May 17, 2006 at 11:22 pm #1218613
I have finally cleared time in early fall and am dying to do the entire JMT, but I need a partner(s)!! I can take up to a month to do it, but can hike at a decent pace as well, so I’m flexible (av. 17-22 mi per day). As I will be leaving behind a boyfriend who cannot go, I would prefer at least one other woman in the group if possible.
I know it is a bit late to begin planning such a trip; I am a good outdoorswoman, but if by chance I end up hiking solo (which I know many people do), is anyone able to comment on how “safe” such an undertaking is? Such as, if I break a leg and am out of water, will someone find me before I die of thirst/blood loss? I hear jokes about the installation of traffic signals along the trail, so I’m doubting this would be much of an issue, but I just thought I’d check.
ErinMay 18, 2006 at 8:21 am #1356565
Soloing isn’t for everyone, but the JMT is a great place to test the waters. Safety is enhanced because of its popularity. At that time of year in the least traveled sections (Upper Basin?) you would probably see 10 people a day if you remained stationary. I’ve seen many women soloing on the JMT and never heard of a problem.
One more thing, don’t believe any of the hysteria regarding bears.
RobertMay 18, 2006 at 3:07 pm #1356586
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
I agree with Robert on this one. If you end up solo, don’t fret. This trail is a super highway. From Happy Isles on you will see tons of people. Some areas get a tad isolated but what Robert says about 10 people is about right. Have fun, do it yourself. You can always bail on many trails that hook up with the JMT and be a days hike from civilisation most of the time.May 31, 2006 at 10:15 pm #1357271
Jose BeltranBPL Member
@josebeltranLocale: East Bay, San Francisco area
I have a permit for the JMT starting from Glacier Point on August 16th, because everything was full for the Valley trail head. It probably take us 3 weeks or so. My permit is for 5 people. Right now the group consists of Rob (American guy), Rigo ( Who will join the group at Florence Lake who is Panamanian), and myself ( I am from El Salvador). I have 2 extra spots. You are welcome to join our group in you are interested. If you have another friend , male or female, they are welcome too.
I hiked the JMT 5 years ago with my daughter. For your peace of mind I have a satelite phone that I mainly use for my solo off trail hikes, but I am planning also to bring it for this trip.
Also in the first week in August I have an off trail trip planned to Kings Canyon. My daughter is going on this trip. She is 20. I also have a spot for this trip. Anyone interested?
JoseJun 27, 2006 at 4:08 am #1358587
@be_here_nowearthlink-netLocale: Upstate New York
I am a mountain and sea kayak guide. I have led a number of trips in the Sierras and have done numerous solo hikes on and off trail in the Sierras including the whole JMT.
The following IS NOT a comment on any fine folks who have written here. However, well intended, skilled, etc. there are good reasons to not go with strangers on such an endeavor, imo.
I would recommend that you look again at the idea of hiking with strangers in any area, including the Sierras. This is not an I am a guy you woman sexist comment, same applies to guys imo.
It is from many years of experience with people in the wilderness. ANY TIME you go that far from definitive medical care, and stress your body and take on a degree of risks people’s judgment, personalities, and decision making become suspect at times.
It is a large error to think that there is automatically safety in numbers. Actually it depends on the level of skills, critical decision making, fitness and cohesiveness of goals, expectations, etc.
The actual risks may increase due to peer pressure, bad decisions, and wrong actions should you become ill or injured.
I ALWAYS approach such trips as if I am solo and think out how I would be safe, happy, and able to take care of any situation. Then I can realistically leave a group if necessary and my own decisions are made clearer to me.
Finally, I think the idea of going on an extended trip with strangers is highly likely to be less than good. Would any of us go on a blind date for a week? There are numerous reasons we have better common sense but not on hikes for some reason.
Yes, by all means go ahead, but do consider the thoughts above gleaned from many experiences out there. IMO, at least go on an over night hike with proposed folks or even better friends who you know and have camped with before.Aug 28, 2006 at 2:58 pm #1361845
As a woman who has done the JMT (not solo) and a bunch of solo fastpacking trips (including a 6 day South Lake to Yosemite along the JMT trip), I too would encourage you to feel okay about doing the JMT solo.
Its fascinating how solo hiking is often deemed safe for guys but not women. Yes, there will be perhaps whole days where you don’t see anyone, and that’s one of the neat things about the wilderness experience. The one thing I’d recommend is to definitely hike with poles. Particularly when you’re solo, you want them for stream crossings (still decent-sized) and for steadying yourself on long days.
Also, one tip re: finding “strangers” to hike with. I’ve done it really successfully — even on the JMT trip. The important thing is to qualify, qualify, qualify. I met with several people and only opted to have one join. He was great!
Whether you go solo or in a group, I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time!
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