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Ascent of Granite Peak on 2007-09-14

Climber: Dustin Stoltz

Others in Party:Eddie Marshal
Date:Friday, September 14, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Granite Peak
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:12799 ft / 3901 m

Ascent Trip Report

My Climbing partner, Eddie Marshal, and I left Bozeman, MT at arround 12:00pm and drove roughly three and a half hours to the trailhead at West Rosebud (the route to Mystic Lake)at 6,558 ft. We began our journey at around a quarter to four. (really late if you want a decent basecamp) It took us an hour to reach Mystic Lake around 3 miles in with a few easy switchbacks reaching an elevation of 7669 ft, we continued for another hour along the length of Mystic Lake for another 3 miles taking a little under an hour to a small bridge and then continued unknownly missing the turnoff for Avalanche Lake. We backtracked and started to climb up the hillside along Huckleberry Creek. It had a few steep elevation gains before reaching a small body of water, Huckleberry Lake. We decided to continue the trail became much more obvious and had some mild walking and some boulder hopping before hitting more intense elevation gain as we were within range of Princess Lake. At around 7:30 we reached Princess Lake at 9,170 ft and as it the light was waning we decided to camp at a very nice spot just north of the water. We started up the next morning around 8:00 am leaving our large backs and tent behind, deciding to go light. We (unfortunately) took the route that took us up the side of a large waterfall to the Snowball Lakes and increased our mileage by over a mile (I would suggest taking the route to Cold Lake instead. As we passed the Snowball Lakes we saw a peak that we originally thought was Granite, but soon figured out it could not be once Spire Tower came into view. After much boulder hopping and traversing through short intertwined pine bushes called Krumholz, we reached the northern end of Avalanche lake at around 11:00am, then came one of the more strenous tasks of climbing ontop of a boulder field that as about a 50-60 foot ascent and had boulders rangeing from basketball sizes to car sized chunks of rock with crevasses that could put a damper in your day. It took us nearly a half hour to climb the rock feild and reach the south side of the lake at 9800 ft. Then the most physically demanding part of the trip next to the actual ascent was climbing up the couloir to the Bivouac Saddle at 11,450 ft. My climbing partner decided he had had enough for the day, so I decided to go on alone. The snow bridge was non existent so I left behind my ice axe, as well as various other pieces of gear I had brought just in case. I had my small hydration pack and a camera and took off up the ridge, which was quite difficult because of the relatively steep incline and the lack of good footing with dirt and loose grave over numerous rocks. The Snow Bridge was about six feet across with no snow except a ways down the north face. I began climbing the chimney to the southwest of the snow bridge and continued over a large hump in the ridge that put me more on the south face before dipping down once more and climbing along the face following cairns to the best of my ability. The summit was definitely challenging and if you get off of route you can find yourself with some tricky low class 5 moves. Once the keyhole is spotted it marks the final large vertical ascent, however once you are one the face of the vertical the keyhold feature is no longer visible. I reached 12,799 ft at 2:00pm took in the beautiful sights, took some pictures and then started my decent. We continued down the mountain and reached the trailhead at 10:15pm
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:12482 ft / 3805 m
    Elevation Loss:6241 ft / 1902 m
    Distance:26 mi / 41.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:12482 ft / 3805 m
    Extra Loss:6241 ft / 1902 m
    Distance:13.5 mi / 21.7 km
    Route:Mystic Lake to Avalanche Lake via Huckleberry Cree
    Trailhead:West Rosebud/Mystic Lake Trailhead  6558 ft / 1998 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:0 ft / 0 m
    Distance:12.5 mi / 20.1 km
    Route:Same
    Trailhead:Granite Peak  12799 ft / 3901 m



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