The 3 lakes on a beautiful day in 2009 Large cornice on the summit of Trappers Peak
Trappers Peak is a high rise on a ridge running north and east of Thornton
Lakes. 5,966' above sea level, it is situated above Lower Thornton Lake
(4,486'), the southernmost of three in an alpine cirque rising roughly 400'
in each step while on the east is steep low footings in the Goodell Creek
valley. Trappers Peak offers incredible views of the Southern Pickets,
Triumph, 'Thornton Peak'-an unnamed peak rising 6,935 above Upper Thornton
Lake, T-bone Ridge, Pinnacle Peak and many others. Eleven miles east of
Marblemount turn north onto signed Thornton Lakes Rd. Follow for 5.2 miles
reaching the trailhead (2,600') and proceeding 2.3 on an abandoned logging
road before entering the woods and occasianally switchbacking to the National
Park Boundary at 3.4 miles. At 3.7 miles cross a stream in a small meadow
followed by switchbacks reaching sub-alpine blueberry patches, a junction
will be reached at 4.7 miles, the right path heads toward a triangular rock
the left leads over the ridge crest and down to Lower Thornton Lake. From the
triangular rock follow the short steep path up onto the ridge and get your
first glimpse of the lower and middle lakes, from here follow the ridge trending
north for 1 mile and 1,000' up an easy boot path to the summit.
First view of the lakes from the ridge
I awoke on a cloudy August morning to the sound of my colleage's car horn, I
had passed out on the couch again watching cartoons and overslept. After quickly
assembling a day pack we where en-route to the Thornton Lakes trailhead and
preparing for the journey ahead. We began walking the relatively smooth trail
to the log crossing of Thornton Creek and then continued on the opposite
side of the valley over old road bed crumbling into the valley below before
coming to an obvious end in the road and a sharp north bend into the woods.
A summit of Vesper Peak the day prior had left my colleague groggy and
the ascent through the woods was more relaxed. We reached a boggy section of
trail before emerging into a small meadow, we crossed a bridge over a creek
and reached the boundary of the National Park (no dogs). After ascending moderate
switchbacks, we pass the triangle rock and ascend a steep path onto the ridge
through water-drenched fir trees and get our first good look at the lake.
"Well, thats where we're heading" smiling as I point at the ridge leading
1,000' above us into the clouds. My colleague feeling a little 'taxed' at
this point, we decide to eat some food and watch the clouds seperate enough
to give a glimpse of most the lower lake before ascending the final ridge.
From here we headed towards the first small steep section consisting of dirt
and scree, I climbed onto a rock shoulder at my first oppertunity and
could see the lake below and the socked in summit area above, it still didn't
look much like it would open up. Traveling through Heather and boulders, my
colleagues morale was boosted and we were moving quickly up to the final short
steep summit bootpath.
Farther up the shoulder, colleague standing at half way
Snoring Our view of the socked in upper lake
For the most part 'socked in' I could only point at quick glimpses of the
sorrounding area before the clouds shifted unlocking another part of the view
in some other direction. Impressed by my buddies ability to full on fall asleep
(snoring) on the lightly breezy and maybe a little chilly summit, I cruise
farther along the ridge snapping photos while watching the clouds slowly start
to provide better views, but only a little. I had been here twice the year before,
it was probably my first good taste of Washington hiking-a long valley approach, then
viewless woods followed by a textbook Cascade playground, also I hear the lake is
stalked with trout. To my understanding you can traverse around the lakes and climb
a steep gully north of the middle lake to reach the col leading to the SE flanks
of Mt. Triumph. This really is a great place to be. My colleague awoke and we
made plans for 'Thornton Peak' on a nicer day before packing for our descent.
Fooling around at the base of the rock shoulder From the summit 2009, early summer/early fall The final ridge above the scramble in 2009
"It would be pretty sweet to pack a canoe up here" I say aloud as I realize
how much of a pain in the ass it would be, we stop at the lower rock shoulder
just above the ridge where you get your first view of the lake for a little
practice scrambling. Traveling the old road bed, we agreed a return trip was
due on a day with better weather as this first ascent for my colleague provided
only half the reward. Still a great trip, we reached the truck and made our way
into Sedro-Woolley for some supper. Months have gone by and again I'm starting to
think "It would be pretty neat to pack a canoe up there".