Forum Index > Trip Reports > Almost West Granite 12/31/17
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Jeff
Ramen Elitist



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 2664 | TRs
Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
Jeff
Ramen Elitist
PostMon Jan 01, 2018 12:15 pm 
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I started from the trailhead at exit 47 at 7:40. There was roughly eight other cars in the parking lot when I arrived at 7:30. The parking lot was solid water ice but the trail was mostly mud with occasional snow/ice until the Granite/Pratt junction. There was one creek crossing that was a little trickier than usual, but not too bad. One large fallen tree about 5 minutes up the trail, but also manageable.

I left the trail at 2850 ft and headed straight north up frozen dirt. The snow started very thin around 3200. The brush was not bad except around 3800 there was a few hundred feet of steep alder that was awful.

Overall the route needs a lot more snow. I didn't put on snowshoes until 4200 when it opened up. The snow was a lot more difficult than what I am used to. It was a couple inches of wet snow on top of a crust with a few feet of powder underneath. Snowshoes slipped on the wet snow and couldn't quite get through to the crust. Boots punched through the crust into thigh deep snow. It was awful on the way down.



The upper part of the route to the knob at 5200 ft is mostly in the open with sparse trees. A stiff east wind (not in the forecast) was moving a lot of snow. Shallow wind slabs were setting up. They cracked on the way down, but didn't run.

The route ascends a faint ridge until it turns into a real ridge that goes to a knob at 5200 ft. The rest of the route to West Granite follows a gentle ridge that rises steeply near the summit. I decided to call it at 5200 ft on account of the wind and the snow conditions. Also the lumpy ridge looked not so fun in current conditions.

While West Granite is around 5600ft, the knob at 5200ft is actually more west of Granite. So I guess I sort of reached West Granite.


I only saw one large group on the way up and three groups of two on the way down. I didn't see anyone off trail.

I stopped to (quickly) take a snapshot of the parking situation at Franklin Falls. Who says WHC isn't good for anything? Probably why I only saw a dozen people all day.


There is a sign at the trailhead that says a NW Forest Pass is not required for the season.

I used snowshoes from 4200 to 5200. I alternated from boots to snowshoes on the way day. I used microspikes on the way down from 3600 to the Granite/Pratt junction. Traction aids not necessary, but nice to have. It was my first time using them and they worked better than crampons for easy terrain. Poles highly recommended. Ice axe not necessary.

Tree wells were sort of spooky, especially being alone. Thankfully no close calls.
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Bootpathguy
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Bootpathguy
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PostMon Jan 01, 2018 4:46 pm 
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Jeff wrote:

I zoomed in on that image

Sheesh!!! I guess I'll never understand why. Why!?  doof.gif  banghead.gif

Does not look like a enjoyable outdoor experience to me. Looks like a frustrating one.

I bet Gold Creek Pond, Paradise, Hurricane Ridge, Artist Point etc... were complete
today

Thanks for the report

--------------
Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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Jeff
Ramen Elitist



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 2664 | TRs
Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
Jeff
Ramen Elitist
PostMon Jan 01, 2018 4:57 pm 
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I was standing in the middle of the road and it was pure ice so I didn't get a chance to fiddle with the zoom. There were twenty cars parked behind me as well. Must have been at least ninety vehicles total.
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Bootpathguy
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PostMon Jan 01, 2018 5:12 pm 
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Also,


Jeff wrote:
Who says WHC isn't good for anything? Probably why I only saw a dozen people all day.

Yea, I suppose the hype over there on WH&C and the adnauseam posts on Franklin Falls detoured a few folks

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Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool



Joined: 03 Apr 2016
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awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool
PostMon Jan 01, 2018 6:04 pm 
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Cool to see a trip report from you Jeff!  I almost ran into you again, I was up there for a Pratt repeat, TR upcoming.  Conditions sound awful.  That crust layer really sucks sometimes.  In regards to Franklin Falls, I have a friend who's been trying to add me to that facebook group (I refuse to join) and that's all they've been talking about there.  It's crazy how the social media / viral phenomenon can generate such an influx of people.  At least they're all in one place.
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Opus
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Joined: 04 Mar 2006
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Opus
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PostMon Jan 01, 2018 7:47 pm 
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I went up W Granite today and the snow was pretty crappy.  Normally I go up the ridge like you did but this time I stayed on the trail all the way past Ollalie Lake and ascended that ridge on some old snowshoe and boot tracks.  Overall it was pretty good for step kicking, though one short stretch of hard rain crust wasn't fun.  The other ridge route is definitely more mellow when conditions are good.  Descended through the bowl with a thin layer of slippery soft snow on top of the rain crust and traversed back below the ridge in a SW direction for best snow coverage and made it back to the trail.  Carried my snowshoes the whole way.  We really need some more mid/low elevation snow.


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Just_Some_Hiker
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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostTue Jan 02, 2018 7:58 am 
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Jeff wrote:
Who says WHC isn't good for anything?

It's a wonderful group if you're into shameless photo dumps of summit selfies and yoga poses.
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Jeff
Ramen Elitist



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 2664 | TRs
Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
Jeff
Ramen Elitist
PostTue Jan 02, 2018 7:42 pm 
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Opus wrote:
We really need some more mid/low elevation snow.

That's the truth. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot in the immediate forecast. I guess that means drive higher or trade the snowshoes for microspikes for the time being.
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MangyMarmot
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MangyMarmot
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PostTue Jan 02, 2018 10:17 pm 
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Opus, I was up at West Granite yesterday as well. Did we run into you? Were you traveling with a couple of skiers? We met a snowshoer with a couple of skiers near West Granite summit.  We were coming up the ridge from Granite. Two guys and a dog. What a beautiful day up there.
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Opus
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Opus
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 1:34 pm 
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Yep, that was us!  I never did use my snowshoes despite annoying post-holing on the descent.  The skiers seemed to do pretty well and made a higher traverse back towards Ollalie in the trees to find better snow, then skied down the trail.  I dropped straight down through the trees.  We both hit that section of trail within 5 minutes of eachother, despite the skiers longer route.
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flatsqwerl
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flatsqwerl
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 2:22 pm 
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what does WHC stand for?
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Just_Some_Hiker
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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 2:24 pm 
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flatsqwerl wrote:
what does WHC stand for?

Washington Hikers and Climbers. It's a Facebook group.
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Pef
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Pef
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 2:49 pm 
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aka
Where Hikers Congregate
Washington Hiker Congestion

Ok I'm done, I am sure someone can do better smile.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Almost West Granite 12/31/17
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