We have an opening for 3-4 hikers planning to do the JMT hike at a slow pace.
PLEASE REPLY OFF-BOARD to me at roleigh [ at] pobox [dot] com.
I have a permit for 6 hikers to do the JMT Southbound (ending up at Whitney Portal) starting on July 16, 2012 (to be precise, it is from the Mono Meadow Trailhead and for those who want to do the full Kosher JMT, you’ll have to do a day hike to Nevada Falls and back down on the 15th of July to hike the full JMT. See the JMT Yahoo Group file library for a description of doing the JMT this method.
Also see this page for the description of the 5.8 mile loop from Happy Isles to Nevada Falls and back.
We plan on hiking the JMT starting on July 16 hiking at an average pace of 8.9 miles a day with one down day in the hike at Muir Trail Ranch and a half day down day at Reds Meadows and Kearsarge Lake. The actual average miles per day (MPD) will be less than that for the first 8 days (7.4 MPD) and more than that for the remaining days (9.3 MPD), this allows us to ease into the hike. The planned ending date if weather does not delay us going over any passes is at the end of the day, 08/11/2012 arriving at Whitney Portal.
Before I say yes to your OFF-BOARD request to join our group, I'd like to know some things about you. You are probably interested in my own credentials. This will be my 5th JMT and my 12th consecutive long hike in the High Sierras (I did 7 years on the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park before that). I am age 62 and in good health. I am currently the lead moderator on the JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group and a lifetime member of BackPackingLight.com. See my Google Profile for my hiking experience.
I'd like to know the following about you:
1. Your age
2. Your hiking experience -- what is the most number of days you've hiked in a single hike
3. Your comfortable hiking pace doing mountain hiking or forest hiking (indicate which)
4. Your experience doing mountain hiking
5. Where you are from
6. Your general health (if you are diabetic or told you are pre-diabetic, please do not request to join the hike [due to a near-negative situation that happened in 2011])
If I accept you, I will provide a full, detailed itinerary and my phone number so we can also talk. I do not charge even a penny for the hike but the expenses are shared. The hiking philosophy of the group is simple.
Each can hike their own pace during the day. The goal is for the group to camp at the planned spot (shown on the detailed itinerary), which can be revised as a group depending upon weather conditions. Each person should be geared to be self-sufficient (unless they hike as a pair and will never separate as a pair, such as a married couple).
I have a suggested premium and budget gear list that is about 2 years old in the group file folder but also given as a link here:
If a person can't make it to the planned destination, the group will wait for that person the next morning. If a bailout occurs, the group wants to be informed about it. There are plenty of bail out opportunities throughout the hike. The group has a Spot Messenger device to protect its members in the event of a medical emergency. Although each person or pair is recommended to have their own Spot Messenger [http://www.findmespot.com/en/ ] device or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) in case you have a distance between where you decide to bail out and getting to the trailhead and you find yourself wanting the use of a messenger device.
In practice the group either typically hikes in pairs suitable for their pace or at times as a whole group. I do not believe in being a hiking pace dictator and accept different people have to hike at a pace comfortable to them. Personally, I like to have a mini-snack/break every 90 minutes on the trail while others do not like to take so many frequent brakes, which is fine; that is why I have the “hike your own pace” philosophy. I do recommend hiking in pairs minimally if stream crossings or pass-crossings are going to be anything difficult (such as was the case in 2011). 2012 may be as easy as the 2008/2009 summers which were all easy to do.
As a group if a life and death event happens, the group agrees to act morally responsible. But if a person wants to bail out and there is no involved life or death risk, the person(s) wanting to bail out acknowledges that the rest of the group is under no obligation to walk out with him/her or them.
When we get the permits, we will ask the Permit Ranger to issue a separate permit for each pair or person in the group so that even if I, the group leader, has to bail out, it will not affect the rest of the group’s right to be on the trail. This also creates a situation where the group is recognized as a group of groups hiking at the same pace and there is no formal, legal group leader to the group once the permits are issued in that manner. This arrangement with the Wilderness Office was approved in 2011 and I do not foresee a problem with doing this again in 2012. I have finished every planned High Sierra Trail and JMT hike in the last 12 years with the exception in 2011, when everyone else bailed by day 20 for other reasons and I received an email stating my house had been sold and I was needed at the closing, I did quit the hike then too.
Typically members in the group find at least one other person to hike their pace, if not more. Myself, I'm a slow hiker, but I'm one who never burns out.
2011 Lead Moderator, JohnMuirTrail@YahooGroups