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Gimpilator
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PostSat Oct 24, 2015 11:44 pm 
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Fletcher wrote:
Me on top with Triumph
Me on top with Triumph

I've wanted to do Thornton Peak since I did Trappers with Bryan in 2010.  When Fletcher posted his 2012 report (above photo), I was a bit jealous, but happy for him at the same time.  Finally I got around to checking out this awesome peak in a very lovely area.



Thornton - October 23

lower Thornton Lake below Thornton Peak and X Mountain
1 label
lower Thornton Lake below Thornton Peak and X Mountain
Thornton
Thornton

Heather and I hiked up and over the pass and down to lower Thornton Lake.  We crossed some large talus near the outlet and then followed a boot path to the middle lake, passing through a deep narrow channel which runs between the two lakes.  From the middle lake we traversed talus to the main access gully which also had a boot path.

deep narrow channel
deep narrow channel
access gully
access gully
the gap above
the gap above
Triumph
Triumph
Triumph east glacier
Triumph east glacier

The boot path ended at the gap.  It looked as though we could easily have made our way over to the glacial slabs below Triumph.  I was tempted to do that for novelty if we ended up with enough time.  As it turned out, we did not.

X Mountain and Trappers
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X Mountain and Trappers
Southern Pickets
Southern Pickets
steep terrain above the gap
steep terrain above the gap
Thornton and Triumph
Thornton and Triumph

From the gap we ascended steep rocks and grass with a few scramble steps.  The ridge narrowed and we followed the crest part of the way and the right side and the left side around obstacles.  There was one notch we had to scramble down to before coming to the summit block.

above the notch
above the notch
summit block
summit block
somewhat crumbly rock
somewhat crumbly rock
Heather on a narrow exposed section
Heather on a narrow exposed section

The summit block was exposed and a bit crumbly as several reports have mentioned, but not as bad as we had feared.  It was late in the day.  Heather wished for more time on the summit since the views were astounding, but I was feeling a bit nervous about the scramble down and also the late hour, so we got moving.

summit
summit
Fletcher
Fletcher
Triumph
Triumph
Baker
Baker
Blum and Shuksan
Blum and Shuksan
Southern Pickets
Southern Pickets

Graybeard - October 24

The next day we joined forces with Eric, Dustin and Andrea for Graybeard.  Together we hiked up to Easy Pass and then turned southeast following a spur trail up the ridge for 300 vertical feet.  We then traversed the southwest slope to get around a sub-peak to reach the basin at 6800 feet.

Mesahchie
Mesahchie
Graybeard traverse
Graybeard traverse
entrance to gully above talus on right
1 label
entrance to gully above talus on right
Eric
Eric
steep crappy scree and talus
steep crappy scree and talus
chossy gully
chossy gully
last photo before dropping my camera
last photo before dropping my camera

From the basin we ascended a very loose scree and talus slope to enter the narrow chossy gully at 7500 feet.  Here we stayed close together and wore helmets to mitigate rock fall danger.  Near the top of the gully we came to a split and kept to the right.  About here my camera case opened and my camera went flying down the gully bouncing about every 5 feet.  frown.gif  No more pictures of the route...  Then we came to the crux.

The crux was a 15 foot step of class 4 to 3+.  The bottom of it involved climbing two white chock-stones which force you into an awkward stance under an overhang.  It eases up near the top with some better hands and feet options on the right side.

Above the crux step we came to a gap in the ridge and did some more tricky scrambling to get onto the upper crest (climbers left).  From there it was a short walk to the summit.  Dustin was able to get some photos of us on top, so hopefully he can share those later.  No summit register present.

Our strategy to get the group down safely was for Eric to go first and get out of the bowling alley gully and then Heather and I to go next and Dustin and Andrea last.  This worked well.  And Eric found my camera in the gully!  Amazingly it was still fully functional despite the long fall.  The lens wasn't even scratched.

Logan
Logan
Fisher Creek valley
Fisher Creek valley
looking back at Graybeard
looking back at Graybeard
scrambling up Honeymoon Hump
scrambling up Honeymoon Hump
Mesahchie
Mesahchie
Kitling seen from Honeymoon Hump
Kitling seen from Honeymoon Hump

We worked our way back to Easy Pass and then decided to try for Kitling since there was plenty of daylight left.  We made it as far as Honeymoon Hump before an impending snowstorm turned us around.  Heather was the first to call it, but we all knew she was right.  Just as she predicted, the snow started falling on us just as we got back to the pass.

snow storm coming
snow storm coming
more snow
more snow

Note:  Ideally, the route on Graybeard would be safer with a smaller group, or some snow to cover loose rock in the gully.

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
https://www.summitpost.org/users/gimpilator/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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Dustin Trails
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PostSun Oct 25, 2015 2:02 am 
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Great trip idea on Eric's part!  I'm glad we could assemble this team, it's nice to get out there with a group of five strong climbers.

Here are a few shots that I took, including a few from above Adam's camera drop:

Katsuk, Mesahchie, Cub, Kitling from halfway up talus on Graybeard
Katsuk, Mesahchie, Cub, Kitling from halfway up talus on Graybeard
Entering narrow section of upper gully
Entering narrow section of upper gully
Adam in the class 3+/4 move
Adam in the class 3+/4 move
Looking out of the top of the gully at The Arches and Mesahchie with Logan in the background
Looking out of the top of the gully at The Arches and Mesahchie with Logan in the background
Andrea in the class 3+/4 move
Andrea in the class 3+/4 move
Graybeard summit panorama
Graybeard summit panorama
Adam and Heather intently listening to Eric's story
Adam and Heather intently listening to Eric's story
Andrea gazing at the Pasayten with Azurite (left) and Golden Horn (right) in the foreground
Andrea gazing at the Pasayten with Azurite (left) and Golden Horn (right) in the foreground
Talus surfing down Graybeard
Talus surfing down Graybeard
De-layering before the trip up Honeymoon Hump
De-layering before the trip up Honeymoon Hump
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Gimpilator
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PostSun Oct 25, 2015 7:24 am 
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Dustin Trails wrote:
Great trip idea on Eric's part!

Absolutely right!  Thanks for allowing Heather and I to jump on your trip.   smile.gif

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
https://www.summitpost.org/users/gimpilator/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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Anish
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PostSun Oct 25, 2015 9:03 am 
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Fun weekend everyone!

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"Our way is not soft grass. It's a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upwards, forward, toward the sun." -Ruth Westheimer
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RichP
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here and there
PostSun Oct 25, 2015 9:17 am 
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That's a nice set of peaks.  up.gif
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mike
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PostSun Oct 25, 2015 11:06 am 
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Gimpilator wrote:
We made it as far as Honeymoon Hump before an impending snowstorm turned us around.

Just curious. Did you see the unmarked, unnamed pocket lake just N. below Honeymoon? Old USGS topos show all glacier...
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Bryan K
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PostSun Oct 25, 2015 2:38 pm 
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Nice job!! Wish I could've done Thornton with you though.

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www.youtube.com/bkraai | www.flickr.com/photos/bkraai/sets/
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puzzlr
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PostSun Oct 25, 2015 4:12 pm 
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You are so lucky on the camera, which is great.

Many years ago I had a good Nikon film camera and was running down a slope (I could do that back then) and the whole strap bounced over my head and my camera rolled through the woods and apparently over a huge cliff, but still in the case. It was hopeless, but I looked over the cliff at the last spot I saw it and it had caught on a bush just over the lip -- kind of like climbers in Hollywood climbing movies!

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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Fletcher
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PostSun Oct 25, 2015 7:26 pm 
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Good stuff guys! Thornton is a good one.
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TK
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PostMon Oct 26, 2015 8:13 am 
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Nice job.

I have always wanted to get up in that area. I am curious is the road up to Thorton Lakes passable with a normal vehicle?

I've heard some people say you should only attempt this road with a high clearance vehcile. Would hate to make this drive with my honda civic only to find out that I could not make it up the road!

Thanks!
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Gimpilator
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PostMon Oct 26, 2015 8:18 am 
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Mike - I did not look down the north side of Honeymoon, but now I wish I had.

puzzlr - That's an amazing story.  Almost unbelievable.  I bet you were pretty happy to see it hanging there.   smile.gif

TK - How many inches of clearance are on your vehicle?  It's true that it's not a great road for regular vehicles.  Heather has made it up there before with her Hyundai Elantra, however that is really pushing it.  The problem is that the road is very steep and some of those sections have very deep washboarding.  There is a lower trailhead for those who don't want to drive the road.

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https://www.summitpost.org/users/gimpilator/25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

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TK
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PostMon Oct 26, 2015 9:19 am 
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Thanks for the response.

I didn't realize there was a lower trailhead. How many extra miles does that add to your hike?

I drive a Honda Civic. =)
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Brushbuffalo
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PostMon Oct 26, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Classy scarf, Heather! If you ever are short of tat for rapping........ hmmm.gif

And Adam, just what kind of indestructible  camera is that ?  confused.gif
Amazing!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Brushbuffalo
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PostMon Oct 26, 2015 1:16 pm 
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Southern Pickets
Southern Pickets

Wow!  The glaciers on the south side of the Southern Pickets aren't  long for the world. .. frown.gif

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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