Granite is a great hike. It's close, not too hard, and with a big open meadow walk leading to a lookout it's about the best you can hope for when I-90 is screaming below. I've been up repeatedly since 2005 and had some spectacular trips in summer. But no winter ascents. Closest was a frigid trip in November 2008, but it was before the snows.
So... with a good forecast (both from the weatherfolk and the avalanche center) we were off. Me and five of my stupidest... er... most gullible... er... most adventurous friends. You know, the usuals: Scott and Josie, Tom, Rich, and Colleen. And the dogs. Lots of dogs. I didn't bring a dog (an ice axe and a leash seems a bit ambitious), but there were plenty to go around. The dogs had no problems. The rest of us...
For no good reason other than it was winter we chose the winter route. That means you follow the normal trail until it crosses the first gully and you go up. There's nothing to get in your way so there's no excuse to turn. You just keep climbing until you get to the top.
The snow was thin so we were trying to kick steps into the beargrass and heather with little success. After about two hours of punishing slip sliding slapstick we called it quits, tried (and failed) to take a group picture, and headed for home. Even the glissade chute that could have been so much fun was full of exposed rocks making it a poor choice.
Next time, right? It'll be good next time. Yeah. That's it.
Although there were various theories floated at the Pour House, I bailed on the after-party because the smell of propane was strong in the house. I figured I'd have a hard time showing up at the funeral if my reason for being alive was that I was at the bar when the house exploded. (Turns out when your tanks are almost empty the concentrated propane stink gets pumped into the house. I'm totally using that excuse next time I have chili.)
Total distance appears to have been about 4.5 miles with 2,600 feet of gain. We were about 1,000 feet below the summit when we bailed. Since then it's dumped snow so there might just need to be a return trip before the summer route opens again.