Granite Mountain South Face
Great conditions on Granite Mountain’s south face today. For the ascent, it was icy up to the tree line, then mixed chalk and sastrugi up to the lookout. For the descent, overall good and stable conditions in the chutes on the south face, smooth chalk up top with the sun corning up the middle chutes in time for the trip down. Only four other people up there before us, and nobody after.
Edit to answer questions:
Continuous snow began at the first creek crossing where the summer trail intersects the western avalanche chute. At that point we ascended via the typical route of hugging the eastern edge of the forest adjacent to the chute to gain the western shoulder. This was by foot, often with postholing. Once breaking out of the forest and gaining the lower end of the ridge, we donned boot crampons and walked the remaining way; skins never came out of the bag.
I should also note for posterity that I have a low risk tolerance and there is a very narrow and rare set of conditions that have to be in effect for me to consider Granite safe. This was one of those rare opportunities where the regional risk was low at all elevations, negligible new snow, a bomb-proof isothermal snowpack, diurnal cooling, and perfect weather to time the solar softening.