Feb 18, 2014 at 10:18 am #1313460
My dad and I just got our permit to do half of the JMT this summer! Woohoo! Due to vacation time constraints, we have 12 days on the trail. Not enough to get to Whitney (I know some people do it but that's not us), but a leisurely pace to VVR.
I'm thinking we might want to take a detour or two to add some distance and see some sights. I wouldn't mind going off-trail, perhaps using some lines from the Sierra High Route. I'll be doing some map scouting myself of course, but I'd love to hear suggestions or stories from anyone who's done something similar!Feb 18, 2014 at 10:39 am #2074719
@rosyfinchLocale: the mountains
It might help if you specified which half of the JMT your are going to hike.
BillyFeb 18, 2014 at 11:18 am #2074744
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
If you're going to do half of the JMT I'd recommend the south half. Bigger mountains, less walking through western slope forest. And there are more and better side-trip options available. A few ideas for side trips for the north half would be climbing Half Dome/Clouds Rest, detouring to the Washburn Lake area, and visiting Ediza/Minaret Lakes. If you're an experienced climber, consider Mount Lyell (class 3) while you're there – it's the highest peak in Yosemite.
I'd also recommend the SHR section from Red's Meadow to Duck Lake, it's much more interesting than the JMT. It's also pretty straightforward in terms of routefinding once you find the correct way from Mammoth Pass to the crest.Feb 18, 2014 at 11:38 am #2074754
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Darwin Bench (near Mount Darwin north of Muir Pass). It is great if you hit the season right for wildflowers.
–B.G.–Feb 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm #2074766
Agree with bob on Darwin Bench. Further south is Marion Lake on the SHR.Feb 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm #2074799
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
However, hitting the season correctly for wildflowers will be very difficult this year.
–B.G.–Feb 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm #2074823
We're going from the north, starting at Glacier Point and ending at Vermillion Valley. We decided on that half for ease of resupply, and we already have the permit reservation so it's too late to change now even if we wanted to. It looks like Darwin Bench is out.
That SHR section from Red's to Duck Lake looks like a winner.Feb 18, 2014 at 7:14 pm #2074907
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Starting at glacier point you could loop over red peak pass going over the Clark range and then on to either Toulumne Meadows, or take the cut off to Lyell valley about 6 or so mile from Donahue pass if you don't want/need to stop at Toulumne M. for resupply. That route should be spectacular! The u-shaped chain of mountains you will find yourself in on the far side, from mt. Lyell to to mt. Clark is in fact the primary basin where the glacier that created Yosemite valley came from.
Also you should very rapidly get away from most of the crowds that way. That is one alternate start to the JMT.
When I do it this year I will start at White Wolf and go through the "grand canyon" of the Toulumne – none the less fun for having been there before – and connect of with the "real" JMT at TM.
If you are more ambitious and want to try some of the high sierra route you could go from red peak pass over the "gap" between Mt Lyell Forester peak, and then on to the JMT, roughly in the area of 1000 island lake – Id have to look it up again to be sure – its in roper. I have not done that, nor would I probably have the balls to try to solo.
Along that route I seriously doubt you would have cause to worry (at least for the first half of your trip) that you are missing the grandeur of the southern part of the JMT.
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