Great views from the lookout. Nice day hike.
Beautiful Hike! Next time I find the scramble route and rent the lookout ;-)
It was a beautiful day to climb this mountain. The snow was very deep, but was more solid and stable from just above the tree line and on toward the summit. Despite the gorgeous day, very strong winds generated a sea of spindrift on the summit. The massive cornices and the view of Glacier Peak topped the day's drama.
Snow started at the trailhead, and got deep around 3000'. Trail was well broken making snowshoes optional. First time climbing this route, and it felt much harder than the summer route. Might have been the snow. Windy on the ridge above the treeline, but not too bad at the Lookout. Nice views of the local Cascade peaks and a peak at Rainier and the Olympics. Long climb up was shortened considerably with quite a bit of glissading on the way down. 3hrs 30 mins going up, 6 hrs 20 mins round trip.
First time up here. WA in a cold snap and alot of rds washed out to other areas, we decided on just a day hike. About 3 inches of snow at the parking lot turned into about 3 feet of fluff at the start of the gulley. Once on the ridge the wind was howling with temps probably close to 20!. The ridge was interesting climbing with the boulder field just barely covered with snow. This made for many sucker holes and at times found ourselves up to our chest wallowing to get out. Came down the backside.
Starting with what would have been one of many solo summits, turned out to be a group climb, after meeting some wonderful climbers in the parking lot.
The trail was was wet and very muddy on the low end (as it often is), and consistent snow was reached after the second perennial waterfall crossing. Once we reached the meadows, we proceded straight up the south face to gain the bouldery southeast ridge, instead of going the general direction of the trail that follows to the basin on the northeast side, because of major cornices that were directly in the path. The weather was constantly changing from sunny and almost clear, to strong wind gusts, sleet, and low visibility. The rougher weather was short lived, fortunately until we were well off the summit and down the southeast ridge, before a significant northern front blanketed the summit.
Despite other cornices and undercut ledges, the Souteast Ridge was the safest route to the summit. Deep, and sometimes unstable snow made the trip longer than later in the season. Car to summit time: 3:17
The trail is in excellent shape. No snow until around 4400' at the Easternmost part of the summer trail. From there it is on snow, with enough tracks to make following it easy. The ridge is still snow covered, and provided a nice direct route to the summit. After climbing through a cloud bank around 4 - 4500', the sky cleared and we enjoyed blue skies the rest of the way. Incredible day, with a slight breeze and mild temperatures. One in a million for the Cascades in May!
This was a solo climb, and my second climb on Granite this year. I was very surprised to see how patchy the snow cover was, considering how much snow Granite had recieved a few weeks prior (see below). There had been unusual warm weather in previous weeks that caused some major meltoff. Surprisingly, there were quite a few cars there when I arrived. I passed a party of eight coming down just after the 2nd waterfall crossing. The leader told me they summatted, but evidence contradicted their story, as their tracks came to a screeching halt just above the meadows and showed that they had turned around. It was pretty windy at roughly 20 to 30 MPH sustained wind. The rain had turned to snowfall when the SE ridge was in clear view (roughly 3800 ft?). The snowpack was much more stable this time, but also very sparse compared to previous trip. I experienced some brief whiteout conditions, but after summatting and seeing some mean cloud cover moving in fast from the west, I husselled to get back down to the car. Glissading wasn't the usual option, unless you don't mind leaving a little blood on the rocks.
Just six weeks prior, my partner and I turned back on this previous trip, as there was way too much unstable snow, and no decent snowpack to bite into. The snow was anywhere from waist deep to chest deep. Turning back became our only real option.
My first time up this mountain, surely not my last.
Fun hike, lots of wind on the summit... you want Mt. Si on steriods?? Try Mailbox Peak! Granite is one of my favorite hikes along I-90 tho, great views, Baker, Glacier, Adams, and the lovely, dominating sentinal Rainier.
Heard about this peak on Friday, climbed it on Sunday morning. Great weather at the start, began to cloud over by the time I reached the fire tower. Thought it was going to be too warm, but the temperature really cooled off at the summit. Very nice climb. "Mt Si on steroids" is pretty close, but the open meadows on the top half really add to the enjoyment. Enjoyed huckleberries along the way as well.
This was my first snow climb. Plenty of it after this winter. The gully, or next to it preferably, gets up to 40 degrees. Big time snow loading is probable. Go early and climb quick. People all over the mountain today. Gorgeous, with nice views of Alpine Lakes area.
We hadn't gotten too far along this fun winter route, when we (in a most horrific and immediate manner) found out that the name of this route was for real. A quick glissade and jog back to the car ensued, and we all agreed that paying attention to the avalanche forcast was not for weenies and fraidy cats, but an excellent idea to preserve ones life!
Took a route I had never taken, and ascended though the woods straight up the West side until we got out of the treeline at about 3500'. The ridge was real icy with exposed rock from the wind. Got pelted by 40mph+ winds at times, and oce pellets nailed us most of the time. Made the summit in 4 hours, which is along time for Granite. Even though ava danger was moderate to high, the West Ridge is a safe route to go.
After 3.5 hours of climbing we reached the summit of Granite Mountain and prepared our bivouac. The sun was giving us its last light of the day with a dramatic sunset. After the sun's departure, the temperature dropped fast and the winds picked up. The winds howled all night with gusts up to 40-45mph. The morning came with a big change in weather: snow, wind and whiteout conditions. After about 15 hours inside the tent, it was time to desend. We struggled but broke camp as best we could and headed down. Visibility was about 20-30 feet at best on the upper mountain. We spotted several landmarks: trees, rocks, whatever we could see and made our way down. After getting off the main route we wound up about a half-mile up the Pratt Lake trail. Not too bad because that way down was much safer than through the gulley. Already looking forward to the next adventure.
Hiked up in 3.5 hours with full packs to spend the night. From boots, to snowshoes, to crampons, we fully utilized our resources for the climb. The last 1500 feet is a real push with 35-45 degree angles on snow and ice. Made it up with an hour of light left (Late start). Beautiful evening with little wind, and we built a small wall next to the lookput towewr to deflect some of the wind, but no luck as we got hammered with snow and 30-40 mph winds the whole night. Woke up to a whiteout (Did we sleep?), with a ton of snow built up on the sides of the tent. Packed up camp in hellish conditions and began the descent in a whiteout. Really a good test for navigation if you were blind. We wound up going way to far west but dropped onto the Pratt Lake trail. We actually descended the dafest way in the trees as avalanche conditions were mild, but always a danger on Granite Mountain. It was a relief to get down in one piece, and another epic comes to an end.
Climbed lower trail to mile 2 of junction of the gulley where we ascended mixed snow and heather and brush. Really slippery and very steep. Very good conditioner hike if you like to go up in junk. Great views at the summit were quickly brushed away by clouds and a storm closing in.