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Ascent of Granite Chief on 2018-07-13

Climber: Vic Hanson

Date:Friday, July 13, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Granite Chief
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:9006 ft / 2745 m

Ascent Trip Report

After doing Ward Peak yesterday I decided I might as well hit some more peaks in the area before moving but had already summited Granite Chief previously so was going to do the two Emigrants and Squaw. But then I realized that Needle and Lyon were past Granite, as well as higher than the other 3, so decided to check them out. I was still at the Five Lakes TH on Alpine Meadows Rd. so went back up the Five Lakes Trail to the PCT and turned the other way, to the right. I got to the top of Granite and was considering going over to Needle but it looked like a long, miserable traverse, with a lot of rocks and brush, in addition to the elevation loss and gain, so decided to wait and try it another time, hopefully with a partner, to have someone to complain to/with!

So I descended and took the trail up that goes to the Emigrant Road plaque between the two peaks and then climbed up Emigrant Peak first. I couldn't decide which end had the highest point so I scrambled up both of them. At first I was a bit nervous about the rocks but they all were solid and didn't move, at least the ones I used. I tried to follow the ridge to Squaw but it didn't look like there was a good way down at the end so I traversed down the east side by the 2nd of the big tubes (no idea what they are), which wasn't much fun, but made it safely down to the road. I then took the foot path up to to top of the ski lift and the road up from there to the flat summit. After wandering around on top trying to decide where the highest point was, I went over to the rock windbreak and found the geocache and signed the sheet in there. I went down the steep footpath alongside the corrugated metal tunnel, whatever that was!

Following the road back to North Emigrant, I took what looked like a trail going up to the left, across from the marker for the Western States Trail but it soon disappeared and I ended up scrambling up the snow field below the plaque, then up to the road, taking that to North Emigrant. I then took the trail on the north side of the fence down to the junction of the trail that goes back to Granite and the one that angles south to the PCT. At that junction the sign said Tevis Trail, with an arrow pointing west. I remembered seeing a sign for the Tevis Trail earlier on the PCT but this trail wasn't on my map (View Ranger app) but it appeared it woud intersect the Tevis Trail and then I could take that back east to the PCT, just to do some exploring. At the point where the map showed I should intersect the Tevis Trail was a faint trail going east and a good trail going west. I went a little farther west to make sure that was the correct one but there wasn't any other options. At first there were a few carins, which encouraged me that I was on the right route but then the trail became very faint and no more carins. I soon lost any sight of a trail and just kept on the GPS line. After some heavy brush, then crossing a wet swampy area, there was some easy going in a meadow, and finally a nice wooded area. At about halfway back to the PCT I started to see what looked like it might have been a trail in spots but I wasn't able to follow it continually, it kept disappearing. I stuck to the GPS track for the Tevis Trail as much as possible, which was just a gently curving arc, and finally found definite remnants of the trail, but still had trouble following it. Finally, just a few hundred feet from the PCT it became clear, and I came out right at the Tevis Trail sign. A successful, if unpleasant side trip. The original trail that I followed west to the Tevis Trail was very nice.

Back on the PCT it was a bit of a climb to the Five Lakes Trail and by the time I got to the lake the sun had set so I didn't get in the water like I did the day before. I returned to my camper just before 9 pm, a bit over 11 hours after starting out, with a total of 6,676 feet of elevation gain and 21.2 miles. It was nice that the 30 percent chance of thunderstorms didn't happen, the sun even came out some and it was nice weather, especially in the afternoon.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2410 ft / 734 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2410 ft / 734 m
    Distance:21.2 mi / 34.1 km
    Start Trailhead:6596 ft / 2010 m
Descent Statistics



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