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Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
6 DAYS AND 200 MILES ON THE JOHN MUIR TRAIL on 09/15/2013 12:49:08 MDT Print View

I have been on most sections of the JMT numerous times but have only been from Woods Creek to Edison once and never been from Edison to Reds Mdw.

Having always enjoyed fast and long hours, I knew this may be the last time I would be able to hike the JMT and wanted to take a nice stab to see how fast I could go. So I went as light as possible and figured a 100-120 hour time would be a good target.
This was going to be with a 17 1/2 pound pack without resupply.

Going N. bound, and starting at 4am, Whiney was an easy 5 hours. I usually have major altitude problems over 11,500'. This trip, nothing. I could barley tell or feel anything on all but the top 1000' of Whitney and the last 400' of Forester.

Nothing was unusual at the end of day 1. I had gone 42 miles with a decent effort over the hardest part of the trail.
Day 2 would be completely different.

I was tired and having no fun by the afternoon of day 2.
This is not what this trip was supposed to be. I decided that since I was getting picked up 6 1/2 days after I started, that I would slow down and enjoy the trail.

As of now, I have seen every part of the trail in daylight except the top 1/3 coming down the golden staircase.
I still have no idea where the Rock Monster or Man Eating Rock (what ever it's called), I have no idea where it is.

Now i just needed to average 35 miles per day. This would mean lots of breaks for view the surrounding and much more needed sleep that made the trail more enjoyable.

Day 2 started up the initial climb out of Viditte Meadow.
Day 3 coming down the Golden Staircase.

Hit Muir Pass in 2 1/2 days with freezing temps. The 2 other hikers inside, also N. bound, where there for 3 hours and had been hailed and snowed on during the time they were waiting it out.
While coming down from Muir, I was getting tiered and stopped to sleep at Evolution Lake.
It started raining as soon as I took out my bag. After 30 minutes of a slushy rain it froze.

After 3 hours of sleep, I needed to warm up and get the heck moving.
For the next 2 days I felt a little crappy and I thought I was going to get a chest cold and congested from that entire crappy day.
Everything ended up just fine, but I still feel a little nasty from that day/ night.

The next night, I slept at Edison and was excited to see the days trails that was new t me.
For the past day, I knew that I would be pushing the time needed to get to Reds before 7pm for a double bacon cheese burger. It went from making it, to maybe, to no way.

While climbing up Silver, I thought the pass was flat spot about 150' bellow the actual pass. When I got there, I just thought, what disappointment. Once I figured it out, holly crap, what a view. Honestly, that is the best view on the entire trail.

While climbing out of Tulley Hole, I asked someone if they knew how much further it was? I didn't have that map page from the Harrison Maps. He said 19 miles. This gave me 7 1/2 hours to reach Reds, and off I went. I mean it was 12 miles of down hill.
With less than 30 minutes to spare, the burger was excellent!

As I was waiting, another hiker flew into the store soaking wet with 3 minutes to spare.
I thought I was cutting it close. Turned out there were 3 guys from Canada that were hiking S. bound in 8 days.

I ended up joining them for dinner and then heard that they got a cabin and invited me to sleep on the couch.
There was no hesitation to the answer of that question.

Hwy 120 was opened and now closed again, so my trip was going to end at Tuolumne. It was that or a 900 mile trip just for my wife to pick me up.

19 hours later, I left Reds Meadow after a huge breakfast. It's crazy how much Reds has changed. When I was first there, i had to make a $20 satellite call, now they have wi-fi and cell service.

The rest of the trip was just filling it all in. I had gone from Reds to Yosemite 3 other times. I just kicked back and enjoyed to views of Garnet, 1000 island and the rest of the beautiful terrain. I was amazed seeing and knowing how the trail linked up from the sections I was missing. When you are going for a certain time, you really do miss out on a lot.

Not this time.

Thank you everyone for help making my pack weight under 10 pounds during most of the trip. I could barley fell the pack on me and every single piece of gear worked perfect.











Edited by awsorensen on 09/18/2013 17:34:55 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
6 days on JMT on 09/16/2013 10:27:52 MDT Print View


Nice report. Glad you were able to "slow down" and enjoy your trip.

Funny how our best laid plans often get changed in the Sierra Nevada. It's nice to have the ability go with the flow.


andrew bentz

Locale: Wasatch Front
jmt on 09/16/2013 16:25:12 MDT Print View

awesome trip report. getting up and over whitney and forester in one day is pretty tough.

sounds like a good pace, able to enjoy the trip and push yourself.

good job.


Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: jmt on 09/16/2013 16:35:57 MDT Print View

The gear choices were perfect for the trip.
By day 3 I had less than 12 pounds on my back and the weight just went down from there.

I saw a lot of ULA packs and the way I was dressed didn't turn any heads. I was just another hiker out there.
I did get a few, nice small pack, or how are those shoes working for you out here, but that's it.

Edited by awsorensen on 09/16/2013 16:38:42 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: jmt on 09/16/2013 18:50:02 MDT Print View

Thanks for a great summary.
Sounds like you enjoyed the trip.

Nice job on the gear choices, and I'm glad that the shoes worked out.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Great trip on 09/16/2013 19:05:05 MDT Print View

I am highly considering doing a similarly paced trip next summer. The part of the world is just drop dead gorgeous. Glad your trip worked out as almost planned.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: 6 DAYS AND 200 MILES ON THE JOHN MUIR TRAIL on 09/16/2013 19:09:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for sharing Aaron. Sounds like a great trip - and good on ya for staying flexible and adjusting on the fly to keep the trip as fun and enjoyable as you wanted it to be.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: 6 DAYS AND 200 MILES ON THE JOHN MUIR TRAIL on 09/17/2013 08:06:48 MDT Print View


could you go back to your first post and realign your photos vertically rather than horizontally, for ease of following this thread.

you do this by placing the cursor before and after each and every URL and then hitting the enter key one or two times on your keyboard.

Sounds like a great trip.