After suffering through a "Statistics for Engineers" mid-term on a sunny Monday afternoon, I quickly calculated the probability that I would be on a mountain somewhere before the end of the day. Statistically, I was overdue to climb Granite Mountain. The sample mean travel time to the Pratt Lake Trailhead from Federal Way is 1 hour, 9 minutes, but traffic was good and I made it there in more than 1 standard deviation below the mean (this is a typical joint probability problem were travel time depends upon traffic).
Given the weather pattern this year, there was little concern of avalanche hazard. The larger problem was kicking steeps in the well consolidated snow of the direct route up the south slopes of the mountain. Typically a winter ascent is via the south ridge, but snow conditions allowed for a direct ascent up the steeper south slopes (up to 45 degrees). The summit ridge has a smaller than normal, but still present cornice to be avoided.
Sunset from near the summit of Granite Mountain
|Mt. Rainier from the Summit|
|Kaleetan and Chair Peaks from the Summit|
Cascade Alpine Guide Volume 1, Second Edition; Fred Beckey; Page 144
100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine lakes, Second Edition; Spring/Manning; Pages 206-207