Jun 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm #1304665
Hello. I'm planning to hike the JMT solo from the middle to end of August. This will certainly be an adventure with my limited experience, but I'm excited to take a shot. I'm going to order the Harrison map set and the JMT Essential Guide.
As I begin planning over the next 6 weeks, I'd like to know if there are "canned" plans for completing the JMT in 14-16 days. I imagine there are optimal ways to break up the trek for 7 days, 14 days, 21 days, etc.
Thank you.Jun 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm #2000115
@davidpcvsamoaLocale: East Bay, CA
Between the Harrison maps and guide you should have it covered. The common logistical challenge is the resupply on the southern section between VVR or MTR to Whitney Portal. Its a little more than half of the distance. Based on your proposed pace you will need to fit 7 or 8 days of food in your bear can.
You can a good feel for how others have done it by searching some of the excellent trip reports that have been posted on this site and others. I look forward to reading your report when you finish.Jun 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm #2000161
Thanks, David. Based on my limited initial research, I was under the impression that there were 3 or 4 resupply points that would allow me to carry 4 days of food. I bought both the BV450 and BV500, but I''m hoping to use the 450 and return the 500.Jun 26, 2013 at 10:47 pm #2000163
unless you pay for packers to re-supply you – for example via Onion Valley – you will have to carry roughly 7 days of food from Muir Trail Ranch to Whitney Portal. You should be able to get 7 days of food into your BV 500. Otherwise you could consider renting a Bearikade Expedition which offers 200 cu inch more volume although it weighs 5 oz less.
Have fun on the JMT,
ManfredJun 26, 2013 at 11:53 pm #2000172
@amrowincLocale: Southern California
MTR is your last "on trail" resupply. Depending on how efficiently you pack your food it would be possible to use a BV450 since you can hang your food using the counter balance method from MTR to Pinchot Pass (about a 54 mile section). Hanging is not the ideal thing to do though it is allowed in Inyo. Consider the bigger canister or Berikade rental as Manfred suggests.Jun 27, 2013 at 7:27 am #2000218
Join the JMY Yahoo group. They have some useful files and data sheets.
I took 15 days solo 5 years ago; this year we are doing a 25 day Family hike. 15 days is easier logistically since you don't need a resupply south of Muir Trail Ranch.
My suggestion for your 14-16 day trip.
BV 500. Your food choices aren't so limited by volume.
2 or 2-1/2 days Happy Isles to Tuolumne. 6000' climb, acclimation, and getting into a trail rhythm is easier with only 2 days' food in the pack.
Mail resupply to yourself at Tuolumne Post Office with most of the food you will need for 6 days.
2 or 2-1/2 days Tuolumne to Red's meadow. Do a minor stock up at the store- they have junk food, convenience foods, some Mountain House type items.
3-4 days Red's to Muir Trail Ranch
Resupply with 5 gallon bucket mailed to MTR.
7-8 days MTR to Whitney Portal.
Buy a burger, Beer, and T-shirt at the Portal, hitch to town for a couple more meals and a shower.Jun 27, 2013 at 9:19 am #2000255
Thanks everyone for the additional insights.
Jim, love your breakdown. I'll use it as a baseline and adjust with my findings from the Yahoo group and the trail book.
I don't want this to turn into yet another bear can thread, but this damn bear canister has consumed me over the past several weeks. I would love to have a Bearikade but I'm unsure if the weight savings are worth the cost in my situation. I'm not anywhere close to SUL. My base weight for this trip *without* bear can is looking like 11-12 lbs. (Circuit, WM Summerlite, and TT Notch as the primary items).
I purchased both the BV450 and 500 during the recent REI sale. I stare at them in the corner of my room. The rental remains an option, but I'd rather own if I get long term use from the item. I live in San Francisco and have yet to venture into bear canister territory. Even though the Bearikade has great resale value, I'd rather see Ursack get approval in the next year or two and use that instead.
I look at the BV450 as a great value *if* the volume is sufficient. If the BV450 is not big enough, then the Weekender looks more attractive. Decisions, decisions…Jun 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm #2000327
+1 On What Manfred said.
I did the JMT in 2011 and took the Bear Vault 500….larger one.
Like your plan, we did it in 15 days….one day of rest at VVR with the last resupply at MTR.
Was able to get all 7-7.5 days of food in the BV500, but it was a challenge.
Dehydrated my own food/dinners to save space.
Took some carefully planning on what caloriclly dense foods to take so it would all fit.
The Bearikade Expedition would be perfect in that you would have plenty of room for the food for 7-8 days for your last stretch, but then you would have a canister with limited use for your shorter trips.
In my opinion, the smaller BV450 would not be enough space for the food for that many days, unless you were taking powdered foods.
My friend, Jeremy, used a Bearikade Weekender and cheating with a URsack for the remainder.
-TonyJun 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm #2000331
I feel like I'm at an odd spot with my base weight where 10 oz (BV500 to Weekender) makes a bigger difference to me than 5 oz (BV500 to Expedition). As a vegetarian capable of a disciplined diet, I feel like I could go for days on almonds, oatmeal, and dried split pea soup.Jun 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm #2000335
If you live in SF you should invest in a Weekender. Don't count on the ursack. Every year is the same story, approval is always pending….The weekender is a solid investment now with great resale value and weight saving but at a steep price. If you have the money …I got 8 days in mine on my JMT in 2009. With a ressuply out of Bishop over Piute Pass by a friend joining me. It's very versatile especially if you go out on shorter trips with a friend later on.Jun 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm #2000341
I feel your pain….my base weight is probably 10-10.5 lbs with the pocket camera and extra batteries I have.
Canisters sucks, but you need one.
I do agree that a Bearikade Weekender would be a good choice for you to simply have for the Trips in the Sierras.
Problem is that a JMT trip is uniquely long and buying a canister just for the trip probably does not make sense, unless you anticipate taking long trips that would require 7 plus days of food.
Would not count on the UR Sack.
My friend, Jeremy, had another trip where a bear really damaged the UR Sack and turned his food to dust…basically lost food.
No longer an option for him as he has lost confidence in the UR Sack.
To be fair, the bag did not get ripped apart, but was damaged with some holes in it.
He DID NOT have the metal liner as an option, which might have helped.
10 oz is a big difference, but I don't think you can easily get 7 plus days of food into a Weekender.
Tough choices, but that said….JMT is a trip of a life time and any amount of money you spend will be worth it so you can enjoy the experience and views.
Fortunatley, backpacking is cheap vs. taking a vacation with planes and hotels….so cost is relative.
-TonyJun 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm #2000356
Thank you, Tony and M G.
Well another option is to get a custom Bearikade…something between the Weekender and the Expedition.
I have a sense that I can do the last leg with a bit less food, or perhaps 8 days of less diverse food that is primarily nuts.Jun 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm #2000644
Regarding space in your pack being sucked up by the larger bear canister, as you eat food and create space in your canister you can always put your cook set into the canister.
I found that helped with "creating" space after a day or two on the trail.
Simply shifting items from my cooking system that already had food orders into the canister.
My thoughts are that you might end up with two canisters.
One for short 2-3 day trips and one for up to 7 days.
Trips beyond 7 days would likely/hopefully have options for resupply.
-TonyJul 3, 2013 at 7:12 am #2002006
I did the JMT last year and rented a Bearikade expedition. They don't post it on their website but they will give you a discounted price if you are doing a JMT through-hike. If you are considering using one I would shoot them an email.Jul 4, 2013 at 3:08 am #2002361
I did the MTR to Whitney portal section in 8 days last year. I had no problem using the BV450, but it will depend on the type of food you bring and how efficiently you pack. I also had odor-proof bags to carry my "same day" food in while hiking, so I wouldn't have to dig snacks out of my bear can.
I would experiment with packing your BV 450 and 500 and see how efficiently you can pack ~8 days of food and then return the one you don't need. I think with some creativity, you'll be able to use the 450.
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