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d c
(dc) - M
just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/10/2012 18:54:25 MDT Print View

I finished the Tuolumne to Whitney portion of the JMT on Sept 7. I’ve done the JMT from Happy Isles several times, and decided to start in Lyell Canyon this time to avoid the chaos of the Valley. A morning start walking up Lyell Canyon was much more pleasant than walking up asphalt with hundreds of day hikers. A few thoughts below:

The trail – seemed to be in good shape. Hiking through the Nov wind storm area was incredible with 1000’s of trees down – they’ve done a good job of cleaning it up. I only found and picked-up minor trash – small bits of cord, a wrapper here and there, etc. There were trail maintenance crews on Glen Pass and the Whitney switchbacks. There were all kinds of rumors among hikers about the Whitney closure during the two weeks I was on the trail. After I summitted Whitney I went to Trail Crest and there was a ranger holding everyone. They let people through at 8:30 am, 11:30 am, and 3:30 pm. The ranger said they were not blasting, just pry bar and hand work. I saw 3 - 4 crews working the switchbacks when I hiked through, thanking them all for their hard work. They were not issuing any permits from Whitney Portal for this period. After hearing this, I let the small group at Trail Crest go ahead when they let us through, and I had a unique hike down the canyon by myself, without a soul behind me, and no one hiking up the trail.

People – there were many more people than when I last did the JMT 10 years ago. Most seemed like very nice and interesting people. Most were carrying more traditional packs/loads, but they seemed to be having as good a time as those with lighter loads. The craze for fast times has brought out the worst in some people, something I did not see 10 years ago. A few examples: I was at a stream crossing taking a break and a guy comes pounding down the trail and immediately starts screaming at me “where do I cross, where do I cross? I can’t lose time”. At MTR, a guy kept weighing his pack and loudly proclaiming it weighed 16 lbs, and he did this each time a new party came in. Also at MTR, when I was rummaging though the buckets, a guy with a light pack comes over and pushed me out of the way to get to the bucket with first aid supplies, he put about a ¼ cup of sanitizer on his hands, left the bucket open, and ran off. Five minutes after getting past by 2 guys moving quickly with light loads I came across a map in the trail – I poked it with my pole and picked it up. It was dry/crisp and obviously had been on the trail a few days – why didn’t these guys stop and pick it up? Another time I was zoned-in on a good pace doing a very long uphill stretch when a guy comes barreling down and nearly pushed me off the trail. Finally, I was stopped for a quick break and a guy who was moving quickly, stopped, asked me to get his water bottle out of his pack, and after I did so he took off without a word.

Most people I met on my recent hike would comment on the peaks in the skyline , the latest lake or waterfall they saw, or the deer they saw in camp in the morning. We would talk about how fun it was to simply be out hiking for a few weeks.

The ONLY thing I was asked about from those with obviously very light loads and moving quickly was “ how many days are you doing it in?” “how much does your pack weigh?” These people were boring, and I have nothing in common with them. I’m sure there are many light and fast hikers with respect for others and the trail. I just didn’t meet any on my hike.

What is it with these people? I did the JMT the first time when I was 20 in 1972. I was a climbing bum, and burned out on climbing for the season. I walked from Camp 4 to the store, got a week’s worth of food and took off. I didn’t know much about the trail, just that I could hike from Yosemite to Whitney. My equipment was my canvas climbing pack, down jacket, cagoule and Svea stove. A standard bivouac of the day was curling-up and sleeping with your feet in your pack. I finished the trail in 7 days. So what. Who cares? There was no Internet to blog and brag about what I did. But why would I? It was nothing special. LOTS of people do incredible things all the time and don’t talk about it, even today.

Maybe I’m getting old, I just don’t get it. We all hike for different reasons and have different goals, and they are all valid. But EVERYONE needs to respect their fellow hikers and respect the trail and environment or we will all suffer.

The most inspiring, interesting, and fun person I met on the trail was a guy who was at least 50 lbs overweight and moving slowly. I spent a few minutes with him on Whitney summit day, once as I was going up, and once on my way down. He was huffing and puffing but having a great time. He had a great attitude, and understood the magnificence of the environment he was in. His accomplishment was much more impressive than any I saw on the trail.

My reason for joining this forum was to get some up-to-date info on equipment since much of mine was 15 – 20 years old. Even though I have been hiking a long time, I learned much from this community.

The need to go light and fast has been the mantra of alpine climbers for decades – primarily for safety. While some hikers are pushing new limits today, light and fast among hikers is nothing new. What seems to be new, at least what I’ve observed recently, is an “attitude” among some that think their way is the only way. Personally, I would love to have spent 30 days on the JMT fly fishing at every lake and bagging a bunch of peaks, but work did not allow that much time.

Edited by dc on 09/10/2012 20:25:48 MDT.

Paul Maguire
(ppatmag) - M
great post on 09/10/2012 20:02:21 MDT Print View

Amen brother..... you wrote a lot of what I felt on the trail this season as well. Lots are more interested in impressing others rather then enjoying whats actually going on in the moment.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/10/2012 20:12:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for the thoughts Don. Your observations are well worth contemplating.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: 10T 524631m E 5034446m N
Re: Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/10/2012 20:19:07 MDT Print View

This is really interesting. Having been out there last year and then three years ago, I never experienced any of these attitudes, especially with regard to packing light and going fast. I wonder if the fact that you went later in the season meant that you were running into more of the "serious" hiking crowd—or maybe the overly-serious hiking crowd.

When I think about it, whenever I mention the JMT, the first thing anyone usually asks me about the trip, hiker or not, is "how many days did you do it in?" But then on the trail, my conversations were always about interesting detours, where we had been that morning, or what we had seen.

Very strange indeed.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Just finished the JMT..a few observation and thoughts on 09/10/2012 20:29:43 MDT Print View

+1 Great wright up and observations. Respect the trail!!!

Jim Ledbetter
(bmafg)
just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/10/2012 20:40:24 MDT Print View

Very interesting.... my first question would be more like how long did you get to stay out. Why hurry to get through some of the most beautiful places in the country?

Fast is a four letter word.

Jim

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
people on 09/10/2012 22:47:22 MDT Print View

I've come across a few people like this. THey are usually on the opposite end of the weight spectrum. some guys will have huge packs and think its matcho thing to be out in the deep wilderness with a huge pack. With ultralight becoming more popular, these same kind of guys are switching to lighter loads and taking their matcho attitudes to going faster and father.

and i would have to assume that some people out there spend SOOOO much time buying, making, selling, testing etc their gear that it becomes more about the gear when they are out on the trail and thats all they want to talk/brag about.

I, as I'm sure most here, spend time of their gearlist at home so I don't have to think about it AT ALL on the trail.



Here's a good example. see the picture of the guys on Donahue
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=67366

Edited by JasonG on 09/10/2012 22:49:42 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 01:28:57 MDT Print View

and understood the magnificence of the environment he was in.
I liked that, thank you very much, well put.
Franco

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Just finished the JMT on 09/11/2012 07:53:06 MDT Print View

Earlier this year, I did a SOBO portion of the JMT during the 1st week of June. Since I was almost the only one out who wasn't doing the PCT, every PCTer I met going north was friendly & eager for a few words/news.

My guess is that Labor day is the traditional time for those attempting to set some kind of record, personal or otherwise. In other words, if there are 50-100 people with this kind of goal in mind, the odds are probably great they will all be on the trail during the same general time frame.

Give it a few weeks, and the Sierra will return to hibernation.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 08:15:58 MDT Print View

Great report1

Now, go check out the link to Manfred's thread, then come back and give us 25 photos in chrono. Ha ha!!

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 09:45:58 MDT Print View

" Fast is a four letter word. "

there is no excuse for rudeness on the trail, and if some fast hikers were rude and crude I apologize for them.
but aside from that ... what's wrong with fast ???
people on this sight seem really fond of pulling out the HYOH card when someone questions their motives and methods.
how about some slack for those who like to go fast.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: The Gore Range
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 11:07:16 MDT Print View

Interesting. I've been thinking about doing a thru of the JMT within the next couple of summers and this sounds a little disheartening. I also remember a thread started last year about all the trash and toilet paper found along the trail.

If I'm going to ask for 2 and a half weeks off of work to complete another big thru hike I'd rather not have this type of experience. While I understand the JMT has many people in addition to much beauty, I don't think I'd enjoy it being surrounded by this type of behavior.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 11:11:35 MDT Print View

Thank you Don.
As I get older, I like to mention my pack weight to some who seem to know it all or I feel might need a encouraging word that lighter can be better, but also hyoh. Then there is the how-many-fish-I-caught. If things go too long, I then gotta bring up the fact that I collect stoves, but try to not let that get carried away.:) I should mention I only go out for 6-8 days, thinking about a JMT trip sometime.
Duane

Edited by hikerduane on 09/11/2012 11:12:51 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
not good on 09/11/2012 13:06:54 MDT Print View

At MTR, a guy kept weighing his pack and loudly proclaiming it weighed 16 lbs, and he did this each time a new party came in.

in climbing there are people who need to loudly proclaim what grade their last climb was, etc .... both in person and online ...

same thing ....

i think you found out that just because someone is UL, doesnt mean they are having the same type of fun as you, or even as much ... nor does that make them pleasant people

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
JMT on 09/11/2012 13:16:05 MDT Print View

Thank you for reminding me why I left California (among many other reasons), and haven't been back.

d c
(dc) - M
JMT on 09/11/2012 13:25:30 MDT Print View

"how about some slack for those who like to go fast."

I'm not sure what you are saying. Do you mean because someone is moving fast they should not meet the same general behavior rules we expect of others? I wont give slack to anyone that is rude and does not respect the trail/environment - whether they are hiking slow or fast or have light packs or heavy packs.

I could care less how fast or slow anyone goes - In my original post I said "We all hike for different reasons and have different goals, and they are all valid. But EVERYONE needs to respect their fellow hikers and respect the trail and environment or we will all suffer"

Edited by dc on 09/11/2012 13:26:17 MDT.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Countrywide... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 13:31:57 MDT Print View

I was at a stream crossing taking a break and a guy comes pounding down the trail and immediately starts screaming at me “where do I cross, where do I cross? I can’t lose time”.

Maybe tell him "through the water" in the best deadpan you can muster ; )

Some people become thoughtless, belligerent, etc.. especially when faced with a deadline to get to a shuttle (in which case maybe they need to plan an all-night hike if their planning was lacking). Worse if passive/aggressive, someone who starts off normal but becomes unhinged. Same with conventional load people I guess.

I've had the opposite, trad backpackers sneering at my trail runners as I left passed on the trail during hikes in the Southern Rockies (and those who've hiked with me know I don't have a fast pace). Traditional hikers aren't used to signals to move over from runners and bikers -- something that will become a problem in the future as more areas become multi-use IMO.

Edited by hknewman on 09/11/2012 13:37:49 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 13:37:39 MDT Print View

Don,

Thanks for the great write up and sharing what happened out there.

Sad and disturbing that people were treating each other like that.

One of the best experiences I have on the trail is meeting other backpackers.

I have found that they are great, kind, fun, generous, and more than willing to share what they know and have...the best people.

Frankly, one reason why I enjoy backpacking is that it takes me away from the sort of people and rude behaviors that you ran into on your trip.

I enjoy going fast not to the point where I am freaking about "losing" time on the trail. I simply go fast because I want to and I have limited vacation time. Faster means that I see and experience more with the limited time off that I have from work.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad....the lighter loads get, the more people have access to the backcountry, which is a great thing. Unfortunately, it also means you have access to a larger variety of personalities on the trail....some that you might want to wack in the back of the head with your hiking pole.

To those people I say, "Death by Rabit Marmot!!!"

-Tony

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: JMT on 09/11/2012 13:47:31 MDT Print View

"I'm not sure what you are saying. Do you mean because someone is moving fast they should not meet the same general behavior rules we expect of others?"

Sometimes I think we're out here just trying to misunderstand each other so we can argue. What's going on with BPL these days?

Art was specifically responding to the comment from someone else that fast was 'a four letter word.' He was simply espousing the same thing you are - we all hike for different reasons. When we take emotion out of it, I think it was clear that that's what he was saying (especially since he quoted the previous poster's line).

Folks, we all used to be friends here. Not that we all agreed all the time, not at all. But we didn't look for reasons to disagree, I don't think. Benefit of the doubt is a wonderful thing.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: JMT on 09/11/2012 13:51:27 MDT Print View

Don - I am not all implying fast trail people don't have to show proper manners.
did you not read my apology for the bad behavior of a few.

what I am saying is that many people on this site who like to go slow (not you), the very same people who often trot out that famous HYOH baloney when it suites them, seem to be much less tolerant of fast hikers than the fast hikers are of them "in general".

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/11/2012 14:00:02 MDT Print View

Great write up. Thanks for sharing! The JMT is on my bucket list. Hopefully next year. I like carrying a light pack no matter what pace I go. For a trip like this, I would throw in a fishing rod, some books, and plan several weeks to enjoy the wonderful scenery! It's a shame some people are impolite and down right rude on the trail.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Re: JMT on 09/11/2012 14:01:24 MDT Print View

Another note, for years I always wondered why folks would only hike on one trail and miss all the lakes and side trips. Maybe one day I'll find out the "trail" aka John Muir Highway experience. My car is left at the TH, I gotta get back to it, so a loop trip.
Duane

Paul Maguire
(ppatmag) - M
Re: JMT on 09/11/2012 19:31:52 MDT Print View

"Thank you for reminding me why I left California (among many other reasons), and haven't been back."




I found most people on the trail that I met were from out of state. Only meet a few other hikers form California. I met a lot of people on the trail too.

Edited by ppatmag on 09/11/2012 19:33:05 MDT.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/12/2012 03:09:04 MDT Print View

Don,

Sorry you had such a negative experience this year. I finished the JMT 3 weeks ago and didn't experience any of the behavior you spoke of by other thruhikers - no matter what their pack weight was. We mainly had to hurry due to weather and not "record-seeking" motivations. I also didn't see an excessive asmount of trash or debris on the trail.

The nastiest encounter I had with anybody was with a male day hiker who was trundling up from Tuolomne towards Cathedral lakes. I came across him bent over, huffing and wheezing on the side of the trail. Thinking he was in distress, I asked him if he needed help and he responded by screaming at me and calling me - among other things - a "feminist bi tch."

I proudly resisted the urge to knock him on his ass - after I recovered from my shock of course, which was all the more difficult since some other folks who were within ear shot offered to hold him down so I could clean up the trail with him. Oh well. It became a fun story and it also got me a few sympathy beers at Tuolomne and Reds. Not a bad outcome.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/12/2012 17:50:21 MDT Print View

"Fast is a four letter word." Jim Ledbetter

Work (or time off from work) can also be a four letter word. Me

I often think about the pace I choose. Since I began backpacking again I have been striving for a set up that gives me the safety and comfort I need on the trail with the least weight possible. Since time off work is limited, hiking lighter has let me do miles I may not have wanted to do with traditional pack weights.

When I hiked the JMT with my son, brother and nephew I knew I only had 2 weeks to play with. So, we did it in 2 weeks. If I only had 10 days could I have done it? I really don't know. I did have 2 weeks so we did it in 2 weeks. For some this is fast, for others this is not fast. So, as I pick my trips, which are usually 4-5 days, I pick trips where I can see a lot and do about 15-20 miles a day. I'm not a fast hiker, just a steady hiker and going light has made that possible.

I find it a bummer that the original poster found other lightweight hikers to be such jerks. I do not deny they were. What a bummer to be on the trail and not have time to chat a bit with those you cross paths with. That's probably one of the things I love the most about backpacking: talking to others on the trail and finding out what they have done, seen and heard along the trail.

Francis DeRoos
(fderoos@comcast.net) - M

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/20/2012 18:36:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for the thoughts and your observations. I can say that during my solo JMT last september, the few people I met and spoke with, I wished I had spent more time with. Everyone seemed really engaged with the place and understood how special the sierras and their time enjoying it was. Maybe that was because it was later in the season and more older (I'm 48) were about. A few people I spent a few days camping with and getting to know. THose nights and shared meals are some of my most memorable of the trip.

@ Doug
I agree. let's keep it civil and friendly. It's OK to disagree and debate but give everyone the benefit of the doubt that the language and words they choose are not meant to be antagonistic.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/20/2012 23:50:30 MDT Print View

Glad you enjoyed your trip. Regarding the people you met. People are people. Some days in a department store I run into a bunch of jerks. Other days in the same store everyone is wonderful. That's life.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/21/2012 05:52:38 MDT Print View

I have found that I meet mostly nice folks when on the trail or when bicycle touring (I bicycle tour a lot more than I backpack). I have not found that how heavy or how light they choose to pack or how fast they choose to go has anything much to do with whether they are nice or jerks, if you give them a chance to be nice. That last is important, if you are have an attitude (positive or negative) about them from he get go it will usually be a self fulfilling prophesy.

Jim Ledbetter
(bmafg)
fast .. four letters .. etc on 09/21/2012 06:30:37 MDT Print View

To all. My fast comment wasn't intended to judge anyone or try to get anyone to do it my way. It was an attempt to describe my perspective of trail time. Trail time is, FOR ME, a time to savor my surroundings and spend as much time there as possible. Some people like to go fast. Fine with me. I don't necessarily understand why, but so what. As long as I'm not an a$$ about it my opinions about what is MY right way to hike (or anything else) are just my perspectives and are not proposed as THE right way.

By the way, what's wrong with HYOH? That is an honest question, not a challenge.

Jim - a slow, old fart who enjoys being out there, not in here.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: fast .. four letters .. etc on 09/21/2012 07:10:19 MDT Print View

when you say it is a 4 letter word it has pretty negative connotations to it doncha think?

the "why" people prefer to go fast have been discussed all over. ever consider that your "fast" is just someone elses "normal" or even "slow" you said "why hurry" which is often said but who said anyone is hurrying?

HYOH goes both ways and a lot of times people who tout it are also hypocritical

Edited by JakeDatc on 09/21/2012 07:12:56 MDT.

Jim Ledbetter
(bmafg)
Re: fast .. four letters .. etc on 09/21/2012 09:51:02 MDT Print View

Jake...

It appears that you and I agree much more than disagree. I just didn't say it very well.

I would say that for most of the folks on this forum, my fast is their normal or slower. I agree that my comment about four letter word was poorly chosen. The whole point is that each of us should enjoy the hike for whatever reason we're out there and allow others the same freedom to enjoy it for whatever reasons they have. We should also feel free to express those reasons. If it bothers you that I haven't read all the gazillion old forum posts to know that "fast rationale" has been discussed before, I am sorry.

HYOH definitely goes both ways. I have seen hypocrits on both ends of the speed/weight/simplicity spectra. Hopefully I won't be misunderstood as one. Or worse, hopefully I won't be one.

Jim - An apparently not very effective communicator who is a slow (as in unhurried - not pace but approach), light (not Heavy, UL or SUL), simple (not luxury laden or austere or ascetic) hiking, old fart. Just to be clear - the stuff in parentheses is not wrong, just choices that lead to someone else's hike, not mine.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: fast .. four letters .. etc on 09/21/2012 10:00:31 MDT Print View

i'll agree to that. mostly how you said it came out bad. now we know what you meant :)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/21/2012 12:57:18 MDT Print View

I plan on doing the JMT next summer after I quit work and before I go back to school. I will literally have all summer to do it, and judging on what everyone has said, I will definitley take my time. Fish lots of lakes a climb lots of peaks and ridges.
I also plan on doing it only with mid 19th century-ish gear, should be a very unique experience.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
19th century on 09/21/2012 14:40:26 MDT Print View

Did you really mean the 19th century (1801–1900)? Or was that a typo?

If you will really be using mid 1800's type gear what will your gear weigh? Just curious.

Edited by staehpj1 on 09/21/2012 14:42:59 MDT.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
19th on 09/21/2012 15:12:05 MDT Print View

That sounds awesome. How did you/will you get a hold of all the old gear? I wonder if John Muir posted his gear lists anywhere?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/21/2012 15:15:40 MDT Print View

cffd

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/21/2012 15:42:34 MDT Print View

Yeah, more or less that time period. Wool blankets, canvas pack, canvas tarp, wool sweaters, ect. Pretty heavy stuff, but way lighter than a lot of traditional backpackers. 6lb blanket, 3lb tarp, 2.25 lbs in insulative clothing, 2.5lb pack, ect.

The gear shouldn't be too hard to get ahold of. Canvas packs, wool blankets, and canvas tarps can be bought brand new. Some minor stuff that would be extremely difficult to get I might cheat on. I will also need to give in and carry a bear canister.

I'm not going to be hiking around in wool knickers and hob nail boots like I am reenacting something., probably just cotton shorts, leather moccasins, canvas hat.
Sorry, didn't mean to derail the thread. I made a thread about this a little while back
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=66685

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: Re: Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/21/2012 16:06:28 MDT Print View

Wow! Pretty cool. Doesn't appeal to me personally, but it is an interesting approach. Please report back on your experiences.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
my version of doing the JMT on 09/25/2012 13:59:41 MDT Print View

We did the JMT in 1971 in the opposite manner as a fast hiker of today. We took 27 days, and had 3 food drops, and 4 layover days. We climbed 17 peaks along the way. The climbers would go climb peaks, and the fishermen would hike on to the destination lake of the day, and start catching fish. The climbers would arrive at camp, clean fish and help eat them. Different then from now:

no permits
no bear canisters
no problems with bears
no stoves
no tents, except plastic tube tents
no goretex
no nylon pants (I did have a nylon shirt)
no water filters, and no problems with giardia
no internal frame packs
no titanium gear
no packs under 60 pounds

I've read of much faster transits than ours, but none that climbed as many peaks.

I went in at South lake this summer (2012) and was surprised at how many old people (my age, 62) were hiking the trails, many of them with the old gear of the 70s and 80s.

Edited by rshaver on 09/25/2012 14:01:16 MDT.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
Re: my version of doing the JMT on 09/26/2012 14:41:57 MDT Print View

"I went in at South lake this summer (2012) and was surprised at how many old people (my age, 62) were hiking the trails, many of them with the old gear of the 70s and 80s."

I've noticed the same thing down in the JMT area. Most people you see are over 40.

You see a lot more 20-somethings and high schoolers in the tahoe rim area

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/26/2012 22:15:01 MDT Print View

Don, were you the other person having breakfast in Red's on August 27th?

There was only one other person. He told the waitress that he'd done the JMT in 7 days a few decades ago and was planning on doing it this go around in fourteen days or so. We didn't talk, but I had a great conversation with the waitress after you left.

I had a great JMT hike. While I'm somewhat fast, I don't think I fit your description. Didn't meet anyone overly pompous either.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Just finished the JMT..a few observation and thoughts on 09/26/2012 22:27:01 MDT Print View

Nice write up Jack and pictures. 9 days WOW!! Why do you think the trees are dying in the Sierras?

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Just finished the JMT..a few observation and thoughts on 09/26/2012 23:00:11 MDT Print View

Thanks Jay!

I'm not a scientist, but as a long distance hiker, I've seen the tree death first hand.

The Sierra is not unique in this tragedy. Read this article from the USGS: Tree Deaths in California’s Sierra Nevada Increase as Temperatures Rise. My understanding is that warming temperatures, beetles, drier conditions and low level pollution are conspiring to kill the trees.

I've been taking photos of dead forests for years. Here is a recent one from this summer.

trees

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
consider hiking in June or Sept on 10/02/2012 03:37:43 MDT Print View

To this comment: "I've been thinking about doing a thru of the JMT within the next couple of summers and this sounds a little disheartening."

My wife and I hiked the JMT recently, finishing on Sept 24th. I don't recall any trash or t.p. or the like along the trail, nor did I have any but positive encounters with other hikers. Sure, climbing out of Yosemite there are a lot of people on the trail (or there were when we started in early Sept), but I don't recall any unhappiness there either.

We had a great time, with great weather, no bugs, mostly easy access to water (even late in this melted-out-early year), lots of animal sightings, not that many other hikers out there outside of near trail access points, and it's still as starkly beautiful as I remember it from a few years ago. And FWIW, I was comfortable in a 30F bag with some clothes on inside it (YMMV on that one in Sept of course).

Perhaps if you pick one of the shoulder season times to go you might enjoy it better (?). I've never hiked in there in July or August. I can say that going through it southbound in September is a more relaxing experience than hiking northbound in (a typical) June! But either time is, I think, a bit less crowded, and thus perhaps folks might as a result act more ... civilized (as opposed to how we too often act in 'civilization').

daniel B
(dbogey) - F

Locale: East Coast
People and Nature on 10/02/2012 06:57:18 MDT Print View

Well I just off the SHR a few weeks ago and didn't run into anyone who was particularly rude, in fact everyone was really nice. I had just gone over Kearsarge for a day hike and ran into a fellow named Paul who was out for 5 days, we got to talking about families and such and before you know it we had been talking for over and hour! I do find that people disregard nature. Two instances were people using camp suds in pristine lakes (glacier and palisades). I couldn't believe when some guy was taking a bath around the corner and here comes the suds. We were like WTF.

Nathan Hays
(oroambulant) - M

Locale: San Francisco
Different hikes on 10/19/2012 20:15:22 MDT Print View

Sometimes I hike fast, sometimes slow. All depends on my mood and schedule/plans. I love the athleticism of running at high altitude with a nimble pack weight. I also like moseying along, orienteering or just checking out every other pool in the creeks. On my last outing in SEKI, my son and I ended up running most of the way from Lake Reflection to Road's End. It just seemed about impossible to stroll or even walk fast. We stopped many times to chat, but sometimes we just blew by folks.

It seems these days there are many different modes of travel in the back country. It used to be fairly much just either hiking or riding. I personally am more put off by someone upset by the hike I've chosen than whether they conform to my expectations for them. The only thing I don't have much patience for is trashing the environs.

I give folks a lot of slack on the trail because of the affect altitude and exertion have on mood and rapport.

And to Susan's encounter, that level of irritability can be a sign of an impending heart attack or something close to it. My family was playing at Muir Rock in SEKI some years back when another father fell into a foul mood. He moved around the rock from us to sulk we guessed. He died there, not 15 feet away and we didn't see it happen. Left behind a wife and two young girls. Now we are all keenly alert for those warning signs. I hope your antagonist fared better.

Nick Badyrka
(oldcrank) - F

Locale: Northwest
JMT on 10/21/2012 21:53:30 MDT Print View

Just like climbing..."The best hiker is the one having the most fun"

what not
(firestarter01) - F

Locale: Bay Area
One quick question... on 11/29/2012 16:57:17 MST Print View

Interesting... I get away from the concrete jungle to *not* run into those personalities :-). Planning on doing the JMT next summer and am curious about your pace. In the write-up you mention that you had initially done the trail in 7 days... really? Impressive if so because isn't that 31.4 mi/day? I'm looking at 3 weeks :-)

Josh Greninger
(travis.bickle) - F
Re: on 12/20/2012 12:04:14 MST Print View

I didn't read all the posts here, but just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.
This wasn't my experience at all on the JMT in '12. I felt everyone was happy to be there and very respectful of one another. I passed a lot of people, but when I did I'd either wait for them to yield if the trail was narrow or I would go off the trail and around.
I wasn't trying to break a record or anything, but I enjoyed going fast. I'm a trail runner, and was in the middle of training for 50K races when I did the JMT. So, I felt the need to run, and I did at times. I'm addicted to running. It makes me feel great, it makes my experience better. So for the '13 JMT, I'm going to do a smaller section, but I'm going to camp in a few spots and just go on trail runs around camp. For example, camp at Rae Lakes, run up Glenn Pass, down the other side 5-10 miles and then back to camp @ Rae Lakes.
My base weight with a bear can was around 8lb., but I didn't ask anyone what their "base weight" was. But if anyone commented about how effortlessly I ascended to each pass, I praised my lightweight pack - whether out of modesty, or because I wanted them to be able to better enjoy their hiking experiences without the oppressive/excessive pack weight.