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JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

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JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby SoCalCPA » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:45 pm

Hi Guys -

Planning to hike the JMT over the next 3-4 years and I have been investigating how I could break it up into 3 or 4 sections to accomplish this - I am a 51 year old guy in reasonably good shape and will be hiking with my 65 year old father in law and 16 year old daughter - Last July, we did the Lower Ottoway Lake loop in Yosemite (over Red Peak Pass and down the Merced) in 5 1/2 days and the pace was really good for us - OfCourse the elevation gain isn't that bad on that loop. My father in law is a slow and steady packer and I have to rest a bit going uphill, my daughter beats us both.

One recommendation I got which appealed to me was:

1. LYV to Reds Meadow
2. Reds Meadow to Bishop Pass
3. Bishop Pass to Kearsarge (Onion Valley)
4. Kearsarge to Whitney

I am contemplating the Reds to Bishop leg - Actually, I was thinking about coming in at Duck Lake and then exiting at South Lake. My question is - If we took our time averaging 10 mile days, how many days do you think it will take to make it through this leg (completely, not just the JMT part) - We usually like to stop at one or two lakes during the day for a little C&R action - some portions of this section would be just hiking and no fishing - Am I too overambitious or do you think this is doable in say 7/8 days including one day of acclimation? - Also, if anyone has any recommendations for how to break this down, I would welcome whatever you have to offer.

Thanks Guys



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Re: JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby Mike M. » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:33 pm

I'm not very fond of the leg from Red's Meadows to the Piute Creek junction. Kind of boring, especially the leg over Bear Ridge. I usually avoid spending much time on this stretch, opting instead to do cross country routes in the areas just east of the JMT.

To answer your question, I would say you should plan on this route taking you about 10 days, assuming you can manage about 10 miles a day.

Day 1 Duck Lake
Day 2 Lake of the Lone Indian
Day 3 Kip Camp via Silver Pass
Day 4 Sally Keyes Lakes via Selden Pass
Day 5 Piute Creek junction
Day 6 Evolution Valley
Day 7 LeConte Canyon via Muir Pass
Day 8 Dusy Basin
Day 9 Layover
Day 10 Out via Bishop Pass

Mike
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Re: JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:13 pm

It's about 80 miles for that section. To do it in your time frame you would need to plan right for when you can do more then 10 miles a day on easy sections.
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Re: JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby SoCalCPA » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:03 pm

Thanks for the input - When you mentioned that the portion of the trail is not that interesting from Reds through Piute Creek Junction, I started to think of some alternatives - I was pretty enchanted by the North Lake to South Lake hike recently posted (thought they ended back at North)

What about coming in to the JMT around Italy Pass - starting point would be Pine Creek Mill or thereabouts - and then once on the JMT, swing through Evolution Valley exiting at Bishops Pass - This way I could do some fishing at Sally Keyes which is supposed to have some nice Golden (which my father in law has never caught) plus, I could stop at Blayney Hot Springs which my daughter would love - Looks like I would shave off at least 10 miles from the 80 miles total and as Rogue mentioned, we could probably make up some time on the straightaways and downhills - probably 8 days total.

Anyone ever tried doing this?

Whoops! - Just realized there are no trails over Italy Pass - I was looking at a larger map
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Re: JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby Mike M. » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:51 pm

Right, there is no trail over Italy Pass. It is, however, fairly easy cross country travel. Approaching from the south, there is a decent trail until about a mile from the summit of the pass. Then you pick your way up to the pass, following a cirque over broken rock and talus to the summit ridge. The route is obvious and easy to navigate. If I recall, there is a trail on the other side that is in pretty in pretty good condition, but it has been many years since I have used it - I was there in 2010, but elected to travel cross country to the Bear Lakes Basin instead of hike my way down the trail to Lake Italy.

Mike
Last edited by Mike M. on Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby paul » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:39 pm

There used to be a trail over Italy Pass. So what you have is the remains of the old trail between some ways below the pass on the east side and roughly the outlet of Lake Italy. The navigation is very easy - I have been over Italy pass on skis when no part of the trail is visible and the navigation was a no-brainer - but there is some talus to deal with from Italy Pass down to Lake Italy and around its shoreline to the outlet. It's a great area, and going down the Hilgard Branch to Bear creek is very nice.
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Re: JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby oleander » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:35 am

Hi,

Why not resupply at Muir Trail Ranch, instead of going out Bishop Pass?

The Reds to MTR section is comparatively easy. No problem making Reds to MTR on 8-10 mile days in less than a week. Plus, Blayney Hot Springs is right near MTR; you can visit both at once.

From MTR to Kearsarge you would need to pick it up to 10 miles/day to make it in approximately 8 days (including the hike out to the Onion Valley trailhead). Kearsarge is a beautiful pass (one of my faves) and will be very easy for you in both directions after being on the JMT. Although the passes get bigger and more vertical along this section of the JMT, you will have warmed up to it and you'll be ready for it physically, and also well-acclimated by now.

When you do return in over Kearsarge southbound to Whitney, be sure to take the more southern trail that takes you past Kearsarge Lakes and Bullfrog Lake on the way to rejoining the JMT. Outstanding scenery on that southern trail.

- Elizabeth
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Re: JMT Trip Planning - Advice Needed

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:48 am

My two cents worth are 1) do the JMT off-season and 2) plan each nights camp away from the trail.

September, after everyone has gone back to school is the ideal time. If you are willing to deal with snow and high water, mid-June (before mosquito season) is very scenic with snow lingering on the peaks. Every time I have been on the JMT in August of late July, it was crowded and I did not like it. Also, if you choose August, going "with the flow" (I think more people go north-to-south) makes it seem like less people. When I went south to north up LeConte Canyon and through Evolution, I swear I ran into people every 5 minutes.

There are really nice places 1/4 - 2 miles off the JMT that get you away from the crowds at night. To me it is well worth the extra walking. I personally would never camp at the established campsites along the trail unless you want the JMT to be a social experience.
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