Ascent of Granite Peak on 2017-09-02

Climber: Alex Lennon

Date:Saturday, September 2, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Granite Peak
    Elevation:12799 ft / 3901 m

Ascent Trip Report

An amazing trip including pristine alpine lakes, six rambunctious nocturnal mountain goats, summit beer, and by a wide margin the best whortleberry crop I've ever seen. I really can't recommend the Sky Top Creek approach enough; the social trail is surprisingly excellent and the views are just stunning. As far as the Southwest Couloir itself, it's true that some of the rock is quite loose; a helmet would be mandatory on this route, as with all routes on this huge peak. That aside, it's quite a pleasant climb and the views are unsurpassed. An ice axe may be required at certain times of year as one section of this couloir tends to accumulate ice. I've wanted to climb this peak ever since Duncan did in 2011, and it was a great feeling standing on the summit. I was lucky as well to have flawless weather and excellent climbing partners, Dan and Sam. This was my first excursion in the Beartooths, but it certainly won't be my last.

It's also worth noting that we ran into several parties who all advised strongly against the Aero Lakes approach in favor of Sky Top Creek. We took their advice and used the latter option for both approach and departure. By all accounts, the Aero Lakes are strikingly beautiful but require several miles of sustained and at times arduous boulder-hopping followed by a steep snow descent into the Sky Top Lakes basin. Of course, a doubtlessly magnificent loop could be made out of the two approaches if these things interest you. We chose Sky Top Creek both ways since it was equally gorgeous and had a much better trail from Rough Lake back to the main trail. We figured there was a better chance of getting out in time for cold beer and hot pizza at the Miner if we re-traced our approach; we did and it was awesome.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5375 ft / 1638 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5375 ft / 1638 m
    Route:Lady of the Lake> Sky Top Creek> SW Couloir
    Start Trailhead:7424 ft / 2262 m
Descent Statistics

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