Skiing the JMT
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Skiing the JMT on 01/20/2010 19:08:41 MST Print View

Kevin,
You can't just dangle that out there and walk away....

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Skiing the JMT on 01/20/2010 20:09:31 MST Print View

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:

Backpacker Mag Oct/Nov 1989 David Morris Skis the JMT

Edited by jimqpublic on 01/20/2010 20:27:03 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Skiing the JMT on 01/20/2010 21:31:43 MST Print View

Thanks for sharing that link, Jim.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Skiing the JMT on 01/20/2010 22:31:01 MST Print View

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.

Wind Affected Snow
Snow?  Where?

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.

Yosemite/cathedral Peak

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.

Donohue Peak

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
trip announcements on 01/20/2010 22:39:16 MST Print View

This is a great thread, but it should be in Trip Announcements, since it hasn't happened yet. I don't really care, but it's probably yet another argument for a little re-organization of the forum topics.

Sam, can't we at least put Pre-Trip (planning/hike partners requested, etc) BEFORE Post-Trip (reports/photos)? (see my re-posting from last year in the Forum Support area).

Either way, that's going to be an amazing trip!

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: Skiing the JMT on 01/20/2010 23:07:40 MST Print View

This is *darn* cool. I really look forward to the trip report!

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: trip announcements on 01/20/2010 23:14:45 MST Print View

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.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
kevin. on 01/20/2010 23:21:53 MST Print View

yeah, i know! someone (thankfully) is trying to "encourage" you to put info up, much to all of our benefit.

so please post as you plan for this trip. and a good report after you finish!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
one photo on 01/21/2010 00:14:20 MST Print View

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.--

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: trip announcements on 01/21/2010 08:16:58 MST Print View

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.

Kevin -
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.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: one photo on 01/21/2010 09:34:46 MST Print View

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.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
one photo on 01/21/2010 09:42:17 MST Print View

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.--

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
With you vicariously! Re: Skiing the JMT on 01/21/2010 09:59:31 MST Print View

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.

scott Nelson
(nlsscott) - MLife

Locale: So. Calif.
I like the Old Backpacker Mag! on 01/21/2010 11:35:47 MST Print View

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. Scott

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
Yosemite Skiing (Matterhorn Peak) on 02/02/2010 11:10:36 MST Print View

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."

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Yosemite Skiing (Matterhorn Peak) on 02/02/2010 11:20:41 MST Print View

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. BottomMatterhorn

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Skiing the JMT- Doug Robinson & Peanut McCoy in 1970 on 02/22/2010 15:52:24 MST Print View

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.

http://www.adventuresportsjournal.com/html/Articles/24/24_xtremeBohemians.htm

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
JMT Links on 03/17/2010 22:20:45 MDT Print View

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:
http://www.google.com/profiles/109219747278066793132

Here is the link to the SPOT tracker data where location will be updated:

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0bVt18xc2xcuKCgGQYeAR0R3JanGHskti

Edited by ksawchuk on 03/18/2010 09:38:52 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Woohoo! on 03/18/2010 06:44:21 MDT Print View

Rock on Kevin! May the corn cycle favor you.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Skiing the JMT on 03/18/2010 08:53:51 MDT Print View

Yes, may both the corn AND avalanche conditions be in your favor. I look forward to updates.