Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Granite Mountain

Nuh uh. No way.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Rain and wet rock.  Some snow at the top but not difficult to travel.  Will be melted out soon.

Did we expect to summit?  No.  Did we expect any views if we did summit?  No.  It is especially satisfying to pull a win out of an expected loss.

This was an evening scramble starting at 3:30 in the afternoon.  It was a nice sunny day in the city all day but the weather reports said to expect rain and possible thunder storms in the afternoon.  It was just getting a little cloudy when it was time to leave for the trip.

Once past Bellevue on the freeway it started to rain in earnest.  Heavy dumping rain.  This continued all the way to North Bend.  Going down the hill towards North bend there were some flashes in the sky.  Morale low. This is not looking good.

Just past North Bend the rain lightened considerably.  No more flashes.  Light rain and quiet skies for the next fifteen miles.

At the trail head the group was given several options as to whether they wanted to do something lower elevation or bag the trip.  One option was to hike up the trail a ways in the rain and at the first flash of lightning or first sound of thunder we would turn around.  The expectation was that we would not summit and not get credit for the trip.  The group voiced that they would prefer to get some conditioning in even if it was just a wet hike with no views.

Up the trail we went.  The rain was very light and misty for quite a while.  While it was not an especially warm day it was warm and muggy for wearing full rain gear while hiking up hill.  Some opted to get wet rather than sweat buckets.

Light rain and quiet skies continued.  Visibility was less than 100 feet.  The fields of bear grass in the fog made for some nice misty landscapes.

We did not attempt to scramble the optional gully on wet rock as it is a higher rating than the boulders of the standard scramble ridge above.  We did make it to the base of the scramble.  At this point the rain picked up.  Not nearly the dumping rain as on the drive up but a steady rain.  Put on our helmets, some warmer gear and headed up.

While the rocks were wet, it is still fairly good sticky granite and not too difficult to traverse.  The biggest concern was cold fingers.  (About half the group had gloves on.)



Just as we made the cabin and got underneath for shelter from the rain, the rain stopped.  Then the views opened up, and opened up and opened up some more.  First we could see Silver peak and Humpback across the highway.  Mountains to the West were all clear.  Denny ridge, Tooth to Chair, was open and the peaks to the East kept opening as the rain band moved further East.  Thompson, Huckleberry, Rampart Ridge, Highbox, Three Queens, etc.  Rainier started as a snowy base and kept coming out until it was in full splendor.

No rain, everyone changed out of their wet layers and into their remaining dry clothes, and beautiful views.  The mood of the group was considerably improved.

Hiking down the upper meadows is other worldly.  The big sea of white bear grass in bloom was highlighted by the red and orange of paint brush with splashes of purple lupin.  The pleasant scent of flowers in bloom wafted here and there as we hiked through it.

Cold at the top and upper meadows.  Getting much warmer and somewhat muggy as we got to lower elevations.  Back to the cars around 9:15, not quite dark enough to need head lamps.

A trip that was expected to be miserable turned out to be magical.  As one participant put it, "I feel like you pulled a rabbit out of a hat."