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JMT August-September from Finland
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JMT August-September from Finland on 06/20/2013 02:18:06 MDT Print View


I'm a reader of BPL from Finland I have got loads of good advice regarding gear here. I also have been planning to hike JMT for over one and half years now. I'm planing to do JMT this year, I got permits, ESTA etc. I'll start on 24th August by flying to San Francisco. Then I'll rent a bear canister, rent a tent and send a package to Muir Ranch from SF. I haven't called yet but I'll have to check if I can reserve some of this stuff in advance.

Next day I'll get a bus to Merced via Amtrak or Greyhound early in the morning, then YARTS to Yosemite Lodge midday. I'm planning to camp in Northern Pines and start from Little Yosemite Valley the next day, 27th of August. Then we will hike the whole shebang in 18-21 days. I'm planning to resupply at Muir Ranch on the 10th day of the hike. We'll continue from there southward to Mt Whitney.

From Whitney Portal, I plan to hitchhike to Lone Pine and stay a night in motel. From Lone Pine I'm planning to get a bus straight to Reno on Friday, and there Amtrak or Greyhound to San Francisco. In case I miss the bus from Lone Pine to Reno, I will take southbound bus to Lancaster and from there Amtrak to San Francisco (has anyone done this?).

We're a group of three, two males and female (unsure). Here's my pack list, expenditures, trip plan etc:

I have some general questions:

1) Is my trip plan crazy / reasonable?

2) I think I'll be using Whisperlite with canister gas. Its heavy but safely windproofable and can be inverted. Another option would be Jetboil. Would it be a better choice? Less weight, maybe 200g or so. But is it more efficient (no Jetboil Mug) ? The other question is the amount of fuel I need to carry. I'm considering getting 2x450g (net weight) canisters. We're 3 persons. I guesstimated using wind pro consumption that the Whisperlite Universal should boil about boil about 57 litres of water with 900g of fuel which is 2.1 per day for 9 days for 3 persons. I haven't done chemistry in quite a while but I think Boyle's law states that there will be a decrease in gas pressure with release of gas which will affect thermal output. I think there was Roger Caffin article about this some time ago but I'm not sure how it will affect the output (linear? logarithmic?).

I have heard that in the evening the temperatures can be a bit low but do they go low enough to affect cooking?

Then some random, less important remarks:

3) Total weight is around 18lbs base weight, 37 lbs total. My backpack is Osprey Volt 75L. I have Granite Gear Crown VC60 too but this one has more room, better strapping, padding, drinking bottle handling, hip belt pockets etc. I think I'll go with the heavier pack.

4) My sleeping bag is Viking 600. Rating 15F (EN 13537: 26F/15F/-18F). That and thick (2.5cm) CCF-mat. I might buy Exped mat, not sure.

5) I'm planning to eat 700g of food per day. 2700kcal per day. BV500 will be my canister of choice, I guess it will fit 9 days of food ?

6) I guess DEET bug spray + head net is enough to keep the buggers off

7) Is it worth taking PLB? SPOT? Lots of people on the trail.

8) I need to rent some tent from I guess I'll take Big Agnes SL4 or something. I have to contact REI. I'm generally fine with tarp sleeping but its a lot of days with some under maybe heavy rain so I'll maybe go for a tent instead.

9) I have Rab Momentum Jacket and Marmot Super-Fly XT pants for rainy times. I'm using lightweight trail boots. Gore-Tex. With gaiters. Gaiters are nice. I have also Rab Endurance down jacket. Really warm.

10) I'm using three Rab Meco, merino wool shirts. Merino socks too.

11) Are crampoons like microspikes how useful?

12) I was using this list and bunch of others:

13) I need to store my extra stuff somewhere in rented locker in SF. Any recommendations?

14) Any pro tips for SF / Cal tourism? :)

Thanks for any replies in advance.


Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
JMT on 06/20/2013 07:33:53 MDT Print View

Hi Ari

Here are a few thoughts:

Your plan isn't crazy. SHould be a great adventure.

Either stove will work, and your pack and bag will both be fine. Don't spent too much time worrying about this.

You will have to pack your Bearvault 500 carefully and tightly to get nine days of food in it. It can be done, but it will be tight. Let all the air out of any pre-packaged items, rack anything bulky, and remember that you don't need to get your first day's food into it...

DEET and Headnets should be fine. By that date most of the skeeters are gone.

SPOT is a personal choice, but we never use one.

You probably won't see extended rain during this trip. A few thunderstorms in the afternoon, but not days and days (or nights) of rain. Check the weather before you go to make sure there aren't any odd weather patterns that would change this.

Why so many shirts? We take one shirt to wear for a week---and we wash it every few days to take the large chunks off. You don't need to be pretty on the trail.

And by your dates, you will be happy to see a little snow in the passes. You don't need spikes or crampons at that point.

Enjoy the show!

You can read about our equipment list after about a thousand miles of backpacking in the sierra on our website: backpackthesierra

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
possible smoke on 06/20/2013 08:04:41 MDT Print View

If you have asthma or are affected by smoke you might want to bring an inhaler along. We have had two VERY dry years in a row now and the possibility of fires and their consequent smoke is significant.

The fires do not have to be in the mountains to make lots of smoke in the mountains. Wind can blow smoke from lowland fires up into the mountains and make the air bad.


Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
watch out for the sun on 06/20/2013 09:11:37 MDT Print View

If you are a northern European visiting California for the first time you will probably be over prepared for rain (which you might not get at all) but under prepared for the sun. You'll be at high altitude and a Mediterranean latitude. In addition to sunscreen and lip balm it's good to have a light, long sleeve shirt with a collar and a wide brimmed sun hat. Without at least one you will get bad sunburn on your neck. Also, while the temps are not high the sun is strong and it will feel hot so these clothes will make your trip much more pleasant. (Sorry if I missed these on your list.)

Edited by theronr on 06/20/2013 09:16:26 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Re: JMT August-September from Finland on 06/20/2013 14:15:16 MDT Print View


Your plan is very reasonable. You will have a blast on the JMT.

Here are some comments in no particular order.

1) Bear Canister
You plan to rent the BearVault 500 and intend to put 9 days of food into it. You might want to consider renting a Bearikade Expedition. They offer a flat rental fee of $55 for JMT hikers (their website will say $6/day and you need to let them know after the confirmation that you are hiking the JMT). It costs a little more, but in my mind having 200 cu inch more volume and saving 5 oz weight is very well worth it.

2) Rain Pants
I would leave those at home. During my last three JMTs I have not found it necessary to put on rain pants - even last year when it rain more than usual. You just keep hiking thru the occasional afternoon thunder storm and your pants will dry fast.

3) Insect Repellent
By end of August mosquitoes should be not a problem. This year I will go on the JMT mid of August and will leave the DEET at home.

4) Stove
I would take the JetBoil. It's fast & convenient and you can easily re-supply canisters. We get 11 l boiled water out of a 100 g canister and 25 l out of a 230 g canister. We never had a problem with the JetBoil - neither in altitude nor in the temperature range we experienced on the JMT during the summer. So depending on your hot water needs you can take one or two canisters with you and then buy new canisters at MTR.

5) Pots & Pans
I would skip these. You list dried food for dinner. So I don't see a need for a pan. If you use a jet boil and dired food like Mountain House, you won't need a pot either

6) Spot
That's a personal preference. There are many people on the JMT and many of them are carrying a SPOT or similar device. So you would most likely have access to communication within a reasonable time if you need it. Thus you most likely won't really have to bring one. I carry one - as I usually have children with me or I'm going solo cross-country.

7) Tent
We took tarp tents on the JMT last year. Mosquitoes were no problem, so no inner net was needed. You might save some weight there too. If you can pitch tyour rental tent with just a footprint and the rain fly, you could leave the inner tent behind.

8) Shell Top and Bottom
I stated already that you can leave the rain pants at home. For your rain jacket I would try to take something that is half the weight.

9) Crampons
Not needed by end of August

Have fun out there,


P.S.: In case you are interested, you can look at our 2012 JMT trip report. In one of the later posts on that thread is a link to our gear list that might be interesting to you.

Thanks on 06/25/2013 17:17:25 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips everyone.

Yeah I've heard Bearikade is good but logistics is an issue. Do you think its easy to get Bearikade or would I have to ask my friend to do the rental (rather not) ? Can you rent them anywhere in SF? Or could it be sent to like Yosemite or something (a bit risky tbh).

We have 3 people so I'll use one pot to boil water and everyone else will have their own mugs / cups to eat. I think this is the only realistic option.

As for the shell top, Its very high-quality jacket, and weights quite little compared to its performance. Maybe I should leave rain pants home, yeah I'm not sure. Go with shorts only? I have little fat so I think I could get relatively cold if wind blows a lot, especially on breaks and my pants are wet. I think I'll take the weight hit.

I guess I'll try to go with 2 shirts. Has worked before quite well.

I have allergies but I have been exposed to smoke grenades in army and I hope I'll be fine. Nice remark though, I didn't think of that.

I hope this info is useful to others hiking JMT. :)