Mt. Triumph, East Face, Memento Mori
Washington, North Cascades
Rolf Larson and I finally got our stuff together this summer and enjoyed discovering a new line up Mt. Triumph on August 12. The route climbs directly up the east face and is characterized by a ton of juggy and often steep 5.8-ish climbing, with many passages of 5.9. After eight pitches we joined the northeast ridge for its final couple of hundred feet of scrambling to the summit. We spent about 10 hours on the route and then descended the south ridge for the complete alpine experience. Night befell us while still above the glacier, so we endured—I mean enjoyed—a shiver bivy on an exposed ridge. We left fresh tat on this descent.
We called the route Memento Mori (a.k.a. the Tom Thomas Memorial Route, 8 pitches, 5.9+), after Tom Thomas, who died attempting to solo this wall in 1988. His frayed rope hovered above the belay atop our fourth pitch, which was affecting and sobering, even for crusty, salty types. As with all mountain routes, there’s some loose rock, but it’s primarily solid gneiss. The route deserves more traffic, as it offers solid adventure and aesthetic pulling. I’d recommend a rack up to four inches, with some pitons, glacier gear, and double ropes.