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Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike
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Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike on 11/01/2007 20:59:23 MDT Print View

I'm 58 years old and have been hiking the High Sierras the last 7 years, in 2007 I did 150 miles in 15 days, 10 miles a day, with one resupply point. That is the average pace I like hiking, and the amount of food to carry (about 8-9 days max at a time). I want to hike a segment of the John Muir Trail that is about 160-170 miles long, either a round trip hike (80-85 miles one way) or a single length hike (where I take a bus trip on Hwy 395 back to starting point).

The resupply point obviously has to be near a place I can pre-ship food to. It is not important to have Mt. Whitney in this itinery as I've done that already.

What books, links, advice do you recommend? There will be 3 of us on the hike (maybe 4). Can posters comment on difficulty of stream crossings, best time of year go go (I'm thinking leaving on the trail July 27 (camping at the trail head the evening of July 26, 2008)). If you know the longest stretch between available water resources, please advise. Please advise on starting elevation too, I prefer to start the hike around 8,000-9,000 feet and take 1-2 days to get to 11,000 feet (I've been spoiled by starting out at Crescent Meadows on the High Sierra Trails these last 7 years) but I know doing the JMT may not enable me to do this, unless I start the hike south of the JMT, farther south on the PCT, south of Horseshoe Meadows. I'd like to keep the hike exclusively on the JMT as more hikers are on that trail and I enjoy meeting other hikers while on the route and I know from experience the PCT south of the JMT does not have as many hikers on the trail. Enuf rambling, you all should know what I'm asking for by now. Thanks!

Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - MLife

Locale: PNW
JMT on 11/05/2007 15:55:30 MST Print View

I'm planning on hiking the trail at the end of August 2008. I've been doing quite a bit of research on the subject. Here's a good thread at Practical Backpacking on the JMT:

I have a lot of info, just PM me if you have specific questions, and I'll be glad to help out. See you on the trail!

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: JMT on 11/05/2007 23:16:16 MST Print View

I read the post you recommend. Can you please elongate these acronymns: "I used all the resupply places - TM, RM, VVR and MTR. Those places are about 2 to 3 days apart."

Some of them I recall but not the full spelling, thanks!

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike on 11/06/2007 08:15:18 MST Print View

TM = Tuolumne Meadows
RM = Red's Meadow
VVR = Vermillion Valley Resort
MTR = Muir Trail Ranch

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
JMT Guide Book on 11/08/2007 06:39:33 MST Print View

Here is a guide just for you! The JMT by Alan Castle.
Available, of course, at Amazon.

This book outlines a hike of the JMT right at your pace. It is a day-by-day description with maps, mileage, trail descriptions, and glossey photos. He describes a hike of 21 days including a lay over day at Vermilion Valley Resort. The first half of the book , c.100 pages, describes all about the parks, and trip preparations. He has a bibliography listing toher books of interest, including other guides books. Here is an example: Day 7: The Devil's Postpile via Reds Meadow to Deer Creek. Total distance 9.0 miles. He includes a chart of Sectioal mileage, ie. mileage between junctions and signposts, alongside a column of Cumulative miles. He has a map of the day's hike and 3-4 pages of descriptions including the photos, one of the Mulehouse Cafe at Red Meadows and then a picture of the Devil's Postpile. Oh yes he has a list of "Escape Routes" for everyday in an Appendix. Have I sold you on this book yet? It costs $19.95 new and it fits perfectly into the rear pocket of my jeans.

Another excellent guidebook for breaking the JMT into segments: Day and Section Hikes of the JMT by Kathleen Dodge, Menasha Riddge Press, 2007
It describes 6 Day Hikes and 8 Section Hikes It includes information on how to get to the trailheads. It gives information about shuttles, prices, permits and phone numbers. It also has one page maps of each hike or section along with an elevation profile graph and GPS coordinates in UTM and Lat/Long.

The author's bio says she started carrying a backpack at age 10, summited Mt. Whitney on her 30th birthday completing the JMT for the first time and has returned each summer since. It does not mention her age now, however. It is another very informative guide.

Edited by rambler on 11/09/2007 09:24:55 MST.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike on 11/08/2007 07:59:07 MST Print View

Just out (Oct 15, 2007) "JOHN MUIR TRAIL" by Elizabeth Wenk and Kathy Morey. Available from for $12.21 Add Harrison's JMT map pack for $18.95 and get free shipping.

This is the 4th edition of "Guide to the John Muir Trail" by Winnett and Morey. Updated. GPS coordinates for all waypoints. Separate descriptions for northbound and southbound hiking. Incorporates tom Harrison's 13 section maps into the book. Side trips to 17 notable peaks.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike on 11/08/2007 23:00:00 MST Print View

I just received yesterday this book from amazon:
JOHN MUIR TRAIL" by Elizabeth Wenk and Kathy Morey. Thanks for the other book reference.

One question for tonite and I have to go to sleep, is there any wall map (large poster size or larger) of the John Muir Trail one can order -- I googled it and could not find a lead.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
jmt guide / map on 11/09/2007 11:42:09 MST Print View

The Winnett/Morey is the classic guide. Given you specifications I would second the recommendation of Alan Castle book.

I don't know of any jmt poster like maps. Maybe the folks at could be convinced to make one.


Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
more on JMT on 11/10/2007 06:25:40 MST Print View

The latest edition of Backpacker Magazine (December 2007) has an article about someone who hiked the trail in 7 days. Not that I would recommend that, but the author did include a gear list and other helpful info such as tel. numbers for transportation options to and from the trailheads, ie . Yosemite and Lone Pine.

A.D. Parris
(xirebos) - F

Locale: NTX
JMT Maps on 11/10/2007 18:19:20 MST Print View

Not a poster, but I suppose could be fastened together on a good chunk of wall, tom harrison @ has a JMT map pack that is highly recommended.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: more on JMT on 11/10/2007 20:40:25 MST Print View

I've taken everybody's recommendations, thanks! I ordered both books recommended, both maps recommended (the large Imus one and the tom harrison maps).

One of the guys in the group might drop out after about 8 days on the hike, so what we're hoping is that we can do a 160 mile hike, including entrance/exit hiking for the mid-point supply (or 2), and do about 10 miles a day for a 16 day hike, where we are able to start under 10,000 feet and not go over 10,000 feet until 2nd or 3rd day (to allow for acclimation). I'm wondering about coming in near Red Meadows and going South from there, need to do more reading about mileage and elevation though. We want the entrance/exit points for starting/ending to be from Hwy 395 so that it will be easy to get a bus ride back to the start where we leave my friend's car.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike on 11/10/2007 21:55:11 MST Print View

The only places to get out and pick up a car easily are Reds Meadow, Tuolumne Meadows, and Yosemite Valley. Yes, you can get out over Bishop Pass to South Lake or over Kearsarge Pass down to Onion Valley/Independence, but both require considerable off-trail mileages.

Park a car in either Mammoth Lakes (preferrably) or at the Tuolumne Mdws Wilderness Center. Start at Red's Meadow and walk north. This allows you to go DOWN the 5000 feet into Yosemite Valley.

Catch the 5 pm YARTS bus from the valley to TM at 7 pm or on to Mammoth Lakes about 9 pm to reclaim your car.

The next morning, the remaining hikers can then start south from Red's Meadow, ending at Mt Whitney. This allows you to walk DOWN the steep 99 switchbacks to Whitney Portal.

Catch the CREST bus to Reno and fly home.

Edited by wandering_bob on 11/10/2007 21:56:35 MST.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike on 11/10/2007 23:36:19 MST Print View

Thanks, Bob. I'm joined the PCT Club and found they have a web based PCT hike planner that you can use to do the JMT at -- I have plugged in my hiking pace, number of hours a day, amount each 1,000 feet climb slows me down, and can see how many days it takes to get to each resupply point. I did one starting at Toulumne Meadows, another starting at Reds Meadow. If I go from Toulumne to Independence, it is about 153 miles. If I go from Reds Meadow to Lone Pine, it is 161 miles.

I hate extremely steep passes. For example, going from Big Arroyo Ranger Cabin and up and over Black Rock Pass (which is a 90 degree angle from the High Sierra Trail), going over the pass that way is very steep and I could handle going that way (but I told myself, I'd super hate it if I had to go down the opposite direction). Trailcrest Pass was just fine, hard yes, but not scary steep. Going North to South and exiting at Indepence versus going North to South and exiting at Lone Pine, what are the passes like doing such? I heard that Forrester Pass and Kearsage Pass are worse than TrailCrest -- how do they compare to Black Rock Pass (have you done Black Rock Pass)?

Brian OKelly
(losthillsguy) - F
Profile, landmarks, food drops, elevations and a 21 day itinerary. on 11/29/2007 19:11:46 MST Print View

While it was freezing outside this morning I did this...

John Muir Trail Dreams
I find myself daydreaming of all those somewhat mysterious and legendary place-names...Yosemite...Thousand Island Lake...Tully Hole...Muir Pass... Woods Creek Bridge... Guitar Lake... WHITNEY...Trail Camp.

To expend a little of this excitement, I redrew the JMT profile and added landmarks, food drops, elevations and overlayed a 21 day itinerary. This should give all of you out there thinking of doing the JMT this summer a little mental motivation! Have fun.

Here is the new JMT profile, check it out!
Profile, landmarks, food drops, elevations and a 21 day itinerary

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Profile, landmarks, food drops, elevations and a 21 day itinerary. on 11/29/2007 23:46:30 MST Print View

This 21 day profile is most, most relevant and fantastic. I saw this same posting on the Yahoo group and replied to it there. Feel free to reply (please) both places though for benefit of those not on that list.

Brian OKelly
(losthillsguy) - F
Newest profile on 12/20/2007 20:46:17 MST Print View

Here is the newest profile version.
Larger and suitable for your wall for inspiration.
Will print on three sheets of legal size paper.

Wayne Sikorsky
(wts) - F
JMT on 02/24/2009 19:07:17 MST Print View

Hello to All,

Is there is anyone who can help me with a question in regards to hiking the JMT. Im thinking of starting either last week in July or mid August. We are thinking of spending 12 to 18 days. Depending how fast we are or how much we want to soak it all in.
Is the end of July buggier than mid August, and how cold can we expect it to be in the first week of September.Especially since we will be at Whitney that week. We wanted to start in the first week in August but that may not work out. Im just trying to figure out gear for earlier or later.
We are thinking Squall-2 and MH phantom 32.
THanks so much!!!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Best Advice, Books etc for JMT hike on 02/25/2009 08:41:08 MST Print View

If you hate steep passes you might hate the JMT.

Last year I hiked from South to North on the PCT. I climbed Forester, Glenn, Pinchot and Mather Passes. Then I got fed up with them. They were scary. It was the 2nd half of June so there was a lot of snow left.

I got off the trail at Bishop Pass and reclaimed the trail at Duck Pass and crossed Donahue Pass and went down into Yosemite Valley. I skipped Evolution Valley because there are two scary creeks there and if the passes weren't enough to do me in, I figured the creeks would. Evolution and Bear Creek are the scary ones. Since then I've seen pictures and they don't look all that bad. I should have sucked it up and gone for it! What a wimp I am!

Of the passes I did, Forester was not that bad, Pinchot was not that bad, but Mather was real steep on the south side in the snow. We walked basically straight up the face of it. I wore crampons and told myself not to look at anything. The north side of it was a long, long slog down a steep staircase. If you end up going up this steep staircase, I feel very sorry for you. But I guess that's just what the JMT-ers do. They're stronger than I am, that's for sure!

Glenn Pass, in my opinion, was the scariest one for me because of the snow. I hiked that one the same day I hiked up Forester, too, so I was very tired and wobbly and all alone it was no fun at all. Sliding down the snow on the other side was fun, though.

I think without snow these passes would not be scary at all. Hopefully for you at the end of July there won't be much snow left.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Snow Storms on the JMT in late july/early aug? on 02/25/2009 08:54:02 MST Print View

Does it ever snow between July 15 and August 15 in the JMT (any of the passes)? If so, how bad can it get? When was the last time such happened? I've always thought this single month time-slot was the time of maximum snow melt and near-zero chance of new snow.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
JMT summer snow on 02/25/2009 09:41:02 MST Print View


those are the best months for % chance no snow, but it has snowed ever day of the year up there at one time or another. it is not often, but it can happen. usually it's only a couple inches, but every now & then a freak storm will dump a foot or more. I've spent about 5 months of my life in the high sierra (spread out over 12 summers) from june to october and have only been snowed on lightly a couple times, but have cut a couple trips short in late season when snow was coming.

especially in july what you do have a good chance of getting is the monsoon - can have long and very heavy thunder and lightning rain storms & on the passes this often falls as hail. hits early to mid afternoon & can go 1-4 hours or so, depending on the available moisture, the monsoon pattern & the heat in the valley (hotter below means more cloud power above).