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Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)

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Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 18, 2012 01:29PM
I'm contemplating hiking the JMT but I just don't have the time to do it all at once - I have reviewed some maps and it looks like the entire trail can be broken down into three attainable sections (North to South) which I am thinking of doing over the next three years -

Section 1 would be Litlle Yosemite Valley to Reds Meadow - Section 2 would be Reds Meadow to Le Conte Canyon - coming out via South Lake - and the 3rd section would be from Le Conte to Whitney.

Does anyone have any other potential section breakdowns that might be better?

Also, how long would each section take assuming a 10-12 mile day for each one (I'm 51 and not as hearty as some of you guys)

Thanks for your input!
Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 18, 2012 04:02PM
This seems like a decent way to break the JMT into three pieces. For section 1, I think you're looking at 4-5 days, depending on if you exit via Agnew Meadow or go all the way to Reds Meadow. For part 2, I'm guessing around 7-8 days, and you could save a day if you (re)entered via Duck Pass instead of starting from Reds Meadow. You'll probably want to resupply at Muir Trail Ranch to lighten your load over Silver and Selden Passes. For part 3, I'm thinking 7-10 days--this is the most challenging section in terms of all the high passes, and also the one you won't want to rush through. Unfortunately there's no convenient resupply option for this section--the best probably being the pack station at Onion Valley (via Kearsarge Pass)--so you may need to stretch a few days along this segment to reduce your food load and align camping opportunities with the topography.

In any event, it's a great trip--enjoy, and be sure to share pictures with us!
avatar Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 18, 2012 08:25PM
My wife and I did the JMT from Tuolumne southwards this summer and generally averaged your 10-12 miles per day, so that is a good goal, I think. That being said, we took 3.5 days from Tuolumne to Reds, and I would suggest that you plan on doing the 22 or so miles from Happy Isles to Tuolumne in no less than three days. It is the start of your trip, and between break-in, aclimatization, the fact that its all uphill...you don't want it to be a death march (at least I wouldn't). Plus there are a few things to see along the way wink So my thought is Happy Isles to Reds being 7 days.

From Reds we were 4 days to Muir Trail Ranch where we picked up a re-supply, and from there I would take 4 days to South Lake.

From South Lake and out to Whitney Portal I would figure 9 days. The only re-supply option is to have it hauled in, via a friend or one of the local packers, usually to Charlotte Lake.

And btw our 10 to 12 miles was pretty easy once we hit our stride...but by breaking it up into three sections, you have three of the "first couple of days", which are always the hardest, at least for me.

And here's hoping you enjoy a few starry nights, like this one at Evolution Lake:

If you look closely you might even see the shooting starts I was lucky enough to bag!
Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 28, 2012 04:48AM
Beautiful photo. I love the way the stars are reflecting in the water.
Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 19, 2012 09:33AM
Since both of the times we did the JMT, we took 28 days...I would suggest 4 weeks.

Week #1 Yosemite Valley to Reds Meadow
Week #2 Reds to Bishop Pass
Week #2 Bishop Pass to Kearsarge Pass
Weeks 4 Kearsarge to Whitney
Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 27, 2012 07:50PM
Quote
hikerchick395
Since both of the times we did the JMT, we took 28 days...I would suggest 4 weeks.

Week #1 Yosemite Valley to Reds Meadow
Week #2 Reds to Bishop Pass
Week #2 Bishop Pass to Kearsarge Pass
Weeks 4 Kearsarge to Whitney

I've section hiked to JMT using this same plan and it worked out great. Also you can hit up halfdome if you like and your backcountry permit allows you to skip the HD lottery. I also left food in a bear locker at TM so I wouldn't have to carry all my food from HI to Red's.
Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 21, 2012 07:22AM
Excellent advice - Thanks you guys and Merry Christmas

I like the idea of splitting it into 4 parts rather than 3 since it gives me more time to enjoy the trail - How long do you think it will take to go from Kearsarge to Whitney?.....and from Bishop Pass to Kearsarge Pass? - any ideas on estimates? (assuming 10-12 mile days)
Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 21, 2012 09:06AM
We relied more on desired camping locations, not miles traveled per day. For the Bishop Pass to Kearsarge section, it would be 8 days/7 nights. And for the Kearsarge to Whitney Portal section, we took 7 days/6 nights.

Both sections could easily be hiked in a shorter period of time...but why. For us, it was not long enough!
Re: Need Advice on JMT (Breaking the trail into sections)
December 28, 2012 07:04AM
Quote
hikerchick395
We relied more on desired camping locations, not miles traveled per day. For the Bishop Pass to Kearsarge section, it would be 8 days/7 nights. And for the Kearsarge to Whitney Portal section, we took 7 days/6 nights.

Both sections could easily be hiked in a shorter period of time...but why. For us, it was not long enough!

If "more desired camping locations" coincide with everyone else's more desired camping locations, plan to be kept awake by bears messing with your canisters. I've backpacked all over the range but the JMT is the only place we had bears doing that pretty much every night, sometimes twice or three times.

To not have this happen, plan to camp in places that are off trail by half a mile, and nowhere near the hammered, trampled, scenic areas that have no camping zones, like Thousand Island Lake.

The ideal campsites to me are not in the bottoms of canyons near water (those are coldest and result in the most condensation inside tents) and not on tops of ridges or mountains (any weather that blows up will hit you head on) but on flat benches partway up ridges.
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