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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Backpack - G4? Jam? Pinnacle? on 06/22/2010 00:36:47 MDT Print View

"Although I know Daniel can cover more miles in a day and by doing that we would drastically reduce our need for food, I would like to stick with his plan."

Excellent! It is his hike, and it looks like he is doing all the planning. Sounds like you have one great kid there.

Also, before you know it, he will be grown and on his own. Take your time, and enjoy the trip together.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Bear Canister in a Jam on 06/22/2010 07:28:30 MDT Print View

I place the sleeping pad flat against my back (or in a U with my Ridgerest deluxe) My sleeping bag, tarp and bivy goes in the bottom. The canister goes in with the lid up. (Sometimes I can get into the canister without taking it out the pack.) Then the rest of the gear goes on top.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Bear Canister in a Jam on 06/22/2010 07:35:04 MDT Print View

May I suggest keeping your tarp and bivy separate from your sleeping bag and at the top of your pack?
Having to unpack your entire load to get to your tarp in the rain is no good. Neither is sticking a wet tarp in the bottom of a pack with your bag.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Bear Canister in a Jam on 06/22/2010 11:16:49 MDT Print View

I'm seeing a lot a discussion of fitting a Bear Canister in a Jam or Pinnacle. I have used a Jam and for a long time I used a Golite Trek which is basically an earlier version of the Pinnacle. I would make two suggestions to those looking at either,

1. I love frameless packs but comfort depends on your ability to pack it properly. Personally I do not like to carry more than 25 pounds total in a frameless pack. If you can keep it below that level and know how to pack gear go for it, if not there are some excellent lightweight internal frame packs that are better for your needs.

2. I have not carried a bear canister in either pack but I did try putting one in at an REI. It can be done but you will have to pack it carefully or the canister will cause problems. Personally if I was going to carry a canister I might be inclined to go with an internal frame pack.

Edited by Cameron on 06/22/2010 11:21:32 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re Re Bear Canister in a Jam on 06/22/2010 12:44:46 MDT Print View

A canister in a Jam is no problem. I have both the small and large Bearvaults.


I use a pad as a frame, put my bag and clothes in a liner bag in the bottom, then slide the canister in no problem. With the large canister, not much room is left at this point though- just enough for a few soft goods and a shallow cookpot on top of it. Don't expect to get anything tucked around the sides of canister either- it's a perfect fit, no space left. I've carried 9 days/almost 30 pounds like this and was fine.

James Wiley
(jnwiley) - MLife
DownWorks in Santa Cruz on 06/24/2010 11:00:38 MDT Print View

Manfred,

The ULA Equipment packs can be seen and tested at DownWorks in Santa Cruz. I used a GG pack last year with reasonable success, but planning the big ULA Equipment pack this year.

- Jim (Woodland)

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
Food on 06/30/2010 12:43:52 MDT Print View

Ok. I finally got around to putting the list for food together (between working in my summer job as life guard at our public pool and designing 53 signs for my Eagle Scout project and getting bids for them).
I reduced my food load by 2.5 lbs to 17.5 lbs for 10 days. You can find my list on my website http://daniels-eagle-scout-project.webs.com
Just go to "Hiking the JMT" and then "Food".
In my gear list you will see that I'm now down to carrying 20 lbs of gear in my pack + 5.5 lbs of cloth, trekking poles, etc. on my body + 22.5 lbs of food & water for a maximum of 48 lbs. Before Muir Trail Ranch I will never carry more then 10 lbs of food & water. So most of the time I will have less than 30 lbs on my back.

Edited by Eagle on 06/30/2010 12:46:33 MDT.

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
Gear list after weighing everything on 07/01/2010 12:21:41 MDT Print View

In the past I just looked up the weights as specified by the manufacturer. Sometimes I was surprised by the difference. Did my boots really collect that much dirt -- or how did they get so much heavier?

Anyhow - you can find the revised list on my website under "Hiking the JMT" and "Gear List".

Now I have three weeks left to reconsider some of my choices.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Food on 07/01/2010 13:22:30 MDT Print View

Daniel,

Having less than 30lbs on your back most of the time is reasonable, and you are not doing super high mileage. We have all analyzed the weight of your heaviest items, which you really want to keep for various reasons. And that is fine.

This is going to be an epic hike for you, and one you remember for the rest of your life. And doing it with your dad is going to add to the memories. Just hike it and enjoy it. Concentrate on the sounds, sights, and smells. Bond with your father.

And of course, you "owe" us a complete trip report with pictures for all the opinions :)

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
You can track me via SPOT on 07/21/2010 17:40:24 MDT Print View

Thank you everyone for giving me tips and encouraging me in general. This weekend we will finally start on our hike. The whole family is totally excited. Our resupply buckets are shipped to Red's Meadow and MTR and today we received our bearikades in the mail. So now we can do our last little bit of packing and we are ready to go. All the excitement in our family has caught up with my twin brother, who is now coming along for the whole JMT. I don't know who is happier, my dad or me. In the meantime we got a SPOT and you can follow us on the internet, if you go on my website to Track my Progress and click on "location data".
Starting Saturday the SPOT should send an update every 10 minutes and you will be able to compare our progress with my hiking plan that is also on my webpage.

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
Hike report for my JMT hike from 7/24 to 8/12 on 08/17/2010 22:51:52 MDT Print View

Thanks again to all for your useful insights into backpacking with less weight. Along the JMT I saw many examples on how I can improve. Finally I'm seeing the light and will part with my Kelty pack. For Philmont next year I will have a pack that doesn't weigh more than 2 lbs.
Tomorrow will be my first day as a junior in high school and I tried the last couple of days to put my hike report together. Have a look at my Hike Report to see my journal with several of the photos we took along the trail. The whole experience was awesome and in so many ways beyond words. I will most likely for a while day dream about the JMT in school.

Jennifer W
(tothetrail) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal.
Re: Hike report for my JMT hike from 7/24 to 8/12 on 08/18/2010 10:09:18 MDT Print View

Excellent trip report Daniel. You actually answered a bunch of questions I had about the trail (I'll be starting in a week.) Particularly the best route out of Vermilion and the Bear Creek cut-off trail.

And actually, now that I see your report on Vermilion and Muir Trail Ranch, I'm wondering if we would be better off just skipping Vermilion and staying at MTR. Were all of the services offered at MTR free of charge if you have a stay booked with them (clothes washing, lemonade, hot tub soaks, etc.?)

I don't know if it's just my computer, but I can't get the last portion on you trip report to display. It cuts off everything after about day 17.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Hike report for my JMT hike from 7/24 to 8/12 on 08/18/2010 10:46:46 MDT Print View

"And actually, now that I see your report on Vermilion and Muir Trail Ranch, I'm wondering if we would be better off just skipping Vermilion and staying at MTR. Were all of the services offered at MTR free of charge if you have a stay booked with them (clothes washing, lemonade, hot tub soaks, etc.?)"
I'm not so sure how practical it would be to book a stay with MTR for the middle of a JMT trip. They do allow people to make reservations for short stays, but only for dates where they have an opening, and only in the spring and fall. I'm not clear on how Daniel and Manfred set this up, and whether they would have been allowed any flexibility to arrive on a different day.

The only services MTR offers to backpackers who aren't staying there are resupply, a hiker's box, a very small general store, and water. They do not offer food, laundry, or use of toilets.

VVR is a much more welcoming place for hikers. They have a cafe, beer, a bigger store, laundry, toilets, showers, and your choice of camping or sleeping in a bunkhouse. The first beer is free to through-hikers. No reservations are required, so you don't have to worry about staying to a fixed itinerary.

I stopped at both places (VVR for a zero-day break, and MTR for resupply), but if I had it to do over, I'd have skipped MTR entirely.

MTR is an expensive luxury resort. They charge $155 per night for the adults in the cabins. What I paid at VVR for meals and a bed was 1/3 of that. It's not surprising that you get a lot more luxury when you pay three times more money.

Edited by bcrowell on 08/18/2010 11:03:59 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
VVR on 08/18/2010 11:03:12 MDT Print View

Looking at Daniel's trail journal re VVR, I think there are some mistakes in it, and some other things where my subjective impressions don't agree at all with his.

What I was charged for the ferry was exactly what was posted ($18 round trip). I think Daniel and Manfred may have miscommunicated with the owner about what the $33 charge was actually for.

Re the first night being free, I have never heard any statement from VVR that this was supposed to be the case. Most people only stay there for one night, so I can't see how they could possibly not charge for the first night. If the tent cabin fills up, you're paying to camp on their land. If you don't want to camp on their land, you don't have to; I don't think it's more than a 5-minute walk to public land.

Obviously there is not going to be free beer for high school students. I got a free beer when I visited. There was a big cooler, and everyone took their first beer out of it.

I guess VVR could be a "money sink" if you start a tab and don't watch what you're paying for. I think my total bill was $55, including ferry, dinner, a night's sleep in the tent cabin, and breakfast. I would consider that extremely cheap. I thought the service at VVR was very good and friendly.

It's possible that some of our wildly differing impressions came from the fact that Daniel and Manfred went at the very peak of the JMT season, so the staff at VVR were probably insanely busy, and the place was probably extremely crowded.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
VVR arrival and departre on 08/18/2010 11:04:39 MDT Print View

I approached VVR from Goodale Pass and Trail. Enjoyable hike. I stopped only to get a resupply, ship dirty laundry and used maps, etc. home, and phone home.
At the suggestion of the owner, I hiked out via Bear Creek. That was an easy, enjoyable hike once I reached the creek. Finding the trailhead, however was difficult. It is not on the Harrison JMT maps.
It is a 3 mile road walk...try to hitch. It climbs steeply, then suddenly turns back away from the JMT and drops down into a valley before reaching the creek. I was almost convinced I was going the wrong way.
Once along the creek, the climb back to the JMT is gradual most of the way and the creek is beautiful. Many locals fish there, and if I were a trout, I would live there. There is a nice ledge to camp near with water close by and only tenths of a mile before joining the JMT.
It was nice having only to carry a small amount of food before the major re-supply at MTR.
If I were going again, I would try to catch the boat.

PS Pack animals do not use the Bear Creek Trail.

Edited by rambler on 08/18/2010 11:06:19 MDT.

Jennifer W
(tothetrail) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal.
Re: Re: Re: Hike report for my JMT hike from 7/24 to 8/12 on 08/18/2010 11:16:57 MDT Print View

"I'm not so sure how practical it would be to book a stay with MTR for the middle of a JMT trip. They do allow people to make reservations for short stays, but only for dates where they have an opening. That would mean you'd be out of luck if you showed up a day late or a day early."

Thanks for the insight Ben. I know that it would be problematic if we didn't arrive as scheduled. They do have an opening for the day we "plan" to be there.

In reading trip reports, it sounds like it's tough to leave VVR for less than $150. The short stay at MTR is $140 (plus the higher $50 resupply fee) and includes all the meals. I'm just not sure if that includes all the other services. If it does, since it takes less time to get to and from MTR from the trail, and you're not constrained by ferry schedules, it might be easier.

Decisions, decisions.

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
VVR vs. MTR on 08/18/2010 11:49:14 MDT Print View

Hi Jennifer,

My dad booked the MTR stay based on my day-by-day hiking plan in advance without telling me. When we were hiking faster as expected he suggested the trip to VVR to slow us down so we would arrive at MTR on the right day. Sneaky!
The fee for MTR was $140 and it was all inclusive - hot tub soaks, washing clothes, dinner, breakfast, sack lunch, etc. My impression at VVR was that no one walked away with a bill less than $150, when they paid for ferry, washing clothes, taking a shower, eating three meals, etc.
There were many people very happy with VVR. But we found their service poor and were especially unhappy about their stubborness to charge us $11 for the one-way ferry although their sign said $10. It didn't seem very ethical. If I were 10 years older and the waitress would have hit on me, I might even have enjoyed that too. But as it was, I didn't like to get bad service, just because there were other men in the "right" age class around who got all her attention.
At MTR everyone was treated with equal respect. Every staff member knew every guest's name and I felt very welcome. On both days we were there, they had openings for short-stays. I can't say how often that happens and whether you can "risk" to just show up. On 8/3 and 8/4 it would have worked. If you have a set hiking plan, then I would just book it in advance.

Good luck with your hike!

Daniel

Jennifer W
(tothetrail) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal.
Re: VVR on 08/18/2010 11:51:33 MDT Print View

Ben, there were three of them and the ferry charge for a one-way trip was raised to $11. The posted price was $10.

I agree about starting a tab and not paying attention to the charges. When I figured out what my approximate tab would be, it came to about $50, but I'm not sure how much phone or internet service might be since we will need to communicate with the rest of our party meeting us at the Baxter Pass trail. I can't figure out what else most people are buying to rack up such a high bill.

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
Re: VVR on 08/18/2010 12:09:11 MDT Print View

Hi Ben,

There are no mistakes in my description. And there was absolutely no miscommunication between my dad and the owner about $10 vs. $11 for the one-way ferry. They had a lengthy discussion about "Truth in advertising" and "Consumer rights". The owner made it clear who sets the price and makes the rules there and what my dad has to do to get his credit card back -- sign here. That is not the treatment I like to get. Many of the people we met during the hike were extremly happy with VVR -- especially after having 5 and more beers. At MTR we didn't see any beer. There was endless water, lemonade and ice tea available, but no alcohol was served with dinner. For me -- a 15 year old boy who can't yet drink alcohol -- the atmosphere at MTR was so much more relaxing. VVR had very good food and they gave me a free coke (instead of the beer), which I enjoyed tremendously. I just didn't like the atmosphere as much, didn't like the dark and dirty shower/restroom combination I had to pay $6 for, didn't like the treatment I received as a boy compared to beer drinking adults. So my personal choice between VVR and MTR is clear. I guess it all comes down to personal preferences.

Daniel

Daniel Kopisch
(Eagle) - F

Locale: Menlo Park
Re: Re: VVR on 08/18/2010 12:14:30 MDT Print View

Hi Jennifer,

Phone/Internet at VVR was $2 per minute (they actually added $2 to our credit card bill, for running the card through the machine and thus making a call to verify the card). At MTR they offer thru hikers to use email (no facebook or other internet sites with pictures) for $10/15 minutes. For guests the internet usage was free. So just looking for 30 minutes at the subject lines of all the emails that had piled up at VVR is $60.

Daniel