Oct 3, 2009 at 7:33 pm #1239883
Starting beginning October. Any thoughts or suggestions. Plan to putz along at about 14+ days. Medium-packing. Perhaps some side-trips. Winging it a bit in first week as haven't been as active as I'd like! What is still possible in terms of re-supply??? Think 15 October is last day for VVR — might serve as a motivation to get my act together quickly. Otherwise could get pretty heavy! Any strategy/logistics comments most welcome!Oct 3, 2009 at 8:51 pm #1532794
I know that both Red's Meadows and Muir Trail Ranch are closed. You could try Rainbow Packers out of Bishop, CA. Their phone number is 760-873-8877 and you can google them for more information on the web.Oct 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm #1532796
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Really watch the weather–Oct. is the Shoulder Season and ANY Thing can happen this time of year….I am sure you will have a great time but do alot of research on your (Bailing Out Points) on the trail—Be prepared for some cold weather for sure-especially past VVR to Whitney (much higher elevations). On the upside it could also be perfect: less crowds,no skeeters, bears are getting ready to hibernate, solitude and beautiful fall weather.
GoodluckOct 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm #1532810
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Just posted to the PCT List Forum tonight by Mtnned
"The first snow of the year has hit with a vengeance here in South Lake Tahoe. It began at about 8:30pm tonight, less than two hours ago, and we have at least an inch on the truck. The wind is blowing so hard that, not only is it snowing horizontally, but the last of the picnic table umbrellas has been blown up the hill into the summer flower bed."Oct 4, 2009 at 1:43 pm #1532908
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
" Winging it a bit in first week as haven't been as active as I'd like!"
If this means you're not in pretty good mountain shape, you might want to very carefully think the trip through. If the weather deteriorates quickly you may have to bail, and speed is of the essence in that kind of situation. If you can't move quickly and maintain the pace long enough to get out over the eastern passes, or down to Roads End or some similar west side exit point, you could find yourself in deep trouble. My 2 cents. Best of luck if you go.Oct 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm #1532944
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
I second Tom's thoughts. I have been caught in Sierra snow in Oct. Though it was only at 7500 feet, just think what can happen at 10,000 with no bail out options. I would wait until next year. If you like hiking in late season (I do!!) then maybe do it in Sept. over 2010Oct 4, 2009 at 7:50 pm #1532981
Yeah, I've been loosely planning a 7-day trip for the third week of October. Had considered the South route from VVR. Now I'm not sure about access or the weather on whole. It could be gorgeous solitude, like Jay said, or it could be a bail-out… hrmmmm.
Maybe I'll opt for some stormy weather on the Lost Coast.
UPDATE: found Scott's trip report from last year, same time:
"The whole trip I felt like I was "chasing the end of the season" as campgrounds were closing, rangers were leaving, there were hardly any other hikers, and fall was in the air."… he had to bail, and luckily too, with a storm hitting on his heels.Oct 4, 2009 at 9:31 pm #1533003
David W.BPL Member
@davidpcvsamoaLocale: East Bay, CA
I just got back from a trip in the Emigrant Wilderness going from the Crabtree Trailhead to Long Lake. Friday and Saturday felt like weather in August and then it all changed last night with a storm that brought high winds and about 4 inches of fresh snow. Below is my campsite at Gem Lake on Saturday morning verses Sunday morning.
Gem Lake Saturday Morning
Gem Lake Sunday Morning
Thankfully, the snow slowed to allow decent visibility and it was a relatively easy 10 mile slog to get out with no elevations higher than 9k. The JMT in October seems a bit dangerous for my personal tolerance for risk. I would seriously consider an alternative with more manageable bailout options in the event of a winter storm.Oct 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm #1533013
Dave, that's classic. Awesome. Thanks a lot for posting the pics and the solid warning.
-MichaelOct 5, 2009 at 10:53 am #1533126
Thanks everyone. Bailing the first half looks pretty easy. Think VVR is open until 15 October. Many emails and no response — not a good sign. As for fitness and speed, it's all relative. We're never where we want to be when we set out on a tramp. Someone posted elsewhere about taking along more than just that 13 page JMT map set in the event that you want to bail — otherwise you walk off the map. I suppose the bus to Mammoth Lakes is over for the season? As for packers, sounds too complex and too many issues. Sounds like a heavy slow walk at this point. Bail out plans key. But weather could be very stable! On the other hand, maybe it is time to think about skiing. Or a southern hemisphere tramp.Oct 5, 2009 at 12:55 pm #1533180
@arichardson6Locale: North East
Can you tell us what your level of experience is? You are very nonchalant, and that is a fun attitude to have, but not unless you have the skills and knowledge to back it up.
From this thread and your other thread on this topic, I'm getting the vibe that you aren't very experienced. I'm sorry if that is the wrong assumption, but that is the signal you are sending. No one wants to be mean or dissuade you from having a great time, but safety is an issue. Weather isn't always stable this time of year and it is silly to assume it will be. I'm thinking you should plan a different hike.
I'm sorry if my assumptions are wrong. If you're set on this trip than post your gear list and let everyone critique it. It will be a major help to you whether you are experienced or not.Oct 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm #1533184
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
VVR is a remote lodge, not the type of place that answers emails. If memory serves they only have a sat phone on premises. Yes, the bus to Red's Meadow is over for the season.
Enjoy your walk. I'd love to be out there in Mid October. I'd bring much of my winter gear and be prepared for two or so feet of snow. Backpackers die frequently in early season snow storms in the sierra.Oct 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm #1533199
Not assuming anything.Oct 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm #1533260
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Dave, those are great pics. Allot more snow than what Jay, Josh, and myself got last year. Pretty coolOct 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm #1533313
Wonder how this would stack up! Truth is I'm a bit of a gear junkie. Only since subscribing to BPL and reading Ryan's excellent book have I purchased a little scale and started a spreadsheet. Thanks for the inspiration! I doubt John Muir did this, though.Oct 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm #1533315
Great photos! Thanks for posting! About what I would expect this time of year. Having to post hole through a metre with my necessarily heavy load would be a different story. Of course, there is some chance of that this time of year. Also, a chance of perfect weather with chilly mornings.Oct 7, 2009 at 8:32 am #1533840
You aren't kidding about chilly mornings.
Here's the link to the weather website (ROMAN)
In the Region drop-down, select the CA – San Joaquin Valley/Hanford item and it'll give you various Sierra sites. In the Product drop-down you have several choices where you can get the requested weather info.Oct 7, 2009 at 9:42 am #1533857
Thanks for the weather report. 18F — can handle it. Can handle snow too :) Up to a point. Post-holing with a HEAVY pack through 1-2 metres of soggy snow — possible scenario but gather not likely — for any great distance alone would be very difficult for me. Wonder what they are seeing in terms of high temps. Supposed to be clear a week out — which often means cold. Navigation skills can ALWAYS be better — much better with my GPS than map/compass — LOL.
BUT what really did this in for me is RE-SUPPLY — 30+ pounds of consumables??? If you are planning 14 days in winter — can you really pare that down much? I'm vegan so hunting and fishing aren't something I'd plan for or have a clue how to go about. Furthermore, I simply need warmer stuff than most (sub 0F bag, etc etc.) 50 lbs is getting very close to HALF my bodyweight!!! I've carried this amount but not over 210 miles of fairly high mileage days. (Yeah, I know it shrinks as the days pass but still A LOT, IMO!)
If MTR were open for packages, I would do it in a second! As for packers, sounds like they need a time and place for delivery. Many reports of unreliable outfits — get to the top of a pass and turned back by a ranger because they don't have their "animal permit". Sounds pretty iffy for someone winging it in cold weather. Yes, there are other resupply options — for a bit more planning and a bit more money — but not worth the effort, IMO at this point.
I'm one to wing it! Much of The Alps (the access and hut systems) are perfect for me in this respect!!! On foot or ski. Throw on a lightish pack, pick up a map and head out for a few weeks.
If I don't think success is likely, then I'll find another challenge. Already making another plan for this month. :)Oct 7, 2009 at 9:54 am #1533859
Now, a friend just back from her second JMT this summer is egging me on. A delightful French mountaineer in love with the trail! She says it is cake-walk and idiot-proof and we will go together. She argues that the days are short and the nights will be boring with no one for me to talk to. Wants to bivy so we can use her new stargazer gadget. I love the continental attitude! Doesn't solve the problem of the heavy pack though! Unless she wants to carry my Bear Vault. She is a fellow free spirit! She thinks I'm crazy for getting a little scale. But I am already thinking of the Lycian Way and warmer climes.Oct 7, 2009 at 10:15 am #1533864
uberkatzen — don't be intimidated by the comments some of these people are making to me! Maybe because I'm a girl. Some don't like my 3 season tent or wouldn't bivy in winter. (I have a winter tent, BTW!) It's not winter anyway! Whatever….
Have a talk with Doug at the Whitney Portal Store/Hostel. Stayed at the hostel almost a week earlier in the year and contacted him more recently regrading late season contingencies. Real character and a joy to spend time with. If you're cruising by, stop in and hang out — he talks to all — you don't have to stay there are buy anything though at $20/night, it's a steal. I started a little post on the Whitney Portal board to which Doug has responded. Really this is someone who knows and LOVES these mountains! Of course, there are some issues in October that you don't have in August but this can be a great time. Also has great advice on loops in the area. For me, I am deterred by the prospect of a heavy pack! The weather pattern seems to be one of 7-10 days clear with a little storm and then another week of clear.Oct 7, 2009 at 11:42 am #1533899
If you could get to VVR before they close then you could get someone to bring you a resupply at the Kearsarge Pass junction near Charlotte Lake.
Happy Isles to VVR approx 90 miles
VVR to Kearsarge Pass trail approx 97 miles
Kearsarge Pass trail to Whitney Portal approx 45 miles.
You were talking about 14 days so you could carry 6 days worth of food out of Yosemite Valley and then another 6 days of food out of VVR. You could pickup 2-3 days more food at Kearsarge Pass and then finnish the whole thing.
I know this sounds crazy but I am just trying to remain positive here… :)Oct 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm #1533922
Day 1 Happy Isles to Clouds Rest trail – 6.7 miles camping at 7200ft (2200ft climb)
Day 2 Clouds Rest trail to Tuolumne Meadows – 14.1 miles camping at 8500ft
Day 3 Tuolumne Meadows to Lyell Fork Bridge – 13.2 miles camping at 9700ft
Day 4 Lyell Fork Bridge to Shadow Lake – 15.2 miles camping at 8750ft
Day 5 Shadow Lake to Deer Creek – 13.9 miles camping at 9200ft
Day 6 Deer Creek to Mono Creek Bridge – 23.4 miles camping at 7700ft.
Day 7 Mono Creek Bridge to VVR and back (10rt) and then to Bear Creek Trail – 16.7 miles camping at 8800ft
Day 8 Bear Creek Trail to Piute Pass Trail – 16.6 miles camping at 8050ft.
Day 9 Piute Pass Trail to Big Pete Meadow – 23.2 miles camping at 9320ft
Day 10 Big Pete Meadow to Taboose Pass Trail – 22.1 miles camping at 10000ft
Day 11 Taboose Pass Trail to Bubbs Creek – 25 miles camping at 9600ft (You pass Kearsarge Pass this day)
Day 12 Bubbs Creek to Wallace Creek – 19 miles camping at 10,400ft (Make a campfire anyway)
Day 13 Wallace Creek to Whitney Portal – 23.3 miles (Go have some Vegan Pizza … can Vegan’s have beer?)Oct 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm #1533943
Hopefully, the other guy who is also considering this will see your kind post.
For me at the moment, this is overly ambitious — will still be heavy and trudging through possible snow really slows me down. But thanks for posting! And taking the time to outline it! Are you thinking of giving it a go?
I don't think it's a CRAZY idea — but given the circumstances, the itinerary outlined is too ambitious for me! There are some HUGE days back to back in there exactly where the going might get slow! Thanks again!Oct 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm #1533963
A friend and I did the southern half the first week of September. We entered at South Lake in Bishop and then hiked to Whitney. The weather was perfect!
The longest day did was 16 miles. If you see some of my posts and look at my gear list you will see that I am not at UL status yet. I was carrying 8 days of food in a Garcia bear cannister and my total weight was about 30 lbs.
Can't wait until next summer!
By the way: What does "uberkatzen" mean?Oct 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm #1533975
LOL. Uberkatzen is a poster on this thread! Think he was planning on a hike in the region but was getting discouraged by possible bad weather. Thought your kind itinerary might be useful to him. I will check your list. 30 lbs for the trip you did would be a big improvement for me! Thanks again!
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