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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commonloon
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by commonloon » Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:33 pm

I have a hiking buddy who likes to say "I like to hike the JMT... at a 90 degree angle." I prefer it in late Sept or Oct, but it's still beautiful during PCT "Migration" or the JMTers time of year. It is one place in the Sierra where I ALWAYS treat my water though. Not only do we have the bad diggers, but let's not think about all the lake bathers; given the study I've read said that the water is still statistically safe to drink. The JMT also makes a great baseline for navigation when for example returning from more scenic areas... When will the snow melt this year? ;-)








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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:38 pm

If you think the Alps offer the same kind of "wilderness" experience, then you need to get educated on the American viewpoints of wilderness. Sorry, sipping wine in a hut every evening is NOT an wilderness experience no matter how much gnarly terrain you traveled during the day.

I am not saying one is "better" than the other, just different; no need to make them the same. We have something unique; lets keep it that way. The problems associated with the JMT are simply a balancing act between preserving wilderness and allowing access. Lack of desire and willingness to sacrifice creature comforts are really the main things holding you from going into the wilderness in the USA. You can basically outfit yourself from Goodwill to get started; I did.

The hut system in Europe has its own issues- probably costs more to stay in huts than you would buy on gear. The Alps have historically been the playground of the wealthy and although more "democratic" nowadays, not exactly universally accessible. There are also hut systems in the Canadian Rockies and interior ranges, more minimal than the European version. To some degree the notoriously horrible weather in the Canadian Rockies make huts more justifiable than in the Sierra. And there are those nasty grizzlies :eek: to remind you that you are in a wilderness.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by franklin411 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:00 pm

rlown wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:26 pm
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.
A hut is accessible for first timers as well as experienced hikers. You don't have to have a ton of gear, and you don't have to know how it works. You literally just take your clothes, a little trail food, an emergency kit, and a sleep sack. Which is more approachable for a newbie:

1. Let's go hike 6-12 miles from the nearest services, set up a tent, make dinner over a small gas flame, spend the night, and then poop in a hole the next morning before packing it all up, rinse, repeat?

2. Let's go hike 6-12 miles *to* a mountain hostel a stone's throw away from some insanely awesome scenery. The sleeping arrangements are basic but there will be more than nylon between you and what's outside, the food will be freakin' awesome, and you can use this newfangled invention called a "turlet."

And it's not the mountains that have set up an unapproachable system for non-hikers, particularly those of color. We humans have done that.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by franklin411 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:03 pm

bobby49 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:30 pm
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 totally agree, but let's remember that this is a product of experience. The only way to figure out what exactly you really *need,* and what *quality* really is, is by experience. For the first timer, this can be quite daunting and seemingly expensive. High quality gear pays for itself many times over *if you use it more than once,* but a first timer might try backpacking and hate it. Then it's all wasted money.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by franklin411 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:09 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:38 pm
If you think the Alps offer the same kind of "wilderness" experience, then you need to get educated on the American viewpoints of wilderness. Sorry, sipping wine in a hut every evening is NOT an wilderness experience no matter how much gnarly terrain you traveled during the day.

I am not saying one is "better" than the other, just different; no need to make them the same. We have something unique; lets keep it that way. The problems associated with the JMT are simply a balancing act between preserving wilderness and allowing access. Lack of desire and willingness to sacrifice creature comforts are really the main things holding you from going into the wilderness in the USA. You can basically outfit yourself from Goodwill to get started; I did.

The hut system in Europe has its own issues- probably costs more to stay in huts than you would buy on gear. The Alps have historically been the playground of the wealthy and although more "democratic" nowadays, not exactly universally accessible. There are also hut systems in the Canadian Rockies and interior ranges, more minimal than the European version. To some degree the notoriously horrible weather in the Canadian Rockies make huts more justifiable than in the Sierra. And there are those nasty grizzlies :eek: to remind you that you are in a wilderness.
I have to get to class (I can't be late...I'm the professor!) :nod: , so I apologize for the brief reply. Two very brief points:

1. One may not be better than the other (Hut vs total wilderness), but right now we only have one vision that dominates everything--Muir's wilderness vision. Anything else gets ripped out or locked up. Witness the bear boxes at Kearsarge Lakes. I don't think we need huts everywhere, but huts along a very highly traveled trail like the JMT would be both more comfortable AND better for the environment. We'd keep the human presence contained rather than spreading it out all along the trail.

2. Comfort is nothing to be sneered at. If we don't do something to attract tomorrow's generation of hikers, then there won't be a constituency for protecting these resources. Some smart politician will say "hey look, nobody actually goes out there and hikes anymore...so we can get away with drilling, mining, and logging it to hell." By making the wilderness a little more human-friendly, we preserve it by building a constituency.

We don't need to go full Disneyland, but Muirian misanthropy hasn't served us well.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by gregodorizzi » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:02 pm

I felt like writing a post about dogs.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:45 pm

The fact that the JMT and PCT are so crowded is exactly because young people are participating in the wilderness experience! I do not think you need to change the experience to bring in more people. You teach the young to appreciate the wilderness rather than bring civilization to the wilderness. The wilderness is not for everyone, nor should it be.

So Franklin441, am I interpreting you correctly? The JMT "sucks" because it is too hard and risky and it would not "suck" if a series of huts were put on it. And throw out everything John Muir stood for and everything generations of people fought for. You have the right to your opinion, but I suspect it also is an "unpopular opinion."

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by rlown » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:57 pm

franklin411 wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:00 pm
rlown wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:26 pm
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.
A hut is accessible for first timers as well as experienced hikers. You don't have to have a ton of gear, and you don't have to know how it works. You literally just take your clothes, a little trail food, an emergency kit, and a sleep sack. Which is more approachable for a newbie:

1. Let's go hike 6-12 miles from the nearest services, set up a tent, make dinner over a small gas flame, spend the night, and then poop in a hole the next morning before packing it all up, rinse, repeat?

2. Let's go hike 6-12 miles *to* a mountain hostel a stone's throw away from some insanely awesome scenery. The sleeping arrangements are basic but there will be more than nylon between you and what's outside, the food will be freakin' awesome, and you can use this newfangled invention called a "turlet."

And it's not the mountains that have set up an unapproachable system for non-hikers, particularly those of color. We humans have done that.
What do you have against nylon? I'd go with #1 anytime. #2 requires someone to build it, then care for it, and set up a reservation system for it. $$$$

I've seen people from other countries, races (japanese) walk up rafferty creek on a day hike in high heeled shoes as I was hiking out. They weren't going to the HSC.

Heck, you can go up the Eastside on 120 on skiis right now and hit TM at the hut (12 miles) and have a grand ole' time. I did that once but only halfway and stayed in a tent and had a grand ole' time.

You seem to have a basic problem with backpacking. ?

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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by maiathebee » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:09 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:45 pm
The fact that the JMT and PCT are so crowded is exactly because young people are participating in the wilderness experience! I do not think you need to change the experience to bring in more people. You teach the young to appreciate the wilderness rather than bring civilization to the wilderness. The wilderness is not for everyone, nor should it be.
Preach!

My main issue with the the JMT is crowds of inexperienced / careless hikers doing damage to the wilderness, mostly due to ignorance. The vast majority of people don't want to do things that damage wilderness, they just don't know how to do things properly. I think it's everyone's responsibility to educate and mentor people who are newer to backpacking. It's best done on a trip, casually, rather than some kind of class or lecture or reading online. I try to do a couple trips per year with inexperienced people with the hope that then they'll develop good habits and next time they go out, even if it's without me, they'll be able to teach others.
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Re: Unpopular Opinion: The JMT sucks

Post by LMBSGV » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:36 pm

The Wilderness Act is not simply “ Muirian misanthropy.” There is a complicated history with many, many individuals who formulated the concept of wilderness as articulated in the Wilderness Act. Crediting/condeming Muir is factually and philosophically wrong.

Europe destroyed nearly all its wilderness by the later Middle Ages so comparing facilities in North America to Europe is not valid since those areas with huts in no way resemble wilderness except, in some cases, being spectacularly beautiful.

The main complaint that inspired this thread is that there are too many people on the JMT, so arguing in favor of more facilities is not supported by the facts or the experiences of people here.

I could further write a rather detailed lengthy response, but rather than waste people's time and bandwidth, I’ll simply quote Thoreau: “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

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