We loved this route. No ropes. No people. Thanks for a great page.
Congrats on your trip and making it to the top by the southwest couloir! I've added you as an editor on the route page, so please rewrite anything that needs improvement. I think this was my first page on SummitPost, and was written 5-6 years after I was there. I've known it wasn't perfect but I haven't had the opportunity to go back to Montana yet. It is an important route to be on SummitPost, perfect or not.
I enjoyed reading your trip report. I agree that getting around the Aero lakes was a real pain. My nephew and dad have done both approaches you showed (approximately) and preferred the Aero lakes approach. Thanks for whatever improvements you can make to the SP page.
Larry, thanks for the descriptive route info. I've been poring over Beartooth Absaroka topos lately wondering what the best and easiest access to Granite is. Your route provides a good option.
There are patchy spots of ice in the couloir right now. Passable in two places with a little class 4 climbing but several parties turned back due to conditions. I doubt the ce will clear out before the end of the season.
Thanks for the information. Lots of people are turned back by conditions on this mountain.
Headed up Granite around Aug 16-18. Anyone have any beta on current conditions? What the nighttime temps are dropping to? What about snowpack up there (heavy this year, has it melted off yet)?
Any weather/conditions beta is very appreciated!
I'm planning same route on August 25-27
How were conditions?
I'm hoping to be climbing August 26-28...what were the conditions like while you were there?
Thinking about attempting the SW couloir over Labor Day weekend. How did your group fare? I'm assuming there's still plenty of snow in the couloir, but did there appear to be any significant melting with the warm temperatures of the past week? Any other advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
We just attempted it aug 17-19. We had researched the trip well and contacted Friends of Granite for as much info as we could before. We haven't heard of anyone summiting that route this year.
We made it to the gully just below the black diamond formation. The gully was full of snow and ice. We were debating if we wanted to try and skirt around, put on our crampons (only to have to take them off at the top of the gully) or turn around. While debating the weather moved in. Dark clouds and rain made our decision for us.
We took the Zimmer creek approach. I do NOT recommend this on this record snow year. There was quite a bit of snow around the lakes and the trail disappears. You have to cross quite a bit of snow that is steep and ends in water. A slip would be bad. It took a lot of scrambling to get through the upper portion of than approach. I would recommend going up Sky Top Creek. We went down that way and it was much easier.
Going around the sky top lakes wasn't too tough but took more time then we anticipated because of all the extra snow pack. We met two groups as we were descending that were not prepared. No crampons, ice axes, etc.
If you attempt, go up Sky Top and camp as close to the base of the climb as you can. Get a very early start on summit morning. Everything will take longer with all the extra snow.
As a note, you don't necessarily need a high clearance 4WD vehicle to get to the TH. My Toyota Camry Station wagon made it just fine in Aug 2012. Fantastic area! Did Granite via std route a few weeks ago and will return for both the SW and SE couloirs next spring.
I was on top on August 7, 2014. We have had a good deal of rain and unseasonably cold temps here in Montana in the last few days. It is 39 degrees in Cook City right now (August 23,2014 at 9:00 PM) with snow forecast in town for tonite and tomorrow and the peak is over 5000 feet above there. There is a good chance that Granite will be affectively shut down for us mere mortals. Snow in the couloir will make it really slick and somewhat dangerous. The more adventurous types will still go.
Edit: Cooke City got 2" overnight. The forums are posting about 6" to 12" higher up. At least the mosquitos will be gone.
I climbed Granite on 29 July via the SW Couloir. No ice axe or traction was needed but a helmet was a must. The morning I went up the couloir was icy and covered in about 3 inches of snow. Loose rock was an issue going up and down. There are two ropes anchored on the route. The second (higher) rope is fine but the lower needs replacing. When I approached the first (lower) rope I couldn't see the top section so I pulled on the rope, a second harder pull dislodged a boulder giving me a split second to hit the high side as the 15-18" boulder whizzed past my head. And its this issue that makes this route a real concern. Lots of loose rock and boulders.
Road access to the Lady of the Lakes TH is doable by car.
If you are going from Rough Lake side you can save almost a mile, maybe more. When standing at Rough you will see the Skytop Creek cascade on the far right, then a little rocky mountain or hill just left of it and then a hump with 3 pretty wide gullies on it. Left of that is the really pointy high mountain spire. Aim for that hump and take the middle gully but any of the 3 will work. You have to cross the creek down low at the marshy area at the top of Rough to do this. As you crest the hump you can go further left and will come out at the top end of the 2nd Skytop Lake. There are cairnlettes up there, too. This way you just do 1 side of the triangle instead of 2.