Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thornton Peak attempt, North Cascades National Park

A whole host of issues prevented us from making it all the way out to Thornton Peak (6935') yesterday: compact ice on the steep switchbacks of the road bested Eric's truck (even in 4WD; added four miles roundtrip of road walking), snow was very slow (either deep powder or heavy and unconsolidated, even in snowshoes), then nearing our turn around time we reached a slope I should have switched from snowshoes to crampons to climb up, then would have needed to switch back after the step. Even there, we were still two miles from Thornton Peak and it was already noon.

Not every day can go as planned...with solid consolidated snow, though, the south ridge of Thornton would be great walking! The approach ridge is not as quick and does not offer the views of other off-trail North Cascades approaches I've done (Stetattle, Pyramid, Little Devil, etc).

"Go behind the privy at the trailhead and start going up"
Snowshoes went on at 3700', not far above this
Finally on the ridge proper after ~3m on the forested approach ridge
East(L)-to-south: X Peak, Trappers Peak, Mt. Ross, Davis Peak, Jack Mountain, Crater Mountain, Ruby Mountain, Colonial-Snowfield group, Haystack-Needle-Horseman's Pack, Primus Peak, Austera Peak, The Trapezoid, Big Devil Peak
Thornton's south ridge (Thornton-Damnation divide); south face of Triumph at left
Not the snow conditions we were hoping for/expecting!
Southwest (L) to northwest: Oakes Peak, Electric-Logger buttes, Bacon Peak, Damnation Peak, Mt. Baker, Berdeen Peak, Hagan Mountain group, Mt. Blum, Mineral Mountain
Only about halfway up Thornton's south ridge; Mt. Despair at left and Triumph's summit peeking over
Mt. Blum; east fork Bacon Creek valley in midground
Eric heading back on Thornton's south ridge
Looking south along a flat portion of the ridge


  1. Beautiful pics! This is on my list to do at some point this winter...

  2. Ridge looks like great conditions for skis. Love the shot of Mt. Blum.