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1000 Island Lake question
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Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
1000 Island Lake question on 07/15/2012 19:03:12 MDT Print View

I've had a thread already on an upcoming trip to 1000 Islands Lake, but I've got a few last minute questions and didn't want to dig up the old thread.

I have a wilderness permit reservation to start at the High Trail a week from tomorrow (7-23-12). I plan on doing a loop, from Agnew Meadows to 1000 Island Lake the first day, then to Garnet Lake the second day, then another day or two back to Mammoth.

My question is about heat and water availability on the High Trail. The weather forcast is for 82* high on Monday. I'll be getting a fairly early start. I'd like to avoid carrying tons of water, to keep the weight down. I know once I get up to the lakes there won't be a shortage, but the High Trail looks pretty darn dry up until you get near the Summit Lakes (if you detour to them). Is this correct? Or will there be small streams or creeks to get water for my dog and I.

The other option I have is trying for one of the River Trail permits if there are any left by Sunday afternoon when I get into Mammoth. The High Trail looks like it'd have better views, which is why I chose it initially, but I didn't really take into account the possible lack of available water.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: 1000 Island Lake question on 07/15/2012 19:10:49 MDT Print View

Ten days ago I started from Agnew Meadow and went up the River Trail until I turned on the Shadow Creek Trail. The only real water was in the river.

I would say that it is time for a dog pack with platypus containers in it.


Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
1000 Island Lake question on 07/15/2012 20:52:54 MDT Print View

In the last week of August 2009 I hiked from Clark Lake down the high trail to Agnew Meadows. I carried extra water because it I thought it would be dry based on the map. As it turned out there were several springs and there was more than adequate water. Can't comment on this year.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
thanks on 07/15/2012 23:23:18 MDT Print View

Thanks Bob and Richard. I think I'm going to shoot for the River Trail route. If it is full up at least I've already got my reservation for the High Trail.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
1000 Island Lake question on 07/16/2012 08:06:06 MDT Print View

I'm doing a similar trip in late August. We will taking the High trail from Agnew to TI, over Donohue on day 2, and then out @ Toulumne on the last day. (We will return to Mammoth via YARTS.)

I like the area for its quick access and easy hiking. It's a great place to introduce new hikers, since it's one of the most beautiful areas, combined with perhaps the easiest hiking in the high Sierra.

As for choice of trails, I prefer the High trail, but only if you get an early start. The first shuttle arrives at stop 1 (Agnew) around 7:45am (leaving MMI @ 7:30am). Summit lake is 6 miles away, so you need enough water to make it that far.

I take 40oz on my straps (two 20oz Gatorade bottles) + a 1L Platypus in my pack. Once you make it to Summit, the Plat can be folded up and stored away.

The High trail has by far and away the best views, but if you get going after 11am, you may be too hot to admire them. If you start @ 8am, you can reach Summit within 3 hours only going 2mph.

Here's a view of Banner/Ritter from Summit:

Summit & Banner

If you are getting a late and/or afternoon start, then definitely take the River/Shadow/JMT trail. You don't want to to be on the High trail in the afternoon, unless you like walking around in Death Valley. Finally, if you like to hike in the very late afternoon and arrive @ dusk/evening, you could start around 6pm & stay overnight @ Summit.

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 07/16/2012 08:09:14 MDT.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
wow! on 07/16/2012 12:42:01 MDT Print View

Wow, thanks for the info and photo Hobbes! I'd love to see more pics of the area if you have them. :)

I'll be staying at the Mammoth Mountain Inn Sunday night, and getting to the trailhead on the first tram out. So in light of that you've now got me thinking more about sticking with the High Trail. My plan was to stay the first night at 1000 Island Lakes, but I've seen such beautiful pictures of the Summit Lakes that I'm considering staying there and doing 1000 Island the second night.

My last hike up there I drove from Monterey and didn't start my hike (Creek Trail to Agnew Lake) until about 2 in the afternoon. It was a hot day, and of course the Creek Trail has almost zero shade, and pretty close to a 2k elevation gain in 2.5 miles. It was pretty brutal. I was also caryring a 48 pound pack. This time I'm doing a 2k elevation gain in 10 miles, starting at 0800 hrs, and my pack weight will be half of what it was before. It should be a breeze. Hahaha

Ken Ross
(kross) - MLife
Re: 1000 Island Lake question on 07/17/2012 22:28:14 MDT Print View

I just returned from 3 days at Thousand Island. I like the views and the more open feeling of the High Trail and prefer to take the High Trail in and the River Trail out. On this trip, I started up the High Trail at 1pm. I don't find it any hotter than the River Trail, the views are nice, there are fewer mosquitoes, and there are several small stream crossings along the way if you don't want to carry water (I carried 1.5L and that was plenty for me). Once you make the initial climb from the trailhead, the trail is relatively level until a final climb of about 300 ft up to Thousand Island. Overall, I think the River Trail is a bit harder. It drops down about 400 ft from the trailhead, so you have farther to climb up and there are more ups and downs. There are shady parts but also exposed sections, more bugs, and fewer breezes. There are more water sources on the River Trail but they are not always convenient to access and neither trail is that long. Have a great trip!

stephan q
(khumbukat) - F
"1000 Island Lake question" Another High side vote on 07/18/2012 00:00:32 MDT Print View

in the 1st post you mentioned 4 nights out. Here's a trip we did with our dog. Pm me with any ?'s.

Day 1- High side to 1000

Day 2- Day hike Catherine

Day 3- X country to Garnett, stay high and go Whitebark Pass, past Nydiver and camp above Ediza

Day 4- Iceberg and Cecile, camp at Minaret lakes

Day 5- outtilba
Tilba at Catherine

cecile Cecile

Edited by khumbukat on 07/18/2012 00:53:00 MDT.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
creeks on 07/18/2012 13:37:14 MDT Print View

Ken, thanks for the great info! After hearing you say there are still some small creeks to get water on the High Trail, I'm definitely going to go that route. I'm getting an early start so heat should be too bad, and water was my biggest concern but now that is solved as well.

Stephan, thanks for the route suggestion. You certainly covered a lot of ground. This will be my first backpacking trip at longer than just a weekend, so I'm planning on a more laid-back schedule at this point. My main goal is to see some great scenery and take lots of photos (2 lb tripod...uggg. but at least it's carbon fiber and very stable for it's weight).

I'm really going to let the scenery and my wanderlust dictate my travel speed and destinations, but my tentative plan is something like this:
Day 1- Mammoth Mountain Inn to Summit and possibly Clarke Lakes
Day 2- 1000 Island Lake
Day 3- X-country to Garnet
Day 4- Lake Ediza
Day 5- back to Mammoth and then the drive home

I don't have any of my campsights planned out except for at least 1 night at 1000 Island Lake. The rest I'm going to fly by the seat of my pants.

Edited by Jedi5150 on 07/18/2012 13:38:49 MDT.