Granite Peak via Lady of the Lake Trailhead to Skytop Creek to the Southwest Ramp made for a beautiful 4th of July. It was a bit cloudy and rainy the night before, causing some punchy snow. That and the early season raging stream crossings made for slower going than we had hoped for. Overall the weather was as good as can be expected A brief rain shower passed in the early morning hours, followed by a few hours of clouds, and then some brilliant sunshine. Of course it started snowing UP the mountain as we headed down from the peak!
We carried all of our own food and treated water from the lakes and streams using Aquamira.
We saw zero other humans, a sunrise and sunset, a huge eclipsed full moon, plenty of mosquitoes, a porqupine, and no bears. Successful day! First ascent of Granite in 2020 as far as we could tell from the summit register. The fireworks show in Cooke City started just as we got back. Echoing off the canyon walls and lighting up the peaks and forest under the full moon. Really memorable day!
Jordan Armstrong and I left the upper Lady of the Lake Trailhead (behind the Stamping Mill Cabin) at 4:06am on Independence Day 2020. Summited Granite Peak via the Sky Top Lakes and SW Ramp at 1:45pm and returned to the TH at 10:15pm for 18:07:30 elapsed time. The Strava link is here https://www.strava.com/activities/3717648112
Not too impressive of a time, it can definitely be done much faster. We were counting on supportable snow to make the off-trail sections in the upper basin easier to run, but (unforecast) rain and overcast skies the night previous made it punchy. Had to proceed carefully as the postholes were crotch-deep and shin-scraping rocky. Also the countless rivers were high and swift, had to pick our crossings carefully. The SW Ramp was climbed with ice axes and crampons. Mixed ice, rock and snow made it interesting. It's steeper and has more exposure than the Class 3 rating suggests. Should have had snow pickets and simul-climbed it.
Gorgeous Independence Day on Granite though! Didn't see another soul (or bear) all day. Just a porcupine. According to the register, we were the first to summit this season? The fireworks down in Cooke City were just starting upon our return, in honor of our achievement! ;-)