5 Comments

  1. Steve Netherby
    Steve Netherby November 14, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Great ideas, as always, Ray. Love your inclusion of Bear Creek. When I hiked the JMT in 2012, Edison Lake was empty, so no ferry to my resupply point at Vermilion Valley Resort. Skipped Silver Pass and turned west over Goodale Pass toward Vermilion (that year, at least, a poorly maintained and marked trail I’d only recommend to experienced mountain hikers). When I left Vermilion, an employee drove me to the Bear Creek trailhead for my walk back to the JMT. That hike alongside Bear Creek was sublime. Bear Creek is a gorgeous, trout-filled creek along which I had to stop repeatedly for photographs of waterfalls and shimmering pools. Nice campsites with water and mountain views. Yes, bear and mountain-lion tracks. It’s high on my list of places along the JMT that I want to return to with family or friends.

  2. Peter Hirst
    Peter Hirst November 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    As some of you know, I have been working on my version of this approach for a couple of years. I call it a John Muir Route after the only sign on the trail with that wording, the one at Rafferty Creek junction in Lyle Canyon. The idea is to find any route between Yosemite and the Whitney region, within the High Sierra, using as little of the JMT as possible. There are dozens of sections, and probably hundreds of different combinations, to accomplish this. I did Part I of my first JMR this year, from Glacier Point to Pine Creek: Isberg/Hemlock to Red’s then the Rainbow/Fish Creek Goodale alternative to VVR, Bear Creek to Hilgard, Italy Pass, Pine Creek, parallels the entire northern half of of the JMT. 135 trail miles, crosses the JMT 3 times, exactly two miles hiked on the JMT. Next year I will do Part II, exactly where I left off at Pine Creek to Piute Creek jct, then south over a series of JMT sections and bypasses that coincide with a little more of the trail than the northern half, 30 something miles, but still parallel and bypass most of it, including 3 of the 5 major passes, (or 4 of the 6, if you count Trail Crest) crossing the Crest 6 times including the resup. ANd ++ to the comments Bear Creek. If I had done the original routing of the JMT, It would have skipped the Bear Ridge switchers, crossed Vermillion Valley and taken the present Bear Creek cutoff. And I’ll take Italy Pass and Pine Creek Pass over Selden and MTR any day.

  3. Peter Hirst
    Peter Hirst November 15, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Yes, but why would I spoil the fun that way? Part of the beauty of this approach is that all the electronic gimcrackerie is largely unnecessary, especially on the northern half. Every inch of the route I took this summer is mapped. Anyone can put it together from the verbal description. Some of it is in disrepair , and a little hard to find on the ground, as you know from having done the Isberg/Hemlock alternative, but the route itself is all there in CalTopo and many other systems, including USGS quads. South of Pine Creek, I would say 90 percent of it is mapped trail, and what isn’t is a couple of short stretches that are easily connected and has at least tracks available on Caltopo. But the greater point is that this approach – not providing the step by step – puts a lot of the fun back in the planning and the hike itself. When I write this up, there will be a data base and app, but it will be more like a video game than a mile by mile guide. More like an Erector set, or SImCity. A large part of the joy in this for me is putting together the route and savoring the research and self-education involved. I am working on putting together a set of tools for this, and others may become developers packaged routes for still others. I am happy to suggest certain intriguing sections – and there are some particularly challenging ones – that can be included in a John Muir Route, but there are far too many possible variations and combinations to make any given one of them worth depriving you of the joy of putting one together. How many JMT hikers know for example, that there are at least six trailed passes over the park boundary between the Merced and Tuolumne drainages on the north/ and the Owens and San Joaquin drainages to the south and west, all of which lead to miles and miles of well-marked paths south other than the JMT?

    Now, south of Piute Creek, the story changes a bit. Its a little harder to avoid the JMT in the south , especially at Muir and Pinchot Passes. Even the Sierra High Route uses about 30 miles of JMT, and except for that, my JMR will not take any of the SHR. I don’t have it completely set yet; there are a lot of options I am still looking at, particularly for the bypass of Forester.

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