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JackandBarb - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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Jack and Barb
City: Encinitas
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 17, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, Jun 6th, 2011
Start: Kennedy Meadows
End: Kennedy Meadows
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 702.4

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,781
Journal Visits: 384,605
Guestbook Views: 167,210
Guestbook Entrys: 482

Last PLB Location

Gear list Journal Plan

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Tioga Pass Road, May 31st, One Week Ago!

A Plan for the Sierras

Here is what we originally planned. Pick up our food box at the General Store here in KM. It would provide us with two days of food. We would hike from here, 40 miles to Trail Pass. From there it would be a three mile hike to a road where we could hitch to Lone Pine. We shipped a bunch of stuff to Lone Pine. Lots of food, bear cannisters, microspikes, ice axes etc.

We would then hitch back up to Horseshoe meadow climb back up to Trail Pass and continue on. The thought was that with two less days, we could manage to carry enough food to get us to VVR (Vermillion Valley Resort) for our next resupply. Then, from there, we would get two more days of food to get us to Mammoth, again, where we would get a few more days of food and go on to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite.


1) The road to the campground below Trail Pass is not open. Expected maybe sometime next week.

2) The road from the main ski lodge at Mammoth down (about 8 miles and some 4,000 vertical feet) to the PCT is not open.

3) Tioga Pass road is presently closed (that means Tuolumne Meadows is closed) and it would be difficult to get down the hill to Lee Vining. There is so much snow on the pass that the avalanche danger is preventing the opening of the road. Check out a pic here.

Once plowing of the Tioga Road is completed, additional work must be completed before the road can safely be opened.

Factors affecting plowing operations:

  • Avalanche zones (26 potential areas). The Olmsted Point avalanche zone requires a lot of work, including application of charcoal over the snow to help with melting and blasting the snow slab to make it safer for personnel.
  • Heavy snow pack slows the whole operation.
  • Trees that have fallen across the road and been buried in the snow. These can cause substantial damage to the equipment and result in a stop to all operations until they're cleared.
  • Rock slides buried by the snow. These can cause substantial damage to the equipment and result in a stop to all operations.
  • Snow storms during the opening require a stop to Tioga Road operations and in order to plow and sand the park roads.
  • Road repairs and ditching and brushing operations once snow has melted back enough.

4) Even VVR is currently closed - with a projected opening date of the first or second week of June.

So, if we are to pull this thing off, we need a new plan and here it is.

A. Go to Lone Pine from here and get enough stuff to support us to Kearsarge pass (88 miles from KM). Ship the remainder of the food to the Post Office in Independence (that is the next town north of Lone Pine).

B: Find our way back to KM. Hike to Kearsarge Pass and get to the road from there (that road is presently open). Hitch down to Independence (the next town north of Lone Pine), get the rest of our food and go back up to Kearsarge and continue on to VVR.

C. Hope that VVR is open and has our resupply box to get us to Mammoth.

D: Some might say, why not just get all the stuff at Lone Pine and go all the way? Well, each day is 2 lbs of food per person per day. Figure on about 13 days of food and you are talking 26 pounds of just food. Add to that the winter stuff, ice axes, katoolas etc an our little packs could literally explode. It was a thought we considered though. By going out at Kearsarge, we would be splitting the food load almost in half.

E. Now, we need to make a decision about Mammoth. Will the road be open when we get there? If not, are we willing to hike up that steep winding road? We haven't decided yet. We could ship an extra two days to VVR which would take us all the way to Tuolumne Meadows but Mammoth would be a good place to decompress after the rigors of the Sierra transit. We found that there is a way out at Mammoth Pass to Lake Mary - currently, that is our best solution. At mile 903, you reach Mammoth Lakes Trail. From there, you hike 5 miles to Lake Mary and catch a bus to town. You don't have to gain or lose much altitude for this.

F. Tuolumne Meadows is more of a concern. If Tioga Pass road is still closed, we are basically up the creek. We are still trying to develop a plan for this possibility.

We scored a ride to Lone Pine and back, leaving from here on Tuesday (day after tomorrow). The plan is starting to take place. Barbara and Duncan (the NZ couple) will be accompanying us. It is a strong team. Looks like Wednesday will be our Sierra start. May the good fortune continue to follow us.

See the next page for our detailed plan

Entry 88 of 210
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Journal Photo

Jack And Barb Take On The PCT

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