Granite Peak, MT, day 4
Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
192Trip End Oct 14, 2011
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Kenny, my guide, woke me at 4:00am again. Unlike yesterday, the weather looked good today. Summit day was finally here. I started getting ready. The temperature was in the upper 20's.
We set out for the summit about 5:45. The initial part of the route drops around 700 feet and traverses a talus field on the side of Tempest Mountain. We eventually passed through a notch in the ridge that runs between Tempest Mountain and Granite Peak. Once through the notch we traversed the boulders and headed for a snow field that runs up toward the ridge on the south side of Granite Peak.
I had been having trouble with the altitude all morning and I was moving pretty slowly. When we reached the snow field we sat down and talked about the situation. It was obvious that I wasn't moving quickly enough to be able to summit and get back down in a reasonable amount of time. Rather than spend time climbing when I knew we wouldn't be able to summit I decided to go back to camp and use the time to hike back toward the trailhead so our hike out tomorrow wouldn't be quite as long. I hated to give up on summitting. I've turned around due to the weather before but I've never had to give up. But under the circumstances, it seemed like the best choice.
We arrived back at camp sometime after noon. We rested a while and then packed up and headed back to where we had camped the first night. The trip across the Plateau was easier heading downhill but it's still tough walking across all of the sorted stones, snow and wet areas.
We got set up at the lower camp and it started raining almost immediately. I'm glad I wasn't up on the summit of Granite Peak when the rain hit, which I might have been had we continued. It stopped for a while and we had dinner. A fierce thunderstorm hit later in the evening.