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John Muir Trail:

The last section was finished in 1938 and runs for 212 miles north south from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney summit in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. Most people also add the miles down to the trailhead at Whitney Portal for a total of 221.

This is one of the more spectacular segments of the Pacific Crest Trail, and has many access points from the east and west sides – making for good loop trips of 3 to 15 days. High granite wilderness with stark blue lakes in glacier carved basins.  There are many potential loop trips and a backpacking shuttle service can pick you up or drop you if you are doing JMT segments.

John Muir Trail area Permits:

Required since the routes are thru National Parks or wilderness areas. Get the permit at the point of entry. East side permits are U.S. Forest Service. The Mt. Whitney end is thru the Forest Service by lottery, but there are nearby passes where you can get to the JMT and permits are usually available in advance or at the trailhead. For 2013, Yosemite end reservations opened in late November. Try to get them asap as there is a daily quota at all trailheads. If you missed the first day, checked their full trailheads list and look for alternate entries. Fax, mail or phone your request. Faxed and mailed requests have priority over phone.  Forest Service PermitsYosemite National Park Permits. Starting from Yosemite on your reservation request, entry trailhead will be Happy Isles-->Sunrise/Merced Lake (pass through) and exit trailhead will be Whitney Portal. If online reservations are full for your day and route, do not be discouraged. 40% of permits are reserved for walk ups either for same day or one day before. Go midweek, get in line at the wilderness permit office early, and have a day or two flexibility. Same day permits are available when the office opens (7am in 2011), next day permits at 11am. If the Happy Isles->Sunrise/Merced Lake (pass through) is still full, ask for alternatives such as one leaving from Tuolumne Meadows or Glacier Point. If you are a southbound JMT hiker leaving from Tuolumne Meadows, your entry trailhead will be Lyell Canyon Trailhead. If you are taking a west side (of the Sierras) trail from Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park to access the JMT, get your permit from Sequoia Kings Canyon NP.

Google Map for Tuolumne Permit location and connection to JMT up Lyell Canyon

Peter from Yahoo John Muir Trail forum posted this useful google map showing where the permit issuing wilderness office is, and where you connect with the jmt; http://tinyurl.com/JMTTuolumne

Resupply - Food Drops:

The John Muir Trail is the longest stretch of the Pacific Crest trail with no towns or highway crossings, so food drops are a problem, particularly if you are not doing the 20+ miles per day of a PCT thru-hiker. I went from Yosemite south, so had a drop at Reds Meadows' Resort, one 4 days later at Vermillion Resort, and then had a friend with llamas do one in LeConte Canyon.

 If you don't want to carry a full load of food up from the valley floor, have a resupply at Tuolumne Meadows, two days away.

Vermillion Resort is one of the highlights of the trip with meals, and sleeping facilities for hikers, and a small store. They make a special effort to welcome both PCTers and JMTers - first beer and first night are free. Great pie. ATT cell service works at VVR. They also have internet via satellite.

  Muir Trail Ranch does hiker resupply and is located a couple of days south of Vermilion Valley Resort. Hikers can stay overnight in either a log cabin or tent cabin by reservation. Sometimes openings for cabins are available without reservation, but not too often. One-night and two-night stays include all three meals, use of laundry, showers, and enclosed hot spring baths. Meals aren't available without an overnight stay. The ranch is very close to the trail. Some people start their half-JMT trek by leaving from Florence Lake, which has five ferryboat runs per day, seven days a week. The ranch is five miles east of the lake. Vermilion Valley Resort offers shuttle service from Fresno’s airport, Amtrak station and Greyhound station to Florence Lake, Edison Lake and Mono Hot Springs. Contact them at www.edisonlake.com  at least two weeks in advance. The current charge is about $200 for two people.

For Kearsarge Pass - Onion Valley resupply options, check with mtwilliamsonmotel.com in Independence. They expanded their services in 2014 and now have shuttles, motel rooms, meet/drop you at trail, etc.

The pack station out of Onion Valley is run by Berner's Pack Outfit, Brian & Danica Berner. They also run the Pine Creek Pack Station. Contact them at 760-387-2797 or 800-962-0775. Their address is Berner's Pack Outfit, Pine Creek Pack Station, P.O. Box 968, Bishop, CA 93515. I heard they will hold a resupply box for $75, but contact them to be sure.

As a resupply strategy, if you have to hike out to Onion Valley to get a food drop, you might consider doing as Susan and I do if water on the PCT is several miles off the trail. We setup a dry camp at the PCT junction to the water source, I will empty absolutely everything out of my pack except emergency gear and empty water containers, and then make a fast round trip for the water. With the lightened pack, I can make very good time.

For horse or mule resupply from the east side of the Sierras check the pack station list at: pack station list pdf  or a list of east side packers: http://www.bishopvisitor.com/activities/exp_pack_trips.php3

Re Resupply Fuel:

It's best to buy at resupply point. Fuels can't be flown. US Postal Service will allow butane/propane canisters and alcohol to be mailed ground only provided they are packed and labeled properly.  See Ken Power's link on this: http://www.gottawalk.com/shipping_fuel.htm . I mailed an unopened can of alcohol to Mt. Laguna for our section A PCT hike, properly packed - wrapped with paper towels inside a ziplock inside a well padded box. Good thing I followed the rules because it did leak - not a lot, but all the paper towels were damp - nothing into outer box.

My Blog entry on planning for long distance hiking

http://timecheck00.blogspot.com/2008/10/long-distance-walk-planning.html

John Muir Trail thru-hiker statistics:

I checked with Yosemite Assn, which issues the southbound permits. As of 29 July 04 they had issued 244 permits for the year and estimated a total of 600 for the season. 300 PCT thru-hikers start northbound, and about 180 of them get to Canada, so I estimate that at least 200 do the JMT.

Trail Conditions:

To check on snow and high water conditions in the Sequoia-Kings Canyon part of the JMT, look at http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm . Yosemite has a similar site but the information is not as good or as current: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm  . The US Forest Service has information on east side trailheads http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/conditions/index.shtml . If you are hiking when most of the trail is covered with snow, navigation is a problem. Have good map and compass or gps skills.

Altitude Sickness:

This can happen irregardless of age or physical conditions, usually during the first two or three days at altitude. Sometimes it can be life threatening, so I recommend that you study altitudemedicine.org's website carefully. I used Diamox recently with 125 mg one day before starting the trip, and 75 mg each morning and evening during trip, and it worked for me. Each person is different, not medical advice. Forgot it one night and woke up with a headache.altitudemedicine.org/index.php/altitude-medicine/learn-about-altitude-sickness

Early Season Fording Techniques:

If you are a PCTer, you will have a number of fast deep crossings requiring extreme caution.  Evolution Creek is the deepest, sometimes chest high at the normal crossing point, but not very fast. Others are not as deep but fast and dangerous. Usually its best to cross in early morning - may be 12 inches lower than late afternoon. Tyndall Creek, Bear Creek, south fork of Kings River, Rush Creek, Kerrick Canyon (northern Yosemite) are some of the others. Consensus from PCT-L forum is to use hiking poles or sticks to get 4 points of contact, keep body facing the opposite shore, angle upstream to keep the force of water from collapsing your knees, wear synthetic fast drying clothes, take off long pants, unfasten waist belt. If shoes and boots are already wet leave them on. Walk between rocks, not on them. If wearing trail runners leave them on - some people take socks off. During dry weather if you have to cross in your boots, remove socks and boot liners, wipe out boots after crossing and reinsert liners.  You will walk dry quickly.  You need something to protect your feet (I have gone barefoot in midsummer and it is painful. I have carried lightweight kayak shoes for camp and river crossing - better than bare feet. I don't want the weight penalty of Tevas).   With normal sierra weather you will dry as you walk fairly soon.  If chilly, put on fleece after crossing.

Early season hint: Temperature Change with Elevation: If you carry a thermometer, it is sometimes useful to estimate expected temperatures at higher elevations. There is a normal temperature drop of 3.6° F for each 1000 feet increase in elevation. i.e. if you are at 10,000 feet, the temperature is 40° F and it is raining, expect snow at 13,000 feet.

Transportation and Backpacking Shuttle Service:

www.yarts.com is the regional Yosemite transportation service. It includes service to and from Merced to Yosemite, as well as from Yosemite to Mammoth and points in between.

Summary of Public Transit to Yosemite: There was a post on Backpacking Light from John, who lives in Yosemite valley. He uses public transit on a regular basis. To get to Yosemite from the east coast, fly into San Francisco or Oakland  than take Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to Richmond, there transfer to Amtrak, take it to Merced. At Merced, take the Yosemite Area Regional Transit bus to Yosemite  valley. Coming back from Whitney Portal, there is regional  transit bus service on highway 395. Take it to Mammoth Lakes then YARTS back to Yosemite valley. (ed. note: if you do this be cautious at Richmond Bart. It is in a dangerous neighborhood. Don't walk around.) As of 2013 there is a new service from San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf direct to Yosemite Lodge called gotobus.com

For Public Transportation schedules: To get to the Eastern Sierra or Yosemite, here is an excellent link, including some bus schedules: http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~rbell/JMTTransport.html 

Shuttle Services: There are shuttle services that would drop you at one trailhead and pick you up at another. We usually leave the vehicle at the trip end point and the shuttle takes us from there back to the start point. There are car rental agencies in Bishop, so if you come out there, you can get a car to get back to your car.

Bob Ennis offers shuttles along the Eastern Sierra from Yosemite to Kennedy Meadows (south) http://www.mtwhitneyshuttle.com/ He shuttled us from Kennedy Meadows to the Jawbone Canyon area - excellent service.

An East Side Sierra Shuttle Service that is run by Paul Fretheim started in 2012. http://www.eastsidesierrashuttle.com/ It covers the east side from Yosemite to Death Valley, and will do custom trips to almost any location in the Sierras.

Another good source of shuttle info, shower locations, etc that is kept current: http://climber.org/data/shuttles.html

A new shuttle service into Sequoia Kings Canyon from Visalia: sequoia_shuttle

There is a west side shuttle service into Vermillion Valley Resort from Fresno
http://www.edisonlake.com/hikers/transportation

The Williamson Motel in Independence has shuttled hikers to Onion Valley if they stay a night at the motel. Contact them for details http://www.mtwilliamsonmotel. com .

John Muir Trail Maps:

We use Garmin 24K Western US maps in our gps.

If you want to buy maps, there is nothing better than the Tom Harrison JMT Map Pack .

Peter Dascalos has put together a nice backpacking site including a set of JMT maps that Dan Braun created from Topo - viewable online, and if you have highspeed internet, downloadable. They are sized for print on 8.5 by 11. http://www.onthetrail.org/OTT/jmt.html . If you browse his site, you can also find maps and photos for sections A, B and C of the PCT.

The following elevation profile site does the entire Pacific Crest Trail, section by section, including an excellent JMT profile: interactive - you select by section - very nice: http://www.bearcant.org/elevation.php

Brian from the Yahoo John Muir Trail forum has posted a good profile :
http://www.kevinaston.com/files/jmtlarge21day.gif

iPhone use as a GPS

John Hansen put a very good post on the Yahoo John Muir Trail forum on his use of an iPhone with battery extender - was able to get 10 days of use without external recharging: http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/johnmuirtrail/conversations/topics/35156 look at post 6 of the conversation.

GPS Coordinates for Reds Meadow to Whitney Portal:

Kevin Aston has put a useful spreadsheet on his site, with elevations, mileages and distances http://www.kevinaston.com/JMTSpreadsheet.html

http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/data/EWenk_JMT.htm lets you download Excel spreadsheets containing all the gps coordinates from Wenk and Morey's Guide to the John Muir Trail. The release of the data was authorized by Wilderness Press.

There is a new Mt Whitney website http://www.whitneyzone.com/ that contains much of the info that used to be on the www.whitneyportalstore.com website, so check them both out for Whitney info. 

GPS - How to get your track on a map

This is a little off topic, but if you are interested in the various ways to see your GPS track on a map, check out Two-Heel Drive's blog entry on the subject.

Bears:

You can encounter them anywhere on the JMT, but are most likely to see them where they have found food before: At the trailhead or a day or two out from it, examples: Kearsarge Pass or Little Yosemite. Anywhere there is a bear box. Bear Canisters for food are required on parts of the JMT. For your sake and the bear's sake, we strongly urge you to use them. See gear page for details. You can rent them in Yosemite when you pick up your permit. Repackage your food so you can store more in the canister. Bear box locations cluster campers with resulting dust, dirt, noise. We try to avoid them. Locations in Sequoia-Kings Canyon: http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_box.htm . In Yosemite bear boxes are only at Little Yosemite campground and the High Sierra Camps. Canisters are required in all areas in Yosemite as of 2008. For details see: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bearcanisters.htm  For Ansel Adams Wilderness and other east side Forest Service managed areas see link in Where to Camp below.

Bear Canisters

They are required in most of the Sierras. Yes, you may get away without getting caught, either by a bear or a ranger, but chances are that a bear is going to get your food, and eventually get shot due to people not using canisters. More info on canisters on our gear page. http://www.wild-ideas.net  has the largest and lightest/meal hard sided container. They have special rental rates for PCT, JMT, etc. Call them for details: https://id215.chi.us.securedata.net/~wild-ideas/rent.html . We carry a couple of soft Ursacks for all areas of the PCT except the JMT part. The Ursack keeps mice, etc out, as well as less educated bears. The most food anyone has got in one Garcia is 16 days per Ken and Marcia. Don't expect to match that.

 

My Blog entry on  repackaging food

http://timecheck00.blogspot.com/2008/07/repackaging-backpacking-food-our-menu.html

Water:

On the JMT you will find water several times a day. In August it will be dry on the the big passes, particularly on the south side so carry enough water for five or six hot miles. We use roughly three miles per liter per person when going up and get 4 or 5 miles per liter going down. Either pump or treat your water (see our gear page). If you want to get over a pass early, you may want to dry camp high on the ascent. Carry extra water to do this, even if you plan to have a cold breakfast.

Where to Camp:

Stay away from the bear box areas unless you have a craving to be around more people. If your requirements are an eight by ten flat spot, you will find spots frequently. Check out your map for water and start thinking about possibilities mid afternoon if you want to have water 100 feet away. There are a few spots along the JMT where no camping is allowed, so vegetation can recover. In Yosemite you need to be four miles away from a trailhead. This means Tuolumne Meadows as well as where you start in Yosemite Valley. Near Reds Meadows, no camping within 1/4 mile of outlet of Thousand Islands Lake, Garnet Lake, stay 300 feet from Shadow Lake - see Shadow Lake restrictions for full details including trails where bear canister is required. Just north of Rae Lakes there is a small lake with no camping.

Just Mount Whitney:

If you want climb Mt. Whitney from the east side, and return, you are talking about a 22 mile round trip, 6000 feet elevation gain, with about 12 hours one way up.  If you are a rock climber, there is a mountaineers route (not a trail) that is 3.4 miles to the top, still with the 6000 ft elevation gain, part of it a class 3 climb.  Don't try it unless you are an experienced mountaineer with excellent map reading skills and have thoroughly researched the route.  Guides are available if you contact the Bishop ranger station or Mt. Whitney store.  If you are thinking about either route, buy the Mount Whitney: Mountain Lore From The Whitney Store by Thompson and Newbold. From our link below, or Amazon or from the Whitney store website www.whitneyportalstore.com

The Whitney portal store is much more than just a place to buy a hamburger.  It is at the east side trailhead to Mt. Whitney.  The owner, Doug Thompson is an expert on Mt. Whitney, and has personally rescued many exhausted hikers. The store is the first place contacted when anyone is in trouble.

There is a new Mt Whitney website http://www.whitneyzone.com/ that contains much of the info that used to be on the www.whitneyportalstore.com website, so check them both out for Whitney info. 

Current self supported JMT hiking record: (you do the resupply yourself - no friends deliver to trailhead)

Haven't got any names for this yet.

Most Times Hiked Record:

Yeti - Jim Fulmis - 22 completions, 18 consecutive years - age 67 in 2007
http://www.trailjournals.com/text/entry.cfm?id=193695
http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?ID=211590
http://www.gailpct2007.info/ - the May 21 entry

Yoyo Record:

>2004 - Catra Corbett (dirt diva) in yoyoed - one way  5 days, 15 hours, and 50 minutes. Her yo yo time was 12 days, 4 hours, and 58 minutes. She did a resupply at the midpoint.
 http://www.mt-whitney.info/viewtopic.php?p=3919  Catra's blog: http://trailgirl.blogspot.com/

2008 - John Tibbits yoyoed in 25 days - July 4th to July 28th
http://mailman.backcountry.net/pipermail/pct-l/2008-August/019401.html

Current unsupported JMT northbound hiking record: (noresupply allowed)

2014 - Andrew Bentz 3 days 10 hours 55 minutes August 29, arrived at HI at 11:05 am
backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=94712

2009 - Brett Maune 3 days 14 hrs and 13 minutes at age 30 September 6, 2009, arrived at Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite at 2:58pm.3 days 9 hours 58 minutes after leaving Mt. Whitney summit. This also broke Sue Johnston's 2007 supported record.
http://home.comcast.net/~pbakwin/fkt/jmt.html
backpackinglight.com

2007 - Michael Popov - 4 days 5 hrs and 25 minutes at age 29
http://mailman.hack.net/pipermail/pct-l/2007-August/009318.html
Aaron Sorensen, Michael's hiking partner had to stop at 120 miles with feet too painful to walk. For Aaron's story see http://www.southernmostrunners.com/JMT/AaronsJMTStory-07.htm

2005 - Jackie Florine 6 days, 6 hours, 23 minutes.
http://www.jacquelineflorine.com/outdoors/johnmuirtrail.htm

2004 - Reinhold Metzger, 62, Point Loma, backpacked the 211-mile John Muir Trail from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite National Park's Happy Isles in five days, 7 hours, 45 min
http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/outdoors/20030929-9999_mz1s29outdor.html .

2004 - Catra Corbett (dirt diva) 5 days, 15 hours, 50 minutes
1012 - 7 days, 2 hours, 5 minutes unsupported
https://twitter.com/dirtdiva33

2003 - Reinhold Metzger, 61, Point Loma, backpacked the 211-mile John Muir Trail from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite National Park's Happy Isles in five days, 10 hours .
http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/outdoors/20030929-9999_mz1s29outdor.html

1988 John Rosendahl 5 days, 7 hours, 50 minutes to Whitney Portal
http://www.mt-whitney.info/viewtopic.php?p=3919
http://members.cox.net/sandiegorock/trail_records.html

Current supported northbound JMT hiking record:

2013 Hal Koerner and Mike Wolfe, Aug 3 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes from summit. runnersworld.com/trail-racing/ultrarunners-claim-speed-record-on-john-muir-trail
2007 Sue Johnston age 41 in 3 days 15 hours 32minutes  August
http://runsuerun.blogspot.com/
http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=40869#Post40869
2004 Kevin Sawchuck in 93 hours and 5 minutes
2003 Brian Robinson..........4 days......7hrs...2 minutes
2003 Peter Barkwin ...........3 days...22 hrs...4 minutes
http://friends.backcountry.net/pipermail/pct-l/2006-September/001490.html

Southbound JMT Records

Most reported records are northbound, but some try for a southbound record
2014 Ralph Burgess 4 days, 8 hours, 43 minutes
dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/85028259/Ralph%20JMT.pdf
fastestknowntime.proboards.com/post/1880/thread
fastestknowntime.proboards.com/post/1883/thread
Ralph also did the Sierra High Route later in 2014 - see Inga's account:
ingasadventures.com/2014/08/28/ralph-burgess-breaks-sobo-john-muir-trail-record
2004 Catra Corbett 6 days, 13 hours, 8 minutes as part of her yoyo record. Her total was 12 days 4 hours 58 minutes, and northbound was 5 15 50

Youngest person to thru-hike JMT in a single trip:

2010 Sierra Burror - Age 6. A note from Heather Burror: " My daughter Sierra Burror thru hiked the JMT with me last summer.  She was 6 when she started at Happy Isles on July 7, 2010, celebrated her 7th birthday at Evolution Lake on July 21, and completed the trail when she summited Whitney 9 days later on July 30 (exiting Whitney Portal on July 31).  Although she weighed in at only 46 pounds, she still carried most of her own gear in a pack that weighed between 10-12 pounds." [Ed note: Another hiker on the JMT shot a picture of Sierra on that trip and posted it on the Yahoo JMT forum.]

2009 Camden Watson - age 7. On 8/11/09 Camden Watson 7yrs old (Born Aug. 2001) arrived at Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley having completed the JMT carrying a base weight of 17lbs, resupplying in Muir Trail Ranch & Mammoth Lakes. Camden, his brother, Andrew (10yrs old) and his father Jason, (34yrs old) began the hike on the 19th of July from Whitney Portal. Andrew (carrying a base weight 35lbs) just missed the record himself by a few months.

1982 Owen Davis - age 10 (April) started from Happy Isles on Aug 1, 1982 and finished at Whitney Portal on Aug 25 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/3077 .

1969 - Chuck Durham - age 8 - hiked with  family in August, weighed 62 lbs and started with a 22 lb pack.

Oldest person to thru-hike JMT in a single trip:

2008 Bill Harman - age 71 started with his wife and daughter from Happy Isles on Aug 21, 2008 and they finished Sept 8.

2009 Dale Easton - age 75 and
        Alfred Patrick - age 72 hiked north to south starting July 19 and reached Mt Whitney summit August 10th. More details.

Oldest woman to thru-hike JMT in a single trip:

2012 "Rattling Grandma" age 75 started July 2nd, reached Mt. Whitney July 26th
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVdIMJBxY0E

Peter Bakwin's Fastest Known Times page:

http://pbakwin.home.comcast.net/~pbakwin/FKT.html - A lot of information on this site on fastest times on many different trails. Check it out.

Guided Trips in JMT vicinity

Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides offers trips from guided backpacks, to climbing expeditions, to women's only trips, to day hikes up Half Dome. We have no personal experience with them, but their site lists mentions in many major outdoors publications as well as National Geographic Adventure, Sunset and Frommers 2008. http://www.symg.com/

Llama Packing Services:

Greg Harford of Potato Ranch Llama Packers rents llamas to JMT hikers. I haven't rented from them, but did go on a short trip with Greg, and was impressed with his llamas and methods. You can read my trip in my July 2007 newsletter. Check out Greg's website at www.llamapackers.com .

Cameras:

This is still evolving for us. We have been using some of the Canon Digital Elph series as they are small, light and reliable. They do not do as well in low light situations with no flash as some other brands, but otherwise we are happy with them.

I upgraded my Canon 870IS to a Canon Powershot S95.

Susan upgraded her Nikon Coolpix P80 for a Canon EOS T3i. A nice camera but heavier and bulkier than her Nikon.

Classic Guide Books to JMT area:  Any PCT guide will include at least a brief guide to the JMT.

The original guide is Starr's Guide to the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Region, written by Walter Starr Jr. in 1933 and published by the Sierra Club.  It is still available in revised form. Nicknamed Peter, the author vanished during a trip to the Minarets in 1933, his body was found after an intense search, and his book was published posthumously. See Missing in the Minarets further down this list for a good story.

Blackwoods Press is came out with John Muir Trail Atlas in spring 2010. This is a small pocket guide with maps, water sources, miles, etc. I have used their PCT Atlas and found it an adequate though bare minimum guidebook. If weight is important check out http://www.johnmuirtrailatlas.com

The Wilderness Press publishes a number of excellent guides to this region including, Elizabeth Wenk and Kathy Morey's Guide to the John Muir Trail, photos, maps and route descriptions. 4th edition just out in 2007 now includes GPS waypoints. Wilderness Press has allowed the waypoint - campsite list to be downloadable - link in our gps section.

Their series for shorter trips is based on the USGS map quadrangles and is pocket size.  Each book includes the map and the descriptions of routes within that map.

They also put out Sierra South which covers the John Muir Trail area, by Kathy Morey and Mike White, The 8th edition is an excellent guide, organized by access highways, and includes route elevation profiles

as well as Sierra Northby Kathy Morey & Mike White, which covers the Sierra from Yosemite north.  Both of these are a good addition to your hiking bookshelf.

Mount Whitney: Mountain Lore From The Whitney Store by Thompson and Newbold. This is the definitive reference for anyone climbing Whitney, particularly from the east side.  If you are going to climb Whitney, read this book.  It could save your life.

The Geology of the John Muir Trail by James Wise. I haven't had a chance to read this, but it definitely fills a void.

A Hike for Mike by Jeff Alt. This journal of a couple's John Muir Trail walk is also a plea for depression awareness. Good armchair reading. See www.hikeformike.com for more about their campaign and hike.

The Last Season by Eric Blehm - This non-fiction mystery on the disappearance of a back-country ranger in Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP gives an insight into the daily lives of those with the unique experience of living and working in a National Park.

Missing in the Minarets - The Search for Walter A. Starr, Jr. by William Alsup. This is the story of the disappearance and search for Peter Starr, author of Starr's Guide above. Good reading and a good mystery, it gives a glimpse into a different era in the Sierras.

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why by Laurence Gonzales. This should be mandatory reading for anyone doing moderate risk activities, let alone thru-hikers, backpackers, mountain climbers, etc. It certainly made me rethink the things we do when backpacking. It makes fascinating reading, but to summarize what I got out of it: Be sure that what you are thinking of as many years of experience, is not really many years of being very lucky.

Ray Jardine's Trail Life is a must for anyone thinking about doing the PCT and a good idea for the JMT. The 3rd version of his classic lightweight backpacking book. The origin of the ultralight philosophy - updates Beyond Backpacking

Sierra Crest Route by Leonard Daughenbaugh. You know of the JMT, and probably Steve Roper's High Route. This book describes a route closer yet to the Sierra Crest, entirely off trail, no more than a mile off the crest, and usually within a half mile of the crest. Almost all text, most in description of mountaineering opportunities from the route, so I expect that this will become a mountaineer's bible.

Bob Kenan was a backcountry ranger in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park for 30 years. He has put together a DVD of his experiences, including interviews with other backcountry rangers, and some 50 interviews with backpackers and PCT thru-hikers. I haven't seen it, but sounds good. Order from his site at http://www.messagefromthemountains.net

Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada by John Muir Laws was published this year by one of my favorite publishers, Heydey Books in Berkeley, CA, in conjunction with the Cal Academy of Science.

Sierra Birds: A Hikers Guide also by John Muir Laws, and praised by Amazon reviewers, though I have not seen it.

Sierra Nevada Wildflowers by Elizabeth Horn. Descriptions and color photos of many of the wild flowers you will see on the JMT.

Fixing Your Feet - Jon Vonhof is the last word on foot care. He treats feet on ultra marathons and will give you more than you ever wanted to know on treating blisters and foot problems.

Unseen Hazards  That Threaten Hunters, Campers and Hikers - Jerry Genesio. i.e. bacteria that can kill you while hiking in US. Haven't read it, but plan to.

Gifts from the Mountain, Simple Truths for Life's Complexities by Eileen McDargh. Watercolors and wisdom drawn from backpacking inspiration. Not just JMT. Hard to classify, but I highly recommend it.

Classic Hikes of the World by Peter Potterfield - . A gorgeous book full of tempting hikes if the JMT experience has infected you. One of the featured hikes is the JMT.

Off topic, but if you fish the JMT, check this out: Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of California by Samuel McGinnis, illustrated by Doris Alcorn - my ex. The illustrations are world class - a life's work.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. Not on JMT, but a strong case for getting children out into the wilderness.

JMT Links:

Yahoo JMT Group

There is a Yahoo group called John Muir Trail that has several posts every day, and some knowledgeable responders. The Pacific Crest Trail forum PCT-L has a lot of people who can answer JMT questions, though main purpose is supporting PCT thru-hikers. Their url is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail

Other JMT Links

We've put most of what we know on this web site, but if you have a question you can't get answered, you can email us at backpack45 at yahoo dot com - We are out on the trail a lot, so can't always give an immediate response.

The Official Inyo National Forest website is a good link - fire info, current info on Mt. Whitney permits left, etc.

www.jmthiker.com Good Story and Photos They followed Ray Jardine's ultralight approach and used Golite® gear - my only negative comment is that they didn't use a bear container.  In the Sierras, that should be a must - protects the bears and you - recommend Bearikade® if you can afford it or rent it - half the weight of the Garcia, and wider mouth.

The Pacific Crest Trail site's page on JMT - lots of links, also PCT info.

www.gossamergear.com  - Mariposa - My most recent pack - I had their G4 but wore it out in about 3 years and wanted something that was more comfortable with larger loads.  Also have Golite Breeze, but the Mariposa and G4 have a minimal waist belt. Glen - the founder of Gossamer Gear -is a scoutmaster - essentially makes these as a service. Materials are lightweight, so expect more wear and tear.  At end of my JMT trip in 2002, mine needed some minor stitching, but that was after 200+ miles of rugged use. Also - his site has a very good set of backpack related links. More on packs in our Gear page.

www.trailcrew.org - Want to give back something to the trail system? This organization does volunteer trail work in the Sequoia-Kings Canyon area. A number of their trips go out of Florence Lake. See site for more info. I have no personal experience with them, but looks good.

Want to go with a group - this Elderhostel site does trips in the JMT area www.sierrapacktrip.com/elderhostel.html

Our Gear List for PCT or JMT:

The gear list is a google spreadsheet. To get an xls file you can save, click on  http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pPFto0EzOaDvrKYt_NSZZEg  - on the bottom right of the resulting google spreadsheet is an edit button. Click that, and you will be able to view it in a form that can be saved off to your hard drive as an xls file.

Emma Gatewood first hiked the entire 2160 mile Appalachian Trail at the age of 67.  She last hiked it at the age of 76.

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