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Bivy question on Granite Peak

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Bivy question on Granite Peak

Postby phillinley » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:21 pm

I'm going to be climbing Granite Peak in the next week and a half and will doing the southwest couloir route. I don't think I'll be able to push through it in one day, so I need a place to sleep and Aero Lake is too close to tree line for my comfort since I'm heading in alone. Is there any place to bivy in the valley just southwest of Granite? All I need is a place to lay down I won't be bringing a tent so it doesn't need to be a very wide space.
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Postby b. » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:07 pm

There is room at Sky Top lakes for a light, uncomfortable bivy.
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Postby CBakwin » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:57 pm

I've camped at Sky Top and found some good spots, the further up you go the more uncomfortable it gets, but there are grassy spots at the middle lakes, one by a big rock that might offer protection. The summit from there is relatively close. Took me 6 hours to hike in there, then 3 hours to the summit next morning (gets you off the top before afternoon storms roll in). Out in 6 1/2 hours, but we were moving pretty fast. That was last year and there was snow in the couloir, without snow it would be easier.
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Postby BadgerSummitSeeker » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:24 pm

Phil, good luck with your climb. Sounds like I'll probably just miss you in there. My friend and I will be doing the Southwest Couloir route up Granite as well. We're planning to hike in 8-14 and out 8-17. Have you heard anything about current conditions in the couloir? I keep wondering if I should bring an ice axe. Have fun!
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Postby Crabman » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:05 pm

Phil ... I just got off Granite two weeks ago and although my team didn't take the SW couloir route, I might be able provide some useful information ... the valley SW of Granite (viewed from afar) looked reasonably open with plenty of room to bivy and a short enough distance/elevation away from summit to make a clean, short attempt ... in fact, I do remember seeing a red, 3-4 man tent set up right at the base of Granite, due West, while we were resting East of the snow bridge awaiting our turn to cross and then climb the east ridge route.

There was still quite a bit of snow up there, but temperatures have been high, and it was two weeks ago, so I'm not sure about the conditions now. My buddies hauled their skis up to do a little back country sporting, but nothing looked safe and full enough to warrant a run.

We slept in bivy sacks out on FTDP, which worked fine since so many wind barriers/shelters have been built on and around the plateau. I'd imagine having the mountain so close by will block the majority of wind coming thru and leave you less exposed to the elements. We lucked out and had pristine weather for the entirety of our trip.

Best of luck my friend ... the view from the top of Montana is pretty epic.
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Postby splattski » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:52 pm

Here's a pic of the upper Sky Top drainage:
Image
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Postby BadgerSummitSeeker » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:40 pm

Looks comfy!
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Postby Bruce S. » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:42 pm

There are plenty of flat spots in the upper Sky Top drainage, but they are rocky, as others have mentioned. In the summer of 2007 I camped alone high up in that valley between Villard and Cairn. But I had a tent and a sleeping bag and a pad.

Besides the pictures on the Southwest Couloir page, there are some excellent pictures of the Sky Top lakes area, as well as a good description of the approach hike, in H2SO4's Cairn Mountain page: http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock ... ntain.html

SPer splattski has a great trip report which includes the best beta photos of the SW Couloir that I've yet seen, here: http://www.splattski.com/2007/granite/index.html

splattski has a part of a topo as a pdf file, linked in his trip report, with some routefinding suggestions for the hike past Lone Elk and Rough lakes, and the Sky Top lakes. I urge you to study and follow it. If I had made better routefinding choices in '07 it would have taken a minimum of three hours off of my hiking time both going up and coming down. The choice of which side to pass the several Sky Top lakes on makes a huge difference.

Have a great trip!
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Postby phillinley » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:01 pm

One last question on Granite. If I was to just bring a bivy bag up and sleep in skytop, I shouldn't have to worry about grizzlies coming that far up above tree line right? The only issue should be temperatures, and marmots I would hope.
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:52 am

This site is in upper Sky Top Valley, directly below the Granite-Cairns saddle (the camera is pointing south and those are the Villard pinacles in the background).
Image
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Postby b. » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:43 am

chugach mtn boy wrote:This site is in upper Sky Top Valley, directly below the Granite-Cairns saddle (the camera is pointing south and those are the Villard pinacles in the background).
Image


Plush by Beartooth standards.
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Postby CBakwin » Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:15 pm

There are no guarentees about Bears, but I would feel safe up there. Weather will be your big concern.
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Postby VincePoore » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:27 pm

Phil,

Be sure to let us know what the snow conditions in the couloir were when you get back.

Vince
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Postby Saintgrizzly » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:19 pm

phillinley wrote:One last question on Granite. If I was to just bring a bivy bag up and sleep in skytop, I shouldn't have to worry about grizzlies coming that far up above tree line right? The only issue should be temperatures, and marmots I would hope.


What draws bears above timberline—often all the way to summits—is the lure of insects such as lady bugs or army cut worms. That sort of thing is like candy to a bruin. I've not heard one way or the other about bears in that particular area of Granite Peak, but if the "feast" is present in enough quantity, the likelihood of bear presence goes up quite dramatically. At any rate, don't do anything stupid, like take ANY kind of edible (or even, for example, toothpaste) into your tent or bivy.
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Postby phillinley » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:36 pm

Well if grizzlies do get up that far, I guess I won't be climbing the peak. Nothing concerns me more than having to deal with those things. I can't sleep if I'm in an area they might be around, and I can't summit that thing and be back to the car in one day, so I'll probably just roll south to Colorado and climb there for the rest of the week.
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