Route Topo--Click for larger version
Reach the summit of Granite Mountain by either the Post Oak Lake Route or the Twin Rocks Canyon Route (or any other route, for that matter). Getting There/Approach information is be covered in these pages.
Route DescriptionThere are two main options for the descent of Granite Mountain. Since I'm describing a loop route on this route page, I will provide information for both options on this route page.
Southwest Ridge: Descend to the southwest. As you descend two ridges will project from the west face, one on your right, one on your left. Aim for the more southern of the two (the one on your left.) From here I placed myself squarely in a large gully that ran to what appears to be the base of the mountain, although there is still a significant amount of descent necessary before Charons Garden Mountain can be ascended. I frequently found lower 5th class downclimbing moves necessary, however I feel that this descent could be kept at Class 4, possibly by staying closer to the ridge proper. From the start of the more level terrain, I followed a path of least resistance to the west-northwest until I hit another gully offering a Class 3 entrance into Styx Canyon. This far northeast Styx Canyon has split into two smaller subcanyons with a small rise in between. Easy hiking will bring you across it and to the base of a subsummit/ridge of Charons Garden Mountain. I found that the easiest way to go from here was up and over this ridge, and was rewarded with some spectacular views of Charons Garden Mountain's east face. A simple descent down the west side of this ridge brought me to the base of this east face, where I took a fault to the summit. The summit could be attained by staying on the ridge, but I found the east face too beautiful to pass by.
North Face: Descend via the Twin Rocks Canyon ascent route detailed in the aforementioned page. From the highpoint of the saddle between Twin Rocks Mountain and Granite Mountain begin your descent on the south side of Twin Rocks Canyon. Follow the path of least resistance to the west. Styx Canyon is very inconsequential by this point in time, and will offer minimal hindrance. Ascend Class 2+/Class 3 ground to the summit of Charons Garden Mountain.
I descended the second option, as I was familiar with the route back to the trailhead from the saddle on, and was able to see my objective clearly throughout the course of the route. Another descent option is to go south of Granite Mountain. This is predominantly easy going, however Styx Canyon is a large obstacle this close to its outlet.