Granite Mtn (Dec 12, 2009)

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granite_mtn_coverConditions: Winter Scramble
Gear: Ice axe, snow shoes
Map: USGS Snoqualmie
Area: Snoqualmie Pass
Reference: 
Stats: 8mi, 4130' gain (for the loop)

Granite Mtn and West Granite Mtn are good winter trips to do but only when avalanche conditions permit and definitely by NOT following the summer route (which crosses some serious avalanche terrain).

Our group reached the trailhead, geared up, and headed up the trail. The creek crossing was a complete icy mess but at least there were no slips. Just after the creek crossing we headed near straight uphill, staying in the trees. Upon reaching the upper basin, we assessed the snow conditions which continued to look good so we did the rising traverse up the slope to the saddle between Granite (the lookout peak) and West Granite (Pt 5566). From the saddle we followed the NW ridge up to the top of Granite. Lookout is always locked as this is an administrative lookout meaning it is in use and not open to the public.

From Granite we headed back to the saddle and then followed the SE ridge of West Granite to the top. Our route continued by dropping down the SW ridge of West Granite and then going on a heading towards Olallie Lake. Just before the lake we picked up the "summer trail" (buried under snow) which we followed back down and around to where we left the trail just after the icy creek crossing. In this long stretch of trail from near Olallie to the creek crossing there is one section that is always super icy. There have got to be several seeps or springs oozing out of the hillside. The water coats a significant portion of the trail in thick ice. Most of us did well...except for one time I slipped, my feet continued forward, my head impacting a rock as I fell backward. I took a pretty good fall. Thankfully no real injury. But it was a good reminder to be very careful.

More information on the lookout: This is a current lookout site (administrative so locked) which was developed about 1920 with a cabin. A D-6 cupola cabin (elevated) was built in 1924. The current structure is a 10' treated timber L-4 tower which was built in 1955.
 
Granite Mtn Slideshow

granite_mtn_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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