Climbed this great route with Eric Thorsell. We had some difficulty getting into the basin below Granite, but the scramble itself was awesome. There was no need to bring a rope, and a few sections had some sketchy fixed ropes. Near the top, it is important to cross over onto the ridge (on climber's right) to gain the summit.
Trip Report on my blog is here https://summitsofthestates.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/granite-peak-montana/
Definitely rock fall, but we climbed staggered to prevent injury in our team of 2. Would be trickier if other teams were on the route. Amazing views and beautiful area! Definitely want strong scrambling/third class skills..
Car to car in 36 hours.
Stood on top on a perfect day with no clouds and no wind. Thanks to all my family who came on the hike with me.
We descended this way after doing the Granite Peaks traverse. Loose but straightforward. Those big slabs at the base of the gully are cool!
Loved this climb - may have to do it again someday!
Absolutely spectacular scenery. The actual hike and climb is very physically and mentally taxing, with a lot of route finding and boulder hopping. The couloir is full of loose rock, one of my climbing partners dislodged a massive rock which flew right past us into the void below before splatting into a bunch of fragments. I was the only one that went on after that... The rest of the group descended to a lower lake while I was still on the climb and I got totally disoriented the next morning trying to get down from the Sky Top Lakes. What was supposed to be a one hour segment turned into a 7 hour class 3 ordeal through the high country. Make sure to bring a good map and keep an eye for viewpoints to get back! There is a lot of lakes here and no route so it is quite easy to get lost. The weather was amazing, we had 3 days of perfect temperatures and not a single storm.
During morning hours and with only 540' elevation to go to the summit, in the Southwest Couloir, I suddenly had a bad feeling that a freak storm was coming. It was one of those "smell a storm coming" moments. Although we knew we could reach the summit OK, we were concerned about the possibility of questionable weather while trying to descend the couloir, so my partner and I agreed to turn around. Shortly after getting off the mountain, we turned around and could no longer see the mountain! We considered waiting out the storm to make another attempt, but the storm lasted (for the most part) for two days! It was a frustrating decision to turn around, but it was the right decision. We lived to climb another day, and the mountain is not going anywhere.
Much more beautiful approach than Froze to Death. Better campsite on middle Sky Top lake as well. The Coloir was filled with ice in places so we climbed easy 5th class rock on the left, then the right on the way up. Exit the coloir short of the top, to the right for easier climbing. Very fun route!
Finally reached the summit after three tries for the Cops on Top Summit for Heroes memorial climb!
We started the approach to the S.W. Couloir route using the (Summit Post recommended) route that goes to Lower and Upper Aero Lakes but veered off to the Lone Elk and Skytop Lake drainage which we found to be much better. On descent we avoided Aero lake and used the Sky Top Creek drainage all the way to the junction above the Lady of the Lake trail. See the Sky Top Creek approach map for more details.
Staying right at the top of the couloir will lead to a rib that keeps you on 3rd class ground all the way to the summit. Veering left out of the couloir quickly leads to 4th and 5th class climbing. Ice or snow in the couloir could make this route much more difficult.