I stumbled across this site tonight as I start serious preparation for a JMT trip this year with my 11yo daughter and my sister. I've done some Sierras hiking before (maybe 15-20 nights total, mostly around New Army pass, Whitney summit from behind, Cottonwood lakes region, and a bit up by Mammoth), mostly in late August. My daughter went over New Army pass last year as her intro to the Sierras and is several inches and a pounds heavier now! She only had 3 nights total, but the last day was 14 miles out through Cottonwood pass and she finished strong and happy. My sister has done lots of hiking in Australia, but none in the Sierras yet.
We have permits for early August for an 18 day trip, departing from Yosemite Valley. I figure we'll take it easy at first (~8 mile days) and gradually ramp up to 12-15 MPD. We'll resupply at every reasonable opportunity and try and keep pack weight really light (< 20lbs + food).
It looks like there is heaps of experience here, so thanks in advance for any advice you might have!
I had a bunch of random questions that I haven't seen answered in a couple of hours browsing - apologies if I missed some of the more common answers!
0) any alarm bells ringing already? My wife isn't excited about this trip, and maybe my enthusiasm for it is blinding me to actual problems.
1) any overall advice for hiking the JMT with a near-teen? She's motivated, but niave about what she'll face I'm sure (as am I perhaps!). Last year I worked hard to keep her pack light (~15% body weight / 11 lbs) and frequently fed (2-3 hrs) and rested (every hour) and that seemed to work out pretty well. This year, that will be more of a challenge due to the food requirements of course, aiming for a 15 lb base packweight for her this year to start with.
2) how much leeway is there in our exit date? If we hit Whitney a couple of days late, will we be stopped from summiting?
3) Is asking about walking poles likely to trigger a religious debate? I've always found them to be cumbersome, but others swear by them.
4) Any general guidelines for fitness preparation? I'm 47 and fairly active (bike ~100 miles/week). My daughter is less so. I've been concentrating on getting out for weekend hikes with her in all weather, wearing the gear we plan to take, with the primary goal of identifying badly fitting/peforming items, as well as getting used to them. We've done a couple of 10 mile days with 2k altitude gain, but nothing with full packs yet. We have a shakedown hike in Australia for 5-6 nights in July (winter there) which will almost certainly be wet and cold and I plan on taking all the sierras gear (including bear canisters!) to make it as real as possible -- it will be our first hike with the 3 of us.
5) What questions should I be asking!
I was going to ask about snow in August, but reading about the weather this year, it sounds like its too early to (usefully!) speculate.
Again, many thanks in advance!