Nervous about conditions on JMT this july | High Sierra Topix  

Nervous about conditions on JMT this july

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

Nervous about conditions on JMT this july

Postby BeFree » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:22 pm

It seems like the snow keeps fallin'....doesn't the sky know it's spring! I've been planning on doing JMT in july... taking the month to cruise through at a relaxing pace. I can't do it any later in the season, I'm getting a little nervous about crossings and snow...any suggestions or comments about doing this trail in july after a long late winter?
Breathe.



User avatar
BeFree
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:08 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Snow Nymph » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:52 pm

We tried a section of the SHR last July and bailed after 6 days. We planned on 10 days, and were so far behind by the 4th day we decided to try it in Sept. We lost a lot of time crossing suncupped snowfields, and finding the best way to cross fast moving water. We're planning another trip in July, but not sure if it will be doable, so we'll play it by ear.

Maybe the JMT will be better since PCTers will probably already be thru. The SHR was xctry so we were the first ones. Good luck!
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


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby burtonfm » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:15 pm

If your JMT trip starts in early July and you are going south to north, be ready for snowy conditions and don't plan on covering a lot of ground each day. If your JMT trip starts mid or late July and you are traveling north to south, you should be ok.

My reasoning is the higher elevations of the southern portion of the Sierras will retain snow a bit longer than the lower elevations in the north. Also, there's about as much snow in the Sierras now as last year which is 150% of normal averaged across all measuring stations (measured by the State Water Resources Board). And last year, the JMT was fairly clear to travel by late-July.

What we need now are warm days to start the "big melt". Think sun.
User avatar
burtonfm
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:45 pm
Location: El Dorado Hills
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby BeFree » Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:06 pm

I plan on starting earily july and am not sure which direction I'll be headed. Would you suggest one direction over the other for this starting date? I'm not so much concerned about lingering snow...unless it's ''you-need-an-ice-axe-to-make-this-pass'' kinda snow....I'm mostly concerned about dangerously deep, fast water crossings. Is this a realistic SAFETY concern, I'm not worried about the cold and the wet....just being swept away in a dangerous spot.
Breathe.
User avatar
BeFree
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:08 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby burtonfm » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:34 pm

By July, most of the runoff is behind you with water levels subsiding, so my first concern would not be high water levels (it would be my #2 concern). Plus the major rivers and streams on the JMT have bridges built to safely cross (e.g. Piute Creek).

My #1 concern would be slow going over snow and deep sun cups. Don't under estimate the difficulty of walking over large patches of snow and negotiating sun cups of up to 18 inches deep. It's crazy difficult. As a matter of fact, I was on top of Forrester Pass last year in early August taking care of some guy who fell while traversing a large patch of snow heading up to the pass. He fell into a sun cup, twisted his knee, took a huge gouge out of his upper lip, and gave himself a concussion. He was air lifted out the next day. Negotiating fields of snow introduces increased risk of injury and will substantially slow you down.

My suggestion is to stay tuned to reports from folks returning from the JMT and other Sierra destinations on this forum and others like it. You'll get a pretty good sense of what conditions will be like before you leave so you can make an informed decision.
User avatar
burtonfm
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:45 pm
Location: El Dorado Hills
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby irish » Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:26 pm

Hi,

What is a "sun cup"?

Thanks.
User avatar
irish
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:24 pm
Location: Rockford, IL
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:18 pm

Image

Snow that has deep cups forming from warm temps, not fun to walk on ( http://community.webshots.com/photo/393 ... 7782DegILc )

Image

The cascade was too fast and wide for me to cross, we had to drop way down to cross ( http://community.webshots.com/photo/393 ... 7782RYzzKb )
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


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby irish » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:30 pm

Thanks.
User avatar
irish
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:24 pm
Location: Rockford, IL
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Buck Forester » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:02 pm

In a year like this year, I would be concerned about creek crossings in July. Not all major creeks are bridged. Evolution Creek at the end of Evolution Valley/Meadow can be a difficult wade, as are some of the major creeks, notably a creek or two entering the upper sections of the Bear River. If you didn't have a light ice-axe with you, I would at least recommend a good set of trekking poles, both for the passes and for the creek crossings. If you use your head and are not rushed and are willing to go upstream for better fords, then you should be able to find safe ways. Trouble is, often you are tired and hungry and just want to reach camp (or don't want to take the time to detour and look for a safer crossings) after many miles on the trail and we often take risks that we might not if we weren't so steeeenking tired or in a hurry.
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby EricJLee » Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:42 pm

One other note, you're probably going to have to hike North to South, unless you want to start at a trailhead other than Whitney Portal. Overnight permits leaving from Whitney Portal and heading to Mt Whitney/JMT are raffled off in March and there are only 2 permits left, one on the 6th other on the 19th.
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation ... vail.shtml
I think the passes of most concern are Mather and Forester, which should be ok by mid July, Muir is always very slow and snowy, but not dangerous. Good luck.
Eric
User avatar
EricJLee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:10 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Sierra July

Postby gdurkee » Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:53 pm

Yep. Early July may be a pain. You might be OK to start in Yosemite and work South. Bear Creek is definitely bad with high water, but that's maybe 10 days south (??) so might (?!?) be OK by mid-July. I think, north to south, Evolution will be OK. I'm contemplating how to get across in mid June. Strangely, if you do it early (i.e. before the melt starts) it's ok -- but June 20 +/- to July 10 +/- can be really bad in hight snow years -- impossible sometimes (my wife, 5' 2" is a bit more concenred...).

I think you'll be OK for water after July 15th. Snow (Muir, Mather maybe Pinchot) could be unpleasant until the 20th.

There's really no telling until the melt actually begins at that elevation. It's still cold, so it's not even started. In a couple of weeks I'll have a better idea.

Keep with your trip. You may have to hang out in places. Likely go slower, but so what? Don't burn yourself out to achieve some vision of summer mileage -- may not be possible.

Have a great trip!

George
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Humprey

Postby gdurkee » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:00 pm

SnowNymph:

Boy, that brings back memories. In 19 ought and 83 (an El Nino year) I was stationed at McClure and confidently brought my skis up to Evolution. As we thrashed up higher, we ran into horrendous sun cups. Was hoping to loop through the Ionian on skis in June. Alas, we turned around. THough we did go over the gap and down McGee Lakes -- not too bad with the exposure. I remember looking up to see how my wife was doing after going through a dip. I just saw a pair of skis come flying out of the dip with no one on board. She was a tad frustrated and just took them off, threw them away, and started walking.

We're still married though... .

g.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mkbgdns, psykokid and 12 guests