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Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby Coolbreeze » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:54 pm

Thanks for the replies, folks. Exactly what I was looking for.

Markskor's comments about the rangers reminded me of a little story. One day me and a mate were snowed off a ridge in November when Old Man Winter came a-calling a little early. We didn't have winter gear and retreated down to Lodgepole. The car was back in Cedar Grove so we decided to hitchhike. We asked around for a pen to make a sign and got the cold shoulder from a couple Forest Service people who told us it was illegal to hitchhike and they couldn't help us. The old gent in the visitor center was a kind old soul, though, and even made the sign for us and laminated it in the office. After managing to hitch to Grant Grove, we bivvied in the campground there overnight during the most ferocious thunder and lightning snowstorm I've ever experienced. The next morning we stood freezing by the road for hours, everyone passing by ignored us. In the end, we did get a lift. The guy who picked us up was the chief ranger, I believe his name was Dave. Real nice guy. I'll never forget that.



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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby quentinc » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:53 pm

Do they even pay attention to people exiting in the Whitney zone? Last year, when doing the HST starting from the west, I did not see a ranger on the way out. It's been a long time since I've day hiked Whitney on the standard route, but my recollection is that someone was posted just above Lone Pine Lake checking permits on the way in. Last year, I got down there in late p.m. and there was no ranger.
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby Coolbreeze » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:25 pm

I have to admit the idea of rangers cracking heads over small details involving a permit - at least when it comes to a worn out hiker just trying to leave the backcountry after a long, grueling trek - seems really unlikely and frankly downright bizarre.
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby BSquared » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:58 am

I'm curious about this "exit permit" business. I got permits for the JMT starting at Happy Isles in 2004 and again in 2009 (from NPS, of course, since the starting point was Yosemite), and no one ever mentioned anything about an exit permit. The first time, I specifically asked (when I picked up my permit) whether I needed any special permitting because of going through the Whitney area, and they said no. According to what I've been able to find out on the web, exit permits were instituted in 2002, so it should have been an issue both times I got my permit. Any idea what's going on here? I got my permits very early (in fact, as early as the rules would permit) both times, so maybe I just got "quota-ed" in without my knowing about it? There certainly wasn't anything specific on my printed permit about it. The Inyo National Forest Whitney-permitting website http://snipurl.com/.6k is vague about it, just saying "Trail Crest Exit Quota applies to visitors who descend the Mt Whitney Trail after beginning the trip elsewhere. Exit space is issued along with the entry date and trail, on the same permit." Not very helpful.
—B²
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby lambertiana » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:38 pm

The Trail Crest exit permit is required by Inyo National Forest. If you enter the wilderness in Inyo National Forest, you have to have an exit permit. If your entry point is outside Inyo National Forest (Yosemite, west side SEKI, etc) you do not need the exit permit.
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby BSquared » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:17 am

Ah, thank you, lambertiana (aren't you one of the famous Pinus brothers? or Sisters? :nod: )!
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby lambertiana » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:13 pm

BSquared - You are one of only about five people in the last ten years who picked up on the origin of my forum name (which I use on a number of different forums). I guess there aren't many dendrologists out there. My three favorite Sierra species are lambertiana, balfouriana, and albicaulis.
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby BSquared » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:14 am

I confess to being a biologist, but hardly a dendrologist (although I'm working with sugar maple right now). P. lambertiana is definitely one of my favorites, but I confess that my favorite Sierra tree—besides Sequoiadendron giganteum of course—is Abies magnifica. Something about those dark, straight trunks just says "tree" to me.

Let's see, mandatory on-topic comment: maybe Coolbreeze can start his hike in Tuolumne Meadows, adding, what about three days? Or even "start" in Tuolumne, realize that he'd "forgotten" something, go back out, and then restart (with his Tuolumne permit) at Reds? Of course I'd never seriously advocate going around the regs that way... :cool:
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby Coolbreeze » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:39 am

Hmph. I would never dream of behaving in such an underhanded, deceitful fashion. [-( I am shocked and appalled at the very suggestion. [-X

In all seriousness, at this point I've decided to stick with the original plan. I have secured a permit (including an exit) for the right dates, so all systems are go. The snow will just make things a little more interesting the first week.

One thing I could use some advice about is camping at Red's Meadow the night before I hit the trail. There are a bunch of different campgrounds in the area, can anyone recommend a good one?

Thanks again for your help, everyone. It's very much appreciated.
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby SweetSierra » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:47 pm

I've never stayed at Red's Meadow Campground but if you're able to get a reservation there, the bathhouses are not to be missed. Otherwise, all other campgrounds in the Mammoth vicinity all look decent. The campground that you drive through to get to the Duck Pass trailhead (I can't think of the name of it) is the last of the campgrounds on that road and backs up against a mountainside (so not as much drive-through traffic). I stayed there and enjoyed it. But, I think all of them are probably just fine. If you want to stay at the small campground at the Thousand Island Lakes trailhead, that's a good one. I've stayed there several times.
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby gary c. » Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:46 pm

The campground near the bath house has a section for backpackers and is the place to stay. When you get to the store they will point you in the right direction. I think you are still required to pay a fee to camp there.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Down The JMT: Late July-Early August 2011

Postby Coolbreeze » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:37 pm

Thanks a million, SweetSierra and gary c.
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