PM, rnperky@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                       

                                      "I know I might get some pushback from this, but there were a few that I saw who used a tarp tent set-up."I'm not sure if you are familiar with the tarps that are available now in terms of weather protection. I have used a Z Packs Hexamid Solo for several years, including most sites above treeline, and I have remained toasty and dry in even the worst downpours. I was on the JMT in 2012 during the monsoonal flow and again this year a week ago with major rainfall, with all but one night over 10,500' and above treeline. There are times I have to use a rock instead of a ti stake to anchor a line, but my tarp is rock solid after I set it up.


                                    • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
                                      Eric, do you own the floor and bug net inner, or are you looking at saving weight? You ll want some kind of waterproof ground protection with your tarp. A
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                        Eric, do you own the floor and bug net inner, or are you looking at saving weight? You'll want some kind of waterproof ground protection with your tarp. A plastic painters cloth, Tyvek, or a light bivy work well.   As far as site selection goes; avoid the overused, 'hardened', campsites with regular soil like the plague! They usually have a little depression that doubles as a swimming pool in very rainy weather; ) ! Not good for tarp users! Find those nice DG, ( decomposed granite ), ledges that are abundant all along the JMT and stick with those. They will drain better and the wet dirt doesn't stick to everything as other spots will.  If your lucky enough to find a nice DG campspot that is nestled in some trees, even better to block some wind and alleviate some internal condensation.
                                      • markedwardrode
                                        I m admittedly not too familiar with the tarp world. My interpretation was solely based on observation. It just seems like one is more exposed to the
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                          I'm admittedly not too familiar with the tarp world.  My interpretation was solely based on observation.  It just seems like one is more exposed to the elements in them.  I've never tried one out though.  I heard Z Packs make the best.  Maybe one day I'll make the plunge...
                                        • es
                                          I have a piece of duck window covering. Maybe I should use tyvek. I do have a inner bug net with floor. I am trying to save weight. My wife uses it with my
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                            I have a piece of duck window covering.  Maybe I should use tyvek.  I do have a inner bug net with floor.  I am trying to save weight.  My wife uses it with my daughter when they come.  As far a the DG, not sure what that looks like.  I will Google it tomorrow.    I have a gear list can you please give my your opinion on it.  http://lighterpack.com/r/11ew26.  I will need to add a delorme inreach to that list.
                                            Thanks
                                            Eric


                                            On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 7:36 PM, rnperky@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                             

                                            Eric, do you own the floor and bug net inner, or are you looking at saving weight? You'll want some kind of waterproof ground protection with your tarp. A plastic painters cloth, Tyvek, or a light bivy work well.   As far as site selection goes; avoid the overused, 'hardened', campsites with regular soil like the plague! They usually have a little depression that doubles as a swimming pool in very rainy weather; ) ! Not good for tarp users! Find those nice DG, ( decomposed granite ), ledges that are abundant all along the JMT and stick with those. They will drain better and the wet dirt doesn't stick to everything as other spots will.  If your lucky enough to find a nice DG campspot that is nestled in some trees, even better to block some wind and alleviate some internal condensation.


                                          • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
                                            Not the greatest photo, but close to what DG looks like:
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                              Not the greatest photo, but close to what DG looks like:


                                              It's basically like large grain sand, so it drains well and brushes off your gear fairly easily. 
                                              With our crazy, wet weather pattern we've had, you may want to reconsider bringing the inner to your tarp. By the time you figure the weight of a ground cloth, you're not going to be but a few ounces heavier with the liner, with a better floor. There is definitely a 'learning curve' in site selection when using a tarp, but the weight savings and breathability are worth it for me. 

                                            • es
                                              I have used it only 10 nights without the inner. 5 in the grand canyon. And 5 in Yosemite. All dry nights. Thanks On Aug 6, 2014 9:19 PM,
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Aug 6, 2014
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                                                I have used it only 10 nights without the inner.  5 in the grand canyon. And 5 in Yosemite.  All dry nights.
                                                Thanks

                                                On Aug 6, 2014 9:19 PM, "rnperky@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                                 

                                                Not the greatest photo, but close to what DG looks like:



                                                It's basically like large grain sand, so it drains well and brushes off your gear fairly easily. 
                                                With our crazy, wet weather pattern we've had, you may want to reconsider bringing the inner to your tarp. By the time you figure the weight of a ground cloth, you're not going to be but a few ounces heavier with the liner, with a better floor. There is definitely a 'learning curve' in site selection when using a tarp, but the weight savings and breathability are worth it for me. 

                                              • debrabrownbear
                                                Ditto. Would love survival training. Debra
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Aug 7, 2014
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                                                  Ditto. Would love survival training. Debra
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