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JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
#55187 05/16/19 05:18 PM
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Hello,

My friend and I just got 2 permits for an early July hike from Golden Trout (JMT30) to Whitney.

We had a few clarifications:

1. I found the permit system a bit confusing. Our entry date is June 30th and the exit is on July 9th. We wanted to exit on the 4th or the 5th, but those options were only available as a "walk-up".

What are our options? We will of course try our luck securing a walk-up permit when we goto the Interagency center for permit pickup, but not sure if we will actually get one. What happens if we don't?

2. Any advice on preparing for the weather around that time? Do we need to be packing crampons/microspikes?

In terms of gear, we will be carrying 65/75L backpacks and 5-6 days worth of food.

Would appreciate the advice.

Thanks!

Avi

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55188 05/16/19 06:17 PM
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1. Don't worry about finishing early. No one is going to stop you at the trailhead and force you to camp 3 more nights in the wilderness before you can exit.
I try to pad my exit dates just to account for delays and problems.

2. Wait for weather reports as it gets closer. Afternoon thunderstorms are the most likely thing you'll have to dodge that time of year.
This year, you may have to deal with snow, ice, and other normally late spring conditions. At least microspikes may be needed (crampons are more of a decision based on trail reports closer to your trek).

Last edited by WanderingJim; 05/16/19 06:19 PM.
Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55189 05/16/19 06:18 PM
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I have never heard about anyone getting punished by the rangers for exiting a few days early with a valid permit. That said, this is not a formal advice so please treat it as such.

You will definitely feel much safer with micro spikes or, preferably, lightweight crampons and an axe. This years snow coverage is above average. In late June/early July you will be traveling on snow in several relatively steep and exposed sections of the JMT, including the Forester pass and both sides of Mt. Whitney.

Edit to add: As Jim said, watch for afternoon T-storms. It is always a good idea to go over high passes and summits as early as possible - you don't want to be there when a storm rolls in.

Last edited by Anton; 05/16/19 06:22 PM.
Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55191 05/16/19 07:51 PM
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So you're going to cross-country over Dragon Pass or Mt Gould? I've heard that's pretty rough. Do you have x-country experience in the Sierras? Found a thread on that route here: http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=9029

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
WanderingJim #55192 05/16/19 08:24 PM
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Thank you so much all!

I was at Whitney last year in August....no snow or ice but ran into thunderstorms almost every day....not fun at all.

Is there a better time of the year?

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Jonathan C #55193 05/16/19 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted By: Jonathan C
So you're going to cross-country over Dragon Pass or Mt Gould? I've heard that's pretty rough. Do you have x-country experience in the Sierras? Found a thread on that route here: http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=9029


Honestly, we haven't even looked up the route...we really wanted to do a part of the JMT this year and we booked the first available permit......and no....no x-country experience in the Sierras. Our only experience was Mt. Whitney summit last year.

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55194 05/16/19 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted By: Avi
Honestly, we haven't even looked up the route...we really wanted to do a part of the JMT this year and we booked the first available permit......and no....no x-country experience in the Sierras. Our only experience was Mt. Whitney summit last year.

If that is the case, I would strongly discourage you from entering through that route. I'm assuming you didn't go with Kearsarge because there weren't permits available? Either switch in advance if spots open up or get to the permit office the day before and figure out an appropriate trailhead that has walk-ins available. Hopefully let they you keep your Whitney exit when you do that.

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55195 05/16/19 11:18 PM
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Avi, the Golden Trout lakes basin does not have a trail connnecting to the JMT. But I'll bet when you show up to pick up your permit, there will be walk-in permits available to take the other trail out of Onion Valley: Kearsarge Pass.

Here's the map of the Golden Trout and Kearsarge Pass trails:



Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Jonathan C #55196 05/17/19 10:54 AM
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Jonathan,

That is exactly right. Our preference was to start at Kearsarge, but that option wasn't available. On the map, Golden Trout and Kearsarge seemed next to each other and I didn't realize that there isn't a trail connecting the two.

I am assuming the train from Kearsarge to Whitney is a well maintained one and one we can attempt w/o any x-country experience?

We don't have a lot of experience hiking in ice/snow either (I have done Angel's Landing in December with spikes and I did fine there...so if this is anything like that, I think I will be fine). But never done a hike through snow/ice carrying a 65/75 L pack.

Thanks.

Avi

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Steve C #55197 05/17/19 10:55 AM
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Thanks a lot Steve!

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55198 05/17/19 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted By: Avi
I am assuming the train from Kearsarge to Whitney is a well maintained one and one we can attempt w/o any x-country experience?

Exactly, which is also why permits disappear quickly on it. smile But I'm pretty sure in late June you will have no problem with walk-ups. The only question is if they'll transfer your Whitney Exit when you do the walk-up. You could call the Inyo permit office and ask if they allow that when switching trailheads during pickup.

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Jonathan C #55199 05/17/19 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: Jonathan C

Exactly, which is also why permits disappear quickly on it. smile But I'm pretty sure in late June you will have no problem with walk-ups. The only question is if they'll transfer your Whitney Exit when you do the walk-up. You could call the Inyo permit office and ask if they allow that when switching trailheads during pickup.


Will check that out.

For backpack, I am decided on the Baltoro, but unsure of the 75L version...is that an overkill compared to the 65 for a trip of this duration?

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55200 05/17/19 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted By: Avi
[quote=Jonathan C]


For backpack, I am decided on the Baltoro, but unsure of the 75L version...is that an overkill compared to the 65 for a trip of this duration?


The optimal pack size depends on trip duration AND type of gear you plan to bring. I can easily do a 100+ mile lap in the mountains w/o resupplies with a 30L pack containing all essential items, but my gear is very light (and I normally leave the grill and a flat screen TV at home :))

If you are looking for a new pack, consider investing in a modern Cuben fiber design instead of a 5lb+ monster from a mainstream company. You will pay more, but the benefits are substantial. These packs last much longer and they are much lighter.

Check out https://www.hyperlitemountaingear.com - they currently have a sale.

If you do a simple math, the difference in weight equals a bear canister and an extra day of food, not to mention that people with large packs often tend to bring useless items that only slow them down. Would you rather carry 25-30 lbs over multiple passes (a perfectly reasonable weight for your trip, which does not force you to sacrifice comfort and functionality) or 45-50 lbs?



Last edited by Anton; 05/17/19 02:26 PM.
Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Anton #55201 05/18/19 09:03 AM
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Thanks for that tip. Will check out the bags you suggested.

Avi

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Avi #55202 05/18/19 02:59 PM
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I use the 3400 Porter for long trips an the summit pack for shorter, and I absolutely love both models - super simple, yet, versatile and comfortable. Southwests and Windriders are also very popular among long distance hikers and climbers. Keep in mind that they show all their packs in while but they can also be ordered in black. The black fabric is slightly more durable, unless you decide to for for more expensive DCHW.

Re: JMT Hike ending in Whitney in July
Jonathan C #55290 06/02/19 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: Jonathan C
Either switch in advance if spots open up or get to the permit office the day before and figure out an appropriate trailhead that has walk-ins available. Hopefully let they you keep your Whitney exit when you do that.


How far in advance can I get the walk-up permits? Or does it have to be the day of?


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