Type: Trad, Alpine
FA: unknown
Page Views: 887 total · 49/month
Shared By: Peter Cole on Oct 21, 2019
Admins: GRK, Zach Wahrer

You & This Route

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This is, in my opinion, is the preferred route to take to approach the East Ridge. Do it as a loop. Up Huckleberry and out via FTD Plateau. That way you see the whole mountain. I found the trail, XC travel, and the 'alleged' house size boulders at the west end of Avalanche lake to be both enjoyable and seriously more scenic than the standard approach.

I had always wanted to get to the top of Granite Peak. What I didn't want to do is walk that long featureless Froze-to-Death Plateau coming and going. This was one of the first trips where I started to do research online. Using my bell-curve method, I throw out all the horror stories of how difficult the Huckleberry Creek / Avalanche Lake approach could be. I had a map, but no forecast. What's the worst that could happen. You get wet.

And of course the first person I meet while crossing the boulder field at Huckleberry Lake had indeed had himself quite the epic. Perhaps route finding was not his best skill set, but he'd never made it past the upper lakes and was still shaking from the experience.

With that in mind, I continued up to Princess lake and then after a couple of backtracks found the path up to Snow Ball Lakes. I don't know anything about the Cold Pond approach but this was easy and pleasant walking. Took about 6 hours to get to the lakes where I set up camp early and rested in the sun. Next day a cold front blew through pushing a handful of hikers down and out of the valley.

Not really knowing if the whole thing would be a bust, I awoke to pre-dawn skies that promised a fine day. Some of the nicest alpine walking I've ever done came next. The terrain all the way to Avalanche Lake is just plain beautiful. On the knoll above the dreaded 'house sized boulders' I stopped to rest, eat, and plan my route.

I don't think it would be totally out of place to say that what came next was totally anti-climatic. Seeing a faint ramp of doable scree to the top of the pile, I was surprised to see that from there I would be able to link together numerous small grassy meadows all the way to the south end of the lake. The 'house-sized-boulders' were nowhere to be seen. From there, the route to the low point on the East Ridge is easy to see. Depending on how much snow there is, pick your line to the saddle where the two approaches merge.

A full trip report can be found here


Go past where the std FTD route heads uphill and continue to the end of Mystic Lake. Look for a faint path/trail coming down from Princess Lake. Follow this


The rock is solid though I imagine most people just 3rd class this last section of the route. I'm not sure where the 5.4 is.