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Need advice for JMT this early July

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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby oldranger » Wed May 04, 2011 8:40 am

nepal

You are getting great advice from all these knowledgeable folks. Nothing to add except to suggest, as others did, a later starting date. Good thing about your date is fewer mosquitoes at higher elevations.
As for stream crossings I have been using Crocks Expeditions. They are light and can be tightened securely. They do not absorb water so they don't get heavier after a stream crossing and will be dry when you use them as camp shoes. They are heavier than regular crocs, though.

Mike
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby fishmonger » Wed May 04, 2011 8:44 am

Nepal wrote: What kind of boots you wear when you hike JMT?

I can't hike thorough streams with my boots, they are all Gore-Tex inline, once water get in there, take forever to dry! Do you have any really light weight crossing shoes in your mind?



boots - La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX, plus gaiters that fit closely to keep the snow out of the top. Also allows you to cross streams that are only 10-12" deep without having to take the boots off. Most streams will be that deep, only a handful will require that you do change footwear.

this kind of stuff won't even slow you down, and water of that depth is very common in early season:

Image

note frustrated ULer's in running shoes in the background - they didn't have a good day and when my kids just walked through these things they may have realized that there's a reason things like "mountaineering boots" exist

Image


Crossing shoes? I wear really light flimsy shoes that don't really live up to my recommendation. This year, I'd probably bring some Vibram 5-fingers or crocks, or simpy some really light running shoes. You'll get a million opinions on these, but for me low weight always overuled the toe protection. This year, in early season, I'd play it safe and get some real protection.
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby AlmostThere » Wed May 04, 2011 8:49 am

If you are going when water is snow melt and very cold, tablets (to be effective) will have a longer wait time - up to 4 hours. If you're not going to wait that long, effectiveness is reduced radically, so why use them?

If you trust fishmonger's assessment that nothing is needed, that would make more sense than using some water treatment method inappropriately.

If you feel you do need something, a filter would be faster and effective at getting out the organisms from colder water - provided you keep the filter from freezing and cracking at night. Then the filter loses its ability to filter out organisms and again, might as well not have it.

I do know people who will dip and drink from high elevation sources, but personally, I don't take any chances whatsoever. Not having medical insurance will do that to you.
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby fishmonger » Wed May 04, 2011 8:57 am

keep an eye on this snow graph. It will give you an idea how the melt is progressing this spring. Last year (also on the graph) was a pretty wet year, but most of that snow came late and it was a cool spring. Much about what the conditions will be like in early July will still be decided over the coming weeks. The plot that matters is the third one:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/PLOT_SWC

The above graphs are averages for all elevations, though, and report "snow water content," not snow depths. Comare that to first hand reporting from May 1 - John Dittli posted this to the JMT mailing list a few days ago:

We now have the most recent field data in for snow surveys. Due to April's below average temps and subsequent low runoff, in some cases the pack increased dramatically as measured to date.

Peak runoffs are now projected to begin somewhere around the middle of May and extend well into June for the low country, later up high..

Snow pack as a percentage of May 1st average:

Merced 199%
Tuolumne 183%
San Joaquin 197%
Kings 187%
Kern 171%

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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby Nepal » Wed May 04, 2011 8:59 am

Thank you so much, fishmonger!! So you are the guy who actually wrote the 'book' about JMT? I was studying your website last night and boy it was such a great site! Tons of info, need to digest slowly.

One suggestion: some links of the snow level in your site is no longer working any more. Can you please update them if you get a chance? Thanks.

oops, never mind. I guess you just posted the link.
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby Nepal » Wed May 04, 2011 9:04 am

AlmostThere wrote:If you need an ice axe when you go, and have never used one, get into a class in mountaineering skills beforehand, and practice the ice axe before you have to use it to self arrest. Without some experience with it, it is too easy to stab yourself on the ice axe!

I contend that you DO need a water filter, or other purification method. Stock users frequent the trail and getting water from sources where stock go leads to consequences. Unless you have some skill in water source selection, take a filter.


Thanks, AlmmostThere. I will probably use tablets which is lighter for the water.
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby fishmonger » Wed May 04, 2011 9:04 am

AlmostThere wrote:I do know people who will dip and drink from high elevation sources, but personally, I don't take any chances whatsoever. Not having medical insurance will do that to you.


FYI - weekend urgent care room visit at Manteca, CA to get antibiotics for giardia, last summer $265. The drug itself was $12 at Walgreens. Twice the price of a water filter. I have insurance, but they said "non participating provider" - great experience in terms of 3rd world health care in this country (and I pay over $16,000 a year for insurance)

This was the first time in about 15 summers up there, and my kids didn't get the bug, drinking the same water. So, yeah, there's a risk, but I am soooo tired of the filtering. One day I lost a valve while messing with the backflush on a Hyperflow ($100) and it went in the trash at VVR. Never used a filter in early season since that day. In fall, I would definitely bring a filter, as water sources become limited and you will have to drink from places I would not touch in July, and chemicals are too slow. Steripen may be worth it, but it's just another electronic gizmo that can fail at the wrong time.
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby Nepal » Wed May 04, 2011 9:07 am

gary c. wrote:Nepal, glad to see that you made it over here and are getting some good advise. Like the others have already suggested I think most everyone is pushing there trips back by at least a month or so this year because of the heavy snows this year. If yours were a short trip it might not be so big of a deal but you would hate to wait until July to find out the passes were closed because of snow. There are also several Sierra photographers that can probably tell you some must see places to photograph (and probably relate to your pack wieght).


thank you again, Gary! This is indeed a great site with so many knowledge folks around. I am so glad you pointed me the right direction.
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby fishmonger » Wed May 04, 2011 9:07 am

Nepal wrote:Thank you so much, fishmonger!! So you are the guy who actually wrote the 'book' about JMT? I was studying your website last night and boy it was such a great site! Tons of info, need to digest slowly.


the "book" is mostly something I made for my kids. If you were to try to motivate some 12 year old to do this trip, it may be worth getting, otherwise, it's just a self-published photo album. 2 people have actually bought it (and I know both of them, as they are prepping their kids for a JMT hike)
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby fishmonger » Wed May 04, 2011 9:12 am

and regarding snow plot - just recently I found this one

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/snowap ... art.action

I like it better because it lets you compare years (if you have been there before). Sometimes you need to submit twice to have it register your request for a different plot, but it works like a charm
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby oldranger » Wed May 04, 2011 9:20 am

Nepal

Fishmongers photos are more revealing than the plots as the plots suggest no worries after mid july. Few if any of the sensors/monitoring sites are located on the JMT passes which as fm's pics show are likely to be well covered into August or beyond.

Mike
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Re: Need advice for JMT this early July

Postby fishmonger » Wed May 04, 2011 9:33 am

oldranger wrote:Nepal

Fishmongers photos are more revealing than the plots as the plots suggest no worries after mid july. Few if any of the sensors/monitoring sites are located on the JMT passes which as fm's pics show are likely to be well covered into August or beyond.

Mike



absolutely - based on the plots, there was no snow last year in mid to late July.

What the plots do suggest is the trending. If we get a warm spring, the line will drop much faster than last year, which was a pretty cool spring, possibly resulting in less snow. However, based on what is up there right now, even a hot spring will not melt that stuff away by July 2 that you don't have to be prepared for extended snow travel and high water.
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