Unless you have a compelling logistical reason, you might want to think twice about going south to north on your JMT hike. Here's why:
(1) acclimatization and conditioning: it's a lot easier going from 4,000 feet to near 10,000 in the first two days (from Happy Isles to north of Sunrise Camp) than it is going from 8,000 feet at Whitney Portal up to the summit of Mt. Whitney. You're starting 4,000 feet lower, plus the grade is somewhat more gradual, plus you can resupply at Tuolomne Meadows and minimize your supply load coming out of Yosemite Valley. In addition, if you start north and go south, the passes pretty much build in elevation over the hike. Why force yourself to tackle Mt. Whitney and Forester Pass right at the beginning? Save them for the last few days. You'll be fully acclimatized and in great shape, and you'll cruise right up them. They will make a natural climax to your hike instead of massive obstacles to be overcome while you're still getting used to the altitude.
(2) permits: it's a lot easier to get a permit going out of Yosemite Valley than it is going out of Whitney Portal.
(3) ease of resupply up front: you don't have to start out carrying 110 miles worth of supplies over the highest passes. Start north and you have plenty of resupply options, so you can carry smaller loads and build up your conditioning during the first half of the hike. That way you'll be ready to carry a major load south of Muir Trail Ranch.
Look at the 2004 JMT thru-hikers who posted their journals on www.trailjournals.com. All but one of them went north to south.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2005 6:25 PM
Subject: [John Muir Trail] Hiking South to North Aug. '05...HELP?
Would anyone have any info for me on doing this trail from Whitney to
Yosemite....will acclimate half way up Whitney, one night, after a
night in Whitney Portal...with two days at a high elevation, that
SHOULD do it???...then a few more passes, a few days later.....half
way point at Muir Ranch....the last 110 miles are broken up nicely at
Red's Meadow, Tuolomne Meadows, Sunrise.....I am mainly asking for
info on The first 110 miles , and some favorite campsights...thanks
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