Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Triumph - Northeast Ridge - 07/24/2021
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Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
Posts: 92 | TRs | Pics
Location: Greater Cascadia
Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job
PostMon Aug 30, 2021 9:52 pm 
This is a tardy and somewhat unnecessary trip report but I've been trying to write more of them lately and it's been a while since I've seen a fresh Triumph report on NWHikers. There's oodles of beta out there so this'll be a quick and dirty one for you. Most photos are from my esteemed colleague Jake A.

Inspired by a CascadeClimbers trip report from Fred and friends we decided to do this as a car-to-car. Left Thornton Lakes trailhead around 2am.

The most helpful thing I have to say about the approach: Descend from the climbers trail to the outlet creek of Middle Thornton Lake around 6400', hop/'schwack up to Middle Thornton Lake, and stay on the east side of Middle Thornton Lake to access the Col. Despite aforementioned oodles of beta, we naturally neglected this approach and went up the west side of the Middle Thornton Lake for a nice little detour that added at least 75 minutes to our approach, not including the leisurely break we took.

Upper Thornton Lake, from our nice little detour.
Upper Thornton Lake, from our nice little detour.
Looking back down at Middle Thornton Lake from the gully/climber's path going up to the Col
Looking back down at Middle Thornton Lake from the gully/climber's path going up to the Col
Someone else's enviously good camp on the northside of the Col. Base of NE Ridge on middle left.
Someone else's enviously good camp on the northside of the Col. Base of NE Ridge on middle left.
Looking up towards base of NE Ridge.
Looking up towards base of NE Ridge.

With our detour and break, we got to the base of the Northeast Ridge in about seven hours from the car (pleasant class 4 scrambling to get from the snow up to the base of Northeast Ridge). There was only one other two-person party in front of us who had camped at the beautiful bivy site on the north side of the Col the night before. The party included none other than NWhiker's very own Josh Lewis.

Jake leading the simul-climbing somewhere around pitch 3. Thornton Peak on the left.
Jake leading the simul-climbing somewhere around pitch 3. Thornton Peak on the left.

We simul-climbed the first few pitches but our skills were a little rusty and not efficient as we could've been. We got to the pleasant flat area before the two mini-gendarmes and took a big break where I strategically forgot my sunglasses. We went up-and-over both gendarmes and then arrived at the knife edge.

On the first gendarme. A lot of the features of the ridge blend together in these photos.
On the first gendarme. A lot of the features of the ridge blend together in these photos.
Knife edge. The crux off-width crack visible about 3/4ths up.
Knife edge. The crux off-width crack visible about 3/4ths up.

We belayed the knife edge and did not cheval it but instead opted for a nice shuffle-hang along the west side of it.

The views were intoxicating.


Exposure felt significant. The upper ridge/summit block looked very intimidating and we kept wondering where the crux off-width 5.6 pitch was.

But as with a lot of intimidating features on mountains, the crux looked much better up close. From the top of the crux we soloed to the summit.

The crux off-width crack (taken during descent).
The crux off-width crack (taken during descent).

The east face of the summit block is choose-your-own-adventure terrain. It felt pretty airy. We topped out about 3pm.

Looking down the east face choose-your-own-adventure scramble.
Looking down the east face choose-your-own-adventure scramble.
Jake tops out. Pickets!
Jake tops out. Pickets!

We left the summit around 4pm and essentially rappelled our ascent route. We belayed the knife edge. After 14 rappels we arrived back at the notch about 7:30pm (I think). By then we were a well-oiled rappelling machine so we rappelled from the notch, too.

The last rappel exiting Rap City.
The last rappel exiting Rap City.

After a good break and re-hydration episode at the plentiful streams below the scramble to the notch, we started traversing back towards the Thornton-Triumph Col around 8:30pm, hoping to make it back to Middle Thornton Lake without headlamps.

Alas, it was not meant to be: Night overtook us about midway down the climber's path from the Col down to the Lake.

Trying not to get benighted above Middle Thornton Lake.
Trying not to get benighted above Middle Thornton Lake.

We got back to the car around 1am, where I then strategically forgot my poles in the parking lot.

All-in-all, a very fun and incredibly scenic day. Definitely would repeat this as an overnighter and utilizing the beautiful bivy spot on the northside of the Thornton-Triumph Col.

Point of intrigue: Has anyone successfully done a Triumph-Despair doubleheader? It would be really beautiful to see a trip report for it.

Nancyann, geyer, ozzy, Tom, Schroder, ONELUV1, neek
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Bluebird
suffering optional



Joined: 22 Jan 2014
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Bluebird
suffering optional
PostTue Aug 31, 2021 7:41 am 
Wow! Amazing
!

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Kascadia
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Kascadia
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 10:51 am 
Midnight Slogger wrote:
By then we were a well-oiled rappelling machine

LOL, I remember that experience!

Nice job going CtC, that's an honest day's work (or two).

--------------
It is as though I had read a divine text, written into the world itself, not with letters but rather with essential objects, saying:
Man, stretch thy reason hither, so thou mayest comprehend these things. Johannes Kepler
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contour5
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 11:48 am 
Congrats. Some of those pictures make my knees wobbly.

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rbuzby
Attention Surplus



Joined: 24 Feb 2009
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rbuzby
Attention Surplus
PostTue Aug 31, 2021 1:44 pm 

A distant shot of the subject matter. Is the NE ridge that curving ridge on the left side of the pinnacle, or is it the more vertical ridge, that has some light on it, that angles down and left from the summit?  Either way, it's a doozy. Nice climb.

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Carbonj
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 2:52 pm 
I believe the NE ridge is on the left, and sun lit ridge to the right is the N rib.

rbuzby, hikerbiker
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hikerbiker
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 5:54 pm 
Great pics of a great classic North Cascade climb.  I remember riding part of the ridge au chaval just cause it was so cool.  Soloed the upper pitches up/down like you did; that was some spicy down climbing on goat ledges.  The camp at the col is a great spot.  Regarding climbing both Triumph and Despair in one trip I can offer the fact that I was part of a 3 member party that did the first winter ascents of both peaks in March of around '85.  We approached on skis via Damnation Creek - Triumph Creek to a camp at Triumph Pass.  We climbed Triumph via the NW route the second day and Despair the morning of the third day via the South face prior to retracing our approach route.  This approach would be terrible brush sans snow but some have approached Triumph Pass in summer by coming over the ridge above upper Thornton Lake.  Have fun!

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Aug 31, 2021 8:26 pm 
Wow! This is so cool to see good photos of this route. Years ago I was with a party all set to go up here but then rain came in. We fled to the east side to climb the Craggies instead and I've given up getting back here. Your report is the next best thing.

I don't need this kind of thing in my life anymore  smile.gif
Midnight Slogger wrote:
After 14 rappels we arrived back at the notch

--------------
Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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Dustin Trails
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Dustin Trails
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 11:38 pm 
Nice work and thanks for the trip report.  I just tried to onsight guide this climb and got snowed on instead.  Maybe next time.  Looks like a blast.

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Fletcher
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PostWed Sep 01, 2021 9:27 am 
Looks so fun. Can’t wait to get up there myself.

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Randy
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Randy
Cube Rat
PostWed Sep 01, 2021 5:44 pm 
These are great pics of the route. I have fond memories of this one. I also remember getting out very late and having a very angry wife on my return home. Probably one of those trips where I said I'd be home for dinner! tongue.gif

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ozzy
The hard way



Joined: 30 Jul 2015
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ozzy
The hard way
PostWed Sep 01, 2021 8:01 pm 
Wowww!! Man Triumph looks so burly from Thornton I can only hope to get up there some day!! You guys make it look easy like usual lol! Thanks for the awesome write up/pics! Congrats bois! rocker.gif

--------------
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames”-Jim
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Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
Posts: 92 | TRs | Pics
Location: Greater Cascadia
Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job
PostThu Sep 09, 2021 7:38 pm 
Thanks for encouraging words, all!

hikerbiker wrote:
Regarding climbing both Triumph and Despair in one trip I can offer the fact that I was part of a 3 member party that did the first winter ascents of both peaks in March of around '85.  We approached on skis via Damnation Creek - Triumph Creek to a camp at Triumph Pass.  We climbed Triumph via the NW route the second day and Despair the morning of the third day via the South face prior to retracing our approach route.  This approach would be terrible brush sans snow but some have approached Triumph Pass in summer by coming over the ridge above upper Thornton Lake.

Thanks so much, hikerbiker! Do you have any photos from your time on the NW route in March '85?? If not, do you remember how much snow was on route, and did you enjoy it?!

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hikerbiker
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PostFri Sep 10, 2021 8:40 am 
Midnight Slogger wrote:
Thanks for encouraging words, all!

Midnight Slogger wrote:
Thanks so much, hikerbiker! Do you have any photos from your time on the NW route in March '85?? If not, do you remember how much snow was on route, and did you enjoy it?!


I've got slides but no scanner so here is a pic from the west taken late winter which approximates the snowpack when we did the FWA's.  NW route is the right trending ramp in front of the NW ridge which is the skyline ridge on left.  Ramp ends on the prominent shelf feature just SW of the summit.  Final 3 pitches or so are up the sunlit SW face.  My journal says we used flukes, pickets, crampons and two tools and used rock pro on the crux mixed pitch just below the summit.. Maybe two rappels off the top the lots of steep downclimbing below.  I enjoyed the climb immensely but writing this I am saddened somewhat as one of our party members (who led the crux mixed pitch which was probably M3 or so) passed away in a climbing accident years later. RIP Mark Bebie, you will never be forgotten!

ozzy, RichP, Josh Lewis
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Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
Posts: 92 | TRs | Pics
Location: Greater Cascadia
Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job
PostMon Sep 13, 2021 6:31 pm 
hikerbiker wrote:
I am saddened somewhat as one of our party members (who led the crux mixed pitch which was probably M3 or so) passed away in a climbing accident years later. RIP Mark Bebie, you will never be forgotten!

Sorry to hear about your partner. Thanks for sharing, this--it made my day thinking about you guys going up there in those conditions.

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