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[TR] (Another) Granite Peak TR - SE Ridge/S Face 8/14/2011


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Trip: (Another) Granite Peak TR - SE Ridge/S Face


Date: 8/14/2011


Trip Report:

My partner Kevin (the mule) and I left Spokane Sunday morning @ 6:00am 14Aug drove the 8 hrs arriving at the Phantom Creek trailhead about 4:00 MST. Started the hike in in beautiful weather and decided to bivvy out under the stars at 8700 ft in a meadow while there was still some daylight left. The mosquitos were voracious, but we were ready for them for the most part.


Slough Lakes:




After rising early we proceeded up to the plateau, weather was still good but ominous signs on West NW horizon...



Weathered a couple storms on the plateau, then, about 10 miles from the trailhead, we got our first peek at Granite in high winds with weather looking more ominous...



Arrived at high camp @ 12,100 ft and quickly pitched our "shelter". In my desire to save weight, this rainfly was inadequate for the most part. In hindsight, it was ill advised and we suffered through some hours of intense squalls spitting rain, snow, hail and winds in excess of 60mph. Oh yeah, I mustn't forget the lightning... This is the third iteration of our "shelter". We set up, re set, and re set between storms... Character building eh Kev? This pic taken after things had settled down a bit...




The obligatory goat photo. These guys hang out waiting for their salt supplement. Human urine. It's a tough life up there...



Ready (?) for a very cold night...



Awoke to great weather Tuesday morning so headed down to the saddle to begin the East Ridge. I hate giving up hard won altitude (600ft!) but whadagonnado? The snow field above the saddle and snow bridge were frozen and a bit tricky without crampons but doable. Impressive exposure but we went unroped with no problems.

Kevin contemplating full snow bridge


Kevin crossing full snow bridge


Exposed? Yes.



Kevin climbing one of the S Face chimneys.



Summit shot. We had great weather. We felt like we'd earned it after stormy Monday. Spent about 40 minutes on top...



We had fun (ok, maybe a little too much fun) with the six (yes, six) rappels we did. Rap station slings et al are fresh. I did feel it necessary to leave a biner at one of the stations as the biner that was there was pretty old looking...





Descending the (rather large) frozen snow field above the saddle. Bootpack left a lot to be desired & we did our best to improve it...



We hustled back to camp, and hightailed it (sort of limped actually) down to 9700 ft for one more night out under the stars and back to the trailhead the next day. Arrived relatively intact and went to work on fruit and beer stash. The mule was looking a little worse for the wear but nonetheless feeling very satisfied. Now all we have to do is drive back to Spokane... Ugh...



We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of Granite Peak. This mountain is so remote, the country is so wild and the climbing just challenging enough as to be very worthwhile. Two thumbs up...





Gear Notes:

Ice axes, no crampons, no rack.

165 ft 9.5mm rope, a few slings and biners. Didn't need the slings as it turned out but did leave one biner to augment one rap station.


Approach Notes:

We really enjoyed the E Rosebud approach. Phantom Creek is a very nice trail, I'd say I prefer it over the Mystic Lake/W Rosebud approach given a choice.

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