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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4178 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostWed Feb 27, 2019 12:07 am 
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Date: 1/21/19
Destination:  Groat Mtn 5581 (USGS Groat)
Party: Matt Burton, Carla Schauble, Steph Abegg

Last winter we attempted Groat in beautiful clear weather but were unable to finish because of deep soft snow.  This year we finished the trip in generally opposite conditions.

Last Year:  Visited Steward first, traversed from Stewart saddle, wallowing deep snow, reached false summit at 4:15pm, didn't attempt true summit, clear weather and views, hiked out by moonlight, 11:40 hour round trip.

This Year:  skipped Stewart, took lower road to Groat, crampon hard snow, reached false summit at 11:00am, finished true summit, cloudy and no views, out by mid-afternoon, 6:10 hour round trip.

We were able to drive to 3150 feet on the side road below Stewart, then hiked the road to the summer parking area and barricade at 3500 feet.  Last year, we took the left-branching road toward Stewart.  This year, we took the right-branching abandoned road, which mostly doesn't show on the map, but traverses east to reach Groat's south ridge circa 4000 feet.  This road had lots of water bars and some small brush, but someone has been lopping back the brush enough to keep a path clear.

On the ridge, we snowshoed upward on firm crusty snow.  Circa 4500 feet, the snow was packed so hard underfoot that we switched to crampons.  This was so different from our previous trip.   Last time the so was so deep and soft that it took all of our efforts just to make progress uphill, with the leader having to kick every step multiple times to get a grip, and then still needing to be packed down again by each follower.  This time the crust was so firm that we found ourselves wishing we had brought steel crampons instead of aluminum.

Early on we had a few views of the Sisters Range and Baker, but then clouds covered us for the rest of the day.

GPS Tracks for last year and this year
GPS Tracks for last year and this year
Steph looking like a Halloween candy in her orange-and-black outfit
Steph looking like a Halloween candy in her orange-and-black outfit
We aren't the only critters hiking on this road
We aren't the only critters hiking on this road
glimpse of Twin Sisters
glimpse of Twin Sisters
glimpse of Baker and Black Buttes
glimpse of Baker and Black Buttes

Snow was deeper  in the final stretch to the false summit, but still had a hard crust underneath.  Descending from the false summit to the summit col, it was interesting to see how even this small slope (about 80 feet) had produced enough avalanches to keep the trees down to just sapling size.  Going back up to the true summit, we were careful to stay back from the obvious cornices on the west side.

Carla descending from the false summit to the saddle
Carla descending from the false summit to the saddle
Carla following along the ridge (she standing on a spot of bare rock, not cornice snow)
Carla following along the ridge (she standing on a spot of bare rock, not cornice snow)
Steph waiting below the summit
Steph waiting below the summit
red-blue-and white summit
red-blue-and white summit

Stats: 6.1 miles, 2780 gain, 6:10 hours

Last year's trip report: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8026345
Steph's trip report: http://www.stephabegg.com/home/tripreports/washington/northcascades/groat

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 6240 | TRs
Location: kenmore
iron
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getting old
PostThu Feb 28, 2019 11:41 pm 
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i recall that final stretch to groat being kind of groaty. we had less snow when we did it, so it was easy to head up the avi slopes. same kind of views though...

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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