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New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby JWreno » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:37 pm

Last year I did my first Happy Isles to Whitney Portal version of the JMT. Had a good time but wasn't convinced it was better than my two complete north bound trips starting at Horseshoe Meadows and finishing at Happy Isles. My next few years will be in other places. This year I am thinking about an Ionian Basin loop from North Lake. Some in the future when I do the JMT again it will be out of the south where a 24 week in advance permit chance isn't required. Not sure why so many people prefer to do it southbound.

My least enjoyable parts of the southbound trip are Happy Isles to Sunrise High Camp and Whitney down to Whitney Portal. Northbound I finish non-traditiona by going over the more interesting Clouds Rest area vs Sunrise Creek.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby SweetSierra » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:30 pm

[quote="JWreno"]Not sure why so many people prefer to do it southbound.
quote]

I think it's because most want to end their JMT hike by climbing Mt. Whitney. It's the singular goal for the hike's end. At least that's what I've read.

I've always liked Cottonwood and hope to do part of the JMT from that direction this year.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby markskor » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:20 am

"Not sure why so many people prefer to do it southbound".

Permits...The annual Whitney Trail lottery restricts access NOBO from the Portal. It was (up to now) so much easier to start/get permits from Yosemite.

HiSierra wrote:I've also been advocating better public information about the specifics of the problem. Let people know there are two areas where camping has become concentrated, and they should try to avoid those (Sunrise area and Lyell Canyon). Show them these areas on a map, and alternative areas to camp, as part of the "bear lecture." A good percentage of hikers will want to avoid crowds, bears, and overused sites. But they have to know in advance. This info should be on the website for trip planning as well.

JMT, Yosemite through-access is the problem...thoughts.
Instead of advocating alternative areas/ telling JMT hikers to avoid these two main "bottleneck" zones - (Sunrise area and Lyell Canyon), suggest herding all (or most anyway) of the Muirs together while in the park...It's a freeway trail anyway.

Introduce two large campsites (similar to LYV) - one somewhere near Sunrise HSC and another at Twin Bridges (half way up Donahue). You can post little signs...station a backcountry Ranger at both...maybe erect adequate (two-story?) crappers at both too...force/encourage the JMT permit-holding hikers to stay at these designated MUIR camps. Charge all SOBO JMT hikers $25 each (call it a Yose MUIR fee?) to pay for the Rangers salary. This plan would alleviate encouraging dispersed camping along Yosemite's initial Muir sections - never a good idea when 100 (many brand new) hikers/day start out/or pass using one corridor. There would then be 4 larger, quality, "MUIR must" campsites along the route in Yosemite (much like the Missions)...LYV, Sunrise, Tuolumne BP, and Twin Bridges, plenty of room for all, and lots easier to maintain/manage all the JMT crapola when it is contained, not dispersed.

All other quotas would/could then remain the same.
BTW, why a public forum discussion period would be nice before any action taken.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby SSSdave » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:31 pm

Thanks Mark for showing others how to think out of the box. Well done! The park ought to be well experienced with making that kind of camping system run smoothly. Will also stand as a warning to those who have been ignoring policy and damaging the wilderness, that play by the rules or priveleges may be reduced.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby tim » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:26 pm

RichardCullip wrote:
tim wrote:Interesting that there's no link to finishing south of Reds Meadow. So that takes a southbound Tuolumne to Mammoth hike off the table. I guess the logic is that you can always do it in the opposite direction?


From my understanding, the reservation form ( http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/u ... itform.pdf ) allows a Lyell Canyon Entry Trailhead and a Red's Meadow or Devil's Postpile Exit Trailhead. However, you will be competing for the limited number of Lyell Canyon trailhead permits (15 reserved, 10 walkup) that allow a Donohue Pass exit from Yosemite National Park.


I understand. But the original suggestion was that the exit quota would only apply to (JMT) hikers going beyond Reds Meadow. Now Tuolumne to Mammoth hikers must compete for exit quota slots as well. I expect the YNP calculation is that a hiker going the opposite way is unlikely to camp in Lyell Canyon but will instead cross Donohue and be inspired by the downhill hiking/thought of real food to get all the way to Tuolumne that same day.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby toejam » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:18 am

The NPS people just love rules. Seems to me all the crazy rules are causing a backlash of bad behavior when people who don't know what they are doing in the first place find themselves in violation and decide to do something really stupid. From the facebook JMT page, it sounds like hundreds of people who don't even own backpacks are clogging the fax lines for permits.

I'm of the opinion that if there were no advance reserved permits, there would be a lot less people who actually show up ready to hike the trail. I also think there would be less damage to the wilderness if less resources went to permitting and more went to rangers in the field. This is not a very evolved view, but I started backpacking in Colorado where I never needed permits and people weren't so ready to tell me how to behave and feel.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:35 am

I have to feel a bit sorry for the rangers here. On the one hand, we complain about the traffic and crowds on the JMT, and on the other hand we dislike the rules and regulations that seem antithetical to the wilderness experience. I can only imagine what those folks go through on a busy holiday weekend with 250 people wanting permits for the same three trailheads....

For years our solution has been to take the trail less traveled: looking for less popular trailheads, cross-country routes, and destinations that haven't been featured in a major magazine or a film. It works pretty well, frankly. And we've never found the wilderness rangers anything but helpful, supportive and nice.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby markskor » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:16 am

Just got off the phone with Ed Dunlavey, Wilderness Manager, Yosemite National Park...(The one where the buck eventually stops at.)
I had sent him my response (above) and he told me the following:

1) Nothing yet is absolute policy concerning JMT (and other) quotas inside the park...He agrees that something has to be done for the good of the JMTers as well as all others but as to what? They are still kicking ideas around but nothing is firm yet. Stay tuned? Things can still change.
2) They expect filling 4,000+ JMT SOBO applicant permits this season starting at Yosemite's 3 THs - GP, HI, and TM.
3) He is actively in contact with all concerned...all the major JMT groups as well as other relevant blogs like us.
4) He did not volunteer for this undertaking - sort of dumped on him actually, but feels he is in the best informed position/most qualified to make fair decisions that protects the park's access...does sound genuinely concerned.
5) There is no good decision made so far...There is still room/time for your comments.

ed_dunlavey@nps.gov
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby JWreno » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:40 pm

I understand that permits from Whitney Portal are hard to get. Cottonwood pass permits are very easy to get. 3 different times I got permits within 2 weeks of departure from there. I wouldn't want to hike up from Whitney portal with 10 days of food. I would rather start at 10,000 feet at Horseshoe Meadows after car camping at that elevation the first night. I start the JMT by day hiking Whitney from Crabtree meadows on the 3rd day of the trip. We take 11 days from Horseshoe Meadows to get to resupply at MTR. This includes the two nights at Crabtree Meadows and Whitney day hike.

I have taking a brother and nephew who live in Indiana and Ohio and had them on top of Whitney with no acclamation issues. First night camped at Horseshoe Meadows before hike. 2nd night Rock Creek, 3rd night Crabtree Meadows. This gave them plenty of time to acclimate.
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Re: New Yosemite JMT Permit Rules?

Postby Hobbes » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:04 am

markskor wrote:Instead of telling JMT hikers to avoid main "bottleneck" zones (Sunrise area and Lyell Canyon), suggest herding the Muir hikers together while in the park. It's a freeway trail anyway. Introduce two large campsites - one near Sunrise HSC and another at Twin Bridges (half way up Donahue) - and station backcountry rangers.


Mark, that's a great idea, and most likely the end result of this process. However, it's a mental hurdle for YNP to accept that TM has become the Valley. Denial, reconciliation, anger, grief, acceptance. Recall the initial attempts to control the Valley were aimed at limiting access. Now, they put rangers on roads to direct traffic jams and no longer try and fight the Times Square atmosphere.

The first reaction of any authority is control, with the resulting inevitable public backlash. If YNP wanted to help alleviate some of the traffic coming from the west, they could resurrect/build a trail on the other side of Lyell creek (or over Kuna crest) and route that from the Tioga pass gate (Dana meadows). Sure, everyone would eventually meet @ Twin Bridges, but that's what the designated campground would be for.

Eventually they will have a designated Muir hiker campsite @ Twin Bridges, and people will wonder why they hadn't done it before. In time, it will become a social environment, where newbies can mingle with others double-checking equipment, confer with rangers, re-charge their iDevices and consider with amazement those hearty old-timers who used to venture alone into the great unknown without any support. LOL :crybaby:
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