Granite Peak - August 28, 2002September 4 2002 at 9:31 AM
|T. Brown |
Response to Granite Peak, Montana (12,799 feet)
TRIP REPORT: GRANITE PEAK, MT
August 28, 2002
Three must be the charm! After two failed attempts, I finally stood atop Granite Peak, MT on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 at 2:00pm. In August 2000, we underestimated the heat/distance and ran out of time. In October 2001, we ran into knee deep snow on Froze to Death Plateau (FDP) and gave up. All three attempts were via the Mystic Lake/Phantom Creek Trail/FDP route.
We were all alone on the mountain for our two day climb. In case anyone is interested, here’s how long it takes a 41 year old man to climb Granite Peak, MT (elev. 12,799) in the rain, fog, snow, lighting/thunder, and heat of August.
12:20pm, Sprinkling, Left Parking
2:00pm, Raining, Arrived at Mystic Lake
3:08pm, Raining Hard/Foggy, (8,400’)
6:00pm, Raining/Foggy/Cold, Arrived at FDP(10,180’)
8:30pm, Went to Bed, No Rain, No Wind … Perfect Night!
7:20am, Beautiful/38 degrees, Left Eastside of FDP
9:59am, Beautiful, Almost at Tempest Mt. (11,700’)
11:00am, Beautiful, Bottom of Cleaver (10,900’)
12:53pm, Beautiful, Arrived at Snow Bridge (11,600’)
2:00pm, Beautiful, Arrived at Summit
2:56pm, Cloudy/Thunder, Top of Cleaver (11, 400’)
3:15pm, Snowing/Lighting/Thunder, Down in Col Between Tempest & Granite
4:00pm, Cloudy/Windy, Heading Across Saddle at Tempest (11,500’)
7:00pm, Cloudy, Packed up Tents (10,180’)
9:45pm, Beautiful/Stars Everywhere!, Arrived at Mystic Lake
11:36pm, Beautiful, Arrived at Parking Lot
My altimeter is probably short 150’… but it’s all relative. Keep in mind, our team was at best in “fair” physical condition. We might have been able to shave off a few hours, but the weather slowed us down at several points. For planning purposes, I think an “average” climber could plan on “one mile an hour plus sleep time” with good weather. All bets are off if the weather turns bad.
After climbing a grand total of approximately 60 miles in 85 combined hours over three years (not to mention the 12,000+ air miles!), here are some tips to crawling up Granite Peak:
1. Go in August, but be prepared for a cold, wet, and hot weather.
2. Bring a water filter/pump it saves on what you have to carry.
3. Bring a very good sleeping bag, you’ll need it at night.
4. This ain’t a one day hike for anyone I know!
5. Ropes are NOT mandatory, but you will get badly hurt if you slip.
6. Cairns have gotten MUCH better in the past 3 years.
7. There is a short cut at the top of Phantom Creek Trail, take it!
8. Make sure your boots/socks are perfect, it is a LONG hike.
9. Cowboy Bar in Fishtale is awesome.
10. If you get hurt or sick, things could turn very ugly very fast.
They were all three excellent climbs, and the summit was certainly worth the effort. Now that I’ve made it to the top Granite Peak, I feel like I’ve graduated from school and it is time to move on to another challenge. I have mixed emotions, but I’ll never forget this very beautiful and demanding summit.
19 down, 31 to go!