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Re: JMT

Postby Hobbes » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:40 pm

Human interaction and socialization evolved from direct contact, in which body language, demeanor and tone all played important parts in non-verbal communication.

The difficulty with just purely the written word, lacking any context or previous/existing relationship, is that it can appear obstreperous, when intent is otherwise.

Now, if I was having a beer/coffee with Ian, I could say, with arched eyebrows, and sarcastic wit, you mean "you carried your skies". :moon:

He, of course, being a class A stud, would laugh at me and say, "good try". This is (partly) the reason the meet-ups exist. You actually get to meet - in person - certain individuals. Since everyone is stoked on being in the high Sierra, Period.The.End. you find out you have around 99% in common. The peripheral stuff is silly, and manifests itself during the off-season.

Which for some never comes, because winter is still available for ski touring.



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Re: JMT

Postby Harlen » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:08 am

longri and Hobbes, welllll, lets see now, we skied all the way into Sunrise Camp, and quite a ways down from there till the melted out area of south-facing slopes, and there was some patchy snow cover after that for sure. The light old skis I used were my thrashers, so I actually "skied" the slush and mud between snow patches- I really hope that counts? ... of course at some point it was more melted out than not, but being a fanatic, and knowing that I would someday want to claim to have skied the JMT- when I could no longer profitably drag the skis through the mud and shite, I attached my trusty skateboard wheels, (2 sets per ski- with duct tape and zip-ties) and continued rolling along. This works very well on the granite bedrock, less well on the forest floor, and where the trail is made of broken rock you really have to concentrate.

For some reason, whenever I make the switch to "skateboard skiing," I also change into board shorts and flip-flops, and I fill my ear-buds with the soundtrack to 5 Summer Stories by the Laguna band "Honk"- it just feels right to me- Hobbes and Andy, I know you'll understand. Wool socks make the thongs tolerable, and I grit it out all the way to "Happy Isles." And that, my friends, is how I skied the entire Yosemite JMT. ;)
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Re: JMT

Postby copeg » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:23 am

Hiked the JMT southbound in 2003 (was it really that long ago?), 13 days, 1 semi-layover day, and 2 resupplies (Red's Meadow and Muir Trail Ranch). It rained for the first 7 days...some days all day long. Even while hiking it I wanted to slow down a bit, explore more, but had time constraints back in the real world that pushed my pace forward - the last half was more of a hobble on a bum knee than anything else (my knees were the one part of my body that truly hated the trail).

Don't think I'd ever consider doing it again - mindset has changed over the years (and now with the kids, backpacking trips have slowed down to screeching halt anyway). That being said doing it in winter would be an adventure (dare I say I'm a bit envious of Harlen's adventures). Can't say I've done any extent of it in winter (does Mammoth to 1000 Is count?), but I know how busy the trail gets in summer and some of the busiest places in summer can be great attractions in winter (if that kind of thing is up your alley of course).
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Re: JMT

Postby longri » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:53 pm

Harlen, I'm glad you took my nitpicky post the right way. In fun.

I've skied all of that too but have come up just a bit short on the Happy Isles to Nevada Fall section. Just this past winter I went up to climb Clouds Rest from the Valley. There was an icy avalanche slope a little ways below Clark Point that I couldn't quite manage in my skis, or I guess I just didn't want to fuss with. So I kicked steps there and, as is frequently the case once you take off your skis, kept walking on the snow for a little ways after.

Until you get up to around 7000 feet or so I think the skiing is pretty much crap anyway. Although skiing from the car in Yosemite Valley is kind of fun.

So other than a few hundred feet I've skied all of the JMT in Yosemite, or pretty close to where the summer trail is. And all the way out to the turnoff to Mammoth Mountain as well. Probably about ten miles centered around Muir Pass. And even about 75% of the trail from Whitney to the Portal.

Now doing the whole length on skis, Orlando Bartholmew style, would really be something.
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Re: JMT

Postby Harlen » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:28 pm

Hey longri, I'll try to keep this fine post centered on the JMT, but I do want to state a personal disclaimer to any sort of exceptional skiing ability other than endurance, and that too has fallen off to a point where I should instead only claim perseverance. (Yes Hobbes, sadly I am not a "stud", just ask Lizzie.) And Copeg, it's folks like you and John Dittli that I most shudder to receive any credit from on the skiing front. My level of skiing comes into it's sorry own in that very slush and mud that you guys would pack the boards for. Paul's words apply best to me and my family when he said something like:
I use the skis to get into the mountains, not the other way around.

Okay, back to the JMT- on skis this time, eh longri? If it is a goal for some, I think it is a great one. I met a hard core older guy in TMeadows one winter who had done it, and said it was "too easy!" He hails from the North Cascades, and has much coastal Alaskan mountaineering experience, and maintains that this ease is due to our Sierras having such comparatively benign weather. He skied the JMT solo, in one shot that took him 14 days or so. He didn't see another sole after the first day. Obviously he timed the weather just right, and was a true stud. If I do it at all, I'll be doing it in portions- I'd like to try in from South Lake- out Taboose next, or perhaps, in Kearsarge, north over Glenn and Pinchot, and then down Taboose Creek, or all the way to Bishop Creek. But then, I will also be considering different kind of winter trip: to ski in to one favorite location after another, set up one or two nice camps, and then day-ski out from camp light and easy.
It's an interesting comparison, since one can cover the same amount of ground either way, but the JMT route covers a long, linear path through about half of the range, and the other involves circular, or out and back traveling, to learn the Sierra more intimately, piece by piece. I love to do both! Best of luck fellow travelers.
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Re: JMT

Postby longri » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:57 am

I'll bet that old guy skied it in the spring. Trying to ski it in winter you'd likely encounter some crummy snow conditions. And a storm could really bog you down. Plus there are sections where the avalanche danger would be considerable. Spring conditions are far better. But then of course you'll be hiking parts of it since the JMT drops so low so often. Hiking in ski boots is kind of bummer.

So for me it's a fantasy trip.

I started off to walk it one time in April, one of the recent drought years. I gave up pretty early as I had made tactical error with gear selection (I was wearing runners). I read later that somebody finished the trail at around the same time as I would have.
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Re: JMT

Postby fishmonger » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:58 pm

JMT in winter is a serious thing. I've started skiing again 5 years ago to prep for it, but after brief visits in April, I realize that to be "good enough" on ski is one thing, but knowing the winter conditions in the Sierra well enough to not get into real trouble is far more important and that only comes with local experience (just briefly imagine how Le Conte works out when avalanches are likely, or how you would find your way down from e.g. Bear Ridge to Bear Creek, without accidentally skiing over a cliff you don't see coming between all the stumpy trees).

It's something I still want to do one year, but I am not going to even remotely begin planning a full JMT on snow until I've lived there several winters on ski, and that sadly has to wait until I can retire here and pack my bags for good to live out west.

I've had some exchanges with John Dittli and others who have done it, and what comes back from them is mostly discouraging. Won't stop me from dreaming, though.

If you want to be alone up there and not mess with skiing, that's a lot easier to accomplish when you shoot for a hike between about September 25 and October 15. Other than VVR, there are no more resupply options along the trail. Reds usually closes before Oct 1, MTR definitely closed by mid Sept. I plan to resupply once at VVR and hike out at Kearsarge to resupply in Independence to make that trip after everyone else has packed it in. The "late season" crowd shows up in early September and it can get quite busy because everyone who wanted to avoid summer crowds is suddenly out there at the end of the easy resupply window.

There is a slight risk of crappy weather early in October, but 80% of the time you won't see much if any snow before late October. Days are getting darn short, nights colder, but you get the main trail all to yourself for miles and miles.

This year in early October would have been epic all the way through, I just had no time to do it. It is on my to do list for the coming years, possibly already next year depending on how the summer shapes up.
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Re: JMT

Postby TurboHike » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:57 pm

There are better ski trips than the JMT in my opinion. JMT has lots of elevation change, which means you have to go in winter or early spring if you want to actually ski the whole thing. The Sierra High Route ski tour is better since it stays above 10,000 feet the whole way from Shepherd Pass to the Tablelands. Since the elevation is higher, you can go later in the season. The prime time is usually first or second week of May. I did it a few years back, first week of May, the snow was very consolidated due to many freeze/thaw cycles, so avalanche danger is somewhat lower. We used metal edged skis, climbing skins, ice axes, and we brought a rope since a few of the cols are steep to get down. No need for crampons if you time your passes for softer snow in the afternoon. Every person also had an avalanche transceiver and a shovel, just in case!
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Re: JMT

Postby longri » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:36 am

I came across this report from trip this past winter:

A Winter Traverse of the California section of the PCT Part 6

Even in February of a record snow year he still had to do some walking.
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Re: JMT

Postby calsurfer » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:13 pm

Section hiked the JMT back in the 70's.
1972 Red's Meadow to Yosemite
1973 Rock Creek to Red's Meadow
1974 Rock Creek to North Lake
1975 North Lake to South Lake
1976 South Lake to Onion Valley
1977 Onion Valley to Mt Whitney

2008 JMT Yosemite to Mt Whitney
21 days, 3 layover days. Re-supplies Red's Meadow, MTR and family member met us at Bull Frog Lake for our last re-supply. Looking forward to doing it again in 2019.

Happy Hiking
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