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Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

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Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby larroyo33 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:07 am

Hi, I am taking next week off of work, so I have Monday through Friday to go on a backpacking trip in the High Sierras. I want to take one of my dogs with me so I have been looking primarily at the Wilderness areas along the east side. A loop hike from Agnew Meadows to Ediza Lake and then up to Garnet Lake and 1000 Island Lakes looks like it would be a great hike for me and my dog, but I am pretty sure i can do the hike in 2 nights (one night at Ediza Lake and one at 1000 Island Lakes).

I have the availability to do a 4 night hike, so I wanted to see if people had any advice for extending my trip in this area. With the dog, I should be able to do about 8 miles a day, but probably could not do any cross country routes that are more than just class 1. Any advice would be much appreciated.



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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby cgundersen » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:25 pm

larroyo,
My wife and I did a solid peek at the Minarets area before starting a trip on May29th and there was pretty good snow coverage in that entire basin. But, the melt was going strong while we were out, and I'm guessing most trails in that area will be clear. You may hit patches twixt Shadow and Ediza, but nothing tricky. Ditto for Ediza to Garnet/1000 Island. It's a great area for a dog, just make sure you're careful with food (including the dog's), the bears up there are pretty savvy.
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby kpeter » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:50 pm

It is very easy to add any number of days to your planned loop. You could take an extra day at Ediza and explore Iceberg/Cecile/Nydiver lakes. Or you could take an extra day at Thousand Island and hike up to Lake Catherine, possibly searching for the Rettenbacher memorial along the way. Or from Thousand Island you could spend a day hiking over to Donohue Pass and back, or looking in on Davis or Marie Lakes. Your problem will be deciding what to skip, since everything in that area is well worth seeing.
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby Mradford » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:39 am

I agree with kpeter, take the extra day at ediza to check out iceberg lake. It is right at the base of the minarets and pretty amazing! Have a good trip!
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby larroyo33 » Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:39 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. After looking into some of those side trips, I definitely will have no problem filling up the 5 days. I will try to make it up to Iceberg Lake, Nydiver Lakes, and Lake Catherine depending on the conditions. I figure Cecile Lake will be a no go this early in the season as I am traveling with my dog and I am not bring snow equipment. I did not think about heading towards Donohue Pass, but Davis Lakes seems like a pretty doable day trip from Thousand Island Lake. I will let you guys know how it went when I get back. Thanks!
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:35 pm

WE also really loved Altha Lake, near Garnet Lake, as a very quiet place to hang out without any other people...
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby maiathebee » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:53 pm

I'm an experienced backpacker taking a first-time backpacker friend on pretty much this same route at the end of July. Curious what the snow field on the south side of Iceberg Lake is like this year, as we are thinking about hopping over to Minaret that way. Snowpack is so low this year; wondering if the field will even be there by the time we arrive.

Anyone been up there this year?
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:34 pm

maiathebee wrote:I'm an experienced backpacker taking a first-time backpacker friend on pretty much this same route at the end of July. Curious what the snow field on the south side of Iceberg Lake is like this year, as we are thinking about hopping over to Minaret that way. Snowpack is so low this year; wondering if the field will even be there by the time we arrive.

Anyone been up there this year?

I hiked from Agnew to Reds Meadow to fill in a missing section of JMT on May 25, the day the road opened up. I saw no signs of anyone before me. First snow was just before Shadow Lake, patchy around the lake. Considerable snow on the north slope climbing up from Shadow Lake to Rosalie Lake. It became dangerous to cut across steep snow on the switchbacks without an ice ax, so I went straight up kicking steps, no problem. Snow all around Gladys Lake and climbing up the north slope heading south from Gladys. JMT trail was burried in that area, but I picked it up again on the south slope. Southern exposures were all clear back then, except some patches in the forested areas. So I would say any southern exposure in that general area should be fine now. I would expect patches, perhaps large ones on northern slopes and forested areas. I realize this is a few weeks old, but nobody else replied so far for you.
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby maiathebee » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:15 am

Ok, thanks! That's a pretty early report, so maybe I'll try to check back in in a few weeks as well. I'm quite comfortable off-trail, but am a bit worried about taking a first-time backpacker across a steep snowfield that ends in a lake :confused:
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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:27 pm

Hi Maiathebee,

Welcome to HST!
Would not take a total newbie on that route. It is steep and can be quite
intimidating even for backpackers with experience, especially if one does not
time the crossing at the optimal time of the day, and without an ice axe and
crampons usage/experience.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby maiathebee » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:45 pm

Hi Maverick. Thanks for the welcome :)

The friend is not a hiking newbie, just a backpacking newbie. I've done 10-15 mile day hikes with him in Desolation Wilderness and around the bay area where we live. But yeah, hiking across a snow field with a pack is a different beast, especially when a slip could result in being plummeted into an icy lake! Don't want to make him buy an ice axe in addition to all the other stuff he needs. So, we'll probably just go down to Shadow after just visiting Iceberg. We'll see, I guess!

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Re: Trip Advice for Agnew Meadows

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:56 pm

Maiathebee wrote:
Don't want to make him buy an ice axe in addition to all the other stuff he needs.


An ice axe or crampon in an inexperienced hikers hands can be dangerous and deadly.
Only after proper training and practice should one use these useful pieces of gear
that require one to be highly proficient in their usage.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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