View Full Version : Nobo or Sobo? JMT help

03-22-2013, 00:36
I'll be attempting a NOBO thru hike of the PCT this year in april/may.....

My friend said he would like to join me for the JMT section, and I told him we might as well do the whole JMT since I believe it's only 50 more miles than doing only the PCT section of the JMT.

Once I get my maps I think I'll have a little better idea of what will need to be done but until then I think some ideas/advice/tips can help getting out logistics all setup.

Things would be a lot easier if I was willing to miss a section of trail, but, I'm trying to hike the PCT in it's entirety without having to backtrack much(due to adding JMT hike into the mix).

I'm guessing we will end up SOBOing the JMT since that seems the more popular route.....

Anybody know the closest road(that intersects with the PCT) south of Mt. Whitney where my friend can pick me up? (wish I had my maps) (my plan is to hike past this road, to the intersection where the PCT joins the JMT.... and then hike back to the road where my friend can pick me up... this depends on how much backtracking I will have to do of course.)

Anybody know the closest road or trail head to the part of trail where the JMT and PCT split in the northern section? (I believe the JMT splits to the left and goes north another 40 miles to it's northern terminus, PCT to the right.)

Approx cost of a shuttle from the southern terminus parking Area(whitney portal?) to the northern terminus? (I'm guessing my friend will want to park at the finishing terminus.)

03-22-2013, 18:06
Your dilemma is that on the northern end, the JMT and PCT split after they've joined, and then rejoin.

The 2 trails come together at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite NP in the meadows slightly north of Tioga Pass Rd./Rt. 120. At this point, the JMT has come 22.2 miles from Yosemite Valley. The trails then run together southbound for 20.9 miles to Thousand Island Lake and then split again. From this point, the JMT runs 14.9 miles (per Harrison map) or 13.2 miles (per Wenk guidebook) until they join again at the northern end of Devil's Postpile. BTW, that discrepancy is very annoying but I've triple-checked the map & guidebook). The PCT between these points is 13.7 miles per the map. From Devil's Postpile, the trails stay together until the JMT turns east near Mt. Whitney.

You and your friend could hike separately where the trails split (Thousand Island Lake to Devil's Postpile). You'd only be apart 1 day at most and you won't have to deviate from your goal of sticking to the PCT.

Logistics: a shuttle would be quite expensive so you may want to take advantage of bus and shuttle service on the East slope. From Whitney Portal, hitch to Lone Pine and take a bus to Lee Vining where you can take the YARTS shuttle to Yosemite. If your friend's permit is to start the JMT hike from Yosemite Valley, you're allowed to spend the night before at the backpacker's campsite in Yosemite Valley. For a good source of info on buses and other logistics, go to the Yahoo group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/)for JMT and click on "Cribsheet"

Your friend should be warned that acclimation could be an issue if you hike too far too fast from YV to Tuolumne.

03-22-2013, 18:23
Doing an official JMT thru-hike, meaning ALL the miles between the official JMT northern terminus, Happy Isles TH in Yosemite Valley, and the official JMT southern terminus, summit of Mt Whitney, WHILE officially thru-hiking the PCT, meaning ALL the PCT miles through the Sierras, IS NOT EASY. You are going to require re-hiking some miles of either one or both trails and/or require shuttles. OR, you could just thru the PCT and also mislead others by saying you also haved thrued the JMT which has been known to happen.

03-22-2013, 18:28
i would think long and hard before attempting this. why?
1) it will be difficult to predict when you will hit a certain point to meetup.
2) you will have to leave any fellow hikers you have been hiking with.
3) you will be in trail shape and your friend will be in whatever shape he arrives.

it may work for you but for many it is a hassle that isnt worth it. My reco would be wait a year and hike the JMT with him. It wll be a great reminder.

If i were to do this I would have my friend meet me at Cottonwood pass or you leave the trail at that point. Get back on the trail and summit Whitney, then head on the PCT. As far as the divergent section after Devils postpile, flip a coin. i have done both and each has its bright spots. Finish the JMT and take the hiker bus up to Toulemne Meadows where his car would be waiting and you go on your way. One advantage to this is that he can brng you your bear canister so you wont be heavy leaving KM. One complexity of this is that he would have to find a way from Toulemne Meadows down to Cottonwood Pass. There are buses (Eastern Sierra Transit) that can take him most of the way. There would likely be a hitch to get up to Cottonwood Pass. I have hitched the full way between TM and Whitney. It took a while but it wasnt too bad.

03-22-2013, 19:32
What can(WILL) further complicate matters is that you and your friend are on different agendas, meaning, almost for certain, you will be conditioned for one thing, a PCT NOBO thru-hike well into that agenda and your friend is coming from wherever wanting to do a SOBO JMT thru-hike only starting his agenda. It's possible but hard and probably entails money, extra time, and some EXCITING logistics.

Just look at it from the perspective of one hiker desiring to actually thru-hike the PCT and JMT at the same time. NAW! I know a lot of people dislike the term official so will fudge what it means to thru-hike a trail by justifying the lopping off of trail miles. Commonly, notice it! But really be truthful with yourself if you as a single hiker wish to thru both of these trails and still honor any credibility of what it means to do a thru-hike meaning, at least in my mind, that you do YOUR BEST to hike ALL the miles of a trail without intentionally avoiding miles. Difficult for one hiker to accomplish this. Having two different hikers doing this and wanting to flip drections and leap frog without rehiking trail miles. Call Gary Kasparov maybe he can help you with all that.

IMO, the fact that the trails are co-joined continuously from the southern terminus of one trail all the way to where they depart at one junction make it easier to thru or cover ALL the miles of both trails with the AT and Long Trail compared to the way the PCT and JMT, SOMETIMES OVERLAP and share no terminus. For example, I think it rather easy logistically, at least in my mind, while on an NOBO AT thru-hike to get off the AT at the AT/LT junction flip up to the northern terminus of the LT and hike SOBO back to the junction and continue NOBO on the AT. You can cover all the miles of the LT, and if you continue on to Mt Kathadin on the AT, you've covered ALL the miles of both trails. If I wasn't so late in getting to this junction on my AT thru this is what I would have done with the other three AT NOBO thrus who did this in 2006.

GOOD LUCK working out the complications with your friend on the PCT/JMT. Be careful of all the monkey wrenches on trails these days.

03-24-2013, 09:59
thanks for the info/advice.

After reading the replies, we will probably just follow the PCT nobo for a couple hundred miles to keep things easy (ier). Adding the JMT would of been cool, but, probably not worth the hassle during a thru.

03-24-2013, 10:56
Didn't ignore what you had already said Malto I just came back to my post to finish it up over a longer period during which you had already made your post. Some of what I later said was already accurately posted by you. This has happened before.

03-24-2013, 12:45
Cottonwood pass road.
There is a campground and big parking lot there.
Your friend could meet you there if you preset a time.
It is about 2 miles east of the PCT about 8-10 miles south of Whitney from what I remember.

He could join you there, you both hike all the way to Yosemite valley, you get the bus back to Tuollume and continue your PCT hike, and your friend would have to hitchike or pay for a shuttle back up to Cottonwood pass campground. (I've done that hitch, it's not so easy but do-able)

The biggest problem is that you'll be acclimated and in shape and your buddy won't.
So, tell him to get ready for some extreme hiking in high altitude.
If he's ready, it could work.

Also, if you resupply out of his car there, you can possibly make it all the way to Red's without going out. (or Vermillion)
But, don't leave any food in the car, there are bears in the area and known to break into cars left up there.

Have fun.

03-24-2013, 12:50
Sorry, it's called "Horseshoe Meadow Road" out of Lone Pine. (above) not Cottonwood pass road.
I just looked it up on Google maps.
If it's a big snow year, it might not be open when the NOBO PCT'ers come through though.
Better to wait until July at least.

03-24-2013, 13:06
Yeah, your plan B is a better idea logistically.
This meeting up in the wilderness could be tough although it is possible.
We did it one year and met up with friends there.
But not in June. (the road won't be open yet most likely)

Have him meet you in Tuollume and hike north out of there would be easier.

03-24-2013, 17:08
...The biggest problem is that you'll be acclimated and in shape and your buddy won't.
So, tell him to get ready for some extreme hiking in high altitude.
If he's ready, it could work. ...

I second this. Your friend really needs time to acclimate, even going up to 8-10K', let alone 14K' at Mt. Whitney.

03-24-2013, 17:27
forgot to address this possible issue....
the altitude issue will be what it is, if he's prone to sickness/fatigue/etc we will figure something out. Depending on logistics/timing, we might camp for a day or two to get acclimated.

as far as physical condition- he will be in decent shape by the time we meet up. No, he probably won't have his trail legs but they should be strong enough. I'm actually planning on slowing down to his pace. 1) so, I can enjoy a slower hike thru a very beautiful area 2) the slower pace will let me recharge for the week+ that we are together.

will update this thread once I get a rough idea of what we are going to do..... I will most likely have a couple more questions after I take a look at my maps and data/resupply strategies.

thanks again

I second this. Your friend really needs time to acclimate, even going up to 8-10K', let alone 14K' at Mt. Whitney.

03-24-2013, 18:02
Here's the way threads like this can go after oodles of detailed suggestions.

Friend decided he couldn't go hiking after all.

03-24-2013, 22:31
Here's the way threads like this can go after oodles of detailed suggestions.

Friend decided he couldn't go hiking after all.

not sure if you are assuming things have been cancelled on my friends part? or misread my post? (or you might be "just sayin' "?)
As of right now, plans have changed from hiking the JMT SOBO-to-hiking the PCT NOBO in the JMT section but he is still going to join me for a couple hundred miles. (thanks to the suggestions).

I'm all ears if people want us to go for it(SOBO JMT Thru while on a PCT thru hike)... and can help with very detailed info.

his plans can change, of course, between now and June-ish, but, I'm sure he will still want to go.(I wouldn't blame him for not coming if there record heat, record mosquitoes/etc.)
I'll keep this post updated.

03-24-2013, 23:29
Here's an idea: Have him meet you in Mammoth. (you could hike out to there to meet him)
Someone said there's a cheap motel in Mammoth ($60) which surprises me as it is an expensive ski town.

Then hike continue your hike to Tuollume where he can decide if he wants to continue, or get an easy hitch (Ok, nothings easy in regards to hitchiking anymore), back to Mammoth or to Reno and fly home or whatever.
Or he can continue with you, resupplying at Tuollume and go to Carson pass (not such an easy hitch) and see some very beautiful hiking which would include a piece of the JMT.
Or, he could get a ride down into Reds if the road is yet open (should be when the NOBO'ers come through but of course depends on snow levels)

You would need a permit for a few days of this option but, going in at Mammoth should be an easy place to get one.
(don't know the name of the trailhead as I've never used it but met a friend who hiked in from there once and he met me on the trail)