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JMT 2010 Solo Hike - Aug 21st
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Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
JMT 2010 Solo Hike - Aug 21st on 07/31/2010 11:41:11 MDT Print View


I am leaving for a solo southbound JMT thru hike on August 21st. I am still working on my schedule, but I plan to take about 14-17 days. I have read a lot of the gear lists here and molded them and the suggestions people have made into my list which you can find at the link below. I would greatly welcome any suggestions or feedback. If it isn’t on the list it isn’t coming with me, so if you think of anything I forgot please let me know!

I plan to resupply in Tuolumne Meadows, Reds Meadow, Muir Trail Ranch, and probably near the Rae Lakes from a friend meeting me. The longest amount of time between resupplies should be about 5 days.

Some of the things I am still debating are:

Camera – I know this is a very personal choice, but I am thinking of adding my Nikon D80 SLR with 18/200mm lens. This would add 2.5 pounds at least and I would wear it in a front holster attached to my pack’s shoulder straps. The Lumix TS-2 is new to me, and I know and love my SLR. But it’s a ton of weight. I still can’t decide.

Sleeping Bag- I am slightly worried the GoLite Ultra 20 quilt won't be warm enough for me. I have thought about bringing my WM UltraLite instead. I have also thought about adding a balakava or BlackRock down hat for more warmth. Maybe even some goosefeet down socks as I can use them with the quilt for more versatility and still lighter then the WM UltraLite. I could modify my sleeping pad system as well.

Shelter- I like the multifunction nature of my Gatewood cape. However, I am also considering the following. The bivy provides more protection and warmth, but the bug shelter has more room. The cape means I don’t need a rain jacket. Many nights I hope to not setup the tarp.

Option #1 18 oz
SMD Gatewood Cape 11
SMD Serenity Net Shelter 7

Option #2 12.5 oz
MLD Cuben Fiber Solo Grace Tarp 6
MLD Superlight Bivy 7.5

Option #3 16.6 oz
MLD Cuben Fiber Solo Tarp 6
Alpinelite 1.25 Bug Shelter 10.6

Long Sleeve Shirt- I like wool and normally use the BPL Merino wool Hoody (non UL) or an Icebreaker/Smartwool zip T. However, I feel it will be too warm during the day. I was reading reviews of the Rail Raiders Eco Mesh shirt, but I am open to suggestions. I want to use a long sleeve shirt for sun protection and versatility.

Baselayer Top – I imagine sleeping in the shirt I select above will get uncomfortable and am thinking of bringing a wool zip neck T for nights and sleeping for comfort and warmth.

Baselayer bottom- I don’t have any insulation for my legs. Just the BPL Thorofare pants. I am thinking of adding either wool, Terramar silk, or capilene baselayer for extra warmth and sleeping.

Spot Satellite Tracker- I had a big debate about this, but I plan on bringing it to keep the girlfriend and family happy.

I will be cooking with esbit and plan to have hot dinner’s every night, and a hot breakfast or lunch every other day averaging 1.5 tabs a day. I plan to bring 1.5 pounds of food per day and would like to hit 3000 calories or 125 calories per ounce. I am 5’11” and weight a 130 pounds. I have done a number of 1 or 2 day trips to practice my techniques and dial in my gear, but this will be my first trip of this magnitude.

Edited by jeff.k on 07/31/2010 11:41:44 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
looks cool on 07/31/2010 15:53:04 MDT Print View

That's an excellent base weight for the JMT!

I just finished the JMT (also solo) last week, and in most ways your gear list looks pretty similar to mine.

In your OP you mentioned you're unsure about nighttime warmth. Have you been to the Sierra before? (I see you're from NY.) Weather in the Sierra in the summer is generally pretty gentle, even at night at high altitude. Nighttime warmth is a personal thing, though, so it's hard to say what would be right for you.

I would definitely ditch the rain mitts and gloves. These are totally unnecessary for the Sierra in summer.

I don't think you need both a towel and a bandanna. I would just bring the bandanna for both purposes.

Are you really going to use the headlamp? Could just bring a 0.7-oz photon freedom flashlight.

I assume the omission of toilet paper is because you're going to use natural materials for wipes...?

You seem to have DEET listed twice. Not sure you'll really need the heavy bug net that late in the season. Even earlier in the season, when I went, I was fine with just headnet+DEET (with long sleeves and long pants).

I would ditch the platypus. Two half-liter bottles were plenty for me. Water is pretty plentiful on the JMT.

You might want to consider a pair of earplugs to deal with early-evening noise from people and/or bugs.

Like you, I brought a tarp. I hardly ever needed it. However, there is at least some chance of having to wait out a long storm under your tarp, e.g., if you're waiting to go over a pass that you don't feel safe going over in a storm. In that situation, you might want some kind of groundsheet, which could just be a garbage bag. You can use the same bag as a second layer of water protection around your sleeping bag. Although creeks will be lower by the time you go, you still want to make sure you can have a dry sleeping bag after falling during a crossing, ditching your pack so you can swim, and having to retrieve your pack later. Your pack liner will probably have holes in it by the end of a trip of this length. Might also be worth adding another garbage bag to make sure your sleep clothes stay dry.

Spare batteries?

Edited by bcrowell on 07/31/2010 15:56:32 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Gear List on 07/31/2010 17:04:00 MDT Print View


It looks like you will be covering 12 to 13 miles a day. The cooking set-up is good. Without more information though, your food allotment could be goosed up a smidge to a minimum 2 pounds per day. I lost 22 pounds last year in 15.5 days on 2 pounds but I was overweight to begin with. You’re definitely not in that category and based on height and weight vital signs, you are borderline critical bad with any weight loss. Maybe a weight gain diet if possible from until you start??

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: JMT 2010 Solo Hike - Aug 21st on 07/31/2010 18:15:11 MDT Print View

A few thoughts. Given you're going late in the season bugs are not likely to be an issue. So you could skip the nettent and just take a polycro groundsheet. You've got a headnet just in case.

Temps can drop below freezing at the higher elevations anytime of year. A few years ago, I started about a week later than you are. I used a marmot hydrogen, WM flight jacket, and montbell down inner pants and was cold. But I'm a cold sleeper in general. If it was me I'd take the ultralite.

I'm not a big fan of the cape. Sierra storms are usually thunderstorms with a lot of wind and I found the cape just to floppy to hike in comfortably. You've got the light cuben tarp so that's the way I'd go. You can add a driducks jacket which should easily handle the few thunderstorms you're likely to see. If it gets bad, shelter up and wait for the storm to pass. It will soon enough. Another option would be to seam seal your houdini ala Richard Nisley and that too should be enough. I've used a hoodless jacket with similar ratings and been fine in the sierras for the last few years. If you get a little wet put on your hoody. Warm when wet wool is a wonderful thing.

A pair of icebreaker 150 wool leggings would make a nice addition extra warmth for sleeping, late night potty trips, and to keep warm during a storm. It doesn't matter if you're legs get wet as long as you don't get cold.

I love my beartooth hoody (actually my second one) and find it handles the temp ranges pretty well. Pull up the sleeves and unzip the chest and I'm good into the mid 80s. Keep in mind that durability is a problem and wearing the hoody alone under a pack will quickly wear out the shoulders and the area under the waist belt which is why I'm on my second. I use a sleeveless shirt now to protect it and wear alone when it gets warm.

Not enough food would be my guess. You're doing pretty decent mileage and you have no fat store. The store at Tuolumne usually has pretty good supplies to supplement what you send. Also means you can pick up some fresh food for a nice change of pace. Red's meadow is pretty weak for supplies, but the restaurant is good for a burger or two.

The camera is a tough call. I carried a d200, 18-200, and 12-24 on my hike and hardly ever used it. If photography is going to be a major focus of your hike, if you're going to time your locations to take advantage of prime light, which doesn't last long as the sun drops down below the mountains quickly than it makes sense. If not I'd suggest going with something lighter.

Edited by nschmald on 07/31/2010 18:26:10 MDT.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Gear List on 07/31/2010 18:26:52 MDT Print View

John Jays wrote: "Without more information though, your food allotment could be goosed up a smidge to a minimum 2 pounds per day."
I'm the same body weight as Jeff, and 2 lb/day would be almost twice as much as I would eat. This kind of thing seems to vary enormously from person to person. Most likely nobody can tell what Jeff needs to eat except for Jeff himself, based on his own previous experience. Since he has frequent resupply (including the southern half -- cool!), this is not really all that critical. If he has too much, he can dump some in hiker's boxes. If he doesn't have enough, he can buy meals at Tuolumne, Red's, and VVR. Jeff, although VVR isn't one of your resupply points (and it wasn't for me, either), I would heartily recommend it as a fun, relaxing place to stop off, pig out on some good food, give your sore feet a vacation, and meet a lot of really cool people.


Don A.
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
JMT Solo on 07/31/2010 20:55:51 MDT Print View

I too use the GoLite quilt. I used it on the JMT last year for a thru and will do a section this year with it. As said before the temps are relatively mild. I had a few nights of below freezing last year but never felt cold. Some sort of base layer for the legs is a good idea. I highly recommend a good head covering--a body looses a lot of heat through the head. I've switched to a Buff to replace my balaclava. It serves as a cap, head band and neck gaiter as the need arises and when soaked with cool sierra waters really helps on hot/dusty trail sections.
I'm currently using a MLD Wild Oasis which is basically the same as the Gatewood Cape with a bug skirting added. I used it on the OHT earlier this year and it held up well in some pretty intense wind and rain storms.
Food--who knows. I planned 2lbs last year at it was too much. I did 1.75lbs. on the OHT it was closer to my actual use/needs. As said before it seems to be relative to the individual.
I'll be starting at Red's Meadow on Aug 20. With your schedule you'll be blowing past me along the way. Have a great time out there.

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: JMT 2010 Solo Hike - Aug 21st on 08/01/2010 12:43:53 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions!

Regarding the nighttime warmth and sleeping it seems that as with many things it is very personal. I have spent a weekend in one of Yosemite’s campgrounds, but that certainly wasn’t at altitude. According to some of Richard Nisley’s great analysis found here the Neoair + GoLite Quilt + .6 clo baselayer + MB UL Parka is comfort rated to 40 degrees with back sleeping and 31 degrees side sleeping. From reports of it getting to below freezeing some nights I feel I am on the line. With the addition of GG Nightlight Torso pad which has an R value of 2.27, then the comfort rating should be at least 27 while on my back and 22 on my side. Therefore, it seems I won’t freeze to death in the GoLite quilt as long as I keep it dry. So I am planning to stick with the GoLite Ultra 20 and bring a warm head covering. I am thinking the Merino Wool buff I already have and getting a BlackRock down hat would provide me with a lot of versatility. The buff could cover my neck and face, while the dwon hat would keep my noggin warm. Another option would be something like the Down Works Balakava, but I think the combo offers more versatility for this temp range. Richard Nisley has yet again great data on insulated head coverings which you can find here

I will ditch the rain mitts, but I am planning on keeping my gloves. If it gets down to freezing at night the wool gloves will help. I also use them as pot holders. And if they get wet they will still keep me pretty warm.

Good point on the towel/bandana redundancy.

I like the idea of a good light when making a nighttime potty run in bear country. I also want to be on Whitney for the sunrise. I could always ship the headlamp in my last resupply and just bring a smaller light for the rest of the trip. If I bring my SLR, I will also probably bring the bigger headlamp in case I am walking before or after the sunsets to a spot to take pictures.

I intentionally left TP off the list, but I might bring a little just in case.

I removed the double entry for DEET. I know that the bugs shouldn’t be that bad. I hate DEET and I might leave it all at home. And just bring the headnet. Then again, a micro dropper bottle halfway filled doesn’t weigh that much.

I think 1L of water will be enough for me. I plan on using the steripen and drinking when I come across water so I don’t have to carry more than a half liter at a time. I do feel it is important to have a backup water carrying canister. I doubt my water bottle will break, but if I accidently drop it down a hill and loose it, it would be nice to have something to drink and store water. Two half liter bottles would be another option.

I live in New York City so I sleep through sirens, horn honking and crazy people screaming. However, the earplugs aren’t a bad idea. They probably won’t even register on my scale.

I might throw an extra pack liner in one or two of my resupply buckets. That way I can swap out at MTR in case my pack liner has a whole in it. Almost all of my insulation is down, and I would like to keep it dry if I take a spill in a creek. I will also add some extra batteries and other supplies (band-aids, leuko tape, etc) in some of my resupply buckets just in case.

Regarding food consumption, I feel I am grateful to have a metabolism that can go all day with only eating a couple granola bars, or I can eat everything in sight and I don’t gain or loose a pound. The engineer in me knows, this isn’t really possible, but I am pretty sure I require less food then the average person. However, you all are right to be conservative here. I will likely up it to 2 pounds per day, and carry an extra day or half day of food depending on where my next resupply is. As I go I can adjust this by leaving or taking a little extra food in the hiker bins. I am not a huge meet eater, but I am sure a couple good cheeseburgers on the trail will help my belly and sprits. I will plan on swinging by VVR.

John, you are correct. If I lost 22 pounds I think I would be pretty bad shape. I have thought about a weight gain diet before my trip, but I don’t really think I could gain any weight before my trip if I tried.

Nia- You make me a little nervous about you being cold in all that Hydrogen with a down suit on. May I ask what sleeping pad you were on? I wonder if that was a factor. Even if you are a colder sleeper, that still makes me nervous.

I will definitely bring some leggings of some sort. I have some Capilene which I might bring, but I am a sucker for wool, and will try to find a deal on some to bring. ( I found them for $23.99 + s/h so I ordered some).

I really love my Beartooth hoody as well. That coupled with my Houdini I feel is a perfect combination. I have used that while snowshoeing in the teens as long as I was moving fast up hill. I think I will bring it, but I am afraid during the day I will be too warm or lack sun protection if I have my sleeves rolled up all the time. If I bring the hoody I could probably leave the merino buff at home. I think I still feel having a long sleeve “sun shirt” is going to be prudent. I got a nasty sunburn on my face while skiing up at mammoth this year, so I might be a little overly concerned about the sun in the Sierra’s.

I have not had my Cape setup in any sort of wind, but it seems a good number of people have. Also, the lightweight tarp, plus the weight of the driducks jacket is the same as the gatewood cape. If I bring the tarp, I would bring the bivy for a little piece of mind from the bugs, but it would double as a ground cloth and would add some warmth to my sleeping system. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in the bivy all day waiting out a storm and the cape would provide more room when in storm mode.

I might try to get out some mornings and take some pictures side by side with my SLR and my TS-2 and see if the SLR is worth the extra weight.

So after that long diatribe, here are the changes so far.

--nixed redundant deet
--nixed MLD Event Rain Mitts
--nixed bandana (will use mini pack towel instead)
--nixed IceBreaker Beanie

--added earplugs
--added a little TP
--added Icebreaker 150 leggings
--added BPL BeartoothHoody
--add Merino Wool Buff

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
no bugs on 08/01/2010 21:02:08 MDT Print View

I hiked earlier in Aug. no bugs

No towel. I took two swims, no towel needed. Things dry very fast at altitude.

Ditto about cape/poncho as rain gear unless you are used to it. I use the Wild Oasis as shelter and Dry Ducks. (or the packa)

Cannot imagine you will need down booties which will be useless if wet.

I like a mitten shell in the rain.

Cannot imagine not using a camera. Great views at every turn.

Do take a headlamp. Think of it as emergency gear. What would happen if you have to hike in the dark?

After Red cell phone reception. SPOT is great for peace of mind for those who care at home.

What a great time of year to be on the JMT!!

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
no bugs on 08/01/2010 21:22:07 MDT Print View

Frank, when you say you hiked earlier in August, did you mean last August? It's only August 1st, and I too am curious as to a mosquito report on the JMT. I was up in the Sierras last weekend, and the mozzies were horrible. If anyone has been up recently, a bug report would be great, thanks!

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: no bugs on 08/02/2010 05:07:35 MDT Print View


Thanks for all of your feedback.

I plan on using my towel as my bandanna for things like wiping condensation of tarp, soak in cold water to help cool off, dry off if I have to run outside in the rain for a potty break, etc. I don't have a bandanna and I have a mini pack towel, so I was just going to bring that. It is great to know things dry quickly.

I have used the cape as a poncho a couple times. It seems to always rain when I go camping. It also seems to be the perfect item for the Sierras where the rain is usually always short in duration and during the day. It seems the Oasis is a very popular shelter for the JMT.

I won't bring any down socks. I like a mitten shell in the rain as well, and the MLD rain mitts are only an ounce. They might sneak their way back in the pack.

I am definitely bringing a camera. It is just a decision if I bring my digital SLR or my smaller point and shoot.

I was going to bring a headlamp, but was contemplating bringing a more simple and lighter light.

I am also curious about a recent bug report. I know they bugs are usually gone by August, but with this being a heavier than usual snow year, I didn't know if that was a factor.

Thanks again for you input.

Danielle Williams
(DaniLou22) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Yes on the EcoMesh! on 08/04/2010 15:44:26 MDT Print View

Hey Jeff!

I'm leaving for a thru on the JMT next Wednesday! I saw your suggestion about taking an EcoMesh shirt on the trail. I used one last year on a 50+ mile hike and I plan to use it as my primary shirt on the JMT this year. It offers great sun protection, is very lightweight (I never felt overly hot or sweaty in it despite the long sleeves), doesn't feel soggy and dries really quickly without giving me a chill, and didn't stink after almost 4 days of continuous wear without even a rinse. Pretty much all I could ask for in a hiking shirt!

I am taking the GoLite Ultralite 20 Quilt (the 2010 revamp) as well. I sleep quite cold, so I'm a bit worried about this, however with my sleeping baselayers (and a tent-mate) I'm hoping it will suffice. My other option is my WM Versalite, but I think that is going to be overkill. Hope I don't regret it!

Finally, it sounds like you have a good plan for food. My longest hikes to date are about 100 miles (avg about 15 miles/day), and I have never eaten more than 1.25 pounds/day. I am sticking with what I usually bring, and planning to pick up a few extra goodies in some barrels if I need a bit extra. My understanding is that by August the barrels at the resupply points are pretty much overflowing.

Have a great hike!

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: JMT 2010 Solo Hike - Aug 21st on 08/08/2010 13:31:29 MDT Print View

Hey Jeff,
what time will you be starting?
I hope to see you out there between Tuolumne and Yosemite.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Food on 08/08/2010 19:01:20 MDT Print View

For me in regards to food, a long trip like the JMT is vastly different from a short weekend one.
The first few days as I am struggling with altitude and trail adjustment, I'm eating something but no large quantities. Small breakfast, trailbar lunch and ramen can feel quite adequate.
After a week or so I'm hitting my stride, sleeping well at night, walking big miles by day and eating everything in my food bag.
Muir Trail ranch is at the half way point, I increased my food allotment by 1/2 pound per day at that point. If you haven't mailed yourself enough there is usually plenty of extras to be had in the hiker bins.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
water bottle on 08/18/2010 16:02:30 MDT Print View

Just got back from 11 days in Yosemite mostly north of Tuolumne. No bugs with one exception...Macabe Lake. Boy, was I glad to have some DEET!

"I think 1L of water will be enough for me. I plan on using the steripen and drinking when I come across water so I don’t have to carry more than a half liter at a time."

I, too, use the same method, BUT I carried a 2+ liter platypus. At dinner time I would fill it, so it was ready for supper, breakfast and a drink before starting hiking in the morning. That saves time in the morning.

I found I did not use my head lamp at all. It's light until 8:30 ish. ( Peltz ) Worn around my neck for mid-night jaunts. P-bottle is nice. Do not have to get out of my bag when it was 37 degrees. Night temps were 26-36 degrees, but it warmed up fast with the sun.
I had five minutes of rain, and my tarp was up!
Wore long underwear most night with a 20 degree WM bag.
Finally just stopped putting up my shelter. What amazing stars and meteor showers!
Used my Montbelle Inner Liner jacket as a pillow.
Always used my homemade bivy, silnylon bottom. Momentum90 top. It not only helps with warmth, but serves as ground cover, keeping dust off my bag.
(Tuolumne Meadows camp ground is the worst for dust)

There is a bear and cubs living at the Tuolumne campground. Lots of sightings.

Non-essential Yosemite fact: Peaks are men's last names, most lakes are first names of various wives. (exception: Amelia Earhart Peak)


Have worn my eco mesh long sleeve every day. Washed it in my bear cannister when it got ripe. Have to use sunscreen on hands, legs, nose.

Took YARTS evening bus to Lee Vining. Found no vacant motels. Slept among the sage brush. Quite comfortable!

Edited by rambler on 08/18/2010 16:10:33 MDT.