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Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
JMT Dates? on 01/06/2011 21:23:41 MST Print View

Hey guys!

I am thinking about hiking the JMT solo this summer and I am curious as to what the dates the JMT is usually "hike able" and how long most people here take to do it? I am hoping to be able to do it in less then 14 days, but I am not sure what dates this summer I will be able to go, so what would you say is the trail usually clear? Also, I have heard that it shouldn't be a problem but I will probably be hiking the trail Solo at age 17.

Thanks!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: JMT Dates? on 01/06/2011 21:40:00 MST Print View

The proper season for the JMT is highly variable. It depends on the winter snow. If you watch the snow pack reports, you can see whether it is heavy or light, so that tells you if the snow will melt off late or early. If it is a heavy snow year and if you get on the trail too early, you will have difficult or dangerous stream crossings (especially if solo). Are you good at treading water?

On the high passes, there could be difficult icy snow, so then you have to think about ice axe, microspikes, or (gasp!) rope. The passes that come to mind are Trail Crest, Forester, and Glen.

--B.G.---

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: JMT Dates? on 01/09/2011 15:30:53 MST Print View

The JMT is generally passable by mid-june - that's when the PCT hikers start coming thru. There will be substantial snow still on the ground most years at that time, and creek crossings will range from tricky to downright dangerous. The other end of the window is usually late september, though October can nice weahter, it's just getting to be chancy - you might get a real snowstorm that dumps a couple feet.Opinions will differ on the ideal time - for me the ideal time would be late august/early september, as I've had the best weather then and the bugs are way down by then.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
JMT days for 17 year old on 01/09/2011 23:39:45 MST Print View

My older son (now nearly 30) solo hiked the JMT at age 17. He planned on 14 days but finished in 12 days.

He said it was beautiful but he got very lonely. Now he still loves hiking but he does not go solo anymore.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: JMT Dates? on 01/10/2011 00:18:29 MST Print View

Agree with Paul on August or early September, not having to slog through snow will increase your mileage. If you are in good shape, don't get bothered by altitude, are mentally strong and willing to hike long days then 14 days shouldn't be a stretch. Only you will be able to gauge this. You will also have an advantage in hiking this solo, you don't have compound inefficiencies.

And my son and I did it in 10 days including all the transportation from SF. And I was a 43 year OLD man.

Edited by gg-man on 01/10/2011 00:21:00 MST.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
JMT dates on 01/10/2011 11:31:53 MST Print View

Two summers ago, I hiked the JMT, mid- August, 14 days. Great weather, no bugs. JMT is a wonderful hike. Do it whenever you have the opportunity. Spent 10 days in Yosemite last summer started in August again. Great weather. Today happens to be my 67th birthday!

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
snow on 01/10/2011 12:49:26 MST Print View

Any time between mid july and september you should be fine. snow and creek crossings should be manageable. I agree it could get lonely out there by yourself for 2 weeks but you do come across a good amount of people and you might find some people doing a similar itinerary as you that you could walk/camp with for a few days.

ya speaking of which..permit apps are due in a month or so! I have to start planning!

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
age and time of year on 01/10/2011 13:45:48 MST Print View

I think at 17 you should be fine to hike it solo. But It really depends on your own skill, knowledge and experience levels of backpacking, and specifically in the high sierras. I think if YOU feel comfortable doing it, than you should be fine. And it can be lonely like others said, but it can also be a really "self-discovering" experience.

As for time of year...like others have said it depends on the snow pack, but in general I think that you would be good late JUne through early September. If you go early enough like end of June and beginning of July you will def hit some snow, and have some difficult stream crossings... BUT it will be cold enough that you wont have mosquitoes. ....As it warms up in the end of July and beginning of August the standing water from snow melt will start to hatch mosquitoes and that can become a huge annoyance! As you get into mid august through the beginning of September the weather is nice, mosquitoes will be dieing off and stream crossings will be easy. As you move into later September its going to begin to get colder and the chance of heavy snowstorms will increase.

For me I try to balance all those criteria along with trying to get good fishing conditions. The ealier you can get up there the better the fishing can be for the season, but I fricken HATE mosquitoes so I try and go while its still cold in late june/ early july...or try and wait till mid August.

As for doing it in 2 weeks...I think it is definitely possible, but in my opinion I like to take my sweet sweet time. Enjoy the aw inspiring scenery and terrain I am in. Amazing peaks, lakes, meadows, wildlife all of it. So I would opt to hike shorter days, even have a few lay over days at good spots to really enjoy my time in the wilderness and take it all in. If I wasnt restricted by time I would do it in like 3-4 weeks....really submerse yourself in the wilderness......but thats just me, I am more about being in the wilderness and outdoors, than pushing myself on the trail.

Have you considered incorporating the high sierra route into your trip for that section of the JMT??

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
JMT Dates? on 01/10/2011 14:06:21 MST Print View

Thanks for all of the info guys!

I tried finding it online but can anyone talk me through the permit process? I won't know what my summer looks like untill march, will that be a problem as far as getting a permit goes?

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
permits on 01/10/2011 14:13:26 MST Print View

I think the only problem you could run into with permits is Mt Whitney.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
permit on 01/10/2011 14:32:28 MST Print View

if you are starting at happy ilses you will need to refer to this:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermitdates.htm

just fill it out and fax at 4:59:59pm the day before the date shown. since you are solo, you shouldn't have a problem but as of today most permits are most likely filled up to June 27

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: permit on 01/10/2011 18:27:01 MST Print View

Leaving during the first week of Aug. Solo and heading out from Tuolumne Meadows to Cedar Grove.
Second half will be next year

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: permit on 01/10/2011 19:22:49 MST Print View

"Tuolumne Meadows to Cedar Grove. Second half will be next year."

That's an awful lot more than half.

--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: permit on 01/10/2011 19:34:37 MST Print View

Yes Bob it is, I wish it was the whole Enchilada. But work won't allow. How about 2/3

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: JMT Dates? on 01/10/2011 19:54:49 MST Print View

I prefer the first half of August for the JMT.
mosquitos have mostly died down.
passes are usually snow free.
streams have subsided, but not totally dried up so water is still plentiful.

While the weather is nice in late August and early September the Days get short and the Nights get long ... not exactly what you want if you're going solo.
I'd recommend starting the 4th week of July and finishing in early August.
The only caveat is that is a pretty popular time on the trail.

Edited by asandh on 01/10/2011 19:57:43 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: JMT Dates? on 01/10/2011 20:21:40 MST Print View

Art, I agree, but we are dealing with another high snow year

Jerry Glascock
(attt4221) - M
JMT on 02/01/2011 17:00:33 MST Print View

Happy belated birthday to Frank. I turn 64 this week and plan to do the JMT solo mid to late August this summer. Any advice and suggestions I will appreciate.