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[TR] Mt. Triumph- NE Ridge 8/20/2006


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Climb: Mt. Triumph-NE Ridge


Date of Climb: 8/20/2006


Trip Report:

After a rancid breakfast in Marblemount, Sean and I headed up the narrow road to the Thorton Lakes trailhead. The road is rough in places and while everyone else seemed to be able to make it up the road, the little civic hybrid just didn't have the nuts to get past some of the deepest washboard I have ever seen. Luck would have it that we hitched a ride the last two miles to the trailhead. After an uneventful approach, we bivied at the col just before the unnamed glacier leading to the NE ridge of Mt. Triumph. While we had one of the two permits allowed for this area, a third party came in just as the sun was sinking behind the alpine backdrop. In the spirit of the brotherhood of the mountains, we offered up our last Pabst Blue Ribbon to these two late arrivals (Clayton and Adam); a decision we would likely regret (who gives away their last beer? doh!).




View of unnamed glacier from bivy at col.


Getting an early start, we crossed below the unnamed glacier, staying mostly on the slabs below. Caution should be noted here, as we watched a large section of glacier calve off and come WAY TOO CLOSE to the approach.


We spent the first two to three pitches leap-frogging with a party of three, eventually passing them by taking a gully system left of the ridge crest. While we belayed a few of the lower pitches, we soon got into a compfortable rhythm, simul-climbing the low fifth-class pitches. Route finding is fairly straight forward on this route, until one gets towrds the final pitches. After crossing an "exhilerating" knife-ridge, we reached the "crux" pitch, an off-width fist crack (5.6 - 5.7?). While one can supposedly climb the face to the right of the crack, protection was sparse. Having planned ahead for this pitch, we were able to use the 4" cam I had been lugging around the entire weekend. This pitch looks terrifying from lower down, but is actually really fun to climb. At the top of this pitch we turned the corner (to the right) and climbed into the great notch, at whihc point we exited the ridge crest proper and moved left onto a steep heather face. From here it is 200' - 300' of scambling to the summit. We were not able to locate a summit register. Has anyone ever seen one there? Time from base of ridge to summit 7 hours. We figure we lost some time playing leap-frog with the other party of three (which subsequently turned around at the base of the crack pitch).




Low on the ridge.




View of the southern pickets, well worth the effort to get here.




One of the first major towers. Solid rock!


To descend, we rapped back down the ridge proper, avoiding going back down the steep heather slope (lots of loose rock on the heather slope!). We had a single rope (60 m), so some downclimbing was neccessary between raps. Two ropes, while making the descent quicker, may have lead to stuck rope issues.


The third group was on their way up by the time we were almost down, causing more delays while we waited for our teams to safely pass. We eventually returned to high camp around 8 pm, a little later than we had hoped.


With work commitments Monday morning, I bullied Sean into hiking out that night, rationalizing we would get a little sleep before work.... However, the portion of the trail between the lower lake and second lake is a "climbers" trail, which was easy to loose in the dark. After countless hours of bushwaking (and breaks to eat fresh blueberries) we eventually reached the maintained trail around midnight. At 2 am we reminded ourselves that we were on the summit of Mt. Triumph a mere 12 hours ago!! Unfortunately, the trailhead was deserted, so no-one was around to give us a ride back down the road to the car. Did I mention that I hate road hiking?


Overall, GREAT trip, highly recommended! While pro placement is sparse on this route, the rock is pretty good. We actually used slings around natural features more than anything else.


Post Script: We got back to the car at 4 am; 23 hours on the go. Needless to say, we didn't go to work that day.


Gear Notes:


8 nuts (8-13)

1 hex (5)

3-4 cams (2" to 4")

8 double slings

4 single slings

12 free 'biners

60 m half rope (used as 30 m half rope system on route)




Approach Notes:

Don't hike out in the dark! You will lose the trail, likely...

Not much snow below unnamed glacier.

Edited by alpineyeti
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  • 2 weeks later...

More pictures from Pat and my mini-epic can be found at:




I'm particularly fond of the one at 3 in the morning of Pat looking like he's knocking on heaven's door. You've never met a man so bound and determined to risk all to get to work the next day. He's an inspiration to us all.


I must say, I felt like I was socked in the gut when I came over the ridge and saw that almost gone glacier. You could feel somehow that it was much different very recently. The 1975 picture confirms how much it's changed. Outside of the piece that calved off and rumbled down the approach route, while we we climbing we could hear pieces rolling down the other side all day. I can't imagine it will be more than 5-10 years before the only evidence of the glacier is the polished rock it once rested on. Pretty sad stuff. On the bright side, leave all that glacier gear at home! Forget about those pesky 'schrund problems!


This is a really beautiful climb. Get on it.

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Great climb. My partner and I did it last summer. We had originally planned on going two days. But at the last minute, decided to go car to car. Wow, I had no Idea what I was getting into. With a 10 mile approach, it kicked our asses. We eventually climbed the entire route in 5 pitches, with on 60 m rope; we tide in half way and climbed 100 feet apart. Went car to car in 22 hours! I was ruined. Glad to see other people climb this beautiful peak. Great pics.

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It is truely sad to see these glaciers dispearing. Does anyone have pictures of the glacier below the north face of Triumph (off the right side of the NE ridge while climbing)? This "glacier" was active all day, as small serac chunks stranded on a sea of rock broke apart throughout the day. I hesitate to even call it a glacier as it looked more like a few icecubes thrown out on the sidewalk. Would love to see what that side of the mountain used to look like!


Philfort or icedancer, did you guys see a summit register? Just curious.


Also, anyone know of a winter ascent of this mountain. Nelson/Potterfield's picture of the north face in winter looks truely terrifying!!

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