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  • bigsky1965
    Hello everyone, my name is Scott. I will be getting back in to backpacking after a long break of almost 20 yrs. Some of that time vacations were non existent
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 25, 2014
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      Hello everyone, my name is Scott.  I will be getting back in to backpacking after a long break of almost 20 yrs.

      Some of that time vacations were non existent then camping with the family became the standard summer vacation.  The most I can take off at a time from work is about 9 days, so next year I wanted to do a portion of the JMT for the first time.  I live in Sacramento and am only about 21/2 hours or so  from Yosemite Valley.  I was thinking of doing Happy Isles to Red's Meadow in 5-6 days with a Half Dome side trip.I'm shooting for a total pack weight with food and water to be about 35-40 pounds.  I am in decent shape but plan to kick up the training before the hike.  I am in need of all new equipment also, so any advice or feedback will be much appreciated.  Thanks very much! 

    • John Ladd
      You can probably just lurk here and get lots of information. For any given issue, though, it is best to ask a single, fairly specific question. Otherwise the
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 25, 2014
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        You can probably just lurk here and get lots of information. For any given issue, though, it is best to ask a single, fairly specific question. Otherwise the responsive thread will wander off in unexpected directions.


        John Curran Ladd
        1616 Castro Street
        San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
        415-648-9279


        On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 4:04 PM, bigsky1965@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
         

        Hello everyone, my name is Scott.  I will be getting back in to backpacking after a long break of almost 20 yrs.

        Some of that time vacations were non existent then camping with the family became the standard summer vacation.  The most I can take off at a time from work is about 9 days, so next year I wanted to do a portion of the JMT for the first time.  I live in Sacramento and am only about 21/2 hours or so  from Yosemite Valley.  I was thinking of doing Happy Isles to Red's Meadow in 5-6 days with a Half Dome side trip.I'm shooting for a total pack weight with food and water to be about 35-40 pounds.  I am in decent shape but plan to kick up the training before the hike.  I am in need of all new equipment also, so any advice or feedback will be much appreciated.  Thanks very much! 


      • john_friend
        As John Ladd said, you ll likely get better info if you ask a more specific question. Here are some thoughts of mine based on my trips to the Sierra and my JMT
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 25, 2014
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          As John Ladd said, you'll likely get better info if you ask a more specific question.
          Here are some thoughts of mine based on my trips to the Sierra and my JMT through hike last summer.

          First off, you're really close in Sacramento so you could easily do Half Dome on a day trip any time (when you can get a permit) - you don't have to make that part of your longer trip if you want to see more of the JMT.

          Are you specifically trying to start at the northern end of the JMT or just looking for the best 9 day trip?  If I lived that close to Yosemite which gives you ready access to see things like Half Dome, Vernal/Nevada Falls, Tuolumne Meadows, Cathedral Peak and even Lyell Canyon on 2 and 3-day weekend trips, I would spend my 9 days on parts of the JMT that are more remote, harder to get to and can't be done in shorter trips.  If you'd never been to Yosemite and lived far away, then by all means you'd want to see Yosemite, but I'm assuming you either have seen it many times or can see it pretty much whenever you want to.

          If you do want to start at the northern end, we did Glacier Point (couldn't get a permit for Happy Isles) to Muir Trail Ranch in 9 days, averaging about 12 miles/day.  We resupplied in Tuolumne and Red's Meadow.  That would be the northern half of the trail, leaving the southern half for another 9-10 day trip (though the logistics of getting home without a car can cost you at least another day).

          So, if you're open to other sections of the JMT, here are some of my favorite sections of the JMT (in rough order):

          Rae Lakes to Glen Pass
          Evolution Meadow to Muir Pass
          Deer Creek to Silver Pass
          Muir Pass to Mather Pass

          For example, you could start at Red's Meadow and head south as far as your time allowed.  Once you pass Deer Creek, you spend an entire day hiking along the edge of Cascade Valley and you can see both behind you back to Red's Meadow and Mt. Ritter and ahead to where Silver Pass goes.  As soon as you leave Red's Meadow going south, you leave most of the crowds behind (I found the area from Island Pass to Red's Meadow to be just too crowded for my tastes). You go down into Cascade Valley and back up the other side.  Camping at Purple Lake or Virginia Lake is wonderful.  From there you go over Silver Pass, past the turn off to Vermillion Valley Ranch and up to Selden Pass.  Down to Muir Trail Ranch and then into Evolution Valley.  Over Muir Pass and into LeConte Canyon and then up the Golden Staircase to Mather Pass.  You don't say how many miles a day you would plan for, but you could exit at MTR, at Dusy Basin or Taboose Pass.

          This would miss my favorite part (Rae Lakes), but would catch a lot of my other favorites.

          ----------------

          You mentioned a pack weight of 35-40 pounds.  That's pretty heavy.  Everyone has their own way of packing and deciding what to bring, but my pack was about 40 pounds leaving MTR with a full 10 days of food.  On every other section (where I didn't have to carry as much food), it was significantly lighter than that (base weight with everything except food/water around 21 pounds).  And, except for a few dry lengths of the trail, I was able to usually avoid carrying more than a liter of water at a time by just paying attention to the water availability and tanking up at the right spots and usually camping near a water source.  You may want to start by finding some JMT pack lists that give you an idea what kind of targets you can shoot for with weight (there are some in the forum here and others on the web).  For me, lighter is so much more fun.  It's less chance of injury, I have more flexibility in mileage and camp sites and I'm less exhausted.  The injury thing was a big deal in my planning because I really, really wanted to complete my trip without having to cut it short due to some sort of injury issue.

          ----------------

          And, most of all, read everything here in the forum.  A lot of the planning discussion happens earlier in the year as people are gearing up for their summer trips.  You could easily go back to March/April and pick the more interesting threads and learn a lot.


        • Roleigh Martin
          Scott Welcome to the group. All new members are sent two files by Yahoo Groups: the JMT Cribsheet and an overview of the group (covering the vast number of
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 25, 2014
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            Scott

            Welcome to the group.  All new members are sent two files by Yahoo Groups: the JMT Cribsheet and an overview of the group (covering the vast number of folders and contents  in the files and links section of the group, as well as the databases we maintain).  All messages are archived and are searchable through Yahoo and Google search engines. There is more research material in all of these areas of the group than any number of JMT web sites, partially because some of the web site owners of the best JMT sites heavily participate in this forum.  We have input from most of the major JMT authors, publishers and cartographers, either provided directly by them or via their written permission.

            Of course feel free to ask questions but just don't ignore the wealth of information available in many formats here.

            Roleigh Martin
            One of the moderators


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            Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
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            On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 4:04 PM, bigsky1965@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
             

            Hello everyone, my name is Scott.  I will be getting back in to backpacking after a long break of almost 20 yrs.

            Some of that time vacations were non existent then camping with the family became the standard summer vacation.  The most I can take off at a time from work is about 9 days, so next year I wanted to do a portion of the JMT for the first time.  I live in Sacramento and am only about 21/2 hours or so  from Yosemite Valley.  I was thinking of doing Happy Isles to Red's Meadow in 5-6 days with a Half Dome side trip.I'm shooting for a total pack weight with food and water to be about 35-40 pounds.  I am in decent shape but plan to kick up the training before the hike.  I am in need of all new equipment also, so any advice or feedback will be much appreciated.  Thanks very much! 


          • bigsky1965
            Thanks very much for the good information. You are right I have seen Yosemite and probably would enjoy a more remote part of the trail. Time is the the big
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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              Thanks very much for the good information.  You are right I have seen Yosemite and probably would enjoy a more remote part of the trail.  Time is the the big factor unfortunately, I would only have 6-7 days max on the trail with two travel days. I feel we could do 10-15 miles a day.  With that said I would need to figure out the best in and out ( we would be dropping off a car at our out spot) 70-75 miles or so.
            • james christopherson
              Scott, I am in the same category and wanted to home some this year but tore a PCL in my knee so I have to put it off until 2015. I am going to do touloumne
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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                Scott,

                I am in the same category and wanted to home some this year but tore a PCL in my knee so I have to put it off until 2015.

                I am going to do touloumne meadows to happy isles in a 3-4 day trip, I have been on half dome 5 times so that's not a goal.
                This will be my check out the gear and make sure I can do it trip.

                I next plan on doing touloumne meadows to Edison lake as the next segment. It's about 65 miles and I'm thinking about 9 days.

                Some people here like to go fast and long each day, some like slower and you can get help here on the site.

                I'm in Fresno so I don't have to do the entire hike in one trip and would rather go slower and fish and do side trips along the way.

                When I get to the southern portion I may need to go long and fast as there are less exit points.

                Good luck, plan your own hike, and enjoy.

                James
              • dj_ayers
                If seeing the valley again is not important and if you can handle 9,000 feet altitude the 1st day, you can do a northern JMT section with decent travel time.
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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                  If seeing the valley again is not important and if you can handle 9,000 feet altitude the 1st day, you can do a northern JMT section with decent travel time.  Just drive to TM and hike south on the JMT for around 9 gentle miles to the footbridge (or thereabouts) the same day.

                  Then you could continue on the JMT to say Purple Lake or Goodale Pass and loop back to Red's Meadow via Fish Valley and not retrace.  That would be perhaps 65-80 miles or more total depending on your exact route and choice of turn-around point.  That should fit well in a 6-7 day window hiking at 10-15 per day.  The total length is flexible by adjusting the endpoint and you might be able to hike your turnaround day without a pack.

                  From Red's, you could catch the shuttle to Mammoth and YARTs back to TM and drive back to Sacto that day.  YARTs takes only around 2:15 from Mammoth to TM and your drive back to Sacto perhaps 3:10 (based on 2:30 to the Valley).  So total driving/riding time is about 9 hours or so (about 1 full day).

                  Of course, the more southern JMT sections involve much more lengthy travel.
                • Peter Hirst
                  Uh, that last mile or so before the footbridge is not so gentle. On Aug 26, 2014, at 1:39 PM, djayers@yahoo.com [johnmuirtrail] wrote:
                  Message 8 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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                    Uh, that last mile or so before the footbridge is not so gentle.

                    On Aug 26, 2014, at 1:39 PM, djayers@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:


                  • Roleigh Martin
                    If my memory is correct, it s 9 miles before you start going up to the footbridge. there is a real nice camp site about 1/4th of a mile prior to starting up,
                    Message 9 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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                      If my memory is correct, it's 9 miles before you start going up to the footbridge.  there is a real nice camp site about 1/4th of a mile prior to starting up, if you are looking left (hiking south) down the Lyell Canyon, you see a very big creek flowing down the mountain about 3/4th of a mile exactly so that if the trail was the top bar on a "T", at the base of that "T" is where the creek ends the flow down that mountain.  It's the only large flowing creek flowing down the mountains there.  If you or anyone is interested, I have some photos I could find that shows the camp site.  We missed it in 2009 but found it in 2010.  

                      -------------------------------------------------
                      Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                      _



                      On Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 2:23 PM, Peter Hirst peter@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                       

                      Uh, that last mile or so before the footbridge is not so gentle.

                      On Aug 26, 2014, at 1:39 PM, djayers@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:



                    • john_friend
                      Yeah the last mile is steep, but the first 7-8 miles up Lyell Canyon from Tuolumne are probably the most gentle part of the entire JMT. I thoroughly enjoyed
                      Message 10 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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                        Yeah the last mile is steep, but the first 7-8 miles up Lyell Canyon from Tuolumne are probably the most gentle part of the entire JMT.  I thoroughly enjoyed that day.  We only had about 10 miles to go that day so we had plenty of time.  We spent the first half of the day walking a fisherman's trail along the Tuolumne River, sometimes having to find our own way up river when the trail disappeared.  It wasn't the fast way, but it was incredibly peaceful and gorgeous - the mood seemed a particular contrast after all the hustle and bustle and people of the Tuolumne Meadows campground and store.  

                        If I were to do the JMT again, I'd resupply in Tuolumne, grab a meal at the store and then head right up Lyell Canyon, skipping the Tuolumne Meadows campground entirely.  It's funny because I've car camped at Tuolumne Meadows several times and considered it a good place to camp (mostly because of the ready access to everything around Tuolumne), but once you've had a few nights away from the crowds in incredibly scenic and peaceful spots, suddenly camping in the Tuolumne or Red's Meadow campgrounds doesn't quite seem like it belongs in the same trip.  I think I'd resupply at Both Tuolumne and Red's next time (definitely take the shower at Red's), but not camp at either one.
                      • dj_ayers
                        Yes, there are good campsites where Kuna Creek flows in from the east before the climbing starts at ~9,000 feet ; more campsites near the footbridge at ~9,700
                        Message 11 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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                          Yes, there are good campsites where Kuna Creek flows in from the east before the climbing starts at ~9,000 feet ;  more campsites near the footbridge at ~9,700 feet;  and more still at the later Lyell Creek crossing at around 10,200 feet.  Wenk's campsite list has many of them listed.  That gives several options for distance/climbing on the 1st day along with trade-offs for how hard the remaining Donohue climb is on day 2.  It also allows customization for 1st night altitude.  What more could a hiker ask for!
                        • Peter Hirst
                          Yes, that s right. Just wanted to clarify that the 9 miles does not get you to the footbridge, and the whole distance to the bridge is not gentle. If the
                          Message 12 of 13 , Aug 26, 2014
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                            Yes, that's right.  Just wanted to clarify that the 9 miles does not get you to the footbridge, and the whole distance to the bridge is not gentle. If the hiker is still going strong at the forks, highly recommend going up past the footbridge to the headwaters lakes or above. Forks sites are wet and buggy.  The footbridge sites are crowded and noisy.  The lakes are wide open, great views, true alpine meadows with occasional tree cover. Really nice.



                            On Aug 26, 2014, at 2:48 PM, Roleigh Martin roleigh@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:


                          • jamiedon
                            Scott: Since you mention you will be getting all new equipment, here is a link to my gear list for my recent JMT thru-hike: https://2014jmt.wordpress.com/gear/
                            Message 13 of 13 , Sep 24, 2014
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                              Scott:
                              Since you mention you will be getting all new equipment, here is a link to my gear list for my recent JMT thru-hike:

                              I started with a pack weight of just over 27 lbs., including water (can't remember if I started with 1 liter or 1-1/2 liters), shed a few things (not on my gear list) at my Mammoth resupply, and left Muir Trail Ranch with 6-1/2 days' food and a pack weight of 25 lbs, not counting the 1 liter of water I carried from MTR. I did have some shared gear (bear can, cook set, emergency/first aid/repair kit, etc.), but I carried more than half of the shared weight.

                              Others are giving you great ideas for what parts of the JMT to hike. I'll just mention that one of the great resources found on this Group site is Richard Strimbeck’s Excel-based JMT SOBO Profile Planner. Paired with Wenk's book, you should be able to figure out a terrific way to spend your time on the trail.

                              Betty


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