JMT mid- June? | High Sierra Topix  

JMT mid- June?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

JMT mid- June?

Postby sierranomad » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:48 am

Hi all:

I'd been planning on starting the JMT in early July, but it looks like the only time my partner's schedule and mine both work is for starting June 11 and ending June 30.

Just wondering what we can expect regarding snow. Would route finding likely be difficult due to snow on the ground? Passes substantially more difficult, requiring ice axe? (was already planning on bringing crampons and poles). How about stream crossings?

I've done a lot of hiking/backpacking over the years, and this has included some passes, stream crossings and cross country navigation, but I wouldn't fit the category of "expert". My partner is about the same. I haven't been in the High Sierra that early before so don't really know what to expect. We really want to make this work, but do you think that we're biting off more than we can chew?

I've posted a similar question on the Yahoo JMT forum, but then thought about this group, because the level of experience here is substantially greater in all things Sierra related.

I appreciate any input.

Jon
Last edited by sierranomad on Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jon

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



User avatar
sierranomad
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:27 pm
Location: Mokelumne Hill
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT mid- June?

Postby hikerduane » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:01 am

Depends on snowpack, the thru hikers do it all. I have had to go to the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness one year in late July because there were still 6' drifts around the trail in the Mammoth area where I was going to go according to the FS.
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT mid- June?

Postby markskor » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:52 am

As Hikerduane states, it all depends on this year’s snow pack. I do not want to rain on your parade, but…
You might get lucky, and if this turns into another serious drought year, (as it looks like it may), high streams could be negotiated with lots of care.
My concern is with the passes – there will be miles of trail hidden under many feet of snow, unrecognizable - and do not forget the omnipresent snow cups- strength sappers…just tough going. Route-finding skills will be put to the test. With careful campsite planning you might be able to negotiate these many passes if crossing over in the mornings – when snow is firm, but by mid afternoons, when the snow softens, expect post-holing aplenty….just no fun.
You are going to spend hours just looking down at your feet, missing much of the grandeur (and enjoyment) of this exceptional trail.
Also, expect lots of skeeters…you are going in prime bug season – always a pain – expect days of breathing in 1000’s of them above 10,000 ft.

But, you may get lucky, and this might turn out to be a good time to do the Muir, but… citing many others past years JMT reports, (as well as my own 4-time Muir trips, and my other limited Sierra adventures...lol) indicate waiting perhaps another 2 weeks to start out this grand adventure.
Hike smart and safe!
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: JMT mid- June?

Postby sierranomad » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:54 pm

Thanks guys...no worries about "raining on my parade". Though it's not what I was hoping for, it is what I was expecting. I'd rather have a "heads-up" now, than go unprepared.
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
User avatar
sierranomad
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:27 pm
Location: Mokelumne Hill
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT mid- June?

Postby paul » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:11 pm

It can be a very scenic time of year to be up there - lots of snowpatches left, lots of greenery. But you have to deal with some issues:
1) creek crossings. creeks can be pretty high in June, so be prepared to wade with some shoes for that purpose, and a walking stick is handy. Crossing two people at a time can be safer, as you create a four-legged beast that is more stable than two legs are.
2) snow-covered trails may be hard to follow in spots. Your topographical map reading skilll s must be up to the task of finding your way without the trail, and going where the trail is going even when you can't see the trail.
3) mosquitos in hordes. June is the peak bug season, so a headnet is mandatory if you want to retain your sanity.
4) You have to time your snow travel. The snow is nice and firm for good walking in the early morning, but may be too firm (read icy and slippery) if you have to cross or climb a steep slope, which you have to do n most of the passes. Later in the day you'll sink deep. So crampons or other traction devices may be well worth it, allowing you to travel more safely over the firm early morning snow. An ice axe is a good idea - you can get axes that are under 10 ounces.

All of this may be more or less aplicable depending on how the winter turns out. You'll be able to get a pretty good idea by mid-may what the snowpack is like compared to average, and can adjust things accordingly. Here's where to keep track of the snowpack:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/
User avatar
paul
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 442
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:35 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT mid- June?

Postby sierranomad » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:15 pm

Thanks Paul. I really appreciate your input, and the link.

Jon
Jon

"When one tugs on a single thing in nature, he finds it's attached to the rest of the world". - John Muir
User avatar
sierranomad
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:27 pm
Location: Mokelumne Hill
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT mid- June?

Postby dmg » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:11 pm

Hi yall,

I too am planning on doing the JMT in June (planning to start June 1 though) and wondered what ya'll thought about snowshoes instead of crampons. That and any other suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated. Cheers...
User avatar
dmg
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:08 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT mid- June?

Postby markskor » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:58 pm

Snowshoes instead of crampons, or in addition?
Here’s the problem: Most of the good miles are done in mornings…you are fresh, and the snow is hard. On any steep/exposure, (north-facing slopes?), this hard white stuff can get a bit slippery (read: like snot)…and, under normal morning conditions, especially on some of the passes; I would rather have an ice ax along instead of the points…if I was taking just the one.

The shoes could be great in afternoons….among the slush and post holing.
(BTW, I always find it hard to carry a pack, and do the miles while wearing snow shoes…maybe that's just me.)

There is also something to be discussed here about what is the best way/time/foot equipment while traversing the long miles of sun cups coming off the passes. I hate sun cups and try to keep to the granite slabs if at all possible, making the constant removal of the snowshoes another factor.

June 1st…maybe a great trip, but sounds like it could be a lot of work too.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media [Bot] and 12 guests