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  1. #1
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    Default Planning Thru-Hike of JMT Summer of 2018

    I am planning a thru-hike of the JMT in the summer of 2018, if I can obtain a permit. I am 63 years old, in good condition, but recovering from meniscus surgery. I reside in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. If anyone can give me advice on maximizing my chances of obtaining a permit out of Yosemite (any of the 5 trailheads), I would like to hear from you. I would also be interested in hearing from anyone who has thru-hiked the JMT nobo, particularly in regards to getting a permit, as well as pros and cons of their entry points and how to reach them via public transportation. I am working on transportation logistics, resupply points, meals, and related matters. My concern is that I already have an enormous emotional investment in this expedition, but I do not like the uncertainty of the permit system. All pertinent advice is welcome. Is anyone else on this forum planning on doing the JMT next summer? Ideally, I would like to begin around the 20th of August, with possible starting dates going through the 10th of September.

    I thru-hiked the AT Georgia to Maine in 1982 and did another 1,500 mile AT trek in 1987.

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    With rolling lottery, you apply 3 weeks at time
    Be flexible, apply, apply, apply. Apply from mid july thru mid sept.

    You cant do anything until have permit really. And only handful of possible resupplies.

    Or, do forest service permit route. Flip flop., Etc. From reds meadow.b The problem nobo is whitney zone permit, need to start farther south like cottnwood with more miles.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-02-2017 at 11:52.

  3. #3
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    First of all... if you are hiking the JMT starting from Yosemite, then you are hiking SOBO. The hike out of Yosemite Valley does start in a northerly direction. But the trail basically does a U-Turn in as it reaches Tuolumne. Since the other end of the JMT (Mt. Whitney) is south of Yosemite, a JMT hiker going from Yosemite to Whitney is considered SOBO.

    As MuddyWaters advises, there's not much you can do to increase your odds of winning the JMT lottery if you want to hike a traditional JMT hike. When I started planning for my JMT thru, I took the mental attitude that it would take me two years of applying to obtain a permit (so I was beyond thrilled when I got a permit starting at Happy Isle after only 11 days of trying). I hear you can increase your odds of getting permits if you attempt some of the none-traditional JMT thru hikes. These would include going north from Mt. Whitney, starting from somewhere beyond the limits of the JMT, or doing a flip-flop starting somewhere in the middle of the JMT. Because the southern end of the JMT starts with such high elevations, I wouldn't recommend NOBO JMT hikes to people from the East Coast. We're just not as use to the altitude. A SOBO starting from Yosemite Valley gives you a much better chance to acclimate to the altitude.


    On the subject of transportation...
    Using public transportation, there's basically no way you can travel from the East Coast all the way to Yosemite Valley in one day. About the best you can do (if you want to avoid to cost of a hotel room) is to catch a late flight to California and then take an over-night train/bus ride to Yosemite. But IMHO, it's a much easier start to your trip by paying for a hotel room and take two days to casually travel to Yosemite Valley.

    The way I did it from Birmingham, AL was to take a 10am flight to Sacramento with a reservation at the Vagabond Inn. When I landed, I simply called the Inn and they sent their shuttle to pick me up (saving the cost of a cab ride). The next morning, I walked across the street to the Amtrak station to catch the 6:00am train (which didn't 'feel' that early in the morning due to the change of time zones). My pre-purchased Amtrak ticket included a YARTS bus transfer and admission to Yosemite National Park. I arrived in Yosemite Valley about noon time.

    The night before your hike...
    In Yosemite Valley, there is a Back Packer's Camp Ground that (for a fee) your permit allows you to camp there the night before you start your hike. From what I understand, its a 'group camp' area with ground space available on a first-come first-serve basis. I decided that rather than trying to compete for space at that campground, for about $20 more, I was able to reserve a front-country campsite in the Upper Pines campground. As a bonus... the Back Packer's Camp Ground is located about 1 mile from the Happy Isles trail head... my reserved spot in the Upper Pines Camp Ground was about 500 feet from the trail head. Reservations for front country campsites open about 5 months ahead of time (so check their website for the process... you want to try to make an online reservation the SECOND the campsites open up from reservations).

    Travel Home...
    At the end of my hike, I hitch-hiked into Lone Pine, CA. The day I arrived at the Whitney Portal, there wasn't much traffic. So it took me about an hour to catch a ride. But anyone leaving the Whitney Portal has to travel thru Lone Pine, so it's a pretty easy hitch. I've known others that have instead opted to pay for a shuttle, but they can be very expensive. Since I wasn't sure of the day I would exit the trail, I didn't bother to make a hotel reservation in Lone Pine. But if you get there early, rooms will be available. For such a small town that is otherwise in the middle of no-where, hotel rooms are some-what expensive (~$120-$150). At 6:30am (Mon, Tue, Thr, Fri) there is a shuttle bus that runs from Lone Pine to the Reno Airport. It gets to the airport a little after noon, so there's a good chance that it is possible for you to fly home 'same day'.

    Resupply...
    Once you pass the half-way point near Muir Trail Ranch, there are no ideal resupply options.

    One possible option many people take is to simply not resupply after MTR. This is a viable option if you can hike the JMT in a typical three week itinerary. To keep up with that itinerary, your daily average must be 11 miles per day with 2,000 feet of accumulated elevation gain. If it takes you significantly longer than that to hike the trail, you likely will not be able carry an adequate amount of food. The limiting factor is bear canisters requirements. The largest approved bear canister readily available is the Bearikade Expedition with a volume of about 1,000cuin. That gives you enough room for about 10 days worth of food. But even then, the food must be caloric dense and very efficiently packed. (I barely managed 10 days of food at 3,000 calories per day... and still lost an average of 1/2 pound per day on my hike).

    The most costly option is to have a packer meet you on the trail with resupplies. This requires paying a packer for two days worth of labor (one day to hike in with the supplies, and another day to hike back out) plus the cost of the mule that hauls the supplies. From what I've heard, the ball park cost is $800, and the locations to meet are limited (one spot located about 2/3 of the way along the JMT, the other is located about 6/7 of the way along the JMT.

    Another option is to hike over same passes the packers use to go get your own resupplies. But like the packers, you can expect that to require a minimum of two extra days for a resupply.

    Others have used a combination... such as hiking out the passes to meet the packers half way. That way, it only takes you about one extra day, and the cost of the packer is halved.


    While you'll find people such as myself that will be happy to share our knowledge of the JMT here on WhiteBlazes, the most active JMT related online communities include a FaceBook group and a Yahoo New Group.

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    For some it is possible to get to yosemite in 1 day, arrive evening, but its tight. Some do it, i wouldnt recommend it.

    Not a lot of recourse if you get to airport and pack doesnt. You can miss window to pick up permit...then sol.

    Make it a leisurely pace, spend permit pickup day seeing valley. Maybe even a contingency day. Your on vacation after all.

    Backpackers camp is fine, no crowds at all in yosemite .

    I took pm flight after work to bakersfield. Stayed in hotel. To amtrak next morning, train to merced, yarts to yosemite bug hostel /resort in Mariposa. Next morning yarts into park from hostel driveway.

    Plane was late by 2 hrs
    Train was delayed by 2 hrs

    Which is why dont try same day imo.....
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-02-2017 at 15:35.

  5. #5
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    Daggon HooKooDooKu, great info.

    Not sure I can add much to that, but I'll just relay my experience and offer to answer any other questions you may have.

    A northbound permit out of Cottonwood is not hard to get. I just went online and there were plenty of dates to pick from. Bonus to NOBO from Cottonwood is that it comes with a Half Dome permit (I HIGHLY recommend doing Half Dome). I ended up getting a Happy Isles permit though on my first lotto go-around, so I cancelled the Cottonwood permit.

    My hike began Th 8/31 out of Happy Isles. Because my travel day was Wednesday, I didn't fly into Reno b/c the ESTA bus doesn't run on Wednesdays. So I flew into Fresno. I had a Yarts reservation leaving right out front of the airport, a route that unfortunately I found out upon landing had been cancelled due to a fire. So I took a midnight Uber ride to the Merced Airport, pitched my tent in front of it, and caught the 6am Yarts bus from there. I then stayed in the Backpackers camp the night before my hike. There was plenty of space there.

    I met a bunch of folks who did walkups out of Tuolumne, and all got one on their first attempt. One guy even got a Half Dome permit with his, so he did a sort of flip flop going from Tuolumne to Happy Isles, then catching Yarts back up to Tuolumne to continue his trek. He got to go DOWN Yosemite Valley....so envious lol!

    I got a ride with the first group of guys I asked out of Whitney Portal. I got a room at the Whitney Portal Hostel. If you don't mind splitting a room with other hikers, it's only like $30/night. I personally enjoyed the camaraderie with the other hikers there. Lone Pine is a cool town. I spent a day eating, doing laundry, and eating. I took the ESTA bus from the McDonalds there at 6am all the way to Reno and flew home.

    Just put in that permit lotto request and keep your fingers crossed. But know that there are still plenty of options to do the JMT if you don't get a Yosemite permit.

    Please don't hesitate to ask any questions. It was one of my greatest life experiences being out there and a day hasn't gone by that I don't think about the trail.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    For some it is possible to get to yosemite in 1 day, arrive evening, but its tight.
    Depends upon where you live...

    When I looked at plane/train/bus schedules last year, there simply were not any flights from most cities in the East that would land in California early enough to catch an Amtrak train/YARTS bus combo to Yosemite that same day, nor would they land early enough to catch a connecting flight to Fresno or Mammoth where you could catch a late YARTS bus into Yosemite Valley that night.

    The closest thing I could find (that at least eliminates the need for a hotel room) was late night flight into LAX landing around 11:00 pm, taking the "FlyAway" bus to Amtrak's Union Station, and then get on an early morning train/YARTS combo that got you to Yosemite Valley in the morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Depends upon where you live...

    When I looked at plane/train/bus schedules last year, there simply were not any flights from most cities in the East that would land in California early enough to catch an Amtrak train/YARTS bus combo to Yosemite that same day, nor would they land early enough to catch a connecting flight to Fresno or Mammoth where you could catch a late YARTS bus into Yosemite Valley that night.

    The closest thing I could find (that at least eliminates the need for a hotel room) was late night flight into LAX landing around 11:00 pm, taking the "FlyAway" bus to Amtrak's Union Station, and then get on an early morning train/YARTS combo that got you to Yosemite Valley in the morning.
    If you can fly from eastern hub city early, it can be done. Youll arrive in san francisco by 1130 am. BART to richmond.(requires line change someplace) 1254 amtrsk to merced. 550 yarts to yosemite, arriving 830 pm. But you have no time to dawdle at airport and figure out where to go. No room for error. Main flight must be nonstop and leave by about 8 am from eastern time zone. Earlier from central time zone. And you get to yosemite as its getting dark, and you didnt get to eat that day...
    Atlanta to san francisco arrives as early as 945 am for example on one airline. Washington dc can get you in SFO by 9am. Etc.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-02-2017 at 17:51.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    ...comes with a Half Dome permit (I HIGHLY recommend doing Half Dome)...
    I had a permit for Half Dome... but ultimately decided against using it...

    In my case, I would have had to stashed my pack somewhere in the woods while climbing Half Dome. An unattended pack is at risk of damage by some 4 legged animals (especially since in crowded National Parks, some of these animals have learned to associate back packs with food... even if there isn't any food in the pack).

    If I had been hiking NOBO where I was ending at Yosemite, damaged gear wouldn't have put the completion of my hike at risk. But because I was going SOBO, I was at the start of my hike where damage to my gear could put completion of the hike in jeopardy. So after all the effort, planning, and cost I had put into hiking the JMT, I decided it wasn't worth the risk of leaving my pack unattended while climbing Half Dome.

    To this day, I had that I missed climbing Half Dome... but I don't regret my decision. It's a decision I would make again.

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    Thanks to everyone who responded to my original post. Your input is useful. By the way, I plan on flying out west, arriving 2 or 3 days prior to the beginning of my hike, giving me plenty of time to pick up my permit (if I get one) and getting to the trail head via public transportation. My preference is to travel sobo from Yosemite, but I will consider other options. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Not sure yet which airport to fly into. Reno? LAX? Fresno? Reno looks like an attractive option to me at this time.

    Charles Sullivan

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    Quote Originally Posted by csullivan View Post
    Not sure yet which airport to fly into. Reno? LAX? Fresno? Reno looks like an attractive option to me at this time.
    Because one Amtrak ticket will cover your transportation from the train station all the way into Yosemite Valley, it made a lot more sense to me to fly to the west side of the Sierra-Nevada mountains. You still wind up using the YARTS bus system to get into Yosemite, but your one relatively low cost Amtrak ticket covers the cost of the Amtrak, the YARTS, and the Yosemite entrance fee. I think my ticket to go from Sacramento to Yosemite Valley was about $40.

    Once you decide to use Amtrak, then you have to start checking flights vs train schedules to find the timing that works for you (the Amtrak schedule includes the estimated time you'll arrive in Yosemite Valley).

    Here's the main things I recall from my research on the subject last year...
    San Fransisco: There is the BART system to help you move around the city.
    Sacramento: City where it's safe to walk the city street, but you have to arrange transportation from the airport to the train station (as I said earlier, I did this by staying at a hotel within walking distance of the train station and had the hotel shuttle pick me up from the airport).
    LAX: FlyAway can get you between the airport and Amtrak Union Station. You're pretty safe... so long as you stay inside the train station.
    Fresno: Difficult (perhaps impossible depending upon where you live) to get a direct flight from the east coast.

    For the trip home, because of Eastern Sierra Transit system, Reno is an excellent way to get home. But to get to Yosemite Valley, you would potentially have to do something like get an early flight into Reno, use Eastern Sierra Transit to get to Mammoth, then use one or perhaps two YARTS buses to get from Mammoth to Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. (However, if you were to get a permit to start from Tuolumne rather than Yosemite Valley, Reno sounds like an attractive option because it is just a two step process... Reno to Mammoth, then YARTS to Tuolumne.

    Of course you can't book transportation until you know your dates. But as you try to determine dates, here's several things you potentially need to look into from an over-all schedule perspective... Because I think I saw another thread where you stated that you might potentially hike as late as September... you need to know that certain facilities start closing up shop.
    For example:
    Muir Trail Ranch (the last easy resupply spot) closes for the season sometime in September (so you have to reach the mid point of the JMT before that date).
    Some of the YARTS routes are seasonal (with various routes terminating on different dates in September).

    And some News from Eastern Sierra Transit. It looks like, effective July 24th 2017, that the bus between Lone Pine and Reno now operates Monday thru Friday (previously I think it was M,T,T,F).
    The Eastern Sierra Transit bus between Reno/Mammoth/Lone Pine only runs on
    YARTS schedules... because certain routes only run at certain times of the year. I think I saw somewhere else that you potentially planned to hike as late as September.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post

    As MuddyWaters advises, there's not much you can do to increase your odds of winning the JMT lottery if you want to hike a traditional JMT hike.
    The traditional JMT hike is NOBO, starting at Mt. Whitney and finishing at the LeConte Lodge in Yosemite Valley. You can pick up a permit from Horseshoe Meadows any time. Just walk-in to the visitor center in Lone Pine. There's tons of quota space from that trailhead. Since Mt. Whitney is not in the Whitney Zone, you avoid that whole permit mess.Another advantage is you get another 20 miles of beautiful hiking.

    Fly to LAX and take Metrolink to Lancaster. Take the Eastern Sierra Transit to Lone Pine. From there you could find a shuttle or maybe Uber to Horseshoe Meadows. When you get to Yosemite Valley you get to spend one night at the backpacker's site, then you can take Amtrak back to LA.

    Arrange a packer to drop off a resupply at Charlotte Lake, mail a bucket to Muir Trail Ranch. Skip VVR. You can resupply at Red's Meadow Store, most likely out of the hiker box. You can resupply at the Tuolumne Meadows Store.

    Late September early October will have short days and cold nights. It could be beautiful, or you could hit an early season snow storm. Late August and early September is a great time to be in the Sierra, the weather is a bit more stable and the bugs are gone.

    It's a beautiful hike, you'll enjoy it a lot.

  12. #12
    Winter 35R & Catskill 3500 Club Starvin Marvin's Avatar
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    The wife and I did the JMT this past Aug-Sept NOBO from Cottonwood Lakes. Permits were as easy as going online to reserve the day you want to start. You should do that in advance, to ensure your preferred start date.

    > For more info on this matter, check out Heather Goudreau's site "Hikingthejmt.com"

    We flew into Mammoth Yosemite Airport and stayed at Mammoth Mountain Inn ( 9000') for 2 days to acclimate, coming from the East coast at 280' elav. Free shuttle from the airport to the Inn. They have a gondola that can take you to the top of the mountain (11,050'), for further acclimation. M M Inn also has free shuttles to town, Mammoth Lakes, and the town has free shuttle trolleys that take you around town.

    From town we took an ESTA bus to Bishop to pick up our permit, and then another bus down to Lone Pine. You can take the bus all the way to Lone Pine, but we (I) wanted to stop at Sage To Summit Gear store, and to get lunch. Great little UL gear store in case you need any last minute items. They also rent bear cans and UL gear.

    Once in Lone Pine, we connected with our next shuttle to Horseshoe Meadow. We arranged that thru the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce. Great prices, pleasant informative people, I highly recommend.

    We grabbed a campsite at Cottonwood Lakes campground (10,000') and started our journey the next day.

    For resupply, we did Mt Williamson in Independence, and V V R. I highly recommend V V R. We skipped MTR, but stopped at Red's Meadows for breakfast.


    --Pros/Cons of NOBO--

    The previous days higher altitude helped with acclimation. Summiting Mt Whitney was no problem at all. Going from Horseshoe Meadow gives you an extra 2 days hiking above 10,000' that also helps.
    - I enjoyed the extra days and miles, some might not have the time.-

    There are plenty of bear boxes around in the southern part of the trail, to help with those with overflowing bear cans.
    -It is a bit farther to get to MTR, but there are other resupply options to help with this. They require extra miles, days, and or money, but it also makes for a lighter total pack weight.-

    There were quite a few sections that I was happy to be going down in elevation instead of up, with a loaded pack.
    -I and my knees would prefer to climb steep elevations, but for the climbs out of Yosemite, and the Golden Staircase, to name 2, I was glad we were heading NOBO.-

    NOBO JMT permits starting from Cottonwood lakes and Cottonwood Pass include a Half Dome Permit. It removes that part of the equation for SOBO Lottery Permits.
    -Some people might not want to do Half Dome, so it wouldn't matter.-

    Ending in Yosemite gives you many more options for food, accommodations, and travel, than Lone Pine does.
    -You need to check scheduling for that time of the year, as they reduce the number of shuttles after their busy season.-


    In the end, all those concerns about going NOBO, starting at a higher altitude, having a heavier pack at the beginning, not being able to fit all your food into your bear can, were a non issue. If I did it again, I would do the same, NOBO.

    I have to thank Colorado Rob for his views and opinions on going NOBO. It helped make our planning a bit easier.
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    Quite easy to get a permit for either Cottonwood Pass or New Army Pass at the south end of the trail. These have the added benefit of allowing you to camp in either Cottonwood or Horseshoe Meadow campgrounds for a couple of nights before starting your hike. Since they are at 10,000 feet, they help tremendously with your acclimation.

    You can easily get a permit to climb Whitney as part of the process, no need to enter the lottery. This tactic does add a few miles and means hiking to Whitney, then backtracking a few miles, but it isn't at all bad. I much prefer climbing Whitney from the back side, anyway - way fewer people and MUCH better trail than the Whitney Portal trail.

    Whatever hassle it is to get permits, etc. it is WELL worth the effort. Once you have the permits in hand, the powers that be are pretty flexible and understanding regarding changes to your schedule, so don't feel totally "locked in". You must, however, start your hike on the day and trailhead that your permit calls for. Absolutely a fantastic trail and experience. Have a blast! Hopefully won't be quite as big of snow year as this past one. I was still crossing some snowfields in Sept. Nothing dangerous, but they were earlier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starvin Marvin View Post
    The wife and I did the JMT this past Aug-Sept NOBO from Cottonwood Lakes. Permits were as easy as going online to reserve the day you want to start. You should do that in advance, to ensure your preferred start date.

    > For more info on this matter, check out Heather Goudreau's site "Hikingthejmt.com"

    We flew into Mammoth Yosemite Airport and stayed at Mammoth Mountain Inn ( 9000') for 2 days to acclimate, coming from the East coast at 280' elav. Free shuttle from the airport to the Inn. They have a gondola that can take you to the top of the mountain (11,050'), for further acclimation. M M Inn also has free shuttles to town, Mammoth Lakes, and the town has free shuttle trolleys that take you around town.

    From town we took an ESTA bus to Bishop to pick up our permit, and then another bus down to Lone Pine. You can take the bus all the way to Lone Pine, but we (I) wanted to stop at Sage To Summit Gear store, and to get lunch. Great little UL gear store in case you need any last minute items. They also rent bear cans and UL gear.

    Once in Lone Pine, we connected with our next shuttle to Horseshoe Meadow. We arranged that thru the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce. Great prices, pleasant informative people, I highly recommend.

    We grabbed a campsite at Cottonwood Lakes campground (10,000') and started our journey the next day.

    For resupply, we did Mt Williamson in Independence, and V V R. I highly recommend V V R. We skipped MTR, but stopped at Red's Meadows for breakfast.


    --Pros/Cons of NOBO--

    The previous days higher altitude helped with acclimation. Summiting Mt Whitney was no problem at all. Going from Horseshoe Meadow gives you an extra 2 days hiking above 10,000' that also helps.
    - I enjoyed the extra days and miles, some might not have the time.-

    There are plenty of bear boxes around in the southern part of the trail, to help with those with overflowing bear cans.
    -It is a bit farther to get to MTR, but there are other resupply options to help with this. They require extra miles, days, and or money, but it also makes for a lighter total pack weight.-

    There were quite a few sections that I was happy to be going down in elevation instead of up, with a loaded pack.
    -I and my knees would prefer to climb steep elevations, but for the climbs out of Yosemite, and the Golden Staircase, to name 2, I was glad we were heading NOBO.-

    NOBO JMT permits starting from Cottonwood lakes and Cottonwood Pass include a Half Dome Permit. It removes that part of the equation for SOBO Lottery Permits.
    -Some people might not want to do Half Dome, so it wouldn't matter.-

    Ending in Yosemite gives you many more options for food, accommodations, and travel, than Lone Pine does.
    -You need to check scheduling for that time of the year, as they reduce the number of shuttles after their busy season.-


    In the end, all those concerns about going NOBO, starting at a higher altitude, having a heavier pack at the beginning, not being able to fit all your food into your bear can, were a non issue. If I did it again, I would do the same, NOBO.

    I have to thank Colorado Rob for his views and opinions on going NOBO. It helped make our planning a bit easier.
    Thx for sharing...next time I do JMT this will be the plan...I did a flip out of devils PP due to permit issues...how long were y’all out for?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Winter 35R & Catskill 3500 Club Starvin Marvin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    Thx for sharing...next time I do JMT this will be the plan...I did a flip out of devils PP due to permit issues...how long were y’all out for?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    2 days at Mammoth at the beginning.
    1 day to travel to Horseshoe Meadow.
    20 days on the trail, of which the extras were:

    -2 days to get to Guitar Lake,
    -1.5 days for Mt Williamson,
    -1.5 days for V V R,
    -1 day for Half Dome, due to setting up camp early for a morning trip up the rock. Had the top to myself for a whole 20 minutes.

    2 days in Yosemite relaxing.

    We did 285 miles total on the trail, plus who knows how many before and after, doing the tourist thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starvin Marvin View Post
    The wife and I did the JMT this past Aug-Sept NOBO from Cottonwood Lakes. Permits were as easy as going online to reserve the day you want to start. You should do that in advance, to ensure your preferred start date.
    I wonder if there is any chance we crossed paths? We were just out there doing 190 miles of the Sierra High Route**, starting at Road's End, heading NOBO, on Sept 5... I clearly remember chatting with someone along the way, a couple, who had started at Cottonwood and told us about the not-needing-a-permit-for-Half-Dome thing. There were 5 of us, all grey hair-60-somethings. Did we see you?
    ..
    **Sierra High Route: DO IT! But only if you're comfortable with miles and miles of steep, sometimes loose rock/talus hopping and occasional 3rd-4th-class rock scrambling. And you have decent micro-navigation skills, AKA: Tactical route finding. The general route finding along the SHR is easy-peasy with today's technology (GPS with track loaded). We touched down on the JMT in three places; near Bishop, VVR, Red's, plus we finished at Tuolumne, skipping the last 30 miles of the SHR due to fairly heavy snow and the fact that there was a bunch of 4th class scrambling to follow. When we weren't on the JMT, we saw NO ONE, zero, nada, we owned the most beautiful parts of the Sierra. Fantastic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starvin Marvin View Post
    2 days at Mammoth at the beginning.
    1 day to travel to Horseshoe Meadow.
    20 days on the trail, of which the extras were:

    -2 days to get to Guitar Lake,
    -1.5 days for Mt Williamson,
    -1.5 days for V V R,
    -1 day for Half Dome, due to setting up camp early for a morning trip up the rock. Had the top to myself for a whole 20 minutes.

    2 days in Yosemite relaxing.

    We did 285 miles total on the trail, plus who knows how many before and after, doing the tourist thing.
    Two minor points, jmt is 211 miles, 220 with a WP exit, so you walked a lot of extra miles. Not a bad thing, but not JMT. I did extra too.

    You are allowed to exit wilderness for less than 24 hrs to resupply, as long as reenter same trailhead. Otherwise permit is technically void. This is overlooked by some that dont realize it, and think they will take zero day at a place like mt williamson. No, you cant do that without getting a new permit. People contemplating hiking need to be aware of permit limitations.

    VVR and MTR are actually in wilderness, operating under special permits. you can stay there as long as can afford.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-04-2017 at 15:24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    **Sierra High Route: DO IT!
    Funny, I was just looking into this today. I think about the Sierras every single day and yearn to go back. I have a couple land nav courses under my belt, just need to brush some dust off those skills. I wonder about the climbing...physically I'm able, but having that pack on your back changes things. But what a challenge it would be, and getting a different view of the most gorgeous mountains I've ever seen.

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    I've been watching a youtube series currently being posted by a guy doing that trail, his channel followbigfoot
    A few weeks back he posted his take on permitting. I think it's all pretty much been said, but Might be helpful
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHnNyxrKEhs

    I sure do wish I was closer to that. I would love to do some hiking out that way. I think it looks like some of the most beautiful country in the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    I wonder if there is any chance we crossed paths? We were just out there doing 190 miles of the Sierra High Route**, starting at Road's End, heading NOBO, on Sept 5... I clearly remember chatting with someone along the way, a couple, who had started at Cottonwood and told us about the not-needing-a-permit-for-Half-Dome thing. There were 5 of us, all grey hair-60-somethings. Did we see you?
    ..
    **Sierra High Route: DO IT! But only if you're comfortable with miles and miles of steep, sometimes loose rock/talus hopping and occasional 3rd-4th-class rock scrambling. And you have decent micro-navigation skills, AKA: Tactical route finding. The general route finding along the SHR is easy-peasy with today's technology (GPS with track loaded). We touched down on the JMT in three places; near Bishop, VVR, Red's, plus we finished at Tuolumne, skipping the last 30 miles of the SHR due to fairly heavy snow and the fact that there was a bunch of 4th class scrambling to follow. When we weren't on the JMT, we saw NO ONE, zero, nada, we owned the most beautiful parts of the Sierra. Fantastic!
    Sounds like a great trip....how long y’all out for? I assume it was tough to do higher mpd with the rock hopping and route finding. I’ve been thinking about HSR since doing JMT...the Sierra is an amazing place like no other...assume there’s no guthook app? You use a topo map with a stand alone gps ie garmin? iPhone gps sufficient? No better time out west than the fall...

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