Distance: 8.59 mi
Elevation Gain: 4512 ft.
It was very melted out down low; we first hit snow on the trail around 3,500′ and were on continuous at around 3,800′ near where the trail curves around to the east side of Olallie Lake. We followed the creek drainage on the NE side of the lake toward the west ridge of West Granite. We gambled and decided to not bring snowshoes on this trip…..this is where we learned that we should have brought the snowshoes. We headed northwestward trying to stay near the trees, as the freeze thaw crust in trees was a bit better and we could actually stay afloat. Eventually, at around 5,000′, the snow firmed up even more and we didn’t have to worry about post holing, but we did decide to put on crampons, as things were getting icy. We made quick time up the rest of the ridge and then took a break on the summit for lunch. We then continued SE down the ridge toward main Granite Mountain and the snow generally remained firm. The traverse was pretty easy, but I wouldn’t want to do this traverse with anything other than low avalanche conditions. The views from the lookout were spectacular and we didn’t spend much time before heading down. We followed the route of the summer trail and found good plunge stepping in general. We descended into some clouds at around 4,800′ and continued to follow the boot track down through the various avalanche paths. The rest of the descent was pretty much uneventful and seemed to go on longer than hoped, but all in all it was a great February day out in the sun!
(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)
- Avalanche beacon/shovel/probe
- Glacier glasses
- Mountaineering boots
- Snowshoes – didn’t bring them but wish I did
- Steel crampons
- Steel ice axe
- Trekking poles