Granite Peak summit rocks

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TomTuriano
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Granite Peak summit rocks

Postby TomTuriano » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:40 pm

I received this email from Tim Townsend on 1/4/06:

Tom:

With some help from your outstanding Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone book, we had a great Granite Pk climb this past summer summitted 8/22/05). We did the climb with a Jackson friend, Charlie Gorski, who is cut from the same tough cloth you appear to be made out of.

Granite Pk's summit block "sacrificial altar" or "coffee table" is so obvious that I am surprised Elers Koch didn't mention it, or at least not in the excerpt in your book. The photo you showed of him with his party's cairn and flag (pg. 187) doesn't seem to be atop today's flat block. The cairn and flag sure aren't there now.

Do you think today's summit with the USGS marker is really a man-made alteration of the summit as Koch found it? I assume when you climbed it in '97 that the marker and block looked the way we saw it this summer.

Though appearing out of place, it seems like an impractically large rock to move by hand. Maybe a crew of several motivated people with enough levers and wedges and rollers could have moved it into position, I just fail to see why anyone would bother.

I'm not seeking to right any wrongs here or start a campaign to remove the coffee table, but I am curious enough to ask the one person who might have wondered the same thing. If you think it's been 'landscaped' when do you suppose it might have happened? There's probably a way of asking the USGS but I'd probably fail getting through the bureaucracy.

Happy New Climbing Year -

Tim Townsend
Last edited by TomTuriano on Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TomTuriano
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Trundled summits

Postby TomTuriano » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:43 pm

Hi Tim,

That's great you climbed with Charlie....he is something else...super strong. Teaches my daughter at Journeys School.

I think the summit is the same now as it was then in 1923, except that I bet a bunch of summit boulders have been trundled off the north face, which is why the summit is so bare looking now. In fact, I bet over the years, hundreds of boulders up to basketball size have been trundled. Also I imagine the cairn has been worked-over a bit (destroyed and rebuilt). No one would have or could have moved that big flat boulder.

Unfortunately, trundlers have wrecked many summits in the GYE....Grand Teton and Pilot Peak included.

Attached are a couple other pics from the Koch Collection of the 1923 ascent showing the summit. Enjoy, TT

Image

Image

TomTuriano
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Summit Rocks Deciphered

Postby TomTuriano » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:10 pm

Tom:

Thanks a bunch for the reply and for sending those priceless Koch expedition photos. That was quite a nice gesture, and it really resolved the question I had as to the condition of the summit.

After comparing the picture you sent of Koch with the flag, reading your note, and scrolling through a mini-video we took with our digital camera, I think I've learned a couple things:

1. The flat block with USGS marker that is the obvious tip-top has probably always been just where it is. Agreed, way too big to move. I'll attach the customary, but for us, exhilarating, summit photo of my wife Lisa and Charlie.

2. The photo of Koch seems to have been taken from atop the summit block. It looks like he's on a slightly lower block a few yards east of the very top. I excerpted a grainy frame from the video and will attach it, too. The vantage point, surrounding rocks, and background peaks match up nicely. Even the foreground patch of snow is in about the same position in the old and new photos. If you'd like, I'll email you the .mov file. It sweeps a 360 degree view. It's 16 seconds long and 3.3 MB.

Tim Townsend

Image

Image

TomTuriano
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Postby TomTuriano » Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:46 pm

Hi Tom:

Regarding the apparent lack of a Koch summit photo, yeah, that's what I think now, too. (Close enough, though. I don't want to be picky -- it's obvious his team was up there!)

I believe the thing that got me curious about the whole matter was the lack of any mention of a flat, perched summit block in the book excerpt. The rest of his description seems rich with detail, so it seemed odd that a first summitter wouldn't have a few words to say about what the top looked like.

The photo in the book, which is possibly cropped, isn't conclusive enough to say whether it is or isn't the top, but the other photo you emailed is great. That's what prompted me to search for a comparable vantage point among our photos, which were taken from on top of the block.

Given camera technology of 1923, I'm guessing they might have tried a summit block photo and it just didn't work. I'm chalking it up as a minor mystery perhaps best left unsolved. One of your Select Peak reviewers possibly nailed it best -- saying something to the effect that the book provides a terrific amount of supporting detail but doesn't ruin the surprise of doing the climb(s)!

Tim


p.s. In the picky department, I told you the wrong date for our climb, it
was 8/20 rather than 8/22. I noticed this while reviewing the note I posted
at summitpost.org a few months ago. The website features a stitched summit panormama photo, but it doesn't seem to wrap far enough east-northeast to show the comparable view of the Koch flag & cairn placement. There might be a picture on that website that shows the same thing that I sent you, but there are way over 100 pictures, and a lot of them are pretty good but no cigar and I didn't have the patience to look through all of them.


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