Banner Peak looms 12,942 feet over the beautiful island filled Garnet Lake, little brother to the more famous Thousand Island Lake. Numerous small glaciers decorate the sides of this beautiful mountain (which can apparently be climbed by a least one class 2 route…hmm next adventure?). Thousand Island Lake can be most easily reached by the 7.8 mile gently sloping River Trail from Agnew Meadows. However, I had the bright idea that we should return via the JMT to Shadow Lake route. While the maps indicated this was a bit longer they in no way prepared us for the innumerable painful switchbacks, ups and downs, and much rougher terrain of this particular detour. The trail tops out at 10k above sea level and with most of it is above 8k that altitude definitely gets to you! The return ended up being about 10.6 miles down the JMT to Shadow Lake and back to Agnew Meadows. However, we still managed the 18.4 mile loop in 7.5 hours (a record pace for us I think). A soak in a hot springs afterward and another one the next morning helped ease our sore muscles. Ediza and Iceberg Lakes are next on my list. Who has hiked this area?
Enjoy my adventures?
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