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JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

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JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby EastSideClimb » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:12 pm

Howdy erbody! We'll the weather out here on the Central Coast is indeed frightful today...I guess that is what happens when the forecast calls for 100% chance of rain...Yet given the fact I am hunkered down inside all day, I've started thinking about my proposed trip on the JMT summer 2010. Im sure there is a lot of advice to give so I'll limit myself to two questions:

1. What would be the "DREAM" setup concerning optimum backpack/sleepingbag choice? Im set on just about everything else.

2. Also what are the general sentiments on skipping Y Valley portion? (my plan is to leave from Green Creek down V canyon to Glen Aulin and up to TM)

I'll start with those questions and kinda ad more as I go.
Thanks all, stay dry!



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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby paul » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:33 pm

As to gear, the pack is very dependent on the weight and bulk of the rest of your gear. Sleeping bag - the lightest thing that YOU can sleep comfortably in down to 25 degrees.
YV - to me the only reason to do the portion from YV to tuolumne is for the purpose of doing the entire trail every step of the way - which is a perfectly valid reason. I did it that way, but would not do it that way a second time. The hordes of dayhikers on the first few miles are not conducive to a feeling of being in the wilderness, and it's just not the most scenic part of the trail - despite the beauty of the falls along the way. I like your Green valley start as a variation - have been over there once or twice. Easier to get that permit, as well.
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby markskor » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:35 pm

Howdy East Side - welcome aboard.

Your first question, ideal gear setup, needs some clarification for your proposed JMT jaunt.
How many days are you proposing? Having done this trail multiple times myself, I follow the adage that the more days the better...my last time coming in around 30 days, and it was the best trip I ever took. I fished everywhere and did multiple side trips and zero days on many occasions.
Some others may aspire to doing the whole thing is as little as 8 days...long trail mile days with little stops for anything. The quality and weight of the gear carried sort of depends on your intended schedule.

As to your second "missing the Valley" question, also depends on your priorities. Do you want to be able to say you did the trail in its entirety?...or is close enough, good enough?

FYI, I found it easier to go North to South due to the Whitney Permit snafu, but the last time, due to logistical travel arrangements, I thought it much easier to actually start out in Tuolumne, and after the Portal, hitch back - a straight shot up 395 - and then resume the hike again back down into the Valley (avoiding hiking up the crowded Mist section on new legs) to complete the entire trail.

as always, YMMV & HYOH
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby EastSideClimb » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:46 pm

Thanks for the quick replies,
Paul- Im thinking about finishing in the 20-25 day range. Im looking for an internal pack around the 65 Liter range...any brand advice on light and warm sleeping bags?

m- I like your idea of the cycling back down to the valley. I might be able to get who ever picks me up down south to come with. I just kind of want to start in Green Valley due to it being a spiritual area for my family. I'm planning this hike to honor my father who passed away from cancer 3 years ago. I'd like to leave on his b-day in July and finish before I go back to grad school. I figure crowds are part of the deal though. I did nice loop from Dana over Koip and Donohue to TM and was amazed at how many people were on the trail, again no surprises.
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby paul » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:34 pm

I have a Marmot Hydrogen for summer in the Sierra, and I'm quite happy with it. Western Mountaineering also has some great bags.
Packs - I'm kinda spoiled because I make my own, but I would try to keep it light - I see no reason why the pack ought to be much over 3 lbs, and really ought to be lighter than that but it's hard to find lighter than that with stays and a decent hipbelt.
Have you looked at the ULA Catalyst?
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby John Dittli » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:29 pm

I'm with Paul re. the sleeping bag. Take the lightest thing you can and then wear cloths in it if it gets especially cool (which it did on us at Forester Pass last August, 18f) I've got some Sierra Designs stretch bag w/o zipper that weighs a bit over a pound. Going light makes the miles much more enjoyable.

If you never have been up the Mist Trail, to Long Meadow or Cathedral Lakes, then I would certainly walk that part of the JMT someday. But if you are going to have several days of beautiful hiking through northern Yosemite I don't think I would want to interrupt that with a trip to the Valley.

It sounds like you already understand that hiking the JMT is not a solitary adventure. Accept it for what it is; a social walk through some of the finest mountain scenery in the US, and you will have a great time on many levels.

JD
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby maverick » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:08 pm

Hi ESC

I have used a WM Ultralight for years, and would highly recommend it.
How many times will you be re-supplying? The more you will be re-supplying
the smaller pack, and weight that you'll have to carry.
Your alternative route sounds fine especially if it has a purpose behind it, as yours
does.
Keep in mind that we are having an El Nino year and depending how strong it
is many high passes may be snowed in late into the season, keep that in mind
when you make final preparations in regards to your starting dates.
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby hikerduane » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:02 pm

This last summer I was entertaining the idea of maybe doing the JMT too, but with work in the air now and maybe not wanting to eat bp food for a couple weeks, I'll put the idea on hold. I can make up my mind or see what happens later, then plan accordingly. I use a WM Caribou bag, 1.5 lbs., has seen the upper 20's. The north-south is the way I want to go, just the first couple days don't seem like they would be very good. I've seen the trail I guess folks have to climb up on, on my way to Sunrise Camp/Lakes, it don't look pretty.
Piece of cake.
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby jimqpublic » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:16 pm

I did the trail two years ago. I had hiked many pieces of the JMT over the years, but never the "whole" trail. For me it was important to start at Happy Isles and do it all in one direction as a single trip. That was because I remember the time at age 8 that we walked up the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall, and marvelled at the sign saying "Mt. Whitney 211".

If you just want a great hike, Green Creek to Whitney would be nice. I was thinking Green Creek-Toulumne as a start of a family trip next summer.

Regarding sleeping bags- I suggest something comfortable from 30-45 and tolerable 20-55. For me that's a down bag with 2" of fill on top (4"total) and a full zip. Synthetic or short-zipper bags don't have as much range. I use my bag as an overquilt above about 35 degrees- it's cut narrow which I want when it gets cold. Mine is a 31 ounce REI Sub-Kilo 15 (Women's long).

Choose your pack last, after you know the weight and volume of all your other gear.
Jim
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby EastSideClimb » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:16 pm

jim, I think that would be a great family trip. Start at Virginia lakes and hike over to Summit Lk. Its a relatively easy climb and will get u back in Virginia Canyon for a TM assault. My first memory of the Mist trail was the sight of a French tourist in a speedo walking down....I still shudder to this day Ha. I figure it will be a necessary route to complete the whole thing, so Im starting to inch towards that.

I've heard a lot about water issues on that first leg. Can anybody speak to that?

thx.
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby jimqpublic » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:06 pm

EastSideClimb wrote:...
I've heard a lot about water issues on that first leg. Can anybody speak to that?
thx.


Meaning Happy Isles to Tuolumne? Not when I was there in August 2008 or a couple times prior. Starting at Happy Isles there's water at several spots before Little Yosemite Valley, then at the Cloud's Rest junction, then a mile or so past there, then Sunrise High Sierra Camp, then Cathedral Lakes.

Per Dr. Derlet's research on Sierra backcountry water quality- Merced River is one of the very few Sierra sources where he found Giardia, so definitely treat water at Little Yosemite Valley and before.

The JMT was the longest distance trip I've ever done- Though I once did an unsupported 16 day trip (1 day longer than my JMT trip). The wonderful part of starting at Yosemite Valley was that I only carried 2 nights' worth of food- I started out with the lightest pack I had ever carried on an overnight trip! I am sold on trips where you can resupply! I started the JMT with around 20 pounds vs. 65 on that prior 16 day trip.
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Re: JOHN MUIR TRAIL ADVICE

Postby EastSideClimb » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:44 pm

I guess there would be a lighter load thanks to the TM resupply area. I'll have people resupplying me along the southern portion. Im going to try to get some friends of my father to join and keep me company on the way..a good way to honor his memory and keep from starving. I wish I was there right now!!!! Of course I'd be totally unprepared so I'm commencing training now! Thanks for your advice.
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