Granite Lake is inaccessible they said....

June 01, 2017

Granite Lake is inaccessible they said....

Naresh Kumar is a Bedrock ambassador and human powered traveller. Read his trip report from recent Memorial Day backpacking adventure to the Northern California's Trinity Mountains.

When the ranger at the Trinity Alps wilderness office said those words, we knew exactly where we were gonna go for the Memorial day weekend. 

We set out to Swift Creek trailhead to explore the Red Trinities in Trinity Alps Wilderness. With temperatures in the high 70's, we decided to leave the snowshoes in the car and bedrock it the whole way. 

We began at the north end of the Swift Creek trail parking lot. In little over a mile we crossed Swift Creek and began our adventure into the mountains.  

About a quarter mile beyond the bridge, we reached Granite Creek. From here the trail climbed steadily through some old growth doug fir and flower-packed meadows. The trail along the creek offered several views of the Cascade Mountains and distant waterfalls overflowing with spring snowmelt.

 

It got a bit tricky from here. With no sign of the trail, we decided to climb up to a ridge line for a better view of the terrain. With our sights set and after an hour of bushwhacking, we finally got a view of the frozen and desolate Granite Lake.

The temperature plummeted as soon as the sun went down. We got the fire going, threw some freeze dried food on the camp stove and passed the whiskey flask around the fire. It was a new moon night and the sky was pitch dark with a splendid display of stars. Truly a billion star hotel and it was all ours.

The next day morning we decided to explore the surrounding peaks. But first, we wanted to fully experience Granite Lake. The diving spot was perfect to take a polar plunge. The water looked frigid but it was time for an ice cold and all-natural shower!

The next day we decided to get up to the ridge connecting the Seven-Up pass to see the sunset. We carried our packs in hope of finding a campsite and started the climb.

We climbed 1500ft, scrambling and boulder hopping through manzanitas. Soon after crossing the tree line, we carefully climbed through scree fields dotting the mountainside. The climb got steeper and more challenging. We were free climbing some exposed sections and some of them felt like a 5.7 climbing grade.

 

 

There was no flat spot in view. We didn't have a topo map so we weren't sure what the other side of the peak looked like. It was to time call it quits with only a 100ft left to the summit. We took a long lunch break and enjoyed the view before our descent down to Granite Lake.

 

 

 

  

I settled down by the fire enjoying the view with Jon Krakauer's "Eiger Dreams" to keep me company. This Memorial Day Weekend adventure came to end the following day and left us with all the Trinity Mountains have to offer.  

 





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