FKT: Alex Bond - Paddy-Go-Easy/Sherpani/Granite Traverse (WA) - 2021-10-03

Route variation
Standard route
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Total time
9h 21m 38s

The decision to go for this was a little last minute - October can be pretty mixed conditions, but the weather forecast got better and better as the week went on. Since many of the reports I read on scrambling in this area had been overnights, I was prepared to just go to Sherpani and turn around there if need be. It turned out to be a fantastic trip. 

The hike up the trail to Paddy Go Easy pass was quick and straightforward, and the off-trail travel was pretty easy. Footing was solid, rock was good, barely any brush, and the open terrain made navigation very easy. Paddy Go North was dispatched quickly and I was on Sherpani earlier than I expected. The scrambling was so good - 3rd class on such high quality granite. The "5th class" summit block was easy, I thought - good footholds and good hands, a high left foot and mantle, and you're done. 

The connection from Sherpani to South Granite was a slight low point. I wasted some time trying to get around the rock tower on the east side of the ridge so I could avoid losing elevation, a dumb mistake when we're only talking about a few hundred feet. When I did decide to go ahead and head over to the west side and go to 6200 feet, this was some of the less pleasant travel, and I wasn't excited about the 1000 foot boulder hopping climb up South Granite. In the boulderfield below South Granite I filtered some water and ate some candy, and that turned my mood around. From there I was walking on sunshine - the trip over to Granite was great fun, and I managed to find some more fun and challenging scrambling on really good rock, if lichen-y at times, by taking a more direct route up. 

Once past Granite and returning to the "trail" at Robin Lakes, I hit my lowest point. I had assumed I was back on trail and it'd be an easy trip out, but the trails were a mess, a maze of social trails and deadends. The trail on the Gaia map and two GPX tracks I had downloaded all didn't line up with the reality on the ground. At this point I just wanted to be out of there. After some navigation hassle far more difficult than anything on the actual off-trail portion of the route, I was finally below Tuck Lakes and could put on the headphones with some music and run it out. 

I have hesitated to submit routes to this site since I think routes here should meet a very high standard of quality, not just be for the sake of getting to claim an FKT. This route matches up to and exceeds the quality of many other well-known off-trail routes that I've done. On one hand, I'd hate for too many social trails to develop in the off-trail sections of this route, but I'm not sure this posting will generate massive traffic, and this area deserves to be recognized as a special spot overlooked between the Mt Daniel area to the west and the Stuart Range/Teanaway to the east. 

My time is very soft - a faster runner could easily take a ton of time off me on the trail sections, and I took breaks to snack and enjoy the view on all the summits. Somebody go for it!