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JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:51 am
by jnolane
I plan on beginning an attempt on the John Muir Trail between the 28th and 30th of June. Will I be hard pressed to obtain a walk in permit at the Yosemite Valley wilderness center during said time? Thank you.

Re: JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:28 am
by markskor
No way of being 100% certain, you can always call YNP Wilderness and find out.

That being said, and while you do not mention how many in your party(...assume solo?), I have found that the Yosemite Rangers have a soft spot for the big ticket hikers - PCT/JMT.

Not being handcuffed by the southern "I climbed Whitney in One Day" bureaucracy, next-day Wilderness Permits (going N - S)seem to be always available, especially to those in small parties doing the entire Muir. Being as you have an open window of starting dates, the worst that would happen is that you might, if that first day is full, have to wait 1 day extra...tomorrow's next-day.
Thus - GO!

You might also consider starting out Tuolumne and going South...After the Portal, back to Tuolumne and finish the downhill to the Valley (Still all trail but avoids Mist/uphill first day). The last time I did the Muir was this way, logistically easier, and perhaps easier too to get a permit as avoids the "I Climbed Half Dome" quagmire.

One last note, lots of snow still - check if passes open/do-able without total postholing/creeks fordable, etc. I am worried about mid July, and you are going 2 weeks earlier.
Hike safe!

Re: JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:09 am
by maverick
I have obtained walk up JMT permits twice, but I consider that just being lucky.
Markskor's suggestion about starting from TM is a good one especially with this years
high than average snow levels which will make obtaining walk ups more difficult
for hikes that start out of the Valley.
I hope you are aware, and are prepared to deal with major river crossings, and difficult
passes this early in a heavy snow year, especially in SEKI!

Re: JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:22 am
by jimqpublic
I don't think you will have a problem. I was actually able to get a same-day permit on a weekend two years ago. My method has been to get in line at about 5:00 in the morning two years running. In both cases I was first in line but others arrived before 5:30.

Happy Isles/JMT daily permit quotas for first-come permits are 12 to Little Yosemite Valley and 4 requiring camping past the Half-Dome turnoff. Note that the quota becomes available the day before the permit date. If someone doesn't pick up their permit (or call to make other arrangements) by 10:00 AM on the permit date, it becomes available for people at the counter.

So a good system is to try for a same-day permit first, then if that isn't available get a permit for the next day.

I've camped in the Backpacker campground even though I didn't have a permit yet. Maybe not quite in the rules, but I figured my lack of car, UL backpacking gear, and the fact that I'm so charming would make it ok.

Re: JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:10 am
by AlmostThere
I tried to reserve a permit to do a lower section of the JMT and was unable to exit the Portal itself - all entry and exit permits for the Portal are reserved for the summer. We're exiting farther south and avoiding the portal entirely.

That said, there are walk in permits set aside, and I have never heard of someone not getting one to exit upon completing the JMT....

If you are doing the Happy Isles entry, be on the wilderness office porch very early the day before you depart - being first or second in line you'll be fine, being fourth or fifth you might be fine but depends on if the folks in front of you want 2 permits or 10... One person might be standing up for a larger group. Don't forget to ask for the whitney stamp.

Re: JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:01 am
by jnolane
Thank you. I recognize that the JMT is a major project so I think it wise to plan accordingly. I run out of play time on the 25th of July, hopefully conditions warrant a favorable experience in the weeks to come. From what the internet offers it appears that just getting to Agnew Meadows from the Yosemite valley is a thrash right now. I hope to see a warming trend in the near future.

Re: JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:53 am
by AlmostThere
When I was up in Paradise Valley (Kings Canyon) on Wednesday, frustrated backpackers trying to complete the Rae Lakes loop (back third is on the JMT) were coming down the trail - people were trying to wade in five feet of snow on the JMT. And the creek crossings right now are crazy high.

I can't imagine what the passes must be like.

Hope you get your permit and post us pictures. :)

Re: JMT Permit: Walk-in Permit North to South

Posted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:00 am
by jnolane
I made an attempt at the Rae Lakes Loop on June 4th of 2006. I made it to dollar lake before I decided to turn back. Creek crossings were also quite the experience. Hopefully I do not have a similar experience on the JMT!! Pictures will definitely be posted!!