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JMT walk up permit strategy, August

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JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby Satsuma » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:36 pm

We are going to do JMT together with my husband (party of two). The start date is fixed to Aug 5, 2012 (Sunday) since we have to drop our daughter to overnight camp that mornig, and after that we have the freedom to go. We will be at Yosemite not earlier than 1pm, Sunday.

We faild to reserve permit, we tried 24 weeks in advance but it was Presindent day holiday, and next morning all permits were gone.

Can we do the following trick. I will drive to Yosemete wilderness office to be there early morning (5 am) on Saturday, Aug 4 and try to get a permit to start next day, Sunday. Then I go home (Bay Area), next morning we drop our daughter to her camp and go. Should we both present in the office to get a permit or I can do it alone? If I will not get permit for following day, Sunday and wait for not claimed permit with Saturday start, can we actually start on Sunday with it?

If all this not work we will have to line in office Monday morning only for permit starting Tuesday and will loose two days.

Appreciate all advices.



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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby markskor » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:56 pm

Satsuma wrote:Can we do the following trick. I will drive to Yosemete wilderness office to be there early morning (5 am) on Saturday, Aug 4 and try to get a permit to start next day, Sunday.


Yosemite will bend over backwards to try and get you your Muir permit, if possible - next day...alas, weekends can be a problem. Better off weekdays. Also, you are competing with the Half-Dome corridor and strict quotas...Happy Isles is a popular place. Suggestion - Start Tuolumne instead and go South. After the Portal, come back to Tuolumne and do the remaining section DOWN to the Valley. Still all Muir.

Satsuma wrote:Then I go home (Bay Area), next morning we drop our daughter to her camp and go. Should we both present in the office to get a permit or I can do it alone? If I will not get permit for following day, Sunday and wait for not claimed permit with Saturday start, can we actually start on Sunday with it?

Only one is needed to bag a permit...moral support always helps. Furthermore, if you do get a HI permit for Monday you still cannot start on the Sunday before...Rangers check in LYV. Better to stay over Valley BP camp and acclimate until legal.
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby Satsuma » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:02 pm

markskor,

Thanks for response. We will consider TM start but still want to try to start in the valley, that was a dream, and we also would like to hike Half Dome on the way.

If we go in Valley wilderness office, can we ask there HI start first and if not could they issue TM permit at this office?
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby markskor » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:11 pm

Satsuma wrote:markskor,

We would like to hike Half Dome on the way.
If we go in Valley wilderness office, can we ask there HI start first and if not, could they issue a TM permit at this office?

Yes, ask for HI first but second, ask for a TM start if...they can issue permits for either trailhead there. Adding, if doing it my way - Tuolumne down (Muir in two segments), you still get to do HD but starting at 8,000 feet from Tuolumne, (now trail savvy) and going down is much easier than starting out in the Valley at 3,800 with new legs and going up.
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:24 pm

Hi Satsuma

This link: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm will answer some
of your questions, if you are still unclear, call the Yosemite Wilderness Office to get
clarification from the regulating authorities. The last thing you want to do is be
ready to go, and some regulation has changed, you misunderstood something or were
given the wrong information, especially for such a special trip.
Just to add to Markskor's great advice, if you can, go do Clouds Rest, which is higher
and has the best views in the park with a trail leading to it. HD is fun, but be sure
that neither of you has problems with heights, and don't go near it if there are
thunderstorms in the area, or heavy rain is predicted.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby SierraMaclure » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:54 pm

Get there earlier than 5am. Bring a sleeping bag and some food. Permits are issued at 11 am for the next day, unless they've changed that. It's a long wait.
"Between every two pine trees lies a door to a new life," John Muir.
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:21 pm

I understand wanting to do it The Way It Is, but you already found out what it's like to get permits - so flexibility may be needed.

Alternate starting points that might be reservable:
Mono Meadow - adds some miles as the trailhead is off Glacier Point Road, would see about a reserved Saturday permit and that would get you on track minus the Happy Isles to the top of Nevada Falls stretch of the trail. Would probably also want to be dropped off or take the one way tour bus from the valley floor to Glacier Point and see if the driver would drop you off a few miles early.

Glacier Point: would be my second choice, a busier trailhead.

Four Mile Trail: could take the valley shuttle to it, it's a climb from the valley floor up to Glacier Point and then you have to go another 4 miles to legal camping near Illouette Creek, but do-able.

For the walk in at Tuolumne Meadows office - can take the Tioga shuttle to them:
Sunrise Trailhead - do Clouds Rest before turning north on the JMT. Yeah, it skips Half Dome - what do you miss? about 400 tourists and cables. Clouds is a better view, IMO, as it gives a stellar view of Half Dome.

Cathedral: - can get onto the JMT from it as easily as from the Sunrise trailhead.

Rafferty/Vogelsang: a bit more of a workaround but can manage to get back on the JMT.

Why am I mentioning these? look at the map and prioritize trailheads, and ask for them in order until you get one. It may be the difference between getting a walk in and not getting one. The more chances you give yourself the better. And you need to be at the Tuolmne Meadows office to improve your chances further - people in line at that office get priority, if you are in the valley office they will have to call the Tuolumne office to verify there are some left.

Get there early and wait in line if you have to do walk ins.
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby Satsuma » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:27 am

AlmostThere wrote:I And you need to be at the Tuolmne Meadows office to improve your chances further - people in line at that office get priority, if you are in the valley office they will have to call the Tuolumne office to verify there are some left.

Really? In official site they say that priority is in the office closest to trailhead, so valley office would be the best for HI start.
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby markskor » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:42 am

As AlmostThere correctly states, flexibility is the key to Yosemite...that and good karma.

Understandably, you want/wanted a Happy Isle start as it sounds like you desire to do the "pure" MUIR, North to South...perhaps the iconic Sierra hike, a bucket-lister for sure. Well, the reserved slots you wanted are probably long gone - (keep checking, but by now - doubtful...ya never know though).

So, lets go to Plan B. Actually being there in the park is critical, physically standing in the Wilderness office and asking, "What is open today or tomorrow?" Tell them you are all set for the Muir, pack ready, bear can awaiting, and didn't get a reserved permit -"Can you help?" Tell them you first want HI, but will take any reasonable trailhead...GP, MM, TM, Cathedral, Tenaya, etc.
You will get a permit. You might have to do a few extra miles just to get on the trail proper, but if you show up committed, you will get to go. Worse thing is that the "pure" Muir might be skewed a bit and you might have to spend one extra day before - acclimating/waiting.

The only problem with being flexible is you have no control over where and when you start exactly, hence when you exit will also be problematic too. Thus if you are the type who needs rigid plans now, before you go, you might want to wait till next year, but if flexible enough - The Muir awaits, wide open - enjoy!
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:58 am

To me, your "plan" sounds like a lot of agony! Drive to Yosemite from Bay Area- wait in line for hours in the cold dark, drive back, drive again?? Ugh! For the record, I am NOT a purist when it comes to doing a trail or route. As far as I am concerned you have "done" the JMT as a thru-hike, even if you have to come back and do the first day or two last.

Entering from Happy Isles, in August, can be pure torture if it is hot. You certainly will ENJOY this part a lot better to do it last, going downhill. I am with Almost There - drive over once and be flexible. If you decide to get a permit for 4-Mile Trail, why even haul your pack up this trail? You can take the bus to Glacier Point and step onto the trail. Rangers are NOT posted at the trailhead to check your permit! Rangers up there have their hands full handling the tourists!

It is easier to get a permit that "passes" through Little Yosemite Valley than one that allows staying there. The extra miles to do that really are not that bad. You can also leave Glacier Point early AM and "pass through" LYV.

A friend and I did this alternative a few years ago. We went in at Olmsted Point (a shuttle will take you there and it is a bit of a chore to do the quarter mile off-trail section to get down to the trail), down Snow Creek trail and camped across from Half Dome, just before the creek plunges to the Valley. Next day we went down to the Valley, ate lunch at the Curry store but DID NOT stay in the valley- went right back up the Mist Trail and camped on Sunrise Creek. Thrid day back to Tenaya Lake. It involves some long miles, but you only have a light pack with 2 days food. It is quite hot on this portion, so you can leave most of your high Sierra gear in your car at Tuolumne. Also, with a very light pack (ours were about 15 pounds each), the Mist Trail is shorter than the JMT and not that hard to do if you are not loaded down with a big pack. And if you get wet (actually a godsend if it is hot) you are walking this in the afternoon so you dry off quickly. To use this strategy, you do need to be in good shape - particularly feet and knees because you drop 3000+ feet and to up 3000+ feet in one day.
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby Satsuma » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:17 pm

Thanks all for advices. We are not purists and ready for some flexibility. My husband did JMT starting from TM two years ago. This time we wanted to make it together, and get the whole thing but since we were not able to reserve in advance, we can try to do different start.

Our flexibility is limited with our daughter in camp with fixed start and end date, so we have to exit in time.
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Re: JMT walk up permit strategy, August

Postby tim » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:30 pm

I've always wondered whether the rules would prevent you entering at Olmstead Pt, walking to the Valley (for which you'd only need a day pack), staying in the BP campground and then going up from Happy Isles the next morning? Or do you have to stop at the Snow Creek bridge before the switchbacks?

I guess this is related to the other debate about whether you can stay in the BP campground in the middle of a hike, not just at the beginning and end? Seems people do (and I thought the rules were about exiting the wilderness for more than 24 hours, not overnight), but I guess it might be rather frowned upon on the first or second night of your trip!
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