Jan 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm #1297897
assuming an average snow year, with snow basically gone from the passes by Aug 1, what are the most difficult and easiest sections of the JMT ? The sections that are particularly slow, and the ones that are easy to pass thru ?Jan 14, 2013 at 11:26 am #1943703
Speed, actual effort, and perceived difficulty didn't really correlate for me.
Donahue Pass was hard because I had stayed up late consuming beer with other hikers at Tuolumne; had picked up my first food shipment; it was my first backpacking trip in 10 years; and it was three days' since sea level that I hit 12,000'. On the other hand I made 18 miles from Tuolumne to Island Pass which was my highest mileage backpacking day in 20 years.
I left Muir Trail Ranch around noon with my heaviest pack of the trip at about 30 pounds. That put me on a hot uphill trail in the afternoon. This was definitely slow but once I hit Evolution Valley it was all forgotten.
For the whole trip I sort of dreaded Forester pass. My plan to make it as easy as possible was to camp at Center Basin Creek the night before. The day before I started very early from Rae Lakes- and made Center Basin by noon. Kept going, made the pass before a thunderstorm and down to Tyndall Creek by 5:00. So I did two planned days' hike, over two passes, and felt great.
I planned (loosely) for my daily mileage to increase as pack got lighter and I got better acclimated- but I also planned only one pass per day in my 15 day schedule which influenced the daily mileages more.
My planning number was 2 mph plus 1 hour per 1000' climbed. Then I plotted out proposed camp spots on the map near a fairly equal daily effort. I seldom camped there- and was happy when I camped past the goal point and a little nervous if I camped before it.
Fastest section? After dropping packs at the JMT/Whitney trail junction a trail buddy and I felt so light, and the Whitney day hikers were moving so slow, that we jogged the next mile. We made the summit in well under an hour- maybe 40 minutes. Compare that to my out-of-shape Whitney climb last April. On snow, carrying a full pack with winter gear and only 36 hours from Sea Level it took me almost four hours from Trail Crest to the summit.Jan 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm #1943724
for those of you who don't like to use the terms fastest and slowest …
which sections of the JMT are hardest and which are easiest ?Jan 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm #1943741
Hardest on my 2008 southbound hike were downhills with big steps such as the south side of Donahue Pass and Woods Creek. I started the trip at 43 a decade older than my previous backpacking experience. I expected to be tired going uphill but not so much the downhills. I probably would have had a lot of trouble on the southern half if not for a "trail angel" who gave me his hiking poles at Muir Trail Ranch.
Non-rocky trails that are moderately graded or rolling. Ideally with beautiful scenery:
Tuolumne to foot of Donahue
Island Pass to Red's Meadow (Rolling but much more down than up)
Silver Pass to Mono Creek
Evolution Valley till it gets steep
South foot of Forester Pass to Crabtree Meadow
Whitney Trail to Whitney Summit (Adrenaline!)
Very Hardest: Last mile when you can see the trailhead, hear people in the campground, and smell that burger at the Whitney Portal Store. It seems to go on forever with a crazy long switchbackFeb 15, 2013 at 11:05 am #1954727
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
Golden Staircase. But sure to hydrate and water up before hand.
Did the JMT in 2012 and 2002. That is the only part that comes to mind.
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