New Meetup: Granite Mountain Afternoon Hike

From: Shabnam
Sent on: Friday, June 25, 2010 9:01 AM
Announcing a new Meetup for Eastside Hikers Meetup Group!

What: Granite Mountain Afternoon Hike

When: Wednesday, June 30,[masked]:15 PM

Where:
Eastgate Park
Eastgate Park,
Bellevue, WA 98006
[masked]

Hi All,
Let's meet up again for another Wednesday night adventure to Granite Mountain. I have checked the trip reports and it appears to still have snow on the trail but nothing too dangerous at this point to be concerned with. Be prepared with good hiking boots and gaiters. We will meet up on the westside of the Eastgate P&R at 3:15pm. If you are running late please give me a call otherwise we will not wait.. [masked]-6096.

As many of you know I primarily do these hikes for conditioning. I will be bringing an additional 40# in my pack that will slow me down significantly. If you like you are welcome to pass me at anytime on the way up; however, I ask that we stay somewhat together on the way down.

Please read the details as well as the trip report to ensure this hike is right for you.

Details:
Roundtrip 8.0 miles
Elevation Gain 3800 ft
Highest Point 5629 ft

Decription:
One look at the parking lot midday on any summer weekend, and the obvious will jump out and bite you: the Granite Mountain Trail is the most heavily traveled summit path in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor. Of course, there is a good reason for that: it's spectacular. But it's also steep. Mind numbingly, thigh-burning steep. You'll climb a heel-blistering 3800 feet in 4.3 miles to an old fire lookout at the 5600-foot summit, with awesome views in all directions. Pack plenty of water, as there is no good source along the trail.

The trail starts out climbing. You'll hike away from the trailhead parking area through a lush old forest and gain a solid 800 feet in the first mile. At 1 mile the trail forks. Turn right off this relatively flat trail for some serious climbing (to Pratt Lake goes left).

In the next 0.5 mile the switchbacks are easy, if a bit steeper. But as you near 2 miles the switchbacks get tighter, the trail gets steeper, and the breathing gets more difficult. At 4000 feet elevation you'll get a breather as the trail angles across a tricky avalanche chute.

Caution: Early in the year the upper mountain is covered in snow and ice, and the upper slopes are VERY avalanche prone. If you're here any time before mid-June (most years), pause before crossing the chute and look up the gully. If there is still snow above you, be extremely careful--slides can happen at any time.

Once across, the trail starts climbing again. If you time your trek just right, you'll find huckleberries alongside the trail all the way to the ridge top. You'll also break out of the trees and start exploring wide, steeply slanted meadows. Bulbous beargrass fills these meadows in early summer, and when those white blooms disappear, lupine and paintbrush color the slopes red and blue.

At 5200 feet you'll crest the summit ridge, getting a brief reprieve from the ruthless climbing as you cross a meadow. You still have another 0.5 mile or so to cover along the ridge crest and then up the summit crown, but the hardest work is behind you. Get to the top and enjoy the 360-degree views from the lookout--on some weekends, volunteers open it up to visitors.

Most Recent Trip Report (June 22nd):
We decided on going up Granite Mountain since several other choices had logging operations going on. First patch of snow encountered at the higher avalanche chute and there is still an impressive amount of snow covering the trail higher up. The trail route through the basin and around to the north side of the peak is difficult with no tracks to follow. We proceeded up, following tracks, via the south-east ridge on snow. There is one short boulder area about half way up the ridge, then snow to the lookout. There is no longer any corniced areas just steep snow slopes.
It appears that the Beargrass and other wildflowers, blooming on the south open slope, will be out later this year and the only flowers currently blooming were down lower just near the trees below 4000'.
Going down we passed many unprepared hikers going up with tennis-shoes but boots and gaters recommended, especially in the slushy afternoon snow.
Ralph brought his 11 year old daughter Katie along with us and she did extremely well for her first mountain summit.

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/hiking-343/calendar/13908856/

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