Thursday, August 2, 2012

Granite and Trico 7.30-31 2012

With a rare opportunity with the family away I hoped to squeeze in an overnighter. I sent out some posts and was able to persuade Fletcher and Rob to join me on some climbing in the Robin Lakes area. I had reports of doing all five area peaks in a short period of time so I thought I would give myself a head start and camp at Robin Lakes the night before. I managed an early start and soon I found myself at the trailhead. I was anxious to test out my new pack with an overnight load. I managed to stow everything I needed without having to strap extra stuff to the outside. I like the new setup very much, thankfully. The weather was sunny but cool and there wasn't a bug to be seen. I set an easy pace since I knew I had all day. I made good time to the junction with the Tuck Lake Trail and headed up the trail that has degraded a bit since my last time up it many, many years ago. Once reaching Tuck lake I only remember that it was tough to find the right trail to get you to the Robin Lakes Trail. Too bad I didn't remember which of the myriad of trails is the right one. In the end I got sucked down to the lowest of the lakes and had to traverse back to find the trail.

Once on the trail, it was just a matter of grinding it out. The trail is over alot of slabs and some interesting terrain, but there is always a  cairn to mark the way. Some of you might see these cairns as a blight on the pristine landscape but I was thankful their guidance. I was surprised to reach the lakes as quickly as I did. I wasn't paying attention to my altimeter and I would have guessed that I had much further to climb. Thankful that I was there, I found about what I expected stunning beauty, lots of snow and frozen lakes.

The plan was to camp between the middle and lower Granite Mt Potholes but when I looked below and saw that they were still mostly frozen I looked for something more suitable.

 I was able to find a small suitable place to camp. It ended up being perfect, the weather started moving in with a substantial sustained SW wind which was conveniently blocked by the small nob I had chosen. After a short nap I was up for the next challenge of climbing Trico. Trico is so named because it is the junction of Chelan, King and Kittitas counties. I easily made my way to the summit to enjoy the ebb and flow of the clouds trying there best to overmatch Mt. Daniel.

After returning from Trico I made dinner and enjoyed watching the weather change. It was quite dramatic how quickly things changed.

Since there wasn't too much to see I went to bed quite early. I enjoyed a wonderful night sleep. I only was awakened twice, once with the dog running something out of camp and the other for the moon which appeared to be doing it's best to burn through the clouds. My campsite was indeed sheltered from the wind but it was no match for the morning sun. I was very thankful to be awoken by some blinding sun no matter how early it was. The scene in the morning looked quite different.

  I wasn't sure what time to expect Rob and Fletcher so I just lounged around enjoying the scenery and the warm sun. I caught sight of a mountain goat who didn't seem to be bothered by me in the least. In fact I started to realize that he was in fact just waiting for me to leave to get at any salt that I may have left behind.

  I decided that I would give the boys until noon before I took off to make Granite Mt. I didn't want to leave my stuff for the goats to use as salt lick so I packed up everything and moved my pack to the start of the climb. I decided that I since I knew that there was a trail to the summit traversing the East side of the lake I would use that. After lugging my pack a short ways I decided to leave it with the hope that the goats wouldn't find it. I made my way up some heather and slabs and easily made my way. I found a good boot path a few hundred feet up and followed that until I reached the summit ridge. I could see that what I thought was the summit was not the true summit. I went up the false summit until I reached the last 15 feet which I wasn't willing to tackle. I backed down and looked to the east and saw some short steep snow slopes that led some manageable terrain. I had left both my ice ax and crampons on my pack. I decided instead to traverse the West side and found easy going to the saddle between the summit and the false summit. Once at the saddle it was easy going to the true summit. I was surprised again not to find a summit register. Half way up I spotted Rob and Fletcher so I didn't waste much time descending to meet them. The hard part was trying to find where they had gone to. With all the nooks and crannies it difficult to make voice contact. I finally found them. I had decided to forgo any more climbing so after visiting some time I got them on route to Trico and we parted ways.

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