Feb 17, 2010 at 9:06 am #1255381
I've been lurking and learning here for a while now, but this is my first post.
I'm planning a hybrid JMT hike this Sept. and need some input. The plan at this point is to start at T Meadows and follow the JMT to the junction with the High Sierra Trail (HST)and leave the JMT, taking the HST through to Crescent Meadow (or possibly Wolverton via Panter Gap). I've done Whitney several times so don't mind skipping this section of the JMT and think that this trip would be a great way to see more of the Sierra. Here's my question. Someone in another forum recommended taking the trail around Lake South America (just before Tyndall Creek) and following the Kern river down to the HST, skipping the JMT stretch between Tyndall and Wallace Creek (where the HST junction is). I'd then follow the HST for the rest of the trip.
Have any of you guys been on the LSA trail and that stretch down the Kern River? Is it worth it? Would I be missing anything on that stretch of JMT that I'd be missing? I was told that the detour to LSA is beautiful and little traveled and that is my motivation. I've seen pics of LSA and it looks like a great spot, but have not seen pics and can't find trip reports of the rest of the trail. I've also heard that that trail is no longer maintained and may be tough to follow.
Distance wise, it's just a bit longer.
I've never done the JMT so not familiar with the scenery in this area.
I have 21 days out there so time isn't really a factor.
Long question short….is this side trip worth it?
BryanFeb 17, 2010 at 9:19 am #1574889
@creachenLocale: East Bay
The JMT is simply spectacular and a "Trip of a Life Time"
DO IT! I did it a few years back and I am planning on doing it in again 2011. Every day in regards to scenery is excellent-not one dull moment. I did it in 15 days with one zero day VVR. August and September are better months because of less people and less MOSQUITOES!!!!
Good Luck-JayFeb 17, 2010 at 10:06 am #1574909
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Wouldn't extra mosquitos be an excellent source of protein?
–B.G.–Feb 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm #1575136
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Long question short….is this side trip worth it?"
Long story short, it's beautiful country and would be well worth the slight increase in distance. You'll miss magnificent panoramas of the Whitney Crest and the Great Western Divide along the JMT between Tyndall creek and the HST turnoff at Wallace Creek, but the scenery is equally magnificent in the Upper Kern Basin and devoid of the crowds on the JMT. If you decide to take the scenic byway, spend a day in the Upper Kern Basin, in the vicinity of the unnamed lake with 3 bays, and explore the basin below Thunder Mountain. It is exquisite. The trail that branches off to LSA from the JMT/Kern Canyon connector trail is signed and easy to follow to LSA. The trail from LSA down through the Upper Kern Basin is unmaintained and sketchy in places, but shouldn't present any problem as the country is wide open.
One other issue to consider: If this turns out to be a high snow pack year, crossing Tyndall creek down in the Kern Canyon could be "interesting", lots of water in a relatively narrow channel, moving very fast. If this is the case, later in the year will be better, mid August onward.Feb 17, 2010 at 8:30 pm #1575196
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Yes if you were a Bat!Feb 17, 2010 at 8:37 pm #1575198
@onthecouchagainLocale: Sunny SoCal
We have been down the trail four times now and in my opinion, the JMT is enough for your first time. Side trips are spectacular, of course, as well but the JMT journey is enough. The people you will meet leapfrogging and chatting with on the trail, the scenic awe-inspiring vistas and wildlife will remain with you for a lifetime.
Be prepared to want more…much more! Enjoy.
couchFeb 18, 2010 at 5:53 am #1575267
You don't need a trail to go from the JMT to Lake South America or anywhere between Shepherd Pass and the Milestone Basin. The country is mostly quite open and easy walking.
Going down to the Kern may be another story.
One big concern going JMT to HST is whether you'll need a food resupply. I would absolutely need to hike out at Kearsarge.
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