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| | |-+  From Alpental to Granite
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Author Topic: From Alpental to Granite  (Read 1866 times)
Kyle Miller

Posts: 636

From Alpental to Granite
« on: 05/02/09, 05:03 PM »

After being inspired by Monika and Dave Perkins trip last February. John (Jcocci) and I decided to give it a go.

We knew it was going to be a long day so we mutually agreed to meet up at the Safeway in North Bend at 7:00 A.M. so we could shuttle one car to the Granite Mountain trail head and the other to the Alpental Parking lot. After packing up our gear we were off on the long side hill traverse out to our first objective Chair/Bryant peak Col. We skinned up the nearly bullet proof snow to around 700 feet below the col and for safety/traction reasons we switched over to Ice axes and crampons for the ascent. The ascent had gone smoothly and as we reached the col the views started to open up. We switched our gear over to snowboard mode (yes we are both splitboarders) and rode down to Melakwa lake traversing skiers left around a nasty cliff band on hard avy chundered snow.

Riding down to Melakwa Lake

Photo by John

Once reaching the lake we rested and took advantage of a water source as we watched the weather turn from partly sunny to mostly cloudy. We started skinning up to Melakwa pass so we could check out what col seemed to be the safest (Steepness, Cornice and exposure) and decided the least sketchy would be the headwall closest to Kaleetans summit. After heading up to Melakwa pass we switched over to Crampons and Ice axes to do a long traverse leaving minimal exposure to the person below. After post holeing for the bottom part we started climbing up the already sloughed face and found firm conditions which allowed for easy climbing. Once arriving at the col the summit was right in front of our faces with no more then a 15 minute scramble to gain the summit proper. Once on the summit we carefully switched our gear over while looking off the massive headwall that is Kaleetans North face. Riding down the chute was a combination of corn and Cascadian mank, slushy but not too heavy but as we went lower into the valley it slowly deteriorated into a full on Mank fest of epic proportions.

John Riding down with Chair peak in the background

We rode down from 6259 feet to around 3500 feet were we encountered the source of the Pratt river, this seemed like a good spot to switch over. After switching over to skinning we had a problem, there were no snow bridges and unless we wanted to trek back up the way we came we were going to have to figure something out. After traversing down stream a ways we found a spot that was passable, with a few carefully placed foot holds on moss covered rocks we were on the other side. We did a low traverse around a low ridge that separated the Pratt creek (not a river yet) and upper Tuscohatchie Lake and after a 30 minute skin through old growth forest we were at the lake. By then the weather had changed once again to blue bird sky’s so we soaked up the sun and took advantage of another water source for 30 minutes before making our last climb up to the summit of Granite. Following the drainages was rather straight forward but once you got into the woods it could be somewhat easy to get lost. We were able to find the col in between Denny lake and Cod lake that Dave had spoken of with ease (luckily) then followed the ridgeline to the Eastern face of Granite. Skinning up the ridge was somewhat of a challenge as the sun had only softened the top inch or so leaving everything under to be solid Ice. We made mellow switchbacks all the way up until arriving at our destination the summit of Granite mountain.

Looking back at Kaleetan and Chair peak

By the time we made it to the summit our pace had slowed down. We were tired and wet so we soaked up some much needed sun/rest and packed our gear for the final decent. The sun was getting lower in the horizon and we knew we had another bushwhacking epic in front of us so we decided “ No pics this time lets just rip down the face” so we strapped in and let it loose. The snow was much better then both of us had anticipated almost a frozen powder texture I now call Cowder (corn/power) which was frozen yet soft enough that you couldn’t feel any hard layers. It was exhilarating to rip down the face side by side doing huge arc turns laughing at how amazing it turned out to be but the stoke stopped the moment we started riding down Avy debris for the final  800 feet before long the snow stopped and the mini epic bushwhacking started. We made a long traverse through the dense vegetation trying to carefully make good footholds with every step not wanting to stumble down the steep slopes. Luckily the bushwhacking was uneventful and we were on the trail in no time and back to the car with our soaking wet boots off before 7:30. It was a long tour but it was an amazing journey seeing the landscape that you are familiar with during the summer completely covered in snow.


Same TR with way too many pictures
« Last Edit: 05/04/09, 08:46 AM by Kyle Miller » Logged

In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............

Posts: 2434

Re: From Alpental to Granite
« Reply #1 on: 05/04/09, 03:42 PM »

Nice work Kyle -- that's a great angle on Kaleetan.

Posts: 116

Re: From Alpental to Granite
« Reply #2 on: 05/04/09, 07:19 PM »

Nicely done in less than good touring conditions. Great pictures too.
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