consider doing the JMT Northbound

Only 2% of applicants get permits for the John Muir Trail, one of our top 10 hikes in the world, southbound.

Odds are better in the other (more difficult) direction.

This superb trip report is recommended for your planning.

Brown Gal Trekker:

I completed my solo thru hike of JMT’s entire length of 210 miles plus 11 miles climb up from Whitney Portal starting from Whitney on July 29, 2018 and ending in Yosemite Valley on August 21, 2018, a day ahead of my schedule …

JMT northbound wasn’t the original intention. The start supposedly had to occur in Yosemite heading southbound and ending with the highest passes like most thru hikers do. Many proclaim southbound route trains you best for the harder climbs and higher altitudes. And yet northbound JMT took shape due to the permit limitations. Hence, northbound became the journey.

… Whitney greeted me on the 2nd day. Forrester pass at 13000 feet came in on day 4. Kearsarge at 11750 feet came the next day. I hauled 40 pounds all the while. …

The regular SOBO permits can be obtained solely through a lottery.  You can apply 170 days prior to the start date of your choosing.  Application form must be completed and faxed.  For the SOBO permit, you must fill out your starting and ending dates plus your trailheads of preference. The instructions are straightforward but the chances of getting a permit are rather slim.  You can learn more about applying via this website.

Because we weren’t the lucky 2% who scored a SOBO permit, we ended up taking our chances on the unclaimed permits going NOBO via Whitney Portal.   If you wish to go for overnight Whitney permits from the start, the application usually starts in February. See details on how to apply for Whitney overnight permit lottery here. We searched for permits on May 1st, when the unclaimed permits were released. These permits can be booked via Recreation.gov. To learn more, go to this site.

In applying for the permits, you will need to guesstimate your itinerary.  The most important part is the entry date and entry point. In our case, we were seeking to secure the overnight Whitney permit for our desired date. When you get to Lone Pine, CA, make sure to stop by the Eastern Sierra Park office to pick up your permit. …

 

If interested in doing the John Muir Trail yourself, check our JMT information page.

we need more diversity in outdoor sport

My favourite gear shop — Mountain Equipment Co-op — got called out by one of their members.

She was right.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

To their credit, MEC responded. Here’s their CEO:

Do white people dominate the outdoors?

Let that question sink in for a moment. If you consider every advertisement you’ve ever seen for skiing, hiking, climbing and camping, you might think that’s the case.

… White athletes hold the spotlight in advertising, while the diversity that exists and continues to grow in outdoor spaces isn’t represented in the images we produce and promote. The truth is that we haven’t represented the diversity of Canadians or of our 5 million members.
We’ve let our members down.

We can’t move forward until we acknowledge our past. Historically, the models we’ve used in our catalogues and campaigns and on mec.ca have been predominantly white. And this imagery has perpetuated the vastly incorrect notion that people of colour in Canada don’t ski, hike, climb or camp.

This letter is about recognizing the role we’ve played in underrepresenting people of colour in the outdoors, and committing to change. It’s not OK.

As CEO of MEC, I promise that moving forward, we will make sure we’re inspiring and representing the diverse community that already exists in the outdoors.

This initiative isn’t about patting ourselves on the back. It’s also not about me, another straight white male with a voice in the outdoor industry. This is a conscious decision to change, and to challenge our industry partners to do the same. We know we’ve been part of the problem, and we’re committed to learning from our mistakes and changing the way we represent the outdoor community.

Outside is for everyone. It’s time we acted like it.

Check their new Diversity page. I’m proud to be a member and loyal customer of MEC.

unreal Tasmanian Winter Traverse

One of the toughest journeys on foot … ever.

Louis-Phillipe Loncke …. This was an epic journey that left him exhausted, pushed to his limits, and 15 kg (33 pounds) lighter than when he set off.

The video below is from a new report aired in Australia that caught up with the Belgian adventurer just as he was crossing the finish line, providing some insights into what this journey was like. …

Adventure Blog

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company

This Women-Run Guide Service is Changing Himalayan Trekking in India

Back in 2009, Thinlas Chorol set up the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company, which has the distinction of being Ladakh’s first travel company completely owned and operated by women. It is also known for promoting ecotourism. …

… With the encouragement she received at SECMOL (Students Education and Culture Movement of Ladakh, an organization that helps educate children from remote regions of Ladakh) and the support of her American English teacher, Thinlas went on to gain some commendable professional expertise.

She attended a mountaineering course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (Uttarkashi) and spent a semester at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, where she picked up wilderness and leadership skills. …

Since then, many Ladakhi women have approached her to train them as trekking guides and, today, the company has 8 guides, 4 trainees and 20 employees in all. …

Ladakh’s First and Only All-Women Travel Company and the Woman Who Started it All

Ladakhi Womens Travel Co

official website – ladakhiwomenstravel.com

Robert Macfarlane ‘outdoors’ books

Robert Macfarlane is a British writer, PhD at Emmanuel College, Cambridge,  and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He’s also much smarter than you and I.

Macfarlane’s first book, Mountains of the Mind, was published in 2003 and won the Guardian First Book Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. …

The Wild Places was published in September 2007. …

The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot, the third in the ‘loose trilogy of books about landscape and the human heart’ …, was published in June 2012

Landmarks, a book that celebrates and defends the language of landscape, was published in the UK in March 2015. …

I started Old Ways … Found it brilliant, eloquent, academic intimidating, dense. Too much for me, in fact. I didn’t finish.

It’s as much poetry as prose. 

Some day I’ll download all Macfarlane’s books to Kindle. Read them in the tent on a long, long, long hike.

I’m expecting an honorary PhD in the outdoors for that study. 🙂