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John Muir Trail - North Lake to Onion Valley, CA
mini location map2014-07-18
63 by photographer avatarBiFrost
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John Muir Trail - North Lake to Onion Valley, CA 
John Muir Trail - North Lake to Onion Valley, CA
Backpack avatar Jul 18 2014
Backpack100.69 Miles 19,807 AEG
Backpack100.69 Miles6 Days         
19,807 ft AEG
1st trip
Total 100.69 miles 19,807 AEG

A few things we learned on this trip:
1. John looks like Tom Cruise according to San Bernardino's finest.
2. San Bernardino has some rough neighborhoods.
3. It can snow at 11,000 feet in July on the JMT.
4. Ran into only one ranger in 100 miles of JMT.
5. Mosquitoes were most aggressive between 9,500 and 10,500 elevation
6. John has excellent camp finding skills.
7. Water is never an issue on the JMT. Seemed like decent water sources were no more than 2 or 3 miles apart.
8. There are some really generous people on the JMT. Thanks Dale!

Day 1 Paiute Pass 16.75 2781 AEG
Started hiking at 1130 after our shuttle driver Sam dropped us off at the North Lake Trailhead. Tough climb over the pass at 11,423 and descended into Paiute Canyon where we connected up with the JMT. Setup camp and to our delight very few mosquitoes at 8500 feet.

Day 2 Evolution Valley 17.18 2977 AEG
Emptied our packs and hiked down to the Muir Trail Ranch to pick our resupply. Then back to camp and packed up everything continuing on JMT up Evolution Canyon. Nice waterfalls in this section and camped in very cool spot just below Evolution Lake.

Day 3 Muir Pass Le Conte 17.01 2450 AEG
Late start 830 and almost immediately we had thunder and lighting. Then rain, hail, and snow for about 3 hours as we continued up Evolution Canyon past Evolution Lake. We were looking forward to this section but unfortunately the weather conditions made for poor visibility and pics. It did clear just before Muir Pass at 11,955 feet so we stopped there for a few minutes. Started down and it rained again but not as bad the second time. Long day with the weather conditions and made camp by 6pm.

Day 4 Mather Pass 18.31 4262 AEG
This was longest day and most elevation at 4262 AEG. Ran into a trail crew just before Palisades Lake which was the highlight of this section. We took a good lunch break and dried our tents enjoying the view of Palisades Lake. No rain today as we made Mather Pass at 12,100 feet. Definitively the toughest climb since we started near 8500 feet. Once over the top we headed down to camp at South Fork Kings River. Mosquitoes were really bad at camp around 10,300.

Day 5 Pinchot Pass 16.31 3838 AEG
Started steep uphill right out of camp and made it over Pinchot Pass at 12,050 feet in the morning. Long hike down to the low point around 8500 feet. At the bottom there was a cool suspension bridge crossing Woods Creek. We wanted to get a jump on the next pass so we hiked up to Arrowhead Lake to camp. Lake temperature was very warm probably 60 degrees or more so went swimming in the lake...nice way to end the day :)

Day 6 Glen Pass Onion Valley Exit 15.24 miles 3361 AEG
Plans were to knock out Glen Pass and then get as far up Forester Pass as possible. We made Glen Pass in good time and on the way down some people coming up said there was a 12 year old boy suffering from altitude sickness who had been throwing up in camp the night before. Soon we ran into the boy and his mother with large backpacks who were 800 feet below the pass and still going up. He was pale, depleted, and head down so tried to convince her to take the boy to lower elevation but it was a no go. Hope he made it out ok..too bad he had knucklehead adults forcing him up the pass. We continued on and just beyond the Onion Valley-Kearsarge turn off John had a problem with his achilles and after some discussion decided to exit Onion Valley instead of continuing on to Whitney Portal and Lone Pine. First though we had to climb up Kearsarge Pass at 11,823. Topped out on the pass and started talking to Dale who generously offered us a ride to our vehicle in Lone Pine about 30 miles drive. We all agreed Mexican food in Lone Pine was a good idea so we treated Dale to dinner for his efforts. Also offered to pay him for the ride but he wouldn't accept anything more for helping us out. Great to meet strangers like Dale...must be the JMT. Thanks John for putting this whole trip together and the invite :D
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