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Mt. Triumph Northeast Buttress and Liberty Bell Mountain Beckey Route

Dur­ing the last week of July I dust­ed off my old guid­ing skills and head­ed for the hills! Now spend­ing more of my time in the office it felt good to bust out one of the North Cas­cade’s clas­sic alpine rock climbs. Join­ing me was Gor­don Smith, whom over the years I jour­neyed to the vol­ca­noes of Ecuador, to climb a bunch of alpine climbs in the Cas­cades, and to Rus­sia in 1990 to climb Mt. Elbrus and 23,000ft.+ Pik Lenin, a trip that coin­ci­den­tal­ly hap­pened dur­ing the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union. 

The friend­ship and sto­ries were all famil­iar, from crash­ing through brush in the dark after get­ting up the infre­quent­ly climbed north­east face of Mt. Stu­art to those inter­est­ing times when the USSR was frag­ment­ing and find­ing a scrap of food in Moscow was one of the biggest chal­lenges of the trip. But our choice of climbs for this out­ing was not so famil­iar. I had not been up the beau­ti­ful north­east ridge of Tri­umph and was as excit­ed as Gor­do as we began our walk along the old road bed up to Thor­ton Lakes. Gor­do had made a spe­cial request to get beat up” a bit, some­thing these days I seem more to be on the receiv­ing end than oth­er­wise being as busy as I am with rais­ing two daugh­ters and keep­ing the Mad­ness on course. Our plan to climb Tri­umph fol­lowed by some Wash­ing­ton Pass alpine rock seemed just the tick­et for a good ol Cas­cades challenge.

It was as good a trip we could have hoped for; from the beau­ti­ful hike through old growth forests on the way to Thor­ton Lakes, some great low to mid-fifth class rock in an unsur­passed North Cas­cades set­ting, to the immense feel­ing of sat­is­fac­tion of get­ting back to camp after a per­fect 15-hour day on Tri­umph. I think the pho­tos tell it all:

Thor­ton Lake with Tri­umph in the background


Tri­umph with easy glac­i­er approach shown

The ele­gant north­east ridge — climb­ing is 4th class with some mid-fifth class along the way
Tri­umph with easy glac­i­er approach shown

The most stun­ning camp­site in the North Cascades?

The approach to the ridge

Three climbers in the bot­tom right approach­ing Triumph

Along the spiny crest of the route- lots of expo­sure on mod­er­ate terrain

Sol­id rock along the crest

The Pick­ets, one of the most inac­ces­si­ble places in the low­er 48

Some of the best climb­ing in the Cas­cades if you can get there!

The crux pitch, a nice 5.7 crack that can be avoid­ed at 5.5 on the left

More airy, but easy climbing

On the sum­mit of maybe the best view to be had in the North Cascades!

Gor­don on the summit

The Lib­er­ty Bell Massif

Start­ing the first pitch of the Beck­ey route on Lib­er­ty Bell

Sol­id anchors the whole way

Top of pitch 1

Great crack climb­ing on pitch 3

Down­ward bound and the race to beat the after­noon t‑storm

~ MM President/​Owner Mark Gunlogson