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JMT: N2S or S2N?

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JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby sierranomad » Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:54 pm

Hi all:

A friend and I are gearing up to hike the JMT next summer. The first order of business is to figure out which direction to go?

Not knowing of any practical benefits either way, I lean toward S2N, because Yosemite is "home". But don't want to make this decision solely on sentiment. So I'd like your feedback on which way you traveled, and why?
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir



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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby markskor » Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:29 pm

Having done it both ways, I prefer starting in YNP and going south, just because of the Damn Whitney lottery system. I permit is so much easier to get in Yosemite...no red tape...piece of cake.

In fact, the last (4th) time, (just for logistical reasons...no first day 3000 foot rise...and ease of getting back to the car...I was solo), I started in Tuolumne...walked to the Portal...got a ride back to Tuolumne, and finished walking down to the Valley.
I still walked the entire trail...just in segments.
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby sierranomad » Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:49 am

Thanks Markskor.

I've hiked from TM to YV many times, and have always done it by starting at TM. That would be a tough climb on your first day; still trying to work off the "civilized" lifestyle.

I'm still a little hazy re: permits. Is it true that you need to get just one permit for the entire trip regardless of which end you start at?
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby markskor » Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:34 am

Nomad:
Yup, that's the problem...the wilderness permit...your ticket to walk the JMT.
From YNP, rangers give you your props and will even help you for the big ticket...(might even open up a slot where one does not exist if doing the entire Muir...but you did not hear this from me.)

From Whitney its a different ballgame entirely; you are in the lottery for the Whitney Zone...same as 1000's of others (very strict yet arbitrary quota system in place.) There is a big demand for Whitney and many do want to attempt it each summer...unfortunately, they make no allowances for through hikers...everybody is in the same boat.
From Whitney you do not even get to choose an exact date. You enter into a lottery on Jan 1...(or then abouts), and request dates you might wish to start on. Then come February or sometime later (?), they draw names out of a hopper, and notify you if you won or not, and what date you received. IE, You get to choose up to 5 optional starting dates, and they decide which one you get. Many who enter this game of chance do not get to go on Whitney each year...but, many do.

All this can be found (or made clearer as to exact lottery dates) by visiting WhitneyPortalStore.com.

If starting from the South, your best bet might be to start out at Horseshoe Meadows...much easier permit...much less demand. (Does add 50 miles to the trip though.)
Starting in Yosemite is so much easier permit-wise.

Good luck
Markskor
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby Mike McGuire » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:41 am

If you want to start form the south, you can avoid the Whitney lottery hassle by starting from Horseshoe Meadows and going in over New Army or Cottonwood Pass. The permit will not be hard to get. Cottonwood is easier, only about a 1000' climb out of the trailhead. You can pick up the PCT at the pass and get to the crossing of Rock Creek the first day. The second day should get you to Guitar Lake, nicely positioned for a climb to the summit of Whitney, which is technically the end of the JMT. As long as you don't go east of Trail Crest, there is no permit hassle for climbing Whitney. The cost then looks like an extra day or so on the trail.

Mike
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:54 am

How early can you make reservations out of Yosemite, I can't remember if it is six months or what? If you have time to try the lottery first, then go with a back up plan of making reservations for Yosemite later. For the lottery, go with a couple dates if possible to give yourself a chance, that is a big haul to Trail Crest and I did it with just a pack with a days water, food and no gear for a dayhike.
Piece of cake.
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby sierranomad » Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:50 pm

Thanks, guys.

I'll examine these options and either start at Horseshoe or trying for both ends. If I get what I want at Whitney I would just cancel the Yosemite permit.

I'm really getting excited, having wanted to hike the JMT since I was a kid. :D
Jon

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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby paul » Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:57 pm

North to south. You get time to acclimatize to the altitude, you can start off with a very light pack (one night) if you resupply at TM, you can resuply again at redsm meadows for anothe short leg, then yu've rounded into shpae by the time you need to carry the supplies for the longer leg to the end. Plus you can't beat the dramatic finish at Whitney, and you're well enough acclimatized to spend the night on top if the weather allows - not to be missed!
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby sierranomad » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:07 pm

Thanks, Paul. Sounds like some good reasons to go N2S. That the permits are easier to get sure helps too.
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby Snow Nymph » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:30 am

paul wrote:North to south. You get time to acclimatize to the altitude, you can start off with a very light pack (one night) if you resupply at TM, you can resuply again at redsm meadows for anothe short leg, then yu've rounded into shpae by the time you need to carry the supplies for the longer leg to the end. Plus you can't beat the dramatic finish at Whitney, and you're well enough acclimatized to spend the night on top if the weather allows - not to be missed!


This is what we did and I would do it again this way. We have altitude issues, and carrying a full pack up to 13K would kill me. We carried light packs up to YV, and resupplied at TM and RM. Our other food caches were at Muir Ranch (stay away from TVs, cars, etc), then Charlotte Lake. By the time we got to Whitney, we were totally acclimatized, and were passing people to the summit with full packs. \:D/ Great trip!
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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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby maverick » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:25 pm

I like N2S for the same reason people mentioned earlier.
I used Muir Ranch to resupply both times.
My preference would be to exit over Cottonwood or New Army Pass instead of
hiking with the masses at Whitney, but if this is your first time then you want to
do the JMT from end to finish.
By the way I did both hikes one from the Valley to Whitney and the other from
Tuolumne Meadow to Horseshoe Meadow driving up to the ranger station and
getting a permit.
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Re: JMT: N2S or S2N?

Postby sierranomad » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:24 pm

maverick wrote:... but if this is your first time then you want to
do the JMT from end to finish.


Yes. In a way it's silly for me to start at YV (being that I've hiked from YV to TM so many times already). But, my first time, I do want to do the entire trail in one outing.

Really looking forward to it...got the Tom Harrison map pack and Elizabeth Wenk book in the mail today. :D

Thanks for your tips everyone!
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
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