Snow Lake - Kaleetan - Granite
Marty, Phil and I did a fun traverse on Saturday starting from Alpental, skiing counter clockwise around Chair Peak to Melakwa Pass, skiing Kaleetan down into the Pratt River Valley and climbing up Granite and skiing the south face.
Travel conditions to Melakwa Pass were not as bad as I expected but ski crampons were definitely nice. A booter was already in up the east face of Kaleetan to gain the ridge. We were happy to have crampons and a tool as the upper 100 feet were pretty firm/steep. By noon the south aspects had softened nicely and the skiing from the summit of Kaleetan to about 4500 feet was great. The remainder of the descent into the Pratt River Valley was, as expected, a bit adventurous.
Crossing the Pratt River was easy but the skinning from this point to Tuscohatchie Lake was difficult and made worse by Marty and Phil both having ski crampon adapter issues. Needless to say, our plan of skiing soft snow down Granite faded and was replaced with "perhaps we can catch the sunset?".
Above 4600 the skinning started to get a little easier with a few inches of snow on the shaded aspects and more open terrain. Once we made it to the saddle between Tusk O Granite and Granite Mountain we were able to hop on a booter that was likely set earlier in the day by climbers. We did catch a nice sunset from Granite and scraped our way down the refrozen south face before dark. A nice hike to the car with skis and boots on packs had this feeling like a spring trip.