Ascent to Granite Peak-Avalanche Lake on 2006-08-23

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Charlie Manfredi
Date:Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Granite Peak - Avalanche Lake
    Elevation:9800 ft / 2987 m
    Remaining Elevation:2999 ft / 914 m (81% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

My wife Rose and I are on a "Western States Tour 2006". We left home on Aug 11 and on the way here we visited 4 States Capitols (WI,MT,ND,SD) and Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments. We came to the "Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness" to attempt Granite Peak, for second time (see the first attempt TR dated 2004-07-14). We arrived on Aug 18 and camped at Emerald Lake campground, elev 6400'. The ranger warned us not to leave food outside the car unless we were prepared to pay a 200$ fine. A lot of black bears in the area.
I did a 2 days of acclimatization climbs before starting out for Granite Peak. Rose drove and stayed at Red Lodge Motel 8 while I was on the mountain.

I once again contracted Beartooth Mountain Guides, this time the guide was Charlie Manfredi. We left the W Rosebud TH, elev 6558, yesterday, Aug 22. Charlie used the same Huckleberry route and camped in the Princess Lake area as the first time (elev 9100'). Uneventfull day. We slept under a tarp, a first for me.

We had a very strong smell of a forest fire this morning of day #2 (none yesterday), a huge haze covered the sky. After the usual AM routine we broke camp and set out for a nice short day. The trail climbs steeply to the Snow Ball Lakes, in places over huge bolders. As we traversed a steep loose rocky slide, Charlie slipped, sliding down about 5 ft and hurting the inside ankle bone on his right foot. After a good rest Charlie felt that he was ok to continue. You could see that he was favouring his hurt foot as we climbed on.
We arrived Avalanche Lake campsite (elev 9,800 ft) around 11h30 hrs !! suprisingly located on the NW corner of the Lake ( last time we went thru the very difficult humongous bolders, on the North and East side of the Lake - there is no trail here - and camped at the SE corner - a much better spot and decision. ! ! We'll have do these bolders in the dark ! !). Charlie's ankle was hurting ! !, I didn't want to but should have questioned his plan ! ! he went fishing, I went for a hike around the North side of the Lake. Spent a nice lazy PM. He caught 2 small ones for dinner accompanied by pasta and soup. We readied the gear for tomorrows summit day (4h00 hrs). Slept under the tarp.

Tomorrow's (day #3) SUMMIT ATTEMPT FAILED, before it even started, and therefore I will not enter it here as a climb. With our headlamps on, we left camp on schedule, Charlie informed me that his ankle was hurting but that he'd go for it. We didn't go very far ! ! At the NE side of the Lake, Charlie couldn't find his way thru the boulders !! went around in circles. We had 3 lightening strikes to the East, rest of the sky was clear with some cloud. ! ! Charlie tells me that his ankle wouldn't allow him to proceed ! !. Back at the camp, we packed up our gear and hiked out. At Mystic Lake Dam we met up with Dave Covill, from the Highpointers Club, together with his son and a friend, on the way to the summit. I would read later in the clubs newsletter that they summited safely. A very disappointing trip.

From this area Rose and I moved on to Squaw Valley CA.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:700 ft / 214 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Guide, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:700 ft / 214 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:princess lake/snow ball lakes
    Trailhead:princess lake campsite  9100 ft / 2773 m
Descent Statistics
    Trailhead:avalanche lake campsite at NW side of lake  

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