1. geekgirl
    geekgirl October 28, 2014 at 4:13 am

    As always, a very thoughtful and informative review. I find it interesting that they included so much information that would at the same time, preclude them from going into great detail. I would think most people doing the JMT would at least do some preliminary research, (just to get the permit) and would then of course get a talk from the ranger, (and it’s quite a detailed talk) so I am wondering who the target market is. The inability to download waypoints, and particularly the lack of a decent way to write on it, probably makes this less of an option for me. I wouldn’t have known that without your excellent review! Thank you!

  2. Betty
    Betty October 28, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Nice review, Ray.

    Here’s a discussion of pens that write well on waterproof paper:

    I’d be interested in seeing how readily one could remove pages not needed or no longer needed on trail – I liked being able to leave behind Tom Harrison map pages for the part of the trail I had already hiked with my “resupply partner” and pick up the pages for the upcoming parts of the trail.

    1. jbinsb
      jbinsb February 11, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      I found on my Tom Harrison pages that a sharp soft-lead art pencil works well. It can be erased easily but doesn’t “self-erase.” I hate to mark a map in ink because I seem always to be redoing things.

  3. Roleigh Martin
    Roleigh Martin October 28, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Ray, nice review. I have the same map book and have been meaning to write a review too. You beat me to it, congrats. Anyway, I hope you compare the 3 guide books you mention with another super great one, the John Muir Trail Data Book by Elizabeth Wenk.

    Each book has pluses and minuses. One thing I look for in the books is how well they help people bail out of the trail if worse comes to worse. So I look to see if they cover some of the famous side trails. Only E. Wenk’s book shows the complete Goodale Pass Trail to Vermillion Resort route. Only E. Wenk’s book shows the complete Le Conte Canyon/Bishop Pass/JMT junction to South Lake Trailhead route.

    The Nat’l Geo map shows the complete Taboose Pass bailout route though.

    Both Wenk’s and Nat’l Geo guides show the complete Kearsarge Pass to Onionvalley TH though. Both of these books show the exit route over Duck Pass and both guides show the maze of trails including the High and Low River route out to Agnews Meadow at Thousand Islands, including the Devil’s Postpile area.

    The Natl’ Geo has lots of nice written notes on each page of the map that are very helpful.

    The Natl’ Geo guide does mislead one into thinking they need to get a separate California Fire Permit (not true at least if you get a Yosemite Wilderness Permit, as it substitutes for it).

    As I lead group hikes, I like having all the guides available, but only one per person. So in a group of four people, I’d recommend all four guides/map packages being in the mix. That way if bailouts have to happen, people know their choices.

    PS, I agree with you, the 21a hiking day is silly. They should have called for a 22 day itinerary. And camping at Mt. Whitney is not recommended in case of storms and limited camping spots. They should have day 21a start at Guitar Lake (or Twin Tarns above it) and end at Trail Camp or Outpost Camp.

    Roleigh Martin
    Lead Moderator, JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group

    1. Keith Fultz
      Keith Fultz October 30, 2014 at 4:47 am

      I don’t know about hiking from Crabtree Meadows and all the way out, but this summer at the age of 64 I hiked the last 110 miles or so, from Muir Trail Ranch in 8 days and my last day was from Crabtree Ranger station to Whitney Portal. And I did about 18 miles the next to last day. I think it is quite doable. I started early and was at Whitney Portal before dark. I think it was September 4. I couldn’t have done this the first week, but you get trail hardened.

    2. Ernest Mannella
      Ernest Mannella November 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Rol,

      Just joined this group and need help in finding out why I lost the trail at Lake Virginia?
      We were doing fine up to that point. Was using the Tom Harrison Map-Pack.
      At lake Virginia the map shows the trail to go to the top of the lake in between two smaller lakes.
      continuing on the south-east side of the lake towards Tully Hole.

      When I tried to follow the trail as indicated I could not find a trail that continued on the other side of the lake
      We spent a few hours trying to find it. There were other trails which led in other directions and one which was well maintained led directly to the lake, but it ended there. That’s when I got lost and when north rather than south. I tried using google earth and found a trail which seem to resemble the route on the map. But its void of trees near the northern tip of the lake shore, which I found when I was there.

      Can you shed some light on what I did wrong? Is there a better map with more detail so that when I do it in 2015 will stay on trail? Thank you for any help you can give me and a better map to buy.

      Thank you again, onegreywolf

      1. Roleigh Martin
        Roleigh Martin June 24, 2016 at 6:01 am

        Earnst, I did not see your question to me until today. Sorry. Postholer has 2 scaled-versions of the JMT map, one of them has the most zoomed-in info of the trail. You can download it as a file that comes up on your smartphone, or at least print out the Virginia Lake page. Also on a smartphone, you can have the Kindle version of E. Wenk’s JMT Guide book and you can read the pages on Virginia lake there. For more info, see http://www.trailtosummit.com/comprehensive-review-5-jmt-guidebooks/

  4. Bob
    Bob October 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Ray,

    I’m hazarding a guess here, since I haven’t seen the Nat Geo map book, but it sounds like the “21 day itinerary” is for the JMT itself, which ends at the top of Mt. Whitney. So day 21a would be to get you out, although technically you’ve already ‘completed’ the JMT. Not exactly intuitive, and as you and other bloggers have pointed out, it makes no sense to describe a hike day that ends at the summit since it’s a poor place to camp for the night. Another indication that the folks who put this together really weren’t familiar with the JMT. Oh well, sounds like they at least succeeded in compiling some good information (even if by luck!). Thanks, as always, for your excellent blog. Now if only I could find the time to put all your good advice into action and actually make the hike myself….

  5. Eric Janota
    Eric Janota October 29, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    The waypoint list is available on the Natgeomaps.com site under the product page natgeomaps.com/ti_1001. I have posted a link here.


  6. Roleigh Martin
    Roleigh Martin January 29, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I finally finished my 34 page analysis of all five portable JMT Map Guides, and it includes the new 2014 2nd edition of Erik the Black. It is a comprehensiveanalysis of the 5 JMT map guides, all of whom have a 2014 publication (latest edition) date. I worked with the cartographers of each publication. You won’t find a more comprehensive review of JMT map guides elsewhere! Provides an Excel Spreadsheet so you can modify the scoring algorithm to create your own scoring!

    I worked closely with all 5 cartographers and got special comments from them included in the review.


  7. Jill Delevaux
    Jill Delevaux June 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Hi Ray,
    We noticed the latitude and longitude information on the NG map does not match GPS or Google Maps. Have you heard of this and if so, do you know why the discrepancy?

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