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Re: The JMT

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avatar The JMT
August 14, 2013 12:23PM
Right guys.

Following on from what I feel was a fantastic success on my recent trip, I am starting to almost, sometimes, occasionaly, maybe, daydream about the next one.

I have been bad, and started looking at a few details of the JMT no, stop, enough!

So, Whitney, to the Valley (I know that is the reverse to the proper way) Worth it? Achieveable for me?

I am less worried about the fitness aspect of it, as I feel my fitness is very high, and getting higher, but the logistics, especially for a solo traveler, from a different country could be an incredible challenge.

I see many people are doing it in 14 days. Sounds like a reasonable target. Less days means less for to carry, right? And food is one of the challenges.

I have very, very briefly looked at the route, but haven't spotted the possible re-supply points yet.

So, what's everyone's thoughts?
(I was warned off my last hike, when I proposed it 18 months ago, somewhere else on the internet... Perhaps I am just stupid, but I do like a challenge, a real one)

Steve
Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 01:14PM
OMG, next year, several of my friends want to do the JMT. It's been a few years since I did it, and before I finished it, I told myself I wanted to do it again.. Usually on longer trips, it takes a few days before I think I wanna go right back... Anyway, my friends and I have been scheming.. Might actually do it again myself next year! smiling smiley

14 days sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I just went back to double-check. Yup, 14 days for me, too. Meant I was walking all day, and some days set up in the dark (I'm not terribly fast), but I did it and would do it again the same way. Hardest thing I have ever done when you combine the physical, mental and emotional hurdles to overcome. I spent the first 4 days with a newbie backpacker, then about 5 days solo. Solo time turned out to be the easiest time for me on the trail, overall. I just did what I wanted, when I wanted.

I started in the Valley and ended at Whitney Portal. If I were to do it again, I'd probably do it the same way... why? Lots of bail options from Yosemite through Red's Meadow, in case something isn't working out. And you are fresh, so the bail options aren't so tempting. I only had enough food on me from the Valley to get to Sunrise in a day and then just enough breakfast and snacks to hit the bear box at the Sunrise trailhead to load up on food to make it to Red's Meadow. (We had dropped off the food the day before I started hiking.) Then enough food to make it to Red's Meadow where I had shipped a box of supplies. The next and final resupply for me was Muir Trail Ranch. That was a bit harsh. I was still solo then, so I had shelter, stove, bear can and 7 days of food (extra food, it turned out) and water for the hot slog. The scale read 35 pounds and that's the worst I've had to carry. It was hot and I felt it. But I got into a groove. Apparently everyone felt it that day, since everyone I'd met at MTR said they were heading to McClure Meadow to camp that night, but I was the only one who made it as far as Evo Meadow. I was bummed as I'd carried extra Fritos to share with everyone and no one showed, so I couldn't fit all my food in my can.. So I set it in an OP Sak (no, they aren't really OP) on top of my can and went to sleep a bit worried about it but...(this was a LONG day, and a longer story I'll tell if you want elsewhere)... Anyway, next day, met up with Basilbop and a friend and continued along for a couple of days, met another friend and the four of us finished at Whitney Portal a few days later. I loved heading south, the scenery kept getting more spectacular (I love the high country) and finishing that way just felt really good to me. It's not that Yosemite isn't stunning, but I really think it'd be too jarring for me to end there after spending so much peaceful time on the trail. "Re-entry" into civilization was more gradual, for as crowded as the Whitney Zone is, it's got nothing on Yosemite Valley! smiling smiley

An awesome trip, great overview of the Sierras, and though I want to go and explore certain areas in depth, there was something special in doing the whole hike that appealed to me. Really enjoyed it and the fabulous people I met on the trail on the way. Trail family. At first I didn't understand people who said they did the trip frequently... but when I was done, I could easily see it.

I think you've made a great choice! If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try to help you out!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/2013 01:16PM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 02:14PM
You can do it Steve!

Most people go north to south as in Yosemite to Whitney and here is why:
1. The peaks and passes get higher as you go culminating at Whitney, going north to south lets your body acclimate as you go.
2. There are several resupply points on the north end of the trail. Yosemite Valley, Tuolomne Meadows, Reds Meadow and VVR all have stores where you can buy a few things and/or you can mail yourself packages to these places. Muir Trail Ranch at approximately the half way point is your last resupply point on the trail. If you start from Yosemite and go south you can be on your way with a light pack as the resupply points are only a few days apart. Then when you get to MTR you will have your trail legs, be nicely acclimized and ready to take on those last 110 miles.
3. If you go north to south you will be going in the same direction as everybody else. Seems like no a big deal, right? Try going against the traffic, as in south to north, and you will run into a party of hikers every few minutes. So going south to north makes the trail feel really crowded.
Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 02:23PM
You probably know about these resources, but just in case:

If you like books: Elizabeth Wenk's John Muir Trail book was extremely popular back when we planned our trips. We ripped out the section pertaining to our direction and carried that. Now, you can get it in Kindle format.

Tom Harrison Map Pack (Amazon)

Too bad International Mapping hasn't made an app based on that map pack, as it's kinda neat to get the mileages added up for you so quickly, but the four existing map apps do cover much of the territory. But if you are watching your $$, skip the apps, get the maps. Wait, you have a Galaxy, right? Never mind. No Android apps yet. But Gaia has an Android app. That plus the above would keep me very happy.
avatar Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 03:08PM
Of course it's worth it and achievable. Do it.

(and I'm certain I encouraged you on this years trip)

Have fun planning



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 05:25PM
Yes Chick-on. I think you are right, it was your fault angry smiley

lol

I think that if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have attempted something that far out of my comfort zone, but thanks to that trip, I have now been able to redifine what my comfort zone is, and how hard I can push myself.

I will start taking a serious look at the route, and rescources over the next few weeks, and weigh it up.

My main concerns were food, and Whitney Portal logistics. But, there seems to be a huge amount of information out there for me to soak up, so looking forward to planning again.

oh, and 110 miles in one bear can, may mean upgrading to a bigger bear can - bearikade anyone? $$$ (or moving quite quickly)

Steve
avatar Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 10:25PM
Hats off to you. I've never subscribed to the "you can do anything" if you set your
mind to it b/c that is simply bollocks. (some things require things we just don't possess
and will never possess) But I highly subscribe to the mantra that will and
desire and hard work will indeed get you very far. And that having goals no matter
what others think and working towards them is always the way to go.
So heart-felt congratulations and huge thanks for relaying your story. There are many
that do indeed get it as JKW has mentioned in the past.
Regards,
Chick-on is looking at you!

(and have fun planning a JMT trek)
(me tinks need to convince JKW to do the SHR instead though) wink



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 05:18PM
No need to talk me into the SHR! After my first couple of tastes of the SHR years ago, I'm still wanting to do more! I would have slowed you guys up some (even if I hadn't been recovering from my ankle injury), but really wanted to do the trip last year. Basilbop and I were just talking this morning how though the JMT is awesome, we probably want to finish the bits of the SHR we haven't done yet... But depending on my schedule next year, I might be able to squeeze in some SHR and JMT! smiling smiley I can plan for it, and cancelling a plan is a bit easier logistically (if not emotionally) than trying to make the plan, ship all the goods out, get reservations, etc, etc at the last minute! And it's fun to have a goal, as others have noted! smiling smiley
Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 06:49PM
Perhaps its being over ambitions and crazy minded but I have a question about the JMT. For those of us that want to carry a "big camera" (Full frame dslr + lens) what is the availability at the resupply stops to recharge batteries. Note currently those solar chargers will not charge my camera's battery and 1 battery is good for a around 2k shots or roughly 5 days of shooting. Storage is easier to mange as cards are cheaper than batteries.

Currently I day hike with this gear and well I am looking into backpacking. Even with a full pack I have a system for the camera which keeps it secure and not swinging off the neck and keeps it at the ready for use while hiking. I expect to be training up for weekend trips to week long trips to longer in prep for the JMT.
Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 09:57PM
Which *exact* battery do you have? Might work with the Pixo C-USB universal charger. Check out their documentation. (Link added to Pixo doc. Mostly German, but enough English.)
I received the Pixo today, charged 4 AAA Sanyo eneloops (2 at a time) and am currently charging a Sony NEX battery. After that I'm going to do a Panasonic Lumix. Though we don't take it much anymore, will try the Canon 5D (full frame DSLR) for grins too. All this off of a 2600mAh battery pack which charges happily (proven on many trips now) on our GoalZero Nomad 3.5 panel.

I shipped myself fresh, charged batteries last time, so didn't pay attention to charging. Wouldn't want to wait for charging, either. It was hard enough trying to get out of the MTR-time-warp zone!

Update: 15 Aug @ 10:54am Pacific: last night, I successfully topped off our Sony NEX battery our Panasonic Lumix battery before going to sleep. I recharged my 2600mAh battery pack for today, and I am currently using it to charge our Canon 5D's 7.8 V LiOn battery, which seems happy. I believe that covers all the batteries which Basilbop and I will be concerned with over the trip. I'm happy with the little device, it's easy to use.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/15/2013 10:58AM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 05:59AM
Its the EN EL18 battery for the D4, The good news is the charging time is only about 4 hours. Looking at the info on that charger though I don't think it would supply the right voltage...its a 10.8v battery



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/15/2013 06:06AM by fullframe.
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 11:01AM
Yup, 10.8V is too much for the Pixo... too bad. I haven't seen anything else that might help you, but honestly I stopped looking when I tripped over this and the specs indicated it would take care of our needs. Maybe someone else knows of another device?

BTW - the "ship yourself a charged battery" trick worked well for me in the past... if that helps any...

Good luck and I hope all goes well leading up to and through your long trek!
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 02:34PM
Quote
fullframe
Perhaps its being over ambitions and crazy minded but I have a question about the JMT. For those of us that want to carry a "big camera" (Full frame dslr + lens) what is the availability at the resupply stops to recharge batteries. Note currently those solar chargers will not charge my camera's battery and 1 battery is good for a around 2k shots or roughly 5 days of shooting. Storage is easier to mange as cards are cheaper than batteries.

Currently I day hike with this gear and well I am looking into backpacking. Even with a full pack I have a system for the camera which keeps it secure and not swinging off the neck and keeps it at the ready for use while hiking. I expect to be training up for weekend trips to week long trips to longer in prep for the JMT.

At any place that has electricity they probably wouldn't have the correct charger, so you'd need to provide that. At that point, seems like it would be easier to just ship/carry the extra battery. I've also got a shoulder-strap mount for my DSLR and it makes a huge difference for comfort and access while backpacking.
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 10:43PM
Quote
vitaminC
Quote
fullframe
Perhaps its being over ambitions and crazy minded but I have a question about the JMT. For those of us that want to carry a "big camera" (Full frame dslr + lens) what is the availability at the resupply stops to recharge batteries. Note currently those solar chargers will not charge my camera's battery and 1 battery is good for a around 2k shots or roughly 5 days of shooting. Storage is easier to mange as cards are cheaper than batteries.

Currently I day hike with this gear and well I am looking into backpacking. Even with a full pack I have a system for the camera which keeps it secure and not swinging off the neck and keeps it at the ready for use while hiking. I expect to be training up for weekend trips to week long trips to longer in prep for the JMT.

At any place that has electricity they probably wouldn't have the correct charger, so you'd need to provide that. At that point, seems like it would be easier to just ship/carry the extra battery. I've also got a shoulder-strap mount for my DSLR and it makes a huge difference for comfort and access while backpacking.


I have a Cotton Carrier, which is basically a chest harness with tether. The system has a locking mechanism which basically leaves your hands free and camera secure for those rock scrambles. Based on the other post it looks like recharging should be possible at most resupply stops (but means I need to carry the charger or keep forwarding it. The biggest thing I love about the cotton carrier is being hands free without worrying about my camera and lenses swinging where they might hit a rock or such when scrambling or exploring. It also save those neck muscles keeping the weight nicely balanced on your shoulders. I have a small day pack that carries 3L water, Food for a day hike and emergency equipment (water purification tabs, tp trashbags and trowel and a headlamp and minor first aid equipment. With a full load of water I am very well balanced
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 05:30PM
just off another business call... so back to backpacking thoughts... MTR's resupply info page says they offer free 24-hour charging.

Quote

How about charging the batteries of all
my toys?


No problem. Most of the season we have 24-hour power, 120 volts AC, just like your house has. Bring your charger for your camera, phone, iPod, whatever. No charge for a charge.
Re: The JMT
August 14, 2013 11:56PM
Absolutely you can do it!
I'd second others opinions and strongly encourage you to go north to south for the reasons stated. The idea of carrying seven days of food to the top of Whitney sounds too brutal. From MTR heading south if you decide to resupply I'd suggest Kearsarge Pass as your best option. I ultimately decided to carry all my food without resupplying and barely fit all of my food in my Bearikade weekender. Consider though that you are not required to carry a bear canister from MTR to Pinchot Pass. So if you can't fit all of your food in your Garcia or BV500 you can hang the excess food for a night or two.
avatar Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 09:08AM
Oh dear, I think today is the tipping point, where I decide I am doing it. I rememebr this from last year...

So, JMT, north to south it is. Ambitious, and slightly stupid, but that's where I get my kicks.

I have been looking at the Bearikade Expedition, which can aparently do upto 12 days. As the whole trip should fit in 14, that should do the trick. I will be lightening a couple of other bits of my kit, so hopefully the weight of all that food won't be so bad. I will start taking a proper look at re-supply points, and such this weekend.

I may need to, erm, "cheat" on this forum, though, so I hope we are okay to have an open relationship? :-)

Steve
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 11:09AM
Woo hoo! Congrats on clearing the first hurdle! I'm sure all of us here will help you as much as we can. Planning and prepping for a big hike is definitely part of the fun, I think. smiling smiley I don't think using the forum is cheating any more than reading a book. You are wisely utilizing the resources at hand! smiling smiley

The Expedition should work easily for you with a resupply at MTR. Are you going to buy or rent? I say this because we borrowed our friend's Expedition... and then ordered that custom 16" can.. which weighs only 2 ounces more, costs only $17 more... and well, has about 90ci more space. It's 1.5" taller. If your pack can swallow it, it gives a little added breathing room. We are very happy with it.
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 11:21AM
Famed taciturn British Explorer HW Tilman, when asked about "going", said to simply plan an expedition on just the back of an envelope, put on your boots, and go.

He was phenomenally succcessful. Not all of us can do that so well.
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 11:22AM
Congrats on deciding to go for it!

My two cents on the Bearikade. I would not expect to fit even close to 12 days of food (plus other scented goodies) in the Expedition. I can fit about 9 tops, and I'm running about 1.5 lbs. of food per day. I know they claim up to 12 days on their website for a 900 cu canister, but they also list the weekender at 650 cu is good for 6 days. Suggesting that you can fit 6 more days with 250 more cu is way out of line IMHO. Whichever can you get just make sure you can fit your largest resupply (presumably MTR) in it at home before loading it up on the trail!
As far as resupply my plan was:
1.) Leave food in a bear locker in Tuolumne
2.) Red's Meadow
3.) MTR
VVR is a fun experience and it's great to be served a delicious meal and have a beer, but as Red's and MTR are not too far apart you can skip it for a resupply.

You mentioned your fitness was very high, you might consider traveling light and day hiking from HI to Tuolumne on your first day, unless you've never been to Half Dome in which case you should definitely hit it up!
Re: The JMT
August 15, 2013 02:31PM
Hey, I'm thinking about this for next year too! Elizabeth Wenk's book just arrived in the mail today smiling smiley
Re: The JMT
August 18, 2013 08:34AM
That's great TS!

I really look forward to hearing about your planning.

I just met two retired ladies at the bottom of Nevada Falls. They were heading to Mt Whitney. They were planning on doing the JMT in 20 days. (they are almost half way done today). I could tell that they are very experienced hikers (they shared some great stories). They had super small packs with large carbon fiber bear cans strapped on top.

If there is anything that I can do to help from Los Angeles, let me know.
Re: The JMT
August 18, 2013 09:54PM
I just came off the JMT on Friday. We did a short segment, Agnew Meadows to Tuolumne via Shadow Lake. It's tough, like being on a Stairmaster for 4 days. But we met some amazing people hiking. One man was 70 and was doing 25 miles a day. It was his 7th trip on the JMT.

We did meet a lot of people headed south as we were headed north. As a result, the 'wilderness' felt more like a city park sometimes. Of course, we were doing the most popular and easiest section.

Go for it! I'd like to see more of the trail myself, but I'm more inclined to do it in sections.
Re: The JMT
August 19, 2013 01:28PM
I just got off the phone with the Bishop wilderness permit office. I was calling for a this-year, non-JMT reason.. but she was so friendly, I thought I'd ask...

I'd heard that people were leaving their WAG bags on the trail and it was getting pretty bad. She told me she had just been talking to the ranger up there (as in this past Sunday she was on Whitney - scooting down from the storm), and he said he'd say maybe 2% of those now don't carry their WAG bags out. He said that they had been on the trail, but now he had to go looking. She found one tucked under a tree herself.

The biggest problem they have right now, is that folks have decided to leave their bags ON the bio-waste can instead of dumping the bags IN the can at the Whitney Portal Trailhead. Seriously? What gives? Are these nutjobs protesting trying to keep the mountain clean? Too tired to open the can? Jeez. I have friends who will exit Whitney on the 21st. I hope to have an LNT-instructor's take on the situation that day, or after Labor Day, since we will be staging the same day and move out of coverage just as they move into it! sad smiley

Anyway, one of the reasons for my reluctance to hit Whitney again seems to be mostly a non-issue. Which is nice, because as over-popular as the poor thing is,I think it's a pretty little mountain with a fabulous trail.
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