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Ascent of Granite Mountain on 2015-03-01

Climber: Rusty Sherman

Date:Sunday, March 1, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Granite Mountain
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5629 ft / 1715 m

Ascent Trip Report

Another beautiful Spring day for a hike... in the Winter!

Arrived at the trailhead about 09:00 to a mostly full, but not packed, parking lot. We certainly weren't the only ones with the idea of tackling this trail on such a gorgeous day. Even though there were a lot of other hikers out, it never felt crowded (I shudder to think what the Rattlesnake Ledge and Mount Si trails must have been like today!)

The trail was in good shape and clear of snow and obstacles for the first two miles. From mile two to three there was increasing ice and slush, but plenty of bare rocks to get a good grip on. The final mile or so of the route was almost entirely on snow, but with a well-beaten boot path to follow it wasn't difficult to ascend using trekking poles. There comes a point near the summit where hikers have a choice of heading straight up a steep ridge for a snow-and-rock scramble, or following what appears to be a more moderate path to the right. The thing is, if you're heading for the lookout tower on top you have to gain that elevation sooner or later anyway! We chose to head up the ridge, and take our time about doing so as it is a very steep, icy route-- and a LONG way down.

There were several other hikers at the summit, but it was far from crowded. I don't think anyone was lingering too long because due to elevation and wind chill it was cold up there. FANTASTIC views on this crisp, clear day though; totally worth the effort to reach the top.

For the descent, we chose to put on micro spikes and follow tracks traversing the snowfield to the left rather than scramble back down the steep ridge. Kind of wished I had brought gaiters at this point, as my boots took on quite a bit of snow every time I stepped off the packed path into the soft stuff. Oh well :-)

This trip took us about three hours to make it to the lookout tower at the summit with several brief breaks, approximately 45 minutes at the top and another two and a quarter hours back to the parking lot for a total round-trip time of six hours. Great day!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles



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