The weekend didn’t exactly go as planned. After bailing of ice climbing Hubba Hubba in Leavenworth we decided to head out to West Granite and  Granite Mountain. Avalanche danger was moderate so it was the perfect time to go for the summit on this peak. People die every year climbing Granite since the route is basically up a massive avalanche chute.

We began early and followed a well packed down trail to the Junction with Granite and Pratt Lake. We took the Pratt Lake Trail and turn off about another .2 miles down after crossing the second creek. The route for West Basically goes straight up. However, we found that the snow was too deep and fluffy even with snow shoes to make meaningful progress. We turned back and decided to just go fror Granite via the standard route. At the junction we took the turn for Granite and followed a well beat down trail for several switchbacks up the gully in and out of the trees. we had taken out snowshoes off, but opted to put them back on at about 3400ft since track wasn’t as solid.

The going was slow, especially for me. I felt very out of condition. The result of taking too much time off from climbing steep mountains and carry heavy packs during the fall due to life’s curve-balls. The trail traverse to the fall left gully and then back to the right gully. The snow was very stable, but still felt a bit slabby. I could definaely see how this area should be avoid in anything above moderate avy danger.

The trail became less and less stomped down by snowshoes tracks as I expect folks bailed. At about 4500 feet the track we were following simply ended. Damien broke trail through deep snow for another 300 feet. At that point it was about 3pm and we knew that summiting before dark probably wasn’t going to happen. Instead of descending the way we had come we plunged steeped straight down just off the left of the center of the gully in case an debris fell. This worked very wekk and we rejoined the trail on the last switchback in the galley that entered into the forest. From there it was an easy walk (via headlamp) back to the car.


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