Great Western Divide Trip Advice

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Jim F
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Re: Great Western Divide Trip Advice

Post by Jim F » Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:40 pm


Sorry to hear your descent down the south side of Junction Pass was so unpleasant. Indeed, the bottom of the canyon one initially encounters ten minutes after departing from Junction Pass is clogged with big league rocks.

When starting the controlled slide into the canyon, do not descend to the rocks. Perhaps half way down, search to your left for a level trail. This is the old JMT. In her splendid post (very early in this thread), maiathebee shares her Center Basin/Junction Pass TR (8/18-8/23/2018). There is a photo of the resumption of the well-defined and level old JMT. Unfortunately, for her "the trail soon petered out" and she "slid down to the valley proper" (ie rock pile).

When identifying the resumption of the trail (as maia did), stay high on the sandy slope of the canyon as you head south. If you think you lost the trail, clues and meticulously placed cairns will soon get you back on it. Travel is quick on this sandy slope. Eventually, you make a couple of switchbacks down into the broadening (and now sandy) canyon floor and soon come upon the top of a nice waterfall (first water source since lakes/tarns on the north side of Junction Pass). From the top of the waterfall, observe a meadow below (often still depicted as a lake on some maps). The trail stays to the right of the creek as one descends to the meadow


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