Topping out at just over 9,000 feet, Thompson Peak is the highest point in the Trinity Alps, which is a section of the Klamath Mountain Range in northwestern California. The peak is at the headwaters of the most rugged drainage in the Trinity Alps, the Canyon Creek drainage, where several peaks rise above 8,800 feet. Due to the geographical location of these mountains, they contain elements of the Cascades to the north and Sierras to the south. Their height is not impressive when compared with the Sierras, but their higher latitude and proximity to the Pacific Ocean allow for significant winter snow accumulation and the existence of a few small glaciers.
I climbed Thompson Peak via the Canyon Creek trailhead in 9:42, starting at 6:20 am and finishing at 4:02 pm. The climb involved 16 miles of trail and nearly an equal amount cross country travel, entailing bushwhacking, routefinding, talus hoping, scrambling, and snow. A large portion of the trail was good for running, but none of the cross country travel was runnable. There was even some class 4+ exposed moves to ascend the final summit block. I found spectacular mountain scenery and a true wilderness feeling beyond Canyon Creek Lakes where there is virtually no evidence of human impact. The Trinity Alps, often overlooked by Mount Shasta, are a real gem and I plan on returning here for more climbs in the future.
Gear: La Sportiva Fireblade, Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack, Kahtoola Aluminum Crampons, Petzl Snowracer Ice Axe
I even stepped into the video world with a short clip from the summit of Thompson Peak, enjoy!
Check out many more photos and a complete trip report at CascadeClimbers.com.