Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

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Does the JMT suck?

Yes
6
21%
Yes!
5
17%
Cake.
18
62%
 
Total votes: 29

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levi
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by levi » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:06 pm

tickled to see my photo :P though to be fair, it was taken on a modified Circle of Solitude, which is sometimes derided on these boards due to being on trail. (in retrospect this derision is a bit uncalled for). half of the CoS overlaps with either Rae Lakes Loop or the JMT, and there were lots of fellow travelers on those segments. the trip crystallized the pros/cons across these two "types" of routes for me in the course of a week:

JMT/Rae Lakes Loop: hiking is straightforward and fast, no bushwhacking, no getting lost, easy access to help, good opportunity to meet up with friends who prefer a more guaranteed route; on the flip side, abandoned TP and trash, rangers who hold justifiable suspicion of most backpackers, music on trail, pack trains bringing luxury goods, permit and parking woes

Off-trail or little-used trails: solitude, less regular trail trash but not none, always having a pick of the best sites, get smiles from rangers when they issue your unconventional permit or run into you on trail; but, deeper uncertainty about stream crossings and snow, occasionally losing the trail, no easy access to help, off-trail is both a physical and emotional challenge (eh this is also a pro)

i have no immediate plans to hike the JMT, but i have a feeling i will eventually hike most of it, in the course of other adventures, or maybe tackle it south-to-north in a dry shoulder window for the hell of it, maybe to even link a bunch of non-technical peak bags. it serves its purposes. let the flames draw in most of the moths so the rest of the moths have the night to themselves :)








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freestone
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by freestone » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:21 pm

Wasn't sure what the meaning of "cake" is here, so didn't check that box. I'm guessing "I love the JMT despite the heaps of poop?" I can understand poop no matter what creature, it's the TP that raises my hackles.
Fram...

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by franklin411 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:28 pm

Frankly, the most popular thru hike trails ought to be structured on the European model: with Alpine huts providing lodging, food, and other services at reasonable intervals along the route. Screw John Muir and his vision of a wilderness without human beings.

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sekihiker
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by sekihiker » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:49 pm

Is it still a worthwhile hike? I did the JMT in 1987 because it was a thing to do if you loved hiking in the southern Sierra Nevada. I didn't realize before I started how the trip would affect future hiking decisions. It turned out to be an incredible sampler trip for me. I found areas where I wanted to return and other places that were beautiful but didn't really speak to me. As a consequence, I have returned to the area north of Mono Creek only once since the late 80's.
In my old age [74 this May], I have found a botany project that dictates where I spend my time. It turns out the project isn't even in the most beautiful parts of the mountains but I still love going there. Preferences change with age.
The times I've intersected the JMT, it gives me the shivers to see so many people. Regardless of which trail you travel, there are ways to find solitude, something many of us cherish. But if you are on the JMT, are you searching for solitude? For the majority, I doubt it.
Is it still a worthwhile hike? The scenery is spectacular, the trail condition can't be beat, camaraderie can be excellent, you summit the highest mountain in California, and its a good workout. What more could you ask for?

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:58 pm

I too have no idea of what you mean on your "voting". Humor us seniors and please explain in plain English.

There are plenty of places worldwide for those who want the "hut" experience. Do no degrade wilderness; you likely do not realize how unique and special our wilderness areas actually are. There is a long history, going back to the Middle Ages, even including different religious philosophies, and a long evolution of thought that the concept of "Wilderness" became accepted as something to be protected, not banished.

The only place I have seen a real poop problem was at the camping area near Muir Ranch resupply. Here, they definitely need a composting outhouse like the one in Little Yosemite Valley. Some better managing of the surge of PCT hikers with respect to JMT hikers may be needed. I think these are solvable problems.

Similarly, many people feel Yosemite Valley "sucks". Great, stay out and reduce the crowds.

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sekihiker
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by sekihiker » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:08 pm

franklin411 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:28 pm
Screw John Muir and his vision of a wilderness without human beings.
I hope you meant, "Screw John Muir and his vision of a wilderness minimally damaged by human beings."

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franklin411
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by franklin411 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:54 pm

sekihiker wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:08 pm
franklin411 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:28 pm
Screw John Muir and his vision of a wilderness without human beings.
I hope you meant, "Screw John Muir and his vision of a wilderness minimally damaged by human beings."
There's certainly a happy medium where the grand beauty of the wilderness can be protected while also providing ample access *and* safety for human beings. Europe has found that medium. We Americans have erred too far on the side of preservation, even at the cost of human life.

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franklin411
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by franklin411 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:07 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:58 pm
Do no degrade wilderness; you likely do not realize how unique and special our wilderness areas actually are.
Every year, I do one major summer trip to the Alps (France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria so far), and a few trips to the Sierra. The Alps are not "degraded" at all, and they're still plenty wild. The only differences are:

Hiking in the Sierra is more expensive because you have to buy tons of gear. Even if you use inexpensive, on-sale gear, it still adds up fast.

Hiking in the Sierra is more difficult because trailheads are usually tens of miles from interesting places, and you literally can't get there without a car, period.

Hiking in the Sierra is more dangerous because even in the best case scenario, the nearest help/refuge is an hour or two away by helicopter.

And I'll just drop this here...there's a reason hiking is so...white. It's about access and safety.
https://newrepublic.com/article/114621/ ... rities-why

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rlown
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by rlown » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:26 pm

franklin411 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:07 pm
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:58 pm
Do no degrade wilderness; you likely do not realize how unique and special our wilderness areas actually are.
Every year, I do one major summer trip to the Alps (France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria so far), and a few trips to the Sierra. The Alps are not "degraded" at all, and they're still plenty wild. The only differences are:

Hiking in the Sierra is more expensive because you have to buy tons of gear. Even if you use inexpensive, on-sale gear, it still adds up fast.

Hiking in the Sierra is more difficult because trailheads are usually tens of miles from interesting places, and you literally can't get there without a car, period.

Hiking in the Sierra is more dangerous because even in the best case scenario, the nearest help/refuge is an hour or two away by helicopter.

And I'll just drop this here...there's a reason hiking is so...white. It's about access and safety.
https://newrepublic.com/article/114621/ ... rities-why
I know people of color that I've invited on my trips, and they refused. I offered up gear. Still refused.
We all know the risks and mitigate them to the best of our abilities, and yes, you do need transportation to get into the Sierra.

So, what is your point?? The Sierra doesn't discriminate.. A hut doesn't make you safe.

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bobby49
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by bobby49 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:30 pm

franklin411 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:07 pm
The only differences are:

Hiking in the Sierra is more expensive because you have to buy tons of gear. Even if you use inexpensive, on-sale gear, it still adds up fast.

Hiking in the Sierra is more difficult because trailheads are usually tens of miles from interesting places, and you literally can't get there without a car, period.
If you are buying tons of gear, then you are going at this all wrong. To me, "tons" and "gear" should never be used in the same sentence.

I concentrate on getting a few pieces of high quality stuff that has the minimum weight possible, and then I just use the hell out of it for years. Besides minimizing my load weight, I minimize gear volume, and that way it all fits into a minimum size pack, and that way it is quicker to set up and break down camp, which saves me time, and that way I get to enjoy the travel more and take more photos.

Yes, many trailheads are a long ways from anywhere. Yet, last year I did a four-day trip where I was along the JMT quite a bit, but I had an entry and exit away from the JMT, and getting to the actual trailhead was accomplished by walking, public bus, hitchhiking, and more walking. So, it was partly a well-worn trail trip and partly a trail to be navigated. Very pleasant.

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