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Trappers Peak - 5966'
Miles RT: Elevation Gain: Route/Trail:
12 3400' route
Map: GT - novblempount #47
USGS - Mt. Triumph
Season: winter

A day trip to a peak with the most impressive views of the Pickets.  It's a fairly long scramble at 12 miles round trip, made especially so with the shorter late fall days.  We were able to drive all the way to the trail head, although snow was present on the road and in the parking area.  The first two miles of the trail follow an old road bed, which is deteriorating quickly.  Many watercourses are crossed with one being more difficult than others due to what must have been a pretty good landslide and washout. This crossing is done on rocks and downed trees and was where I slipped and put one leg in up to the knee.  Soaked socks and boot, but wool stuff really does stay pretty warm when wet.
Once off the road bed, we followed the trail when we could find it in the snow to a 5000' saddle where the trail drops down to Thornton Lakes. Here we went right, leaving the trail and started up Trappers south ridge.   The ridge is not too difficult, although there are two fairly steep parts to work through. Either might have avy potential with the right conditions. The ridge itself narrows in spots and with more snow later in the season, cornices might be a factor.  We made it to a point at around 5600' where the ridge flattens before the final climb to the summit and had to make a decision. We'd arrived at our turn around time and the top looked to me to still be a long way off. Others thought it was just within reach and wanted to give it a shot. So most went off for the summit, while two of us stayed, convinced they'd go for 15 minutes or so, realize that it wasn't going to happen and turn around.
Of course we were the ones whose perception of the remaining distance was off.  They covered the ground faster than I would have expected.  But by the time I recognized that they were going to make it, there really wasn't enough time for me to catch up.  So now another excuse to go back.  The first time I was here, we made the summit, but couldn't see a thing. Hard to imagine getting another day like this though.
We got back to the cars just as it was getting dark. Good trip, and one with lots of exercise, an interesting ridge to walk and some minor route finding to keep you on your toes.

  November 23, 2007      
One of the creeks  
and another  
Trappers Creek incident
Nearing Thornton Lakes Jct  
The faster group  
About 5000'
Trappers & S ridge  
Scrambling along the S ridge  
Steep ups
Looking S from the ridge  
Summit coming closer  
and the others go on...  
S ridge on descent
Some steep sections on S ridge  
Look E from the S ridge  
Nearly back - getting dark  
Pano from the S ridge
Route Map

Drive the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) for 11 miles east of Marblemount and turn left (north) on Thornton Creek Road between mileposts 117 & 118. Follow the gravel road for 5 miles to the trail head.
The road is steep and may be rough or snowbound. Check with National Parks Service for seasonal status.)

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