Pleasant walk up. Camp at Robin Lakes was buggy, but I had Maker's Mark.
(This should and probably will be changed into a TR)
Bagged this summit as summit number 10/10 in a contest put on by Sahaptin Outfitters out of Cle Elum. A variety of factors combined to make this easily the most difficult summit of the 10, and the most difficult summit I've climbed in years.
I knew going in that this trail was long. I also knew it was high, so I wanted to hit that sweet spot where there was still enough daylight in the day but it was late enough in the season that all of the snow had melted. After a strenuous summer with a lot of miles under my feet, I got sick at the worst possible time- the end of September. Just as I was starting to feel a little less sick, a massive snowstorm dumped upwards of three feet on the trail. I had a decision to make- be happy with hitting 9/10 summits on my contest list, or give this one a go and hope I'm lucky.
I waited after the snowstorm, hoping some snow would melt. I kept an eye on trip reports and my contacts in the Cle Elum area. Everyone said it was a no-go; this summit was done for the season. I had to see for myself, so on a Saturday night, I drove over and car camped at the TH.
Sunday morning, I left the car at 5:30am, knowing full well I wasn't going to have enough daylight to do this during daylight hours. I made very, very fast time up to the signed trail junction departing trail 1376. I again made very, very fast time all the way up to Tuck Lake, hitting snow about 10 vertical feet below the lake.
I took a very short snack break at Tuck, and consulted the map. The rest of the way would be mostly snow covered; I didn't have time to kinda maybe think I knew where I was going. I did make one error at this point- I followed one set of tracks that ascended towards Robin Lake, on the north side of the ridge. The snow was knee to waist deep in places, and I would find out later that there was little to know snow on the south side of the ridge.
I made it to Robin Lakes, and was thoroughly wiped out at this point. As the snow was about two feet deep up there, I put on my snowshoes and chose to ascend around the northwest side of the lake, up onto the ridge north/northwest of the summit. At the end of the ridge, below the false summit, I ascended directly up the west face of the false summit. Once on top, I tagged the true summit, snapped pictures, grabbed a bite to eat, and was back off of the summit in mere minutes. I got back to where I stashed some gear, and made a beeline out of there. This wasn't how I wanted my trip to go, but I was fighting a losing battle against daylight.
Once I gained the ridge between Robin and Tuck, I discovered that the south side of the ridge was considerably more snow free than the north side, and easily traversable, so off came the snowshoes. (Who'd have thought, right?) I made solid time back down to Tuck, and started moving with a purpose back to the TH. I managed to make it back to the TH before dark, which really surprised me. I was still feeling sick from the previous few weeks, so I knew I wouldn't be as fast as I normally am, but I ended up being a little faster than I expected.
There were other people who tried to bag the summit the week prior to me, and even the same day as me, who turned around. I do know that one person the following week bagged the summit following my steps. Knowing I was the second to last person to bag the summit, and know that I had completed the task I had for the summer, was quite rewarding.
All things considered, it couldn't have gone any better. The views were outstanding, and I ended up being one of a very small number of people to complete the 10 summits. I'd like to get back up in this area next season, and take my time next time.
With Natasha. We camped at the upper Robbin Lake. From the summit of Granite we traversed south to the south peak. The register there showed no other ascents from 2013. The following day we did Trico on the way out. There's a lot of good small lakes in this area and fun granite slabs to walk on.
See the trip report by Natasha.
Climbed both Trico and Granite in a day after hiking up the afternoon before with plenty of time to kill exploring the various subsidiary peaks of Granite. Massive thunderstorm chased me away around midnight, made for an interesting descent, not advised.
Overnighter at the Robins. Hiked up the ridge between the lakes in the morning and got real close to the top, but turned around as we ran into 10+ goats strung out along the ridge crest blocking our way. Will have to return and try again!
Still plenty of snow in July. Climbed up from Robin Lakes. Absolutely stunning!
I did the high route above Robin Lakes. Bluebird day.
Nice day combined with Trico
Combined with Trico. An Awesome day!!
Wow - the last weekend of September and temperatures were in the 80's! It was a steep trail up to Robin Lakes, but we were rewarded by a great campsite and amazing scenery. After leaving our packs at the camp, the scramble up to Granite Mountain was easy, following the ridge between the two lakes. Great views not only of the neighboring peaks but also of the many inviting lakes scattered around the area. As hkutuk mentioned, we extended the adventure with a scramble up Trico Peak the next morning, followed by an extended bushwacking descent along a creek which gradually grew from a narrow rocky gully to an enormous washout canyon. Somehow we still made it safely back to the trailhead, where coincidentally we ran into fellow sp'er rpc and his wife Shirley returning from a Daniel climb.
From Tacquala Lakes TH followed the steep trail up to Robin Lakes. From there headed up the ridge between the two lakes and then left down to the saddle and up to the peak. The peak to the south looked higher so again dropped down to a saddle and up to the pointy summit of Granite Moutain. The skies were smoky from nearby fires but still great wievs of Mt. Daniel. Next day went NW up to Trico mountain. Not sufficiently thrilled by the climbs we decided to go down off trail. So first down a granite gulley to Trico lake and then followed Trico creek drainage, which worked out well until we hit the falls almost at the valley bottom. After some down climbing and some climbing back up into the forest brought us down to PCT. Lakes along the way provided refreshing breaks on this exceptioanally nice September weekend.
The Robin Lakes area has been one of my favorite places since 1977, but I have only climbed Granite Mountain on three of my trips there. The views are great!