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JMT this year?
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Eric Krumland
(Eric_K) - F

Locale: The northwest is the BEST
JMT this year? on 05/14/2013 08:29:16 MDT Print View

My wife and I are thinking about doing the JMT this year at the end of July beginning of August, but the recent post about low snow levels and California makes me worry. Should we skip it this year and wait for a year with more available water?


Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: JMT this year? on 05/14/2013 09:20:46 MDT Print View

Do you want to do it this year? If so then go for it.

-We're doing it in August. July would probably be better.
-Most of the lakes will be as full as normal, but outflow will be low.
-Meadows will be drier than normal, but if we get July monsoon they will be plenty green. Otherwise they may go gold a month early.
-Mosquitos will be very scarce.
-Dusty bits of trail would be dusty anyway in August- more based on summer rain than low snow.
-Wildflowers will probably be very scarce.
-Stream crossings will be easy.
-Minor creeks and trickles will probably be dry. "Short creeks" meaning the trail crossing near the headwaters will probably be dry.
-There will be some 5+ mile dry stretches; you will need to consider this when planning camp spots.

Precipitation in the San Joaquin River watershed has been slightly higher this winter than last- but it mostly fell before January 1. It was a great ski year compared to last, but will be melted off way earlier. See this chart:

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
JMT this year? on 05/14/2013 11:26:11 MDT Print View

I'm seriously thinking of taking a vacation in mid July instead of early August this year due to snowpack. Not much snow where I bped last weekend up north here in the Bucks Lake Wilderness.

Eric Krumland
(Eric_K) - F

Locale: The northwest is the BEST
not too dry? on 05/14/2013 14:49:03 MDT Print View

I have done almost all my hiking in WA and Alaska where water and snow were always plentiful. The fact that it is a low snow year wont make the alpine area a desert just more dry than normal, correct? I like that there will be less mosquitoes but will there be any other downsides to it being a low snow year, less flowers, less small streams. Like I said I usually hike in areas where there is no need to carry more than a 1/2 liter of water at a time, so I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't be too hot and dry for us northerns. I will probably be ok, but my wife is a little more picky about these things.

We were also planning on heading north to south to get used to the elevation and to climax the trip on top of Mt. Whitney. Do you recommend this route, or is south to north better for any reason.


Edited by Eric_K on 05/14/2013 14:50:16 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
JMT on 05/15/2013 18:07:47 MDT Print View

Like others have said, there will be water. Just not as much running water but you will still see a lot of rivers running.

"Like I said I usually hike in areas where there is no need to carry more than a 1/2 liter of water at a time"

I always take the ability to haul 2 liters of water in the Sierras. My plastic 1 liter soda bottle (big mouth) and a foldable 1 liter Platypus. There won't be many places you will need to carry more than 1 liter at a time. Don't take a pump. Use chlorine dioxide or others have been using bleach with a squeeze filter.

"I will probably be ok, but my wife is a little more picky about these things"

You will be amazed at how exposed you are at times on the trail. When you get above treeline it is often said to look like a moonscape. It is so amazingly beautiful you won't be able to describe it.

I like to start hiking at daylight. Those early morning hiking hours are golden. Rest midday while swimming in a lake or stream. Hike some more miles before you get to camp in the early evening.

Don't change a thing. Just have a great trip.

There are hundreds of posts relating to gear lists on the JMT. Keep it light and simple and you will enjoy it immensely,

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: JMT this year? on 05/30/2013 20:30:55 MDT Print View

Hope this is not considered thread hijacking as this topic concerns me as well.

I did Yosemite Valley to Edison Lake last year in mid August. The stretch between Red's Meadow and VVR seemed very dry. I am very concerned about going long distances without good water sources. Other than this stretch, what are some of the worst when traveling southbound from Edison Lake?

Had to leave the trail last year for some health concerns but I really want to summit Whitney. A permit has been secured for Mid-August for 2 people but I will probably have to go solo. It is tough balancing the risks vs satisfaction, especially with this being a very dry year.

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Lakes on 06/02/2013 20:50:01 MDT Print View

There are quite a few lakes up there that are all glacier fed as well, which gives you all those options for water sources as well. I seem to remember seeing lakes every day up there a couple of years ago.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Re: JMT this year? on 06/02/2013 21:48:54 MDT Print View

Reds meadow to VVR is about the driest stretch normally. If you are going south from Edison, the worst part is the very first bit - going over Bear Ridge. No reliable sources from Mono creek until Bear Creek. But it's pretty shady. After that there are very few spots where you aren't either following a good-sized stream or hitting a lake pretty often. I would not be concerned about it myself - I would be prepared to carry enough water to go a comfortable 2 or 3 hours - I think that's about the longest you'll find unless you like to walk particularly slow. For me I'd be thinking I want about 1 or 2 liters capacity. In a typical year I would never carry more than 3/4 of a liter on the JMT, and usually less, as mostly I find water every hour or so. this year some of the little streams will be dry, but the larger creeks won't, and the lakes will still have water. I would just rejoice in the hopefully lower skeeter numbers and the easier stream crossings and have a great trip.

Eileen Duncan
(eileensd) - MLife

Locale: The Sierra or the SF Bay Area
Re: JMT this year? on 06/03/2013 21:41:31 MDT Print View

Go this summer!

Ditto re: bringing 2 liter capacity (per person). Last summer, I completed the JMT in late July-Aug and there were a few stretches during which I was *very* pleased to have my 1 liter bottle + 1 liter collapsible platypus full.

I too am going to do the JMT this summer (same time as last summer) and because I expect some of the tiny streams to be dry this year, I am contemplating a 2 liter collapsible rather than a 1 liter (for a total capacity of 3 liters). I drink a lot though (7-9 liters/day), and I'd rather carry the bit of extra weight from a larger platypus than be limited to only 2 liters (esp. as I'm going alone).

Another poster noted there will be rivers running... yes, where there are rivers they will be running... but there are indeed stretches where there are no rivers. Study your maps, gather info from other hikers as you go - you'll be fine. Hydrate heavily where you can if you know things will likely be dry ahead. As long as you hike smart and do a bit of planning along the way, there's not need to worry.

I'll mention one more thing - last summer we hit Lake Edison (VVR) a few days after the ferry stopped running. Looking at our maps, it was just a ~5 mile hike along the edge of the lake to VVR. No big deal, right!? Wrong. It was miserable. We all emptied our 2 liters, the hike seemed endless, up/down, dry, and not at all close to the water. There's a good chance the ferry will stop running even earlier this summer (particularly if it's a hot one and southern CA needs the energy), so if you end up hiking around the lake, hydrate a ton and fill up before you do so!