Somewhere It’s Summer Solstice

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Zeusdaddy photo used with permission, please respect all copyrights

Special Thanks to Guest Trip Reporter WXMan:

Ah, Granite Mountain.  A favorite of many a TNABer.  It affords the group a choice of gentle, steady, trail-climb, or a more aggressive semi-direct assault on the summit.  The low vegetated and open upper slopes afford the climber sweeping panoramic vistas… usually.  This Thursday’s views were a bit more… limited.  Two groups set off up the mountain in staggered fashion in order to adhere to ALW guidelines, and these groups were even further split at the snow-gully where some elected to tackle the obstacle directly, while others opted for the trail and longer ridge-line approach.   All in all the weather largely cooperated for the ascent with cloudy skies and rather ‘muggy’ climbing conditions, which drove some to bemoan the extra layers that were worn in anticipation of ‘wintry’ conditions expected up top.  Upon reaching solid snow just before attaining the ridge, the mild & muggy conditions from down below quickly transformed to chilly & breezy up top, prompting the addition of layers for the last 0.5mi or so to the summit.  Snow conditions were fairly soft, but snow was consolidated enough to allow for pretty consistent under-footing with reasonably well established steps in the steeper spots.  I was part of the late departure group and was pleasantly surprised meet up with the earlier climbing party at the summit, huddled beneath the lookout tower trying to keep warm.

A proper Summer Solstice Summit Happy Hour quickly ensued with a full complement of  champagne, wine, beer, liquor, and passed hors d’oeuvres & desserts.  Appropriately, as the revelry surrounding ‘Summer’s’ arrival began to wane (it was foggy, windy and about 40 degrees after all), the wind kicked up and the snow rolled in, shooing us off the summit.  A descent chock full of slushy glissades, and rainy trail hiking got most everyone back to the cars by 10pm… good solid TNAB timing.  The rain was little more than a minor nuisance, and wasn’t really a problem… Snow was a good reminder that even though the calendar reads ‘summer’… in the NW, we don’t really get treated to summer-weather until the middle of July.

Solstice celebrations continued on at the Pour House in NB, with drinks and grub, and a chance to dry off.   So here’s to hoping that we can all make it through the next 2 weeks until the real NW summer arrives… sometime after the 4th of July!  :-\

Cheers,
WxMan

Trail details, NOAA weather, driving directions, maps and past trip reports can be found here: Granite Mt Info

3 Responses to “Somewhere It’s Summer Solstice”

  1. Erik says on :

    I went up Granite yesterday afternoon for some foggy panos. I took the first gully c3540ft, which was snow-free until 5240ft. I angled slightly right at the top of the gully where the band of snow was a less steep. The steep part lasted only 150 feet (30-35deg), but not a problem. I went straight up, but you could avoid it by going up the SW spine at 4700ft…The second gully has snow in it at the start…Trail is snow-free until 4300 feet until you head NW up the meadow. The ridge has a nice snow-pack all the way up as the boulders are still covered nicely. Watch it though as you never know when the big punch-throughs will start. I brought my ice-axe and micro-spikes, but you didn’t need them if you are comfortable on snow.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096648@N04/sets/72157626904058245/

  2. ewb says on :

    Erik, thanks for the great PreNAB conditions report!

  3. Erik says on :

    btw: Here is my route from yesterday. I plan to go again tonight, but probably late.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28096648@N04/5864613298/in/photostream