Forum Index > Trip Reports > Thornton Peak - 9/8/12
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Randy
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Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2861 | TRs
Location: Near the Siamangs
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PostWed Sep 12, 2012 8:05 pm 
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Thought I'd toss out a TR on this one since there's very little in the way of information out there. Aside from the winter TR on this site I found no other information aside from what's in the CAG - not knowing exactly how the trip would work out was part of the attraction though.

Thornton
Thornton

I started from the Thornton Lakes TH a little after 0800 still wobbly from the last stretch of road that was a bit hard on my little car. It had been a few years since I had been on the trail, but it still seemed very familiar. Before long I was at the saddle above the lakes enjoying my first views of the day's objective and possible loop route.

First Views
First Views

I made my way down to the lower lake, crossed the outlet, and started following the trail up to the middle lake. This stretch was so much easier in running shoes and a light pack than it was when we had done Triumph. The trail fades considerably once in-line with the outlet of the middle lake, but follows the ridgeline up onto heather slopes and fun granite slabs.

Slabs
Slabs

Eventually I gave up trying to stay on any path and worked a combination of snow and granite to gain the ridge and then connect with the north-south ridge over to the summit. Somewhere in here I switched to boots and an axe to negotiate several small, but steep snow slopes.

Ridge to Ridge
Ridge to Ridge
Ridge to Thornton
Ridge to Thornton

Once on the ridge south of the summit I stayed just east of the crest and work easy talus and snow until in the basin just south of the summit.

Thornton Lakes From the Traverse
Thornton Lakes From the Traverse

Up until this point I had been unsure how to gain the upper summit area, but finally the route started to reveal itself. There's actually a couple ways to go - I ended up ascending steppy class 3 slabs climber's right of a diagonal snow slope.

Closer
Closer
Steppy Slabs
Steppy Slabs

The slabs were easy which dumped me into some steep heather before I finally gained the the SE ridge of Thornton just a couple hundred feet below the summit.

Summit Area From the Descent
Summit Area From the Descent

I dropped my pack here and made my way directly up the SE ridge. Loose class 3 was the best I could find with the last 50' being exposed. The summit area was tight and a jumbled mass of wedged together rocks looking to hurl themselves over the cliffs at any second. There was a comment in the register about the summit feeling very unstable and I can agree with that!

Triumph From the Top
Triumph From the Top

More people get up Thornton than I thought. Two to three parties a year on average according to the register - guess nobody wants to talk about it. I carefully down-climbed off the summit, grabbed my pack and began checking out a different way down. Always wanting to explore new terrain, I'm willing to go through a bit of hassle to see if a route will go or not.

Examining the Ridge Descent
Examining the Ridge Descent

I wanted to stick with the SE ridge all the way down to the climber's camp at the col above the middle lake. From there it was familiar terrain back down to the lakes.

Ridge Descent
Ridge Descent

I worked through minor obstacles here and there, but nothing too bad. A final bit of exposed heather got me back onto the ridge and a guarantee my route would work. Relaxed walking along ridge allowed some time to take in the sites. The glacier on Triumph was very active calving and sending huge snow blocks tumbling down the slabs below. I watched from above as two climbers (headed for the NE ridge route) got to witness the huge snow chunks tumbling across their intended path. Thought provoking, I'm sure.

Triumph
Triumph
Calving Glacier
Calving Glacier
Pickets1
Pickets1

A routine walk from the climber's camp back to the middle lake put me on the same schedule as a friendly park ranger out for a stroll. We hiked down together and in the process he showed me a more efficient route back to the main trail around the lakes. It was a simple walk back to the car now which allowed plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day.

#'s: 9.5 hours, 5800'
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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
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getting old
PostWed Sep 12, 2012 8:27 pm 
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summit in the winter, for reference
summit in the winter, for reference

--------------
man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Randy
Cube Rat



Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2861 | TRs
Location: Near the Siamangs
Randy
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PostWed Sep 12, 2012 8:37 pm 
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Nice. Probably more secure and exposed than the summer version.
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Gimpilator
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Location: Edmonds, WA
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PostWed Sep 12, 2012 9:48 pm 
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I'm very grateful for this report.  Thornton has been on my mind lately and now I know what to expect.

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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adam_
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PostThu Sep 13, 2012 6:19 am 
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one can also continue down the ridge then drop directly down to the parking lot rather than return via the trail.  I did this once and loved it, although it might be easier going up (as opposed to down) this way because then you don't have to worry about dropping out at the wrong place, and don't spend so much time looking over your shoulder back at the views of triumph!
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John Morrow
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Joined: 03 Apr 2007
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PostThu Sep 13, 2012 8:33 am 
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Sweet Randy!  Such a beautiful looking mountain with enough scrambling to make it significant enough solo.  Always wondered about getting up there to it.  Thanks for the beta, now I gotta go.  Gotta join you on one before the snow flies, hopefully.  My weekends free up end of September for short notice daytrips where the colors are.
John

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Roald
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PostThu Sep 13, 2012 9:59 am 
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I made the mistake of looking up this TR instead of trying to get some work done - and then going to your Triumph TR.  Thirty jaw-dropping minutes later ... wow, how cool!
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Randy
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Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2861 | TRs
Location: Near the Siamangs
Randy
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Cube Rat
PostThu Sep 13, 2012 12:02 pm 
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John and Roald - many thanks and I hope to see you both out on trips very soon. It has been far too long.
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