Granite Peak SW Couloir VariantAugust 15 2012 at 8:51 AM
Alan Ritter (Login jaritter)
Steve Eckert, of climber.org
fame, recently climbed Granite peak (solo!) and found a variant on the SW Couloir route that works even better as a 3rd-class route to the summit. I'm posting this link to Steve's report
with his permission.
I've known Steve remotely for years, as we consulted on my multifarious attempts on my eponymous peak
in the Sierra, but we had never met in person. A few years ago when I was trying to solo Borah Peak (and got off-route and cliffed out, oops), I was headed back down the ridge and started talking to a fellow climber who was hiking up as I was headed down. I mentioned that I was from St. Louis and he asked, "you're not Alan Ritter, are you?" Turns out it was Steve...he put St. Louis and my Highpointers Club T-shirt together. So, what are the odds that a couple of guys, one from CA and one from MO, cross paths on the trail up Borah Peak on some random Friday in August??? Small world...
I'll definitely try Steve's variant on the SW Couloir route sometime in the next couple of years...
Re: Granite Peak SW Couloir Variant
|August 15 2012, 4:23 PM |
Thanks for the link! I just returned from climbing Granite this past weekend (it was my 48th!) and looking at his photo it seems we actually went up the "ramp" and not the "colouir". It wasn't too technically difficult, but there is a lot of loose rock here with a serious rockfall hazard. One of my climbing partners dislodged a massive rock that flew right past us into the void below.
your 48th date/state - which two remain?
|August 16 2012, 7:45 PM |
I'm engaged in a valiant yet increaslingly futile attempt to track 48 Finishers. Thank you.
|August 16 2012, 4:44 AM |
VERY interesting. Thanks for the link.
Seems to be getting more and more uncommon to find detailed trip reports without GPS coordinates. I must be a dinosaur.
All the rage
|August 16 2012, 3:26 PM |
The SW couloir does seem to be all the rage these days, with an increasing number of highpointers attempting this approach as a way of avoiding Class 5 terrain. But having just completed a guided ascent of Granite the old way via the FTD plateau approach on July 30 - also my 48th
- I have to throw some love to this route. The Class 5 couldn't be easier and the rock is absolutely bomber on the technical part of the route. Not only is the approach superb but the climbing is a complete joy. As someone recently told me, 5.4 is really 5.fun.
|August 16 2012, 7:46 PM |
Help verify the data in my tracker. What two remain?
Hood and Denali
|August 16 2012, 7:58 PM |
Had a good July. Climbed Mount Rainier (southeast crater rim variety) on July 16, Gannett on July 22 and Granite on July 30.
This leaves Hood and Denali.
|August 16 2012, 11:48 PM |
I think that counts as a pretty decent July, but you couldn't throw Everest in there too? Congratulations, slacker.
I'm looking to do SW Couloir (or Ramp or whatever). 5.4 for me isn't 5.Fun. It's 5.Fall. I've been on some Class 4 with serious exposure, and i know i have no business climbing on more of that without a lot of assistance. I could go with a guide group, but i figure if i ever do Denali it will be guided, and i long ago promised myself not to pay for more than 2 guided HP climbs. (I already used one for Rainier 10 years ago when i had never been on a real mountain before.) Me and my silly rules.
By the way, if anyone ever plans a late-season (July) climb for Hood, and the conditions turn out to be past prime, consider hiking AROUND the mountain instead. I did that in late July this year, and it's a really fantastic ~3-day trail, with a few serious challenges where the old route is washed out.
Re: "Good" July
|August 17 2012, 7:44 AM |
Well, I will readily admit that I would have had zero chance on Granite without Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Not because the actual climbing was hard but because the route finding on summit day was way over my head. I resisted the guided thing for a long time but finally gave in and found that I really enjoyed it on all 3 HPs I just completed.
Thanks for the congrats. I missed on Hood on this trip though ... making me 0 for 2 on Oregon's HP. Might try the Cooper Spur approach next time I'm out there.
|August 21 2012, 8:42 PM |
|August 24 2012, 3:09 AM |
Thanks for the trip report. Was the southeast crater rim your turnaround point?
|August 24 2012, 8:10 AM |
Yep ... this was brought up on another forum. I'm happy with my climb, which meets local standards of a successful summit of Rainier regardless of whether it does or doesn't meet Club "requirements." There was a big debate on this in this forum in 2004 that both you and I participated in on opposing sides. Not looking to rehash an old argument. Cheers.
|August 24 2012, 10:14 AM |
I didn't ask in order to bring up an argument, and i don't remember the one from 8 years ago. I just was glad to read the details of the report (you know how i eat up this stuff) but was surprised that you were ok to stop 200' below the top of the mountain. Congrats on Southeast Crater Rim!
|August 24 2012, 11:16 AM |
Thanks again and sorry for coming out on the defensive. It certainly wasn't the plan to stop at the rim; that's just how the day worked out. The funny part is that Rainier is the only mountain I've ever climbed where I got a summit certificate as well as the only HP where I didn't tag the tippy top. Ah, the irony. Anyway, my climbing isn't anywhere near relevant enough for anyone to care about but I know I'm getting close to being a 48/50 completer so I just wanted to be completely up front about where I was.
Always fun to go back and look at debates of the past.
|August 21 2016, 9:57 AM |
So just in terms of general book keeping, anyone who felt inclined to place an asterik on my Mount Rainier climb (and therefore my status as a 50 state completer) can remove it. Stood on the absolute highest point of the Mount Rainier crater rim on August 2, 2016 during a four day Emmons Glacier climb ... again with IMG.
Returning for the tippy top was not my primary motivating factor, but I have to admit it feels nice to never have to think about this issue again. One particular 50-state completer has been particularly dogmatic with me about this as if being a 50 state completer is somehow relevant in the world of mountaineering.
Anyway, I'm pretty much done with this game at this point. Been lots and lots of fun but it's time to move in.
Trip report with lots of nice photos here:
|August 22 2016, 9:15 AM |
Because spelling counts.
Also it's time to "move on" not "move in." Unless, of course, somebody has a beach home up for sale. Then it might be time to "move in."
|November 15 2016, 3:48 AM |
Glad to hear you went back. I have a soft spot for returning to things like that. When i "thru-hiked" the PCT in 2008, there were a whole bunch of fire closures, and i ended up compromising with myself by biking around a whole lot of closed trail. It "counted", but it also made a great excuse to go back in 2013 and hike it again, dead set on walking every step this time. It worked out, i did it, and had an even better summer on the trail. I'm pretty sure i wouldn't have gone back if it weren't for my own mental asterisk.
Now if i could just get myself to take a shot at Denali...
|November 20 2016, 3:06 PM |
I am envious of your PCT travels, other Mark. Wish I had the time to take a shot at a long distance hiking trail like that. For me, it would likely be the AT if I could ever swing it. But having a thriving family isn't exactly conducive to taking off for four months.
You'll get to Denali of of these years. I have no doubt. And you'll succeed.