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When does the JMT/PCT get the most traffic?

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When does the JMT/PCT get the most traffic?

Postby TwoFortyJeff » Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:54 pm

I'm planning a hike that will incorporate the JMT this summer, anywhere between May and August. Snow levels are my first concern, but I'd also like to hike when less people are out. I'm not looking for solitude, but I don't want to pass through during the peak weeks either.

I was thinking near June 20th would be good. I'd be in with the PCT hikers, but I imagine they would pass me pretty quickly. From most journals, it seems late July and Early August is the peak period.

I'll still have to wait for the snow to make up it's mind, but I've read that June 15 was the accepted date to leave Kennedy Meadows. I added a few days, as I'll be starting from Crabtree Meadows (taking the HST in).



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Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:46 pm

We did the JMT in Aug 22-Sept 22, 2001.

We had 1 day of snow flurries (9/11 on Split Mountain) and 1 day of rain (9/3 or 9/4 dropping into Muir Ranch). Other than that weather was great. We didn't see too many people once we left Yosemite. We saw people again around the Whitney area. We were out during 9/11/01 so there were times we didn't see anyone for a few days.

I'm usually snowboarding in June, so I can't help with that timeframe.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby EricJLee » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:50 pm

Depending on what section you are planning, August is usually the peak time. I hiked the trail S->N in 2004 starting on July 30th and will warn you that high passes will most likely have snow. Especially with all these late storms Cali is getting those high passes will most likely be snowy until mid July. I would suggest doing as snownymph did, late Aug-Sept sees a great decrease in traffic in the Sierras, but the weather is usually really nice. What section are you planning to cross?
Eric
PS I got snowed on 1/2" in early July, it'll snow anytime up there.
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Postby TwoFortyJeff » Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:33 pm

EricJLee wrote:Depending on what section you are planning, August is usually the peak time. I hiked the trail S->N in 2004 starting on July 30th and will warn you that high passes will most likely have snow. Especially with all these late storms Cali is getting those high passes will most likely be snowy until mid July. I would suggest doing as snownymph did, late Aug-Sept sees a great decrease in traffic in the Sierras, but the weather is usually really nice. What section are you planning to cross?
Eric
PS I got snowed on 1/2" in early July, it'll snow anytime up there.


I don't have any plans set in stone since I am waiting to see what the snow situation will be like. Last year was my first year out there and it was a very heavy year. I didn't get into the backcountry until late June, and even then it was only to lower elevations. But people were out there doing it.

I know the earliest recommended date to leave Kennedy Meadows for a PCT hiker is June 15, so I figure it'll be a few more days before you should be attempting the high passes. Who knows what it'll look like this year, but the low snow (so far) looks favorable for an earlier start.

My plans are still in the works, but I plan on doing the HST from the west side, going up Whitney (if possible, not too terribly important though), resupplying at the Portal, and then going back over Trail Crest and doing the JMT to Yoesmite. From there I may head north, I may hike around Yosemite for a few days, or I may leave. If I start early enough, I may take the PCT to Oregon. I also have family near Lake Tahoe, so I may hike up there.

I have no problem carrying an ice ax. I'll have warm clothing and a decent tent as well. I can find my way around okay with a map and compass, but not for days on end. I've never crossed any high passes, snow or not.

I'd like to have some snow, but I don't want to be postholing for days on end.
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Postby Skibum » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:23 am

Really depends on the snowpak. Late July & August for sure.

What say you George?
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Postby TwoFortyJeff » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:44 pm

Skibum wrote:Really depends on the snowpak. Late July & August for sure.

What say you George?

I was hoping he would chime in. The PCTers and JMTers all pass Crabtree Meadows.
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JMT

Postby gdurkee » Sat Feb 24, 2007 9:24 pm

If you don't mind maybe grunting over some snow, start around the first or second week of July. It stays pretty quiet in most places until about the 3rd week (say, the 20th or so). Even then, the "crowding" on the JMT is kind of overrated. Certain areas get kind of congested (Crabtree; Woods Creek; Little Yosemite Valley etc.). But overall it's not bad even in August.

Really no telling about the snow. At the moment, it's below average, but just when you assume it's a drought year, you get dumped on. By mid-April, you can at least tell if it's a heavy year or not, but no predicting the melt if it's above average at that point.

May is really too early, except in an extreme drought year. Also, I hate to say it, but those PCT people drive me absolutely buggy. They've got a schedule and tunnel vision. I think I may have repeated this elsewhere, but last year a guy was bemoaning his fate because he might have to spend a "zero day" at McCllure Meadow. I've spent around 800 zero days at McClure and it's still nowhere near enough.

So I wouldn't want to spend too much time hiking around them... .

Have a great trip!

g.
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Postby TwoFortyJeff » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:21 pm

Thanks for the insight George. As I said, I'm sure the PCTers will pass by quickly. I have all summer and no real goals (ie, Canada) so I'll be sure to zero at McClure.
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Postby Allyn » Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:37 am

Last year my brother and I went northbound on the JMT (Whitney to Red's Meadow) from the end of July through the first part of August. Since it was a big snow year, we hit it pretty much after most of the snow was gone on the major passes. A lot of traffic up Whitney and a lot near the Florence Lake trailheads as that was the weekend timing. We counted over 70 people we ran into one day on I believe a Friday. Other days we were lucky to see 4 groups of people and those were either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Everyone setting up for the next pass or going over the pass in the morning. There were times were would go for 5 to 6 hours without seeing anyone.
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Postby paul » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:22 pm

June usually equals bugs. If you can start in late august, I think that is the best weather. June/july and early august are the usual thunderstorm season, late august they are usually gone. I went the last week of august and the first two weeks of Sept. and had no rain at all, hardly any bugs, and not very many people. The more of your trip that is after labor day the fewer people you will see.
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