more Granite Peak
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Close up of the last couple of hundred feet. The "Keyhole" is the leaning block up there. To climb up directly underneath the Keyhole is reportedly 5.4 (exposed) climbing and people rappel this pitch on descent. I got just below to size it up---I would not solo that route, so started looking for other options. The party descending said thunderstorms were building to the west. Time was running out. If I had gone further to the right as my partner had suggested, we could have got up this last bit. It was a long approach and then to not finish the last 200 ft was very disappointing but still a good effort for just a day trip. We should have either carried a rope, started earlier (3 a.m.) or camped out.
These two fellows actually had a rope but they, too, turned back. They had camped just 1 hr from the peak, behind a big stone windbreak yet for some reason, we were ahead of them, starting 7 hours from the peak. Had they got up at a good early hour, they would surely have made the top long before the notorious mid-day thunderstorms built up.
Group descending Granite Peak, taken from just below the Keyhole. Bad weather is reportedly coming, and folks are headin' down as fast as possible.
Downclimbing a chimney with another group hot on our heels. They convinced us to turn around and suggested we couldn't do it without a rope since they had used one. At my partners' insistence we did slog up nearby Tempest Mountain on the way back as a consolation prize. I was really dragging my ass by that point. Grouchy, too. It was past the point of fun.
We are well on our way back along Froze-to-Death Plateau with no storm to worry about anymore. It Fizzled out. Our day started from the car at 4 a.m. and we got back 20 hours later at 12:20 a.m. exhausted. It sure felt like we had bagged the peak, because that peak had sure bagged us! Our next mountain attempt was to be Borah Peak highest point in Idaho, after short visits to Yellowstone Park and the Tetons.
For more info on Granite Peak and other USA other highpoints visit www.americasroof.com/mt.html Most parties would need 2-3 days for Granite Peak and the technical difficulty of the final ridge is not to be underestimated.
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