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| | |-+  April 2, 2016, Granite Mountain, South Face
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Author Topic: April 2, 2016, Granite Mountain, South Face  (Read 1380 times)
jakedouglas
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April 2, 2016, Granite Mountain, South Face
« on: 04/03/16, 12:55 PM »

It seems like there is often a relatively short window where Granite Mountain is safe to ski, but still enjoyable and worth the effort. I had kept my eye out for the first extended stretch of warm sunny weather such as this one, in hopes of getting it done after some shedding and consolidation.

Left the car shortly after 6, only vehicle in the lot on a Saturday! I left skins at home, figuring that skinning would be mostly impractical and carrying them not worth the weight. Hit the snow of the western-most chute in about 45 minutes and transitioned from trail runners to boots and crampons and began booting directly upward through debris.

As things opened up I gradually traversed onto the first rib to the east so I could get a good look at the central chute that I wanted to ski. Things had only half-frozen overnight, with booting conditions being shin deep shaved ice consistency, secure and easy but inefficient. I brought a light ice axe but never took it off of my pack.

As the sun came up, it became clear that 6am was not nearly early enough for this objective right now, and only the cloud cover was keeping me from having to turn around then and there. On and on the stairmaster went, and toward the top I encountered more of a breakable surface crust that gave me serious doubts about being able to make the descent safely given my skiing ability.

At the summit I had great views of Snoqualmie pass, and it was very cool to see part of the Chair Peak circumnav where I had been on Wednesday. But the high cloud cover was not breaking, and I knew I couldn't ski down the way I came up with any kind of crust. Feeling wigged out, I decided today wasn't the day and started to pizza my way down the ridge toward the hiking route on squeaky and unpleasant snow.

A few hundred feet down, however, I hit something that resembled corn. Prodding around and making a test turn, I decided that I had to go give the intended line a look. Skis on pack, marched back upward, skis back on. Still weird at the top on squeaky snow, but I kept traversing out above the roll into the chute and the snow turned creamy. At this point I knew I could ski down safely.

Not being a great skier, I couldn't bring myself to make my first turn on the steepest part (40 deg?), so I continued a descending traverse to a slight indentation in the slope just west of the top of the chute and made my first turn there. Properly oriented, I traversed into the chute just under the roll and went for it. Exhilarating fall line skiing on decent corn!

Eventually started skiing on the sides of the chute as the middle lower down was somewhat gouged and bumpy from slides of the previous days. Cut back through the woods to the west once I thought I was getting close to the trail elevation and promptly ran into the first hikers of the day. Trail runners back to the car and a drive to the other side of the freeway to admire the big picture and snap a photo.

Great descent, found it similar to Nisqually chute minus the volcano. I will be back to repeat this one.


* IMG_7401.jpg (183.7 KB, 600x800 - viewed 733 times.)

* IMG_7416.jpg (185.22 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 738 times.)
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jakedouglas
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Re: April 2, 2016, Granite Mountain, South Face
« Reply #1 on: 04/03/16, 12:56 PM »

More:


* IMG_7426.jpg (139.71 KB, 600x800 - viewed 747 times.)

* IMG_7434.jpg (183.83 KB, 600x800 - viewed 751 times.)
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jakedouglas
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Posts: 124


Re: April 2, 2016, Granite Mountain, South Face
« Reply #2 on: 04/03/16, 12:56 PM »

More:


* IMG_7505_1.jpg (201.76 KB, 800x800 - viewed 736 times.)

* IMG_7488_1.jpg (245.92 KB, 981x800 - viewed 750 times.)
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Zap
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Posts: 2155


Re: April 2, 2016, Granite Mountain, South Face
« Reply #3 on: 04/03/16, 04:30 PM »

 Wink
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cascademystic
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Posts: 83


Re: April 2, 2016, Granite Mountain, South Face
« Reply #4 on: 04/03/16, 05:23 PM »

nicely done!
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