Mt. Thompson via West Ridge

August 16, 2002

Dave Svilar, Darren Rainey, Matt Alford


Mt. Thompson from near the Pacific Crest Trial.  Our route on the west ridge is outlined in red.

I've never been that attracted to the Snoqualmie Pass area and didn't have a special desire to climb Mt. Thompson, but Darren and Matt did.  Our plan for an early start was blown when I swung by Matt's house and had to wake him.  He packed at warp speed and we met up with Darren only a little late.

The first order of business upon arriving the trailhead at Snoqualmie Pass was to use the outhouse.  My stomach was still unpredictable from my travels earlier in the summer, so I made sure to pack plenty of toilet paper.  Matt was next up for the outhouse, and due to his quick packing job needed to borrow my toilet paper.  I handed him my large roll thinking there was no way he could possibly use it all up.

We hiked fast on the meandering Pacific Crest Trail and arrived a section of the trail called the "catwalk."  Matt and Darren had been this way before and thought it would be funny to bait me into trying to push a rock off the ledge.  Knowing the rock was bolted down they pretended to struggle trying to kick the rock off the side.  They were impressed that I didn't fall for the trick, but in reality I was just too dumb to notice what they were trying to do.

Matt and Darren dangle their legs over the "Katwalk" on the Pacific Crest Trail.

As we continued down the trail we caught glimpses of Thompson and I could now see why they wanted to climb it.  We took a steep climber's path off the PCT over a pass, down into a basin and up a scree covered gully.  The day seemed like it was heading in the right direction when Darren called from behind, "Dave, you got any toilet paper?"  I told him Matt had it all, but when he asked Matt he said that he had used the entire supply at the trailhead.  I could not fathom how Matt had squandered the entire supply in one sitting.  Luckily Darren was in a snowpatch, so he wasn't completely out of options.  We were three guys with no toilet paper.

We reached the base of the climb and put on our harnesses.  My erratic bowels were about to strike again.  I desperately ripped off my harness and found a somewhat secluded place.  This wouldn't be noteworthy except for my lack of wiping materials.  I would just have to suffer the consequences.  And suffer I was about to do.

We started the climb using two ropes with the last two guys simultaneously being belayed by the leader.  After a couple of pitches it was obvious we were off route because many of our handholds involved moss and loose rocks.  We got back on route and the going became easier 4th class, so we ran a belay until reaching the false summit.  From there we unroped and scrambled the 3rd and 4th class terrain to the summit. 

Darren leading our running belay that felt more like low 5th class in some places.


Matt (white helmet) trails our running belay and talks to strangers who had climbed up behind us.


Dave climbing.


Dave takes his mind off toilet paper looking for the next hold.


Three beefcakes on the summit.

We sat in the sun on the summit and had lunch and were soon joined by a couple climbing up behind us.  We joined forces for two rappels on the way down the east ridge and then made tracks back to the Pacific Crest Trail.  By this time I was in severe discomfort.  Darren stayed back with me on the 7 mile hike out, but Matt who had used all my toilet paper bombed ahead.  We made it back to the car before dark and I was able to laugh away my discomforts knowing I wouldn't have to walk anymore that day. 

-written September 2002

Take Me Home