Jan 20, 2010 at 6:08 pm #1254296
You can't just dangle that out there and walk away….Jan 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm #1564666
Clearly I've wanted to do it for a long time, since I remembered that Backpacker Magazine had an article on skiing the length. Thanks to Google Books it's available online:Jan 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm #1564684
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Thanks for sharing that link, Jim.Jan 20, 2010 at 9:31 pm #1564692
I didn't mean to talk about this before the trip as there are so many things can go wrong before and during a two week winter trip in the Sierra. (Well it's technically the trip starts in early spring but the Sierra is as likely to feel like winter then as spring). The JMT gets skied only every 10-30 years and I've been planning to ski it for the past several years. It has taken several years to dial in the equipment, hone the travel style and develop a couple of very fit friends with the ski skills to do the trip.
Initially I planned to do it without resupply to show what can be done with ultralight gear but currently I plan one resupply. It could be done without resupply but after skiing up Mt. Whitney a couple of years ago with 11 days of food=a 55# pack I decided to cache 6 days of food for this attempt. That attempt (2008) was aborted after I dislocated my shoulder and had to start a month late. Light snow and heavy winds cleared masses of snow (we walked to the top of Whitney and down to Guitar lake on dry trail). Telemark boots made for very miserable and slow walking. We just weren't going to finish in the alloted time. My skis did have a relaxing vacation riding in my pack. When we could ski the wind affected crusts and fins were pretty awful. It sucked! We skied out and my sister dropped us at Lee Vining and we skied across Yosemite home.
This year better conditions seem to be developing and it seems mother nature is cooperating. I'm allowing two weeks though hope to be done sooner. I'll be traveling for a week each with two running friends. At this point I'd do it alone if I didn't have partners and conditions were safe enough. I've been running and skiing XC at resorts for fitness, pounding a few lift days for the leg strength 30,000' of descent provides and spending days in the backcountry skiing the dreamiest powder and worst crap I can find. You don't get to pick your snow on long tours. Skiing all snow types is one of the necessary skills you need to develop. A 15 degree slope is unskiable if it's covered with breakable crust. Powder, corn, hardpack and ice are all fun to ski though when they're jumbled together on a given slope and it's hard to tell them apart the slope skis with a bit more challange. You can't wait for perfect conditions–you've just got to keep skiing.
We'll use a BD Megalight or similar tarp to sleep under (its extra weight is made up for by not having to dig a snow trench each night), a custom double size Bush Buddy for cooking and melting snow (it doubles as a nice firepit in a snow kitchen). I've taken to skiing on Karhu 10th mountain skis. Their fishscale base on an otherwise fairly traditional metal edged telemark ski makes for more efficient travel. The glide is more efficient and it reduces the transition time for skinning and de-skinning. I use full width kicker skins when it's icy and Kahtoolas on boots when it's steep and icy. I'm planning on the Rossignol BC X11 boot which is about as minimal as you can get to drive those skis. They're a dream touring, OK for descending except on ice where the chatter is quite disconcerting. My friends may use Garmont Excursions.
We hope to cover 15-20 miles per day but everything depends on the snow. I've covered 35+ miles in the backcountry on corn and as little as 12 breaking trail in powder–both days working just as hard.
I plan on 4000 calories per day and will probably lose 1/2# per day. As the fat craving is high on long winter trips nuts and butter will certainly make up some of the calories.
I don't necessarily plan to follow each turn and switchback of the JMT. Conditions on the ground will dictate what is safe, fun and skiable. It should be a challenging trip and I'm excited to be getting out to my backyard for a private couple of weeks. Perhaps I'll write up a report when I get back.Jan 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm #1564697
.Jan 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm #1564702
@dsmontgomeryLocale: one snowball away from big trouble
This is *darn* cool. I really look forward to the trip report!Jan 20, 2010 at 10:14 pm #1564704
Sorry, I didn't start the thread, just responded to a request for information from another thread. Someone started this here to avoid hijacking the thread from Alan and Don's excellent article.Jan 20, 2010 at 10:21 pm #1564705
.Jan 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm #1564717
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
One photo is dated 3-17-2007. This appears to be shot in the north end of the Cathedral Range of Yosemite, perhaps just south of Tuolumne Meadows.
–B.G.–Jan 21, 2010 at 7:16 am #1564756
Dave T –
My Bad on the thread location. I didn't read down the list far enough – option 21 versus 23. Just to many choices.
Thanks for posting. It's good to see these planning processes and realize just how much forethought, time out, and trial-runs goes into an epic adventure. It is a wonderful reinforcement of Alan and Don's report.
I think all to often we see the results and think "Well why not give it a go?" not realizing that Years of effort went into getting there.Jan 21, 2010 at 8:34 am #1564775
Bulls eye! I skied from White Wolf to Tuolumne Meadows, camped with my little sister Heather who had skied from Lee vining. We skied the the non-rock climbing portions of Cathedral Peak.Jan 21, 2010 at 8:42 am #1564780
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Yes, I thought I recognized the scene. You see that rock behind in the photo. I sat there and ate lunch one day. Great view of Conness. I had skied in over Tioga Pass.
The only problem with Tuolumne Meadows is the critter situation. Bears and such will get your food bag if you aren't careful. And, if you are on a long ski trip and the bear gets your food bag, you are in deep do-do.
–B.G.–Jan 21, 2010 at 8:59 am #1564785
I'm with you vicariously. Two years in a row I tried for epic trips during spring break.
First was Twin Lakes (Bridgeport) to Mammoth. We spent two nights holed up at the base of Matterhorn pass waiting for a storm to let up before bailing. The next year we planned "The Sierra High Route" in a low snow year and gave up heading up Shepherd Pass when there was still no snow at Anvil Camp.
Hopefully you have a big enough time window that you can choose the best time to start.Jan 21, 2010 at 10:35 am #1564814
Gee, long articles of great adventures by normal folks, environmental issues, solid photography, gear reviews, big leather boots…OK, the boots I can now live without. But isn't the mag more interesting in the '70's than it is now? I guess we get that material here at BPL now. ScottFeb 2, 2010 at 10:10 am #1568886
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
From the book High Sierra, Peaks-Passes-Trails by R.J Secor, third ed., p. 449
Matterhorn Peak (Yosemite, just south of Twin Lakes)
"In the spring….a ski tour from the summit can be one of the finest mountaineering experiences on the continent."Feb 2, 2010 at 10:20 am #1568887
Yeah Baby! Unfortunately wind and fog made the descent less pleasant and photogenic but here is the final tongue of snow we could ski off Matterhorn Peak. There are a variety of loops from 3-7 days you can ski in Northern Yosemite. Wonderful skiing.Feb 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm #1577169
Doug Robinson and Peanut McCoy did it in 1970. Peanut is son of Mammoth Mtn. ski area founder Dave McCoy. He used to be the winter watchman for Red's Meadow pack station- preferring the solitude of the western foot of Mammoth Mtn. instead of the teeming masses on the mountain itself.
Doug Robinson… if you don't know Doug from his writings you should look him up. He certainly inspired me when I was the only high school kid in town with an interest in the mountains.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm #1587742
I'll be leaving on Saturday the 27th and have up to two weeks. I'll be using a SPOT tracker and my wife will be posting any satellite phone messages I send in during the trip. One of my partners cancelled so I'll be skiing alone the second week. Here are the links:
Here is the link to my Google Buzz site where any messages I send will be posted:
Here is the link to the SPOT tracker data where location will be updated:Mar 18, 2010 at 5:44 am #1587805
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Rock on Kevin! May the corn cycle favor you.Mar 18, 2010 at 7:53 am #1587832
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Yes, may both the corn AND avalanche conditions be in your favor. I look forward to updates.Mar 18, 2010 at 8:41 am #1587840
Amen and thanks to both Sam and Dave's good wishes. So far the weather and snow look good but there's another week before we leave. We're having a warm week so the snowpack should be stabilizing and forming a lovely corn harvest.Mar 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm #1588163
dude… epic trip!!! I've through hiked it twice, once when it was still half covered in snow in late May. We hopped over Forester pass the day after a snow storm and man, that freaked me out… I can't wait to hear how you do some of those passes in complete winter conditions.
seriously going to be waiting on pins and needles for a trip report on this one!
Best of luck with your trip!!!
oh, if you want to see an AWESOME elevation map of the trail, I had a copy in possession for a while and took it upon myself to scan it before returning it to the owner:Mar 19, 2010 at 6:30 am #1588238
Good luck and have fun. Can't wait to read a trip report.Mar 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm #1592138
as of today (3/29), Kevin is doing well, but proceeding on his journey solo. You can check his progress on the links he posted earlier on this thread.Mar 30, 2010 at 5:04 pm #1592585
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Looks like he's making good progress. Hopefully that bespeaks of good conditions.
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