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Val Zephyr

[TR] Mt. Triumph - NE Ridge 8/19/2012

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Trip: Mt. Triumph - NE Ridge


Date: 8/19/2012


Trip Report:

Aaron and I attempted Triumph over the weekend August 4th-5th. It may have been a little ambitious considering Aaron was essentially attempting this route straight off the couch. We both knew that perhaps a little less ambitious objective might be more reasonable, but he agreed to give it a shot anyway. Thanks! With the hot temps and overnight packs, the approach did prove to be a little too ambitious. We made it to the col and had a comfortable bivy. Took a good look at the route and decided to save it for another day.






Luckily the “another day” came very quickly. The following weekend, Ethan and I were on our way up to the col. Only this time, we passed the col, crossed the glacier and waited at the base for Sarah S and Co. to return to take the rack off their hands (after enjoying the lighter packs on the way up). Love the gear trade! We were going for the prize bivy, a large ledge 1 pitch up from the notch with an uninterrupted view of the southern pickets. We arrived at the ridge bivy at sunset and quickly got to work photographing in the fading light. We watched our friends traverse the glacier by headlamp as we ate dinner on the ridge, hoping that that would not be the case for us the next day.










Ethan got me up the next morning, reminding me the need to be speedy so that we’d have plenty of light for the long hike out. We were moving at 7am. We simul-climbed everything up until the crux on a doubled over half rope (this worked perfectly!). Ethan carried a pack with water, snacks and emergency cloths and I carried a second half rope for the rappels. On the crux, I kept saving both of the #3 camalots for the wide part, but found that the pitch protected quite well with smaller gear 2 #2s, a #0.75 and a #0.5 were plenty. I found it pretty funny to get up there with both of the large cams unused.






Ethan then took the lead for the final run to the summit. A couple short moves gained the great notch and some simul-climbing up class 3-4 heather gained the summit ridge. Here we unroped at the first rappel and scrambled the final bit to the summit (4 hours to the summit and 4.5 if you include the 1st pitch to the bivy site).








The summit was beautiful. We celebrated briefly and readied for the long, tedious rappels. I was confused briefly by the first rappel. It was supposed to go straight toward the great notch (with double ropes), but instead was re-directed towards the ascent route. After looking around a bit, I convinced myself that this was the rappel that would bring us toward the notch (skipping the loose stuff that we encountered on the way up). It was, and I located the next rap station easily (this one took us right to the notch and probably saved some time). Many many more rappels later we were down to the ridge bivy. We gathered our stuff and made one final double rope rappel to the notch (4 hours rappelling in all). For the most part, our rappels went very smoothly, I can see how this would take a lot longer if anything went wrong (hooray for no rope stuckage!).






We made a brief stop for some ice cold water and hit the trail (only breaking out headlamps for the final mile).




Thanks for being an awesome partner Ethan! I’m still amazed how comfortably you can climb with all of that camera gear.

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Since the NPS "cleaned" a bunch of the rap slingage, do you need to use two ropes or will a single 60 still work? When I did it 10 years ago, a single 60m half rope worked great.


Thanks for the reminder about this fantastic route, I need to hit it again!

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did the route this weekend. Yes, you can rap with a single 60m. On at least two rappels we ended up a bit short of the next station and/or ground, and had to improvise (i.e downclimb, build anchor and downlead, etc) - nothing too sketchy. All the rap stations were more or less in good order with reliable slings.


getting from the bivy site (just over the col) onto the glacier was the crux for us. You need to either down climb wet mossy rock, or descend/traverse steep snow. We choose the former being more comfortable on rock.


great alpine setting.


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Way to get it done Val. Looks like fun...nice TR! I hope to do this climb before I get too old. I got stoked after seeing it from Trapper last fall.

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I rapp'd the route with a single 30 meter rope some years back. If the NPS cleaned it enough to prevent that, just bring some cord for chalkstone anchors.

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Thanks for the replies, we sure did enjoy the route! dkatz covered the rappel beta well. I think the half ropes did save us some time though. I'm glad that you mentioned the glacier crossing (I should have put that in my approach notes). The snow was steep enough after the bivy mound that I wouldn't have wanted to do it without an ice ax and crampons.

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