Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Mount Triumph/Northeast Ridge

2 day climb, spending the night above the 3rd pitch on the NE ridge.

  • Road rough but passable
  • Road is steep and rough but passable with  AWD car. Trail was in good condition. There were two sections on the approach to lower Thornton Lake that were flagged for bees. We passed carefully, but did not see any activity from the bees while we were there.

    Bugs were an issue at and past the lakes. 

    Bears were encountered around lower Thornton Lake in both directions. Be careful and make lots of noise while passing through.

    When crossing the glacial basin below the NE ridge, snow is low and the traverse is mostly on slabs. There is a vertical/overhanging step near the middle of the basin that requires care. We removed packs and downclimbed. 

We secured a walk-up permit on Saturday morning and began our approach at 9a on Saturday. We arrived at lower Thornton Lake  around noon and encountered a  large black bear on the log jam at the outlet to the lake. We yelled to scare the bear off, and continued up and around the lake on a trail that is overgrown and hard to follow at times.


We arrived at the col above  middle Thornton Lake around 3p and were serenaded by Pika's hoping to score some of our food. Views from the col (common camping spot) are spectacular. 


We continued down the snow patch on the other side of the col (200ft decent) without issue having brought mountaineering boots, crampons, and ice axes for this section. Some of the party decided to use crampons and ice axes because we brought them, but if doing this route again in similar conditions, I would have saved weight and left the snow gear home.


The slabs below the glacier were mostly free of snow, with one steep section that required downclimbing. We filled water  from the streams running down the slabs before reaching the ridge.


We cached our  glacier gear below the NE ridge and headed up towards the prominent notch on the ridge. We trended climbers left before reaching the notch proper and racked up at this point. We climbed ~3 pitches along the ridge to a large ledge where we set up camp for the night.


The climb itself was comprised of several steep sections climbing over gendarmes and a bit of walking on flatter sections of the ridge. We climbed using a mix of pitched and simul climbing. The scramble above the crux pitch and ledge walk requires some route finding. We missed the entrance and had to backtrack along exposed ledges.


We descended using mostly double rope rappels, and our ropes became stuck twice slowing our progress on the descent. 


We reached lower Thornton Lake around dark and made our way around the lake with headlamps. We ran into bears twice on this section (maybe the same bear in two locations). The hike out from lower Thornton Lake was uneventful, but long and tiring after a full day on the mountain. We arrived at the trailhead at 12:30a exhausted and not looking forward to the drive back to Seattle. 

Overall it was a fun climb, but recommend spending an extra night on the mountain to eliminate time pressure.


9:00a Depart TH

12:00p Arrive lower Thornton Lake

3:00p Arrive Col above middle Thornton Lake

6:30p Arrive camp on NE ridge (ledge above P3)

5:00a Begin climbing

11:00a Summit

5:30p Notch below camp on NE ridge

7:00p Col above middle Thornton Lake

12:30a Arrive TH