Having attempted this last fall Greg, Ben, Frank, and I were back several months later to take another crack at it. We all arrived the night before and car camped at the start of the hike, getting an early start the next day. Like last time the hike up Ranch Canyon consisted of a tough bushwhack through endless deadfall and manzanita over multiple bands of granite to the Granite Peak benchmarks. Unlike last time once there we had all day to get to the top of the Needle. Which we needed. Frank led climb the route which he rated a 5.8. From there Frank belayed me as I cleaned the route, followed by Ben and Greg. Once down we started the long bushwhack back down to where we camped the night before. For the most part we all got back after dark where Greg's girlfriend, Kadee had a fire going and hotdogs waiting for us. This was a very nice treat after a 14 hour day. It was close to 11 pm when we left and near 2 am when we finally made it back to SL. Very tough, yet unbelievable day.
This was a tough hike even to get to the benchmark. We went into this one prepared for an attempt on the Milford Needle but knew everything would have to go unbelievably smooth to make that happen. It was not the smoothest of hikes up to Granite Peak. It is a very rugged area and we were forced to be very deliberate in our route up to the top. There was a fair amount of standing around examining the area before proceeding and even then the going was slow due to the thick ground cover, the extensive bushwhacking, sections of scrambling, and a fair amount of snow to deal with. Nevertheless we reached the summit of Granite Peak in a little over 4 hours. But by then we were very short on time as we needed to be back in Delta by 4 pm. That coupled with the extremely cold temperatures on the summit ridge (likely negative 20 F with wind chill) we headed back down chalking this one up to an excellent recon hike for when we come back next time. Hiked with Ben Stokes, Greg Jagielski, and Frank Nederhand.
Via Ranch Canyon, upper slopes were a nasty bush whack through manzanita and other brush. The top was a tough 56 or five seven move.