Saturday, 27 September 2014

JMT Post-mortem

My JMT adventure was a series of up and down moments.  I had a great time and a few ‘moments’ too.  The JMT is a great walk and one that I will complete.  I completed around 50 miles on this trip and it was quite stunning, yet I know the best is regarded to be later along the trail.

I was (to be blunt) too big/fat to do the trek justice.  I struggled badly on the hills and this made me very slow.  I was walking 7-8 hours yet at times felt like I was treading water.  Whilst I had no great schedule that I had to stick to, there are practical issues to going so slow.  You need enough food and fuel basically.

I turned around just before the top of Donahue Pass.  I didn’t want to get to the top then turn around because I may have been tempted to push on (2-3 days to Reds Meadow).  Also I wanted to save the great views.

When I did turn around I headed downhill to Tuolumne Meadows, this was only around 12 miles, yet I was ready to drop when I reached the campsite.  This made me happy that I had made the right decision.

Things I got wrong –

Obvious really - No training and gaining weight (20kgs since April).  The heat hit me hard, over 30 degrees most days, but this is again can be linked back to the weight.

Things I got right –

The gear.  The pack weight was not an issue (14-15kgs inc. food and water).  Pack, shelter, quilt were all pretty damn great.  At no time did I think I had forgot or needed something.


  1. We've been backpacking in Yosemite and the High Sierra quite a few times over the years and the first time we went we got it all wrong because of the altitude. After that, we got it down to a bit of a fine art! We used to spend a week camping and walking at Tuolumne Meadows first (8,600ft) to well acclimatise, before setting out on long backpacking trips (long meaning 6 - 8 days). We also used to reckon on a speed of no more than one and a half miles per hour with a heavy backpack.
    It's beautiful country isn't it, though? Look forward to hearing more when you return :)

  2. I don't 'think' I had altitude issues, but who knows! Tuolumne is a great area too, so are the parts round Reds Meadow. I like the American campsites in general, especially in the woods.