Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip Report    

Mount Thompson/East Ridge

A long and strenuous trip with rewarding views on the top.

  • Sat, Sep 16, 2023 — Sun, Sep 17, 2023
  • Mount Thompson/East Ridge
  • Scrambling & Climbing
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The PCT trail from Snoqualmie Pass to Bumblebee Pass (5,400 ft) was in good shape.

    Bumblebee Pass is a small saddle above Alaska Lake, and it's about 0.5 miles past Ridge Lake where there is camping and water. We took the obvious climber's trail up and over Bumblebee Pass and then dropped down (north) into the basin directly in front of Mount Thompson. The climber's trail was pretty rough/primitive with some loose material. Be careful with your footings. 



    From the Thompson basin, you angle upward across a rock field toward the east gulley and east ridge of Mount Thompson. The rock field got a fair amount of loose screes and rocks, so make sure no one is on each other's fall lines and be careful with your footsteps.


    Once you get up and over the east gully, the scramble along the East Ridge was mostly on a well-established climber's trail. Do expect some class-4 scrambles at times. The most technical part of the route was the chimney that is roughly 20 feet away from the top. It was definitely a class-4 scramble up the chimney, but the handholds and footholds were solid.

Collin Blunk also wrote a detailed trip report with great pictures. Here is the link

Trip Stats: 17 miles round trip with 4,583 feet in total elevation gain. Here is my GPS track: Mt Thompson 09/16/2023 - CalTopo

Party Size: 3

We started hiking around 8am and made it to Ridge Lake around 11:30am. We made it to the top of Mt Thompson a little before 4pm. For the chimney, I went up to set up a handline for two other climbers in the party.


For the descent, we did one pitch of rappel and two pitches of protected downclimb. We were supposed to rappel the second pitch too, but the 30m rope we brought fell a bit short. we downclimbed maybe 4-8 feet unprotected before reaching flat ground. Looking back, I should have extended the anchor to make the second rappel possible. The third rappel/protected downclimb is totally optional. There were 4 established rap anchors up there, but I would recommend you to inspect the webbings/cords before committing to the anchors and swap existing material with your own webbing/cord when necessary.  We got back to PCT around 8pm. The hike out in the dark was uneventful except for hooting calls from barred owls :) 

The whole trip took us 17 hours, we could have easily cut it down by at least a couple of hours.  Here are some lessons learned:

  • Start hiking from the TH early (7am or earlier) unless you hike very fast
  • Take breaks more efficiently
  • Bring a 40m rope and check your harness (one party member's harness leg loop broke during the first rappel)