100 Classic Hikes Washington
by Craig Romano (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2016 Craig Romano/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Bluebird day but the snow was very soft. The avalanche chute buried the trail at about 2200 ft and I looked for the trail which I now know is only 20-40 meters above the blockage (I figured that out on the way down). Instead I just went straight up the chute. The snow and ice is hard in this area and it rewarded me with a beautiful waterfall at about 2500 ft. The challenge in this route is making it up the waterfall. I decided to take the left side of the falls straight up and successfully free climbed the rock to the top. I entered the forest and climbed straight up through snow and forest debris. It was a challenge getting to the trail at about 3300 ft but then it was free wheeling. I say freewheeling except for the deep soft snow where I postholed more times than I care to count. One gentleman I talked to on the trail summed it best when he said "if you have to posthole then today is a great day for it"...another said "I feel like I have climbed this mountain twice today if you count sliding backwards, falling down and getting my legs out of deep post holes". It was one of the most beautiful and toughest days on Granite for me...part was my route selection and part was the depth and softness of the snow. But it was another great day in the cascades!
A great trail and a great workout. The trail is well maintained (WTA was there while we hiked making some improvements). Can be hot as is is quite exposed over longer stretches for a hot day, but as we had a cooler day in August it was perfect. I hear it is even more beautiful with fall color, so I may have to return.
This was an excellent hike for a beautiful summer day. The middle 2 miles up are a bit steep, but the rest of the trail is well maintained and a moderate grade. The last 600ft of elevation are gained by a moderately technical scramble over some boulders and some snow fields. There is still quite a bit of snow, which makes coming down a lot easier and a lot of fun. Out and back should take an average hiker 6 hours at most. All in all a fun trip.
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