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1000 Island Lake in July
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Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
1000 Island Lake in July on 04/09/2012 13:21:48 MDT Print View

Hello all, I'm planning my long anticipated first trip to 1000 Island Lake, for the last week of July this year. This trip has been my holy grail of backpacking trips for over two years now, I just have not been able to make it happen until now. I'm hoping for feedback and advice since I've yet to backpack the high Sierras in the middle of summer.

My trip will be a 4 day loop, starting at Agnew Meadows, taking the High Trail (PCT) to 1000 Island Lake (with a short stop to see Summit Lake). I'll camp at 1000 Island Lake the first two nights (or in that area at least). The third night will be in the area of Garnet Lake or Lake Ediza, after which I'll take the Shadow Creek Trail back to Agnew Meadows. The actual camp sites will be open to change, depending on what I find when I get there. I'm going to try not to be set in stone in that regard in case I happen upon a pretty area I'd like to camp in.

Now down to the packing and conditions. I've always been a "what if" packer. For this reason my backpack often weighs in the 40+ pound area (granted that does include a camera and tripod). I plan on being MUCH lighter this trip as I won't be bringing my winter gear. But that said, I'm not sure what to expect for last week of July temps and rainfall in the 10,000' elevation range.

Given those dates and locations, what is the expectation of rain? I'd love to be able to leave the goretex behind and possibly not even bring a rainfly for my tent if I can get away with it. What nighttime lows can I expect or should I prepare for? My sleeping bags at the moment (I'm going to try not to purchase too much new gear), are either a 0* bag or a 40* bag, and I'm a very cold sleeper. The 0* bag did not keep me warm enough in 20* weather a few weeks ago.

As for clothing, will a base layer, shirt and pants and a softshell (Arcteryx Bravo) be enough? Or will I be needing a warmer jacket?

I'll be putting together a gear list for review once the dates get closer, but these questions will at least be enough to start with I think.

Thanks in advance for any help.

PS- I know that this is bear country and bear season. I've got that covered, I have a Bear Vault and a dog coming with me.

Edited by Jedi5150 on 04/09/2012 13:22:47 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: 1000 Island Lake in July on 04/09/2012 15:04:58 MDT Print View

Doug, first you will need to bring rain gear and a fly. Summer thunder showers in the Sierras are quite common during the summer months.
As for temps at night. You might very well get by with a 40 degree bag. You will need some clothing insulation to offset the bag. As for bringing a dog.....I would call the ranger station in Mammoth to see if dogs are allowed. Transportation during the summer months around Mammoths trailheads during the day in summer months is done via bus shuttles. Just an FYI. Camping spots are abundant on the north side of 1000 Island Lake. To get to Garnett Lake you could head around the western side of 1000 Island Lake under Banner and Ritter and cross country over the ridge to Garnett Lake. Nothing technical and it is a class 1+ over the ridge. The reason I mention heading this way is because there is an amazing campsite west of Garnett. It is real easy to find too.

Edited by kennyhel77 on 04/09/2012 17:16:07 MDT.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: Re: 1000 Island Lake in July on 04/09/2012 20:50:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info Ken, I'll count on rain as a possibility. The Ansel Adams Wilderness, where I'll be hiking, allows dogs, and to the best of my knowledge so does the shuttle to Devil's Postpile, which stops at Agnew Meadows. I'll confirm about the shuttle though. In fact, Mammoth is one of the most dog-friendly towns I've ever come across. More restaurants and hotels there allow dogs than any other resort/ touristy place I've come across.

I appreciate the info on the Garnet Lake camping spot. :)

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
1000 island dressing on 04/09/2012 23:17:57 MDT Print View

You mention you're a very cold sleeper. Does this translate to getting chilled readily when awake also? If so then I definitely recommend a puffy, especially if you're considering your 40f bag for this one. If your 0 deg bag is too cold at 20 maybe it's time for a new bag? What do you sleep on? Insulation from the ground is crucial.

Also if you're not into dealing with the shuttles, hiking in from the June lake loop is another option. It was very nice when I did it.

By the way, I didnt know about Mammoth being so dog friendly. Good to know, me and my pup spend our summer vacation near there every year. Have a great trip!

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
Re: 1000 island dressing on 04/10/2012 00:20:51 MDT Print View

Hi Adan, when I'm awake I don't have a problem getting cold easily, it's only when I sleep. And actually my 0* bag is brand new, but in fairness, the temp rating on the bag may be slightly off. Another poster here told me that a competing brand to my bag rates their bag with the same amount of insulation as a 20* bag, not a 0*. So it may not entirely be me. As for pads, they were more than sufficient for the 20* weather. I had a Ridgerest closed foam pad on top of an inflatable Thermarest. I could feel the heat coming through the pads, so I know that wasn't the issue.

I don't mind using the shuttle as long as they allow dogs, which I'll call to find out. I'll be staying at the Mammoth Mountain Inn the night before as I get into town, so the shuttle to Agnew Meadows should be all of a 5 minute drive, if that.

The downside of hiking from June Lake if I'm correct, is that it's an out and back. At least with making a loop out of Agnew Meadows I'll be covering new ground the entire way, which I'd prefer.

Edited by Jedi5150 on 04/10/2012 00:23:43 MDT.

Stephan Doyle
Re: 1000 Island Lake in July on 04/10/2012 04:29:16 MDT Print View

This is a gorgeous hike.

Last year in late July, I was with three others. We stayed warm in just our base layers plus shells. I don't think any of us put on a warm jacket.

Rainfall is possible, but more likely in the form of an afternoon thunderstorm than a sustained overnight or all-day rain.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
1000 Island Lake on 04/10/2012 09:35:06 MDT Print View

This is a great introductory hike to the Sierra. I did this hike in the late fall with my brother and our dogs a couple years back as a quick, mellow, two-nighter. This is a really fun loop with A+ scenery the entire way.

When we did it, we took the PCT from Agnew Meadows out to 1000 Island Lake on Day 1. Day 2 was 1000 Island Lake to Ediza Lake via the JMT. Day 3 was back to Agnew Meadow via the Shadow Lake (or Creek?) Trail.

Dogs are allowed on the shuttles to the THs in Mammoth but you will need to have a muzzle for your dog to wear while on the bus. If you don't want to deal with the shuttle, I think you can drive into Agnew Meadows on your own but have to get in there early (before 7:00 am) or late (after 7:00 pm)... or something like that.

Be prepared for lots of people at 1000 Island Lake. There's lot of campsites scattered around the lake but you have to work a little to find some privacy and get away from other parties. Also lots of bear activity. Ediza can be the same way, but perhaps not as bad. Expect to encounter lots of other hikers and horse packers on the trails, so plan accordingly for your dog.

Lot of great lakes along the way perfect for a dip for you or your pup. My dog made sure to sample the swimming opportunities in each lake we passed.

Bixby at Ediza Lake.
Bixby at Ediza Lake

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
blowdown on 04/15/2012 00:48:18 MDT Print View

That's a wonderful hike, a classic.

That entire area, including Agnew Meadows to Island Pass (north of Thousand Island Lake) was struck by a massive windstorm in November that blew down entire big sections of trees. A cleanup will happen sometime after the snowmelt. See this:

I'm concerned that the Agnew Meadows trailhead or parts of the trails you plan to hike may be closed in early July. I'd be less worried if you were going in August.

Might be good to have a backup plan for another area. I'd recommend the trip up North Fork Big Pine Creek to the Palisade Glacier. Trailhead is near the town of Big Pine.

- Elizabeth