Apr 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm #1235304
so ive got 3 weeks to play with from 5-22 to 6-12. how much snow is on the JMT this time of year? I know most people go july august, but the lack of people on the trail this time of year would be a bonus.
If the JMT has too much snow that time of year what are some other ideas for at least a 100mile trip? a loop would be a good thing that way no shuttle is needed.
also ive seen you can rent bear canisters from yosemite has anyone done this and is it recommeded? or should i invest in my own?Apr 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm #1491243
Nia SchmaldBPL Member
I would so most pct thru hikers hit the jmt section the first or second week of june. Of course most/many of them carry an ice axe and/or crampons.
Snow reports this year look to be a little below average so I'm hoping it won't be too bad. But I'm expecting some snow. Of course much depends on the weather the next couple of months. I'm planning on hitting Forester pass the second or third week in June.
Yosemite valley rents the garcia, the heaviest canister for the size. If you are going to hike in the yosemite, SEKI area over several years it's probably worth buying either the bearvault or bearikade depending on budget. If this is a one time thing, you'll be fine with renting a garcia.
Finally I wouldn't worry about loops in this area. I found it pretty easy to hitch hike or catch a shuttle.Apr 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm #1491244
If there is too much snow on the JMT you can always do the TRT its a fun easy trail and has a few chances to grab a great steak enroute. AliApr 5, 2009 at 6:11 am #1491412
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Most PCTers hit the JMT in the third week of June. The classic start date is June 15th from Kennedy Meadows.
When I did the PCT in 2006, I also went in that window. But it was considered a very heavy snow year and "unpassable". So, I'd equate it to late may/early june in an average year. Someone calculated that on the JMT section, we hiked about 70 snow miles.
It was outstanding fun to walk on all that snow!! PCTers were the only ones out there for the southern two thirds. Often, we'd practically jog along the snow because it was easier to keep up momentum. The sun cups weren't all that bad. The creeks were all doable, but very very dangerous.
I was one of the few that carried an ice axe and crampons (made by ULA). Many carried ice axe only. I wouldn't go without one, but I'd strongly consider BD's whippet. I self arrested and saved myself serious injury once. And I put the crampons on twice but didn't really need them. Definitely hike in shoes that do well when wet, as my feet were soaked for the entire time.
If you want to read more about what it might be like, go to trailjournals.com and read journals from 2005 and 2006 PCTers.
Of course, disclaimers apply. Don't do it if you're a newb.Apr 5, 2009 at 6:46 pm #1491529
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Like Jack, I hit the JMT in June, though for me it was a little earlier, I started from Kennedy Meadows on June 7th last year, northbound. Last couple of years were relatively low-snow years, and indeed this one might be shaping up to be similar, though it's always possible more snow could come in.
I agree with Jack that it was just fine, and often fun to walk on the snow. Mostly it was hard, not something you sink into. Most thru-hikers mailed home ice axe and crampons along the way as we found we didn't need either last year. The worst part of the snow is the transition zones (snow-to-no-snow), as melting snow turned trails into streams.
Jack also said: "Of course, disclaimers apply. Don't do it if you're a newb."
Agreed. PCT thru-hikers sometimes make a bit light of what can be a lot more challenging to others, because by the time they get into the Sierras they've already come 700 miles, toughened up, gotten stronger, and figured out a lot of issues.Apr 5, 2009 at 10:25 pm #1491581
should i start in the south and hike along side the PCT hikers or would starting in the north be ok? id would rather end with the summit then start with it.Apr 6, 2009 at 6:26 am #1491598
I'd still hike N-S. You'll have less issues to contend with regarding elevation (you'll have a few days at lower elevations to allow your body to acclimate- here's a recent thread discussing this- http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=19194).
This will also allow for a little more time to allow big snows in the southernmost passes to clear, although this likely won't make much of a difference.
Also, if you're hiking 'against traffic' so to speak, you'll run into other more frequently if there is an emergency. But assume that you won't see a single person on the trail from start to finish and plan accordingly. Making a plan that counts on others to bail you out is courting disaster.Apr 6, 2009 at 8:43 am #1491629
Jim W.BPL Member
In terms of help wandering by, direction doesn't matter much if you have a breakdown and aren't moving. I suggest North to South in order to give Glenn and Forester passes the most time to melt.
I would rather climb up the shaded north slopes than the icier/slushier south slopes. In my teens I spent most weekends in the Sierra and never used crampons for passes- only heavy boots and ice axe. If you're using light shoes that don't kick steps well then crampons are definitely a good idea.
Time the passes for best walking conditions- which means a single pass each day works best. By that time of year I don't think stream levels will fluctuate too much during the day. Big fluctuations are more common earlier when nights are freezing.Apr 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm #1493137
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
One big advantage of going northbound when there is snow is that is the way the foot prints go. This makes a huge difference when walking on snow. It's quite annoying to walk in snow prints that go the wrong way. In some cases, the only people who will have passed through would be northbound PCTers. Walking against the flow wouldn't be much fun.
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