View Full Version : Tent on the JMT

05-24-2010, 18:59
Starting the JMT on June 26 and not sure if I should bring a tent. Plan B would be to use 2 go lite ponchos and trek poles???? Would suck if rains but will provide emergencey shelter if needed. Your thoughts are appreciated. Hammer

05-24-2010, 19:27
tent, it will be cold at night, mosquitoes, rain

Pacific Tortuga
05-24-2010, 19:33
double wall, so on those clear nights you can see and dream forever.

05-24-2010, 20:00
Used a bivy for the entire JMT. No problem!

05-24-2010, 20:44
I used a tarp and some bug netting. Went through the Sierra in mid-June FWIW. Cowboy camped most nights.

05-24-2010, 21:24
Cowboy camped most nights.
Same here. Cowboy camped 19 out of 20 nights on the trail.

05-25-2010, 01:03
The Sierras, for their elevation, have some of the least severe weather in all of the U.S. and maybe the world. That however, does not mean it can't rain, snow, or sleet any month of the year on the JMT. It maybe isn't likely though.

After spending 120 + nights in the Sierras, all between late May and late Oct, I have felt the need to sleep in a tent or under a tarp about 5 times. I have found a ledge to sleep under or cowboyed the rest of those nights.

One consideration that you may have is, that unless you are doing a really fast hike, you will be in the Sierras on the JMT in mid July. You may encounter some skeeters and gnats! That may play into your shelter choices!

05-25-2010, 02:03
While I normally sleep out in the open in the Sierras with a 7oz bivy sack, I would never go on a trip there without carrying a shelter. I've seen snow in July and thunderstorms are common in summer months. While the weather should be nice for the most part, rain isn't that rare in the summer. Especially on a trip where you can be days from the nearest road. As long as you have some way of dealing with the bugs, a tarp is more then enough shelter and all that I normally carry.

05-27-2010, 13:32
looking at a near record snow year - still have continuous snow everywhere above 10,000 feet, and more snow falling as we speak!

June 26 will mean you are traveling in some cold country, especially if you need to make camp above 9000 feet anywhere. It was cold last year at that time and it will most likely be a lot colder this year.

currently temps are about 20 degrees below normal in Mammoth.

I'd bring a tent and an extra warm bag this time, make sure you got snow cups on the trekking poles if you bring those. Waterproof shoes, gaiters, etc - all that may come in real handly this year in early season

05-31-2010, 09:39
The only major rain on the JMT in August last year fell one night. My solo shelter was a SMD Wild Oasis. I slept in a bivy for warmth almost every night.

06-01-2010, 11:26
The only major rain on the JMT in August last year fell one night. My solo shelter was a SMD Wild Oasis. I slept in a bivy for warmth almost every night.

August and June are two different seasons, especially after a May that added snow, instead of melting it.

Last September I saw no clouds and had trouble finding water in places you have difficulty crossing streams in early July. Things change dramatically between late June and August. If you want safe weather in the JMT, August or later is the preferred time. If you want to see snow and wildflowers, you need to go earlier, but you will have to plan for weather issues. This year it is going to be more of an issue than in those drought summers that have almost become the norm in CA.

This year, expect serious amounts of snow until late July, and regarding tent/shelter, I would say if you camp anywhere above 9000 feet, you will have to expect colder temps than normal. Rain at night is rarely an issue. In 15 JMT hikes, I have had that only 3 or 4 nights total. Rain in the afternoon, though, is a very common issue in July when the "summer monsoon" arrives. The timing of that flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico depends on a lot of factors.

Last year, with the cold June, it arrived about July 17 and kept going for quite a while. In 2008, it was there on July 12, but weakened very quickly after a very heavy start (one in 20 year type storm event). Only one night in 2010 had some light rain and 6am thunder (never had that before, so even if you think you've seen it all, there's always that exception to the rule).

We bring a 3 season tent for many reasons - in early season, the bugs are probably the most important reason to have a shelter. And we're out there for over a month so having a "cozy" home at night goes along with good food to keep spirits high for that long. Awesome as the Sierras are, bad weather or other environmental issues will wear on your motivation after a while. I've aborted a few hikes due to poor gear choices, so I know how that works out.

In 1992 I froze my butt off and had winds bend my tent poles into my face in 60+mph winds at night when late June turned into November for a week. I lasted from Yosemite to Reds, where I took the escape route out, even though I had a pretty heavy Gore-Tex shell, I didn't have windproof or rainproof pants and with snow falling at 8000 feet, it wasn't pretty and since it was my 5th JMT, I saw no reason to continue. 2 days later the Sierra weather was perfect as I was hitch-hiking back to my truck at Whitney Portal in 100 degree Owens Valley heat. Doh.

06-04-2010, 08:39
Note the max/min temps (60-30 degrees F) June 3 for Tuolumne Meadows at this stie: