The 2007 John Muir Trail Circuits


  • Leaving Tuolumne Meadows Permit Station, southbound on the JMT Leaving Tuolumne Meadows Permit Station, southbound on the JMT
  • Mal Hill, Mike Fox and Lucy at the upper Lyell Creek crossing Mal Hill, Mike Fox and Lucy at the upper Lyell Creek crossing
  • Our campsite above the western end of Thousand Island Lake Our campsite above the western end of Thousand Island Lake
  • Banner Peak bathed in the early morning sun Banner Peak bathed in the early morning sun
  • On North Glacier Pass, looking down on Lake Catherine On North Glacier Pass, looking down on Lake Catherine
  • Our secluded camp at Laura Lake ... no people, only bears! Our secluded camp at Laura Lake ... no people, only bears!
  • Mike by Cecile Lake with the southern Minarets behind Mike by Cecile Lake with the southern Minarets behind
  • The outlet from Minaret Lake The outlet from Minaret Lake
  • On the rocky trail above the South Fork of the San Joaquin River On the rocky trail above the South Fork of the San Joaquin River
  • Our high, exposed campsite at Wanda Lake, 11,400' Our high, exposed campsite at Wanda Lake, 11,400'
  • Alpenglow on Muir Pass and the Black Giant ... Muir Hut is visible in the shadow Alpenglow on Muir Pass and the Black Giant ... Muir Hut is visible in the shadow
  • Evening alpenglow reflected on Wanda Lake Evening alpenglow reflected on Wanda Lake
  • Mike and Mal, descending a granite face above Big Pete Meadow Mike and Mal, descending a granite face above Big Pete Meadow
  • On the climb to Dusy Basin from Le Conte... Langille Peak in the background On the climb to Dusy Basin from Le Conte... Langille Peak in the background
  • Mal and Lucy resting on the summit rocks of Mount Goode, 13,100' Mal and Lucy resting on the summit rocks of Mount Goode, 13,100'
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Operating on a JMT Permit for four (Peter, Lucy, Mal Hill and MikeFox), we departed Tuolumne Meadows on August 9th, broke from the JMT at Island Pass for a campsite at the head of Thousand Island Lake.  During the night a stealthy bear absconded with Mike’s pack, opened the top zip, ate the tasty contents and left the mildly damaged pack on the slope below our camp.

The next day we took the cross-country route up to North Glacier Pass, there encountering very strong winds that cancelled out our planned climbs of either Banner Peak or Mount Davis. 

We packed up camp, circled the head of Thousand Island Lake, crossed the low saddle to the head of Garnet Lake and hiked the use trail on the northern shore to intercept the JMT.  Heading south again we found our way to the secluded Laura Lake.  That night we had a further bear encounter ... a juvenile that came ratting around the tents, but was easily chased off.


The next section of our planned hike was to take the right turn off the JMT, climbing to Lake Ediza, then to Iceberg Lake, the steep traverse up to Cecile lake and finally the steep descent to Minaret Lake.  This was our last camp before completing the circuit to Reds Meadow.

Collecting our two vehicles at Mammoth Lakes, we drove south to the Bishop Creek drainage, positioned one at South Lake and took the other to North Lake and headed up the trail to Piute Pass, then down to a campsite at Hutchinson Meadow.  From there, it was down the nasty section of trail to the JMT intersection and boundary of Kings Canyon National Park.  Heading south on the JMT, we climbed into the Evolution Valley for a pleasant campsite in the lower meadow and the following day to make camp at Wanda Lake (11,400’).

Over Muir Pass and down the torturous valley for a night near the Le Conte Ranger Station.  Then the tough climb over Bishop Pass and down to the shore of Bishop Lake to spend another night, prior to a morning ascent of Mount Goode (13,100’) and then walk out to South Lake for the drive to Bishop.

 

The final circuit began after positioning a vehicle at Whitney Portal, spending a night at a Lone Pine motel and having Lucy (going home to Vancouver) drop us off at the Onion Valley trailhead.  Mal, Mike and I planned to complete the circuit from Onion Valley to Whitney Portal in five days. 

The first day involved the relatively easy climb over Kearsarge Pass and descent into the Kearsarge Lakes area.  Our first campsite was near the pond above Bullfrog Lake. 

The following day was a short hike down to Vidette Meadow and the climb along Bubbs Creek to the high camp, at 11,200’, below Forester Pass.  The 2,000’ climb over Forester Pass is spectacular.  This is the highest point on the Pacific Crest Trail and always a thrill to do the crossing.  We descended the south side of the Pass onto the Bighorn Plateau, eventually stopping for the third night at Wrights Creek.

  • Looking into the abyss ... the northern face of Mt. Goode Looking into the abyss ... the northern face of Mt. Goode
  • View from the summit of Mt. Goode ... looking down on Long Lake View from the summit of Mt. Goode ... looking down on Long Lake
  • Leaving Lucy... Mike, Mal and Peter setting off from Onion Valley Leaving Lucy... Mike, Mal and Peter setting off from Onion Valley
  • On the descent to Vidette Meadow ... East Vidette peak on the right On the descent to Vidette Meadow ... East Vidette peak on the right
  • Mal and Mike descending the southern side of Forester Pass Mal and Mike descending the southern side of Forester Pass
  • Camped with the crowd at Guitar Lake Camped with the crowd at Guitar Lake
  • Peter, Mal and Mike at Guitar Lake ... going out tomorrow, over Whitney! Peter, Mal and Mike at Guitar Lake ... going out tomorrow, over Whitney!
  • Busy time at Guitar Lake ... who are all these people crowding our campsite? Busy time at Guitar Lake ... who are all these people crowding our campsite?
  • On the traverse from the summit of Whitney ... bad weather coming! On the traverse from the summit of Whitney ... bad weather coming!
  • Looking down the Mountaineers' Route from the summit of Whitney Looking down the Mountaineers' Route from the summit of Whitney
  • Mike and Peter on the summit of Mt. Whitney, 14,495' Mike and Peter on the summit of Mt. Whitney, 14,495'
  • Peter at the end of the journey ... walking into Whitney Portal trailhead Peter at the end of the journey ... walking into Whitney Portal trailhead
  • The Whitney Portal Store ... what a great place to finish! The Whitney Portal Store ... what a great place to finish!
  • Time for beer, hamburgers and fries at the Store ... thanks Doug and family. Time for beer, hamburgers and fries at the Store ... thanks Doug and family.
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The fourth day brought us to Guitar Lake, situated below the eastern ramparts of Mt Whitney and the Keeler Needles, at an elevation of 11,500’.  The gathering at Guitar Lake is unique; every evening a collection of hikers from the JMT/PCT, funneled in for the last overnight camp before climbing Mt Whitney, then heading out over Trail Pass for the descent to Whitney Portal … and civilization.  On our final day, we made an alpine start at first light, to reach the summit of Mt. Whitney, then return to the Trail Pass intersection, collect out packs and head down to Whitney Portal for burgers and fries before the Whitney Store closed for the day.  We made it to the Store, and just ahead of some nasty thunderstorms pounding the high peaks we’d left.

 

See the 2007 JMT Schedule

©2012Peter W Tremayne, Reno NV

 


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