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Thread: JMT & Permits

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Nope
    Not unless win lottery there, harder than happy isles

    Cottonwood pass...30 mi south of whitney is the option.

    You are also not permitted for camping in whitney zone, or a portal resupply, so pay attn to that.
    Yes, the NoBo option does present it’s own logistical hurdles. These issues were factored in, to further solidify to my desire to do the trail SoBo ( if possible ).

  2. #22
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Absolutely nothing wrong with going NOBO, in fact my next trip I'm planning NOBO. But one additional consideration in addition to acclimatization, is carrying a rather large food supply for that section, unless you bail at Kearsarge Pass. Maybe you could mail a supply to WPortal to ease your burden a bit, but that's still a long haul to MTR from there. If it makes you feel any better, lots of folks stash their packs below Whitney at the last intersection there and return to them. I did, and several others, and had no issues.

    If you are intent on going SOBO, keep trying the lottery. I was denied for 2 weeks but finally got it. If not, I met and saw several folks that in '17 get walkups out of TM. One enterprising gentleman asked for and received a Half Dome permit and day packed from TM->HD->HI, and took the Yarts back to TM to start his trip. Entire JMT, check.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  3. #23
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    Why not apply by lottery for a permit out of Tuolumne? You will have much better chances.

    Put in for a NOBO permit out of Tuolumne to Happy Isles ( on the permit system you enter Cathedral Lake to Happy Isle). Getting a Half Dome permit from this direction is not that hard. Apply for a SOBO JMT permit from Tuolumne that starts three days (or whatever you can hike) later. That is what I did anyway, got it on my first try. And hiking downhill from Tuolumne to Happy Isle was a great way to acclimate and get my trail legs.

    Each separate permit entitles you to one night camping at the Tuolumne 'Bachpacker's Campsite.' Take the YARTS bus back up from the valley for the second leg of your journey. Easy-Peasy
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


    John Greenleaf Whittier

  4. #24

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    I did a NOBO last August (had to bail at Mammoth when fires closed YNP, but have my permit to finish this summer). Permits are easy to score going that direction through Inyo NF website. I took diamox starting the day I arrived at Reno airport and then four more days on the trail. Then I quit the medicine. I had no symptoms whatsoever. Going north adds about 28 miles through Cottonwood Pass, but it is not difficult hiking. Spent night two on the trail at Guitar Lake just below Whitney and ascended starting at 4am via moonlight, really cool. We were able to hike for 12 days. The JMT is special.

    The Logistics to go NOBO are probably a little more difficult, but the shuttle to Lone Pine from Reno is straightforward. My flight was uber late, missed every connection on my travel day, so I missed the shared shuttle I had set up from Lone Pine to Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead. When I called Sherpa Max they set me up the next day with another group. The trail provides, my friend. We had to bail about 145 miles into the JMT because of the fires, but were able to put the pieces together on the fly. Long distance hiking is about being flexible and adapting.

    I have not hiked SOBO, but on this trail you have an epic finish on either end. If SOBO is your dream, make it happen. Good luck.

  5. #25

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    Note on NOBO food storage. Another person mentioned that going NOBO can be a challenge to get all the food you need in a bear cannister until resupply. Here is what I did.
    Night 1 - stayed at Rock Creek and kept three days in the bear locker at night
    Night 2 - left two nights of food in bear locker at Crabtree Meadows and hiked about 3 miles further to spend night at Guitar Lake with remaining food in bear cannister.
    Night 3 - after summitting Whitney, camped at Crabtree Meadows and kept 1 night of food in bear locker
    From then on - had enough room in my bear cannister
    Day 9 - resupplied at Muir Trail Ranch

    The downside of this was I had to stay at campsites with a bear locker until everything could fit into my bear cannister. Upside was that they worked out very well with my schedule.

  6. #26
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    BTW, the traditional JMT hike is from Mt. Whitney to the LeConte Memorial Lodge in the Valley.

  7. #27

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    Others have mentioned traveling light on the Whitney summit day when doing NOBO. We left almost everything at camp the day we summited since you are returning there that night. I took some food, water, first aid, warm clothes and sleeping bag in my pack. We were doing a sunrise summit, so you can leave even more if you don't have to deal with sitting around in dark waiting for the sun. Everything else was left at camp. Leave your tent open so critters don't eat there way in.

    Hiking with 20+ less in your pack feels wonderful in comparison to the 2 days leading up to it. I highly recommend doing a sunrise summit if you can. It was the highlight of my trip and ranks in the top 5 events of my life. I still get goosebumps when I talk to people about it. If you have seen pictures of sunrise here, I can tell you they don't even come close to capturing the true beauty.

    I am trying to work out a way to go back and doing southern section again this year.

  8. #28
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john844 View Post
    I highly recommend doing a sunrise summit if you can. It was the highlight of my trip and ranks in the top 5 events of my life. I still get goosebumps when I talk to people about it. If you have seen pictures of sunrise here, I can tell you they don't even come close to capturing the true beauty.
    It was on my list for my SOBO trek, but I was too damn tired and too damn cold (it was the coldest night of my trip by far), to get out of my cozy sleeping bag! I'll make this a must-do should I be fortunate enough to return.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    It was on my list for my SOBO trek, but I was too damn tired and too damn cold (it was the coldest night of my trip by far), to get out of my cozy sleeping bag! I'll make this a must-do should I be fortunate enough to return.
    You're not alone.
    everyone at guitar lake was saying they were going to be getting up early and doing a sunrise.

    They all missed it.

    I got up at 1 a.m. after only one hour of light sleep and hit the trail and was on top for 4:30 . Didn't see another headlight behind me down at guitar lake until about 3:30 a.m.. It actually started getting light on top between 4:30 and 5 a.m. by 5 a.m. everything was bathed in a really wild blue glow due to a perfect clear sky.

    I did 25 miles a day before, got about an hour of sleep and a couple hours rest laying around, did another 15 miles to summit Whitney , hang around a while, and out the portal by 11 am. it was 26° early in the morning and some day hikers were coming up from trail Camo without any jackets.

    but my I digress my point is it's always worth getting up and making that hike to be somewhere for that sunrise. I've learned that so many times that I just go ahead and force myself to get up no matter how much I don't want to, i know I'll be thankful later. These are often the most memorable moments of a trip.

    DSC02111.jpg
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-20-2019 at 21:53.

  10. #30
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    There are many options if you don’t get too caught up with having to do the exact JMT. The Yosemite section, other than the falls, is frankly not even a top 10 highlight. You could get a permit south of Donahue, get a random Yosemite permit and hike the Sierra High route out of Yosemite, start at Sonora Pass and hike the PCT, so many options that are equal or better than blindly following a rigid three letter hike. Another option which I did years ago was start at TM and go to Whitney and then back to The valley, bus to TM and day hike back to the valley.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  11. #31
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    Whitney:

    I arrived for the sunset and stayed for the sunrise. They both were grand.

    If I were to do it again I might try to see the sunrise across the east face of Whitney from Wotan's Throne.
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


    John Greenleaf Whittier

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    Why not apply by lottery for a permit out of Tuolumne? You will have much better chances.

    Put in for a NOBO permit out of Tuolumne to Happy Isles ( on the permit system you enter Cathedral Lake to Happy Isle). Getting a Half Dome permit from this direction is not that hard. Apply for a SOBO JMT permit from Tuolumne that starts three days (or whatever you can hike) later. That is what I did anyway, got it on my first try. And hiking downhill from Tuolumne to Happy Isle was a great way to acclimate and get my trail legs.

    Each separate permit entitles you to one night camping at the Tuolumne 'Bachpacker's Campsite.' Take the YARTS bus back up from the valley for the second leg of your journey. Easy-Peasy
    You think so, huh ? But the randomness of the lottery still applies ie my number would have to be drawn in the first place, out of how many applicants (anyone have numbers on this?). Anyhow, your suggestion is a good one and i have read of others approaching it that way.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by john844 View Post
    Others have mentioned traveling light on the Whitney summit day when doing NOBO. We left almost everything at camp the day we summited since you are returning there that night. I took some food, water, first aid, warm clothes and sleeping bag in my pack. We were doing a sunrise summit, so you can leave even more if you don't have to deal with sitting around in dark waiting for the sun. Everything else was left at camp. Leave your tent open so critters don't eat there way in.

    Hiking with 20+ less in your pack feels wonderful in comparison to the 2 days leading up to it. I highly recommend doing a sunrise summit if you can. It was the highlight of my trip and ranks in the top 5 events of my life. I still get goosebumps when I talk to people about it. If you have seen pictures of sunrise here, I can tell you they don't even come close to capturing the true beauty.

    I am trying to work out a way to go back and doing southern section again this year.
    The Sunrise from the summit is undoubtedly sublime, made all the more ethereal (im sure) with the added sleep deprivation.
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 02-23-2019 at 22:12.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    There are many options if you don’t get too caught up with having to do the exact JMT. The Yosemite section, other than the falls, is frankly not even a top 10 highlight. You could get a permit south of Donahue, get a random Yosemite permit and hike the Sierra High route out of Yosemite, start at Sonora Pass and hike the PCT, so many options that are equal or better than blindly following a rigid three letter hike. Another option which I did years ago was start at TM and go to Whitney and then back to The valley, bus to TM and day hike back to the valley.
    Absolutely agree except for the "Yosemite section" comment. Given that this will be my 1st trip to Yosemite, im sure the valley will yield highlight status for me
    Last edited by Out of Mind; 02-23-2019 at 22:17.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

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    Yosemite is OK.
    But it "feels" like a park.
    The jmt in yosemite is full of dayhikers and weekend backpackers. Even trail runners out for jog between TM and the valley.

    The panorama trail is spectacular. Its a shame they nixed the permits leaving donahue starting at Glacier point. That was honestly far better than happy isles.

    It honestly doesnt become the real jmt until you leave yosemite. IMO. You can also see yosemite anytime.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-23-2019 at 22:18.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Yosemite is OK.
    But it "feels" like a park.
    The jmt in yosemite is full of dayhikers and weekend backpackers. Even trail runners out for jog between TM and the valley.

    The panorama trail is spectacular. Its a shame they nixed the permits leaving donahue starting at Glacier point. That was honestly far better than happy isles.

    It honestly doesnt become the real jmt until you leave yosemite. IMO. You can also see yosemite anytime.
    Im sure that today's Yosemite is in ways different from the land that Muir revered and fought to preserve, but its grandeur & inherent beauties are undoubtedly timeless.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Yosemite is OK.
    But it "feels" like a park.
    The jmt in yosemite is full of dayhikers and weekend backpackers. Even trail runners out for jog between TM and the valley.

    The panorama trail is spectacular. Its a shame they nixed the permits leaving donahue starting at Glacier point. That was honestly far better than happy isles.

    It honestly doesnt become the real jmt until you leave yosemite. IMO. You can also see yosemite anytime.
    Im not sure I follow ? "Glacier point - LYV" is an optional starting point, which would be the panorama trail. It's one of my chosen options on the permit application.
    When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Out of Mind View Post
    Im not sure I follow ? "Glacier point - LYV" is an optional starting point, which would be the panorama trail. It's one of my chosen options on the permit application.
    3 yrs ago with new permit system and donahue exit quota, they restricted the # users by capping donahue exits Prior to that there explicitly was no jmt permit. In spite of this, the park always treated the HI permits like they were , often denying whitney as a destination for other trailheads. It depended on the person issuing the permit. Due to growing users, people were starting anyhere they could get permit that sent them toward LYV. Most of the GP permits were being taken by persons eventually exiting park on jmt. This was in addition to all the HI permits, and others. GP is a starting trailhead, but its within the total donahue exit quota now. Im recalling this # was less than all of them which was available before... i might be a wrong tho. Less than 1/2 the total permits from hi, sunrise, and gp are available for donahue exit now. Dont really know how they might portion them out .Ie are 3 gp available, or any reservable if the 20 from hi, gp, sunrise not met?

    Ithough. think its best way. Dayhike the falls day before from HI. Thats a slog with a pack amidst hordes of dayhikers.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-24-2019 at 05:08.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Out of Mind View Post
    Im attempting to plan a thru-hike of the JMT this summer season ( first time - & solo ) and i must say that the permitting process is a bit disenchanting. Of course i am entered into the rolling 21 day lottery, which has thus far yielded nothing but denials = "no luck". Im aware of the NoBo option being somewhat easier to arrange with permitting, but id really like to do this trip the traditional SoBo route. Do they issue any of the "walk up permits" for the JMT out of the valley or just at the Tuolumne side of the park ? Im wondering how likely i would be to score one, if i lined up at the ranger station at some ungodly pre-dawn hour ? The thing is that i am an east coaster and the thought of planning a trip of this magnitude, traveling across the country - via planes, trains and automobiles - and having the entire adventure hinge upon a "walk-up permit" leaves me feeling a bit insecure too put it lightly. 

    -Anyone else out there with personal experience and/or insight who'd like to chime in ? 樂
    Quote Originally Posted by Out of Mind View Post
    Hey Muddy Waters - Yup, that is correct. It looks like Yosemite’s permit site also states that, “Late cancellations may be available on a first-come, first-served basis, although we don't expect any to be available most days.” Just interested in anyone’s experience with the “walk-up” permit route. Im aware of the necessary contingencies in such a scenario, Appreciate the feedback ✌
    Your insecurity is justified. It's because you are unfamiliar with gaining a JMT permit.

    If you want a JMT permit for set dates and times there are ways to go about it through a process. You may not succeed, particularly if you haven't done your homework and don't act promptly and are inflexible. Real talk. The JMT Yosemite Valley walk up permits are not guaranteed but there are ways to raise your odds of gaining one. I've done it 5X, all times when traveling far from out of Cali. 2X from HI. 1x from NJ. As a legit guesstimate I've done more than 25 Sierra hikes(I love the Sierra, it's actually a larger area than some assume) requiring permits with only three of those hikes a permit obtained before traveling from outside Cali. I never felt insecure about doing a hike/obtaining a permit even if the hike wasn't the exact one or done in the exact way as optimally desired. Doing so would have boxed me into a corner. BTW, of those more than 25 hikes I was able to get one of the agendas I desired on 95% of those hikes.

    I disagree with Muddy Waters what was learned several yrs can't currently apply in any way. This has been discussed ad nauseam. It may not be as difficult as may first seem though once you understand the process and typical conditions. Understanding a few things about human behavior helps. Simply put to do the JMT don't follow the herd. You're following the herd. When you do you reduce your odds. This applies anywhere I've competed for permits...and many other things not related to hiking. Others with a previous herd mentality are finally catching on but this has created a new herd mentality, seeking the comfort and security of the familiar, the known. You'll get a lot of that new herd take the easiest way cookie cutter mentality on this very thread. For YV JMT walk up permits arrive at the Backcountry Office by 4:30 a.m. Be one of the first three in the que. If it's raining or cold better! Why! It reduces the competition. If that weather bothers you you're likely not ready to break away from the herd. You'll get what you get. More cancellations too! Research the requirements ahead of time. Arrive informed! Make it easier for the NP Rangers. Have alternative JMT agendas. Ooh does that feel uncomfortable? It should. That's what's required but deal with it to gain the extraordinary. Demonstrate great effort on your part. It tends to lead to greater effort exercised by others. The permit will be for a next day start. Factor that time into experiencing something else worthy. Damn it's YV. If you can't think of anything else worthy to experience IMHO you are not exhibiting great effort to do research and make best use of your time. Where MW is correct is you are doing the JMT and seeking to obtain a JMT permit as the herd. You're not putting yourself in the best position to gain a permit.

    Another option, although I've only had to do it once, is starting from a different TH. UNDERSTAND the most competitive JMT thru permit agenda to obtain is starting in YV at the Happy Isles TH finishing at Whitney Portal. If you avoid placing yourself in that most competitive field you increase your odds of obtaining a permit. These various options, including several others which I will no longer publicly divulge, have been discussed on many forums well beyond WB.

    Yet another option is to enjoy a 300 mile or whatever length Sierra hike without it having to be solely relegated to the JMT. This is another herd mentality got to thru XYZ trail approach. Get over the idea that hiking has to be relegated to the familiar XYZ trails. This means hikers have to better plan and be responsible for hiking their hike including personally organizing their hike. A growing issue is many have to go entirely from terminus to terminus of one trail traveling in a linear fashion. Get over that desire and the backpacking world opens up to basically infinite possibilities.

  20. #40
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Or just hike in a Herd Free Zone.
    Wayne

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