Thompson Peak, Trinity Alps


Topping out at just over 9,000 feet, Thompson Peak is the highest point in the Trinity Alps, which is a high 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.

Upper Canyon Lake with the Wedding Cake and Thompson Peak refecting

Upper Canyon Lake with the Wedding Cake and Thompson Peak refecting

I climbed Thompson Peak via the Canyon Creek trailhead in 9:42, starting at 6:20 am and finishing at 4:02 pm (4:52 to summit, 22 minutes on top, 4:28 return). 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.


  • La Sportiva Fireblade
  • Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack
  • Petzl Snowracer Ice Axe
  • Kahtoola Aluminum Crampons

The Trinity Alps, often overlooked by Mount Shasta, are a real gem and I plan on returning here for more climbs in the future. Check out many more photos and a complete trip report at

3 Responses to “Thompson Peak, Trinity Alps”

  1. Buzz Says:

    I’d never heard of Thompson Peak; good one! And impressive; definitely doesn’t look like 9,000′, and I can’t imagine any 9,000 footers south of the Cascades and Olympics that would require crampons and axes and take almost 10 hours. California is it’s own country.

  2. SST Says:

    Is this a recent trip report? I plan on going up there in the next couple weeks.

  3. Interval training Says:

    nice trip

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