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[TR] Mount Triumph - Memento Mori 08/29/2022

Michael Telstad

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Trip: Mount Triumph - Memento Mori

Trip Date: 08/29/2022

Trip Report:


On Sunday, Duncan and I hiked out to Triumph with an open mind, and not quite enough food. We planned to repeat @rat & @lunger's east face route Memento Mori, but were open to more adventure if another line spoke to us. Turns out those jerks swiped the good one. 


The route was overall pretty high quality, with a good ratio of solid to portable holds. As far as we can tell, we followed their existing route except for pitch 5. Duncan build his belay at Tom's frayed rope (a single pink tricam girth hitched to a sling with the remains of a rope clove hitched to a non locker... yikes dude), which set me up for the hanging corner above. This roof went at probably 10- R due to an enormous moss clump that I had to face climb around on good, but unprotecable rock. The rest of the pitch offered little for pro, but enjoyable face climbing when the rock was good. My understanding is that Eric and Rolf belayed lower and face climbed up and right? Having pins made this belay feel comfortable, but are not necessary. Pitches six and seven are easy to follow and fun! Again, I used a beak to beef up the pitch six belay, but it was probably not necessary. 

Pitch Eight is the only one that didn't quite make sense. The FA description said to "Step left to a strenuous boulder move gaining another ledge". I walked left and scrambled around to said ledge at fourth class. However to the right is a short corner that looks like it goes at 5.9ish. I'm assuming that was just a typo, but would love to hear if we missed something. 

We chose to skip the alpine experience and descend the NE ridge sans shiver bivy, getting back to the car around 9pm for a full day out in the mountains. 




Approaching up P1 4th/low5th


It's a big imposing wall!


Pitch 2 is pretty spectacular


Starting up P3


Starting up our P5


"Bet ya can get a turf stick with the alpine hammer" -Duncan Ralph

I climbed hard right, up the face and back left into the corner. Can't say I recommend this variation. 

Duncan cleaned Tom's remaining gear. Future parties shouldn't rely on this for routefinding. 


Pitch 6 low angle corner


P7 is straight up fun climbing! 



@rat & @lunger, did you climb this corner to the right?



What a wall!

Gear Notes:
Double rack very small to #1 and single #2-#4, Full range of nuts incl. brass We used a long knife blade and #2 beak. I was glad to have them, but Duncan was indifferent. 70M rope would give you more anchor flexibility Crampons

Approach Notes:
Standard NE ridge approach. Access the glacier from top left and traverse over to the base of the route.

Edited by Michael Telstad
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I like this.   That looked like the only route those guys ever put up that was worth repeating. 

(I won’t delete it but my attempt pithy humor was lame.  

More accurately “looks like the only route those guys put up that I would be capable of repeating”.  

I’d add their route on Tower looks pretty sick as well.   And I do recall feeling like my secret project had been stolen when they climbed Tilley Towers BITD.

apologies to Rat & Lunger as welll as Michael for slightly detailing your excellent TR. carry on….)

Edited by dberdinka
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You two made quick work of it. Glad you enjoyed it. I vaguely remember pulling some move pretty close to the belay just to avoid the left-right manuever. I don't remember the corner in your photo. I finished up a lighter colored corner that seemed like an relatively recent scar but the rock was good. As you found out, there is plenty of room for variations. Eric might have a better memory & chime in eventually.


I've climbed a number of your routes and mostly enjoyed them. You really know how to slam in bolts for us hoi polloi... To my knowledge, you have climbed none of ours. You might like this one. Or Mox, which I maintain is as good as Bear's DNB but more committing. Cheers.


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First of all -- descriptions of grades, pitches, and overall character of the route were very accurate. Thanks for a quality experience. One of my first thoughts on topping out was now I'm *really* psyched on "after hours". Overall, I thought "memento" was quite reminiscent of "fire on the mountain" -- lots of steep featured gear-protected face climbing, some poor rock but mostly pretty decent. The face that "memento" climbs is, overall, much steeper (sloan has lots of ledges), while "fire" involves pulling harder (but seemed less sustained).


The gear from the accident -- a pink tricam in a marginal placement in poor rock, girthed to a few feet of webbing with a biner, on which was cloved a few shreds of rope -- was in a roof/overlap below two side-by-side corners just above the [eric/rolf] belay at top of pitch 4. It seems possible that the decades of rockfall and avalanches that shredded the rope also degraded the tricam placement (and/or removed anything else that was in the belay). If anyone with a connection to the deceased would like them I'd be happy to pass them along (@Skeezix?), I just felt it better to clean up the mountain.


I believe I ended p3 5m or so higher than the fa, at the top of the vague pillar/face you've been climbing, belaying on a slung block + #1. I'd recommend this to avoid the semi-hanger.


As mentioned above (sorry...), I didn't read the p5 description carefully, so was just looking for a corner when ending p4. When you pull onto a slab at end of p4 (25ft below where the tricam was), there are two side-by-side corners above you: left looks good, right looks shitty and mossy, I incorrectly belayed under the right corner (good #4 + ok #1, just above where tricam was) to set up to climb the left corner. The correct way, I believe, is to belay as soon as you're on the slab, and then traverse pretty hard right above the roof to begin p5. Which at least to us looked quite improbable (steep face with little obvious gear) but gear tends to appear in this rock as you get closer. So now that the old gear is gone, I'd amend description to: pin belay on slab below two side-by-side corners (p5 goes to right of both corners).


And yeah, on the last pitch we did climb the distinctive rock-scarred corner with decent rock, so were probably in the same place. The short offwidth to right (picture above) seems like a good idea for the start of that pitch, although we didn't climb it. The cutest little chipmunk came over and hung out while I was belaying here.


Rack seemed good. The pins (+ northwall hammer + msr tent stake hammer) seemed somewhat optional to me, but otoh I wouldn't be brave enough to launch up a route like this without them unless I'd done it before.


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  • 4 months later...

I am wondering if anyone here knows how to contact Tom's family? Tom was on his way up to the Canadian Rockies to spend a second winter climbing with Ken Wallator when he stopped off to climb Triumph. I have several images of Tom from his time climbing here in Canada, including his and Ken's FA of the North Face of Storm in winter. Ken was never certain exactly what happened to Tom, the mechanics of how he fell. He had heard that Tom's harness was still attached to the rope, just no body in it. Does anyone know if this is true, or can anyone fill in more details about what they believe happened?

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Here is the link to the FA: https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/98132-tr-mt-triumph-new-route-on-east-face-memento-mori-aka-the-tom-thomas-memorial-route-9122015/?tab=comments#comment-1134986 Based on his response, Skeezix may be able to help you.

If you haven't seen it, here is the link to the accident report: http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13198907402/Fall-on-Rock-Climbing-Alone-Washington-North-Cascades-National-Park

Sorry to hear about Ken.



Edited by rat
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