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#1155612 - 07/12/17 11:17 PM [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017
JonParker Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/16/13
Posts: 22
TRs: 1 Photos: 29
Trip: Forbidden - North Ridge

Date: 7/9/2017

Trip Report:
A friend and I climbed the North ridge of Forbidden last weekend.

The first difficulty came at the ranger station. I asked for a permit for the Forbidden Zone.
Ranger: where are you heading?
Me: We're doing the north ridge of Forbidden.
Ranger: Forbidden is in the Boston Basin zone, which is full.
Me: no, no, we're doing the north ridge, we're going to bivy on the north ridge, won't set foot in boston basin until the hike out.
Ranger: Doesn't matter. The whole mountain is in Boston Basin.
Me: huh?!
Ranger: Doesn't matter what anyone says. Even some rangers don't know this. It's all Boston Basin.
Me: Why does the map show the North ridge in the Forbidden Zone? Ranger: Some artist drew it that way. Me: I don't understand. What do people in Boston Basin and on the west ridge have to do with the North Ridge? What's the Forbidden zone for then?
Ranger: (something I didn't really follow about glacial recession, long waits on the West ridge route, yada yada)
Me: uh weird, ok, can we get a permit for the Boston Glacier then?
Ranger: I'm giving you a permit for Forbidden. I trust you to Do the Right Thing.
Me: o . . . k . . . thanks
Ranger hands me a NCNP card: be our eyes and ears out there.
Me: smile and nod (WTF was that all about?)

I had tweaked my knee earlier in the week, so I was worried it could prevent me from even getting past Sharkfin but I was pleasantly surprised not to be in any pain.

Near Boston Basin we forked off to the right following rock and streams (camp spots here that I didn't know about?) up to Quien Sabe and filled up at the last running water. We went straight towards what I think is Sharkfin col but found a moat just slightly too great to get across. So we headed up and right through an awful gully to another rap anchor. Maybe this is the alternate? It's the one with a chockstone and as of now, a couple nuts and some yellow cord.

After one 30m rap we were still above a tall schrund with no easy way down. In the snow I found a small rock with a cord around it that apparently served as somebody's second rap anchor. I'm sure it was buried under more snow when it was used, but still, wow, that's some trust. I placed a nut in an exposed rock and a second rap got us down to the Boston.

Traversing over to the north ridge was pretty simple, very few crevasses to deal with. I enjoyed the ice worms and jade colored drips on the rocks.

Our path to the bivy involved a moat that will become very difficult quite soon, but there are probably other ways to get up there.

Searching for and doing the rap to the Boston had eaten up a lot of time so it was time for dinner by the time we got to the bivy. We spent the evening melting snow in painfully small batches and melting our brains with the incredible views.


Next morning we slowly got going a little after 6am after warming up some. We improvised our approach, from short pitches to running belays and scrambling. We had to cross one snowfield early on but we were able to bypass the large one higher up.

I think it was just past the higher snowfield that we seemed to have lost the easiest route. Some steep climbing through sketchy bullshit got us back on the ridge crest. As we neared the summit, clouds began to build on the south side, spilling over the east and west ridges and straight down to the glaciers below. We rushed through the scramble of the last two hundred feet to the summit with visibility on the south side disappearing.

I've wanted to do this climb for years. The position and scenery did not disappoint. The rock itself . . . it's not great. I was hoping for more sustained low 5th but it was almost all <5th scrambling. There also didn't seem to be many cracks in the few steep spots, so I rarely placed pro. But I was still very happy to be cruising up a beautiful ridge in such an amazing place.

We had planned to do the east ledges descent. I did that descent last year and found it to be undeserving of its scary reputation. It's steep for sure, but pretty solid. Scouring around the summit and the last little bit of the east ridge, I could not find the first rap. It's possible I missed it, but I'm pretty sure it's not there. So we headed down the west ridge. This took a goddamn long time. When we reached the gully some parties were rapping it. But the snow was in good condition for downclimbing, and seems like it will continue to be that way for at least a couple more weeks.

Eventually we made it to Boston Basin, much later and thirstier than we anticipated. The main creek crossing past Boston Basin was quite a sight, too much to wade through. But we crossed on snow a little higher up. From there, it was just a matter of getting home without falling asleep.


Edited by JonParker (07/13/17 09:15 AM)

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#1155616 - 07/13/17 07:05 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
diepj Offline
member

Registered: 01/09/12
Posts: 133
TRs: 6 Photos: 113
Loc: PDX
Thanks for the TR!

Getting permits was hard enough as it was. Now it is ranger roulette for if they even understand their own rules??

I had a lot of fun on this route. I thought the rock was pretty good but agree that there was really only about 5 fifth class moves on the route and 3 of them were coming down the W ridge...

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#1155618 - 07/13/17 08:29 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: diepj]
JasonG Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 2760
TRs: 105 Photos: 1778
Loc: Mount Vernon
It's a classic for sure.

Did they re-draw the permit map around Forbidden? It is right there under the glass, so I have a hard time understanding how you can't just point to where you are going to be camping for the night and have the map answer the question of what zone you need.
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#1155621 - 07/13/17 09:01 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JasonG]
JonParker Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/16/13
Posts: 22
TRs: 1 Photos: 29
No, the map hasn't changed. It clearly shows the Forbidden zone starting on the north side of the mountain. But it does also include the weasel words: Cross country zone boundaries as indicated are
approximate.
Ranger roulette is right.

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#1155622 - 07/13/17 09:07 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
JonParker Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/16/13
Posts: 22
TRs: 1 Photos: 29
our rap

way is clear on the Boston




moat near the bivy


moonrise


moonset










higher snowfield, can bypass on left



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#1155623 - 07/13/17 09:47 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
JasonG Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 2760
TRs: 105 Photos: 1778
Loc: Mount Vernon
Ha! And the NPS wonders why some of us do not support the expansion of NCNP.
_________________________
<><

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#1155625 - 07/13/17 10:34 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
NCNP Rangers Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/29/16
Posts: 10
TRs: 3 Photos: 1
Nice TR. Here is a link to a TR on our Conditions Blog from just before your trip, we also did a patrol of that route just after your trip. Of course we found very similar conditions, the only difference would be that we went over Sharkfin Col proper. We did two single rope rappels, with existing anchors in place for both.

Regarding your experience at the Wilderness Information Center: you are correct that most of the north side of Forbidden Peak is in the Forbidden XC zone. The exact boundary between the Boston Basin and Forbidden XC zones does extend a bit north of the east/west ridges expressly to prohibit folks from using a Forbidden zone permit to essentially camp in Boston Basin. We have to deflect that strategy a lot and it sounds like unfortunately there was a little confusion about your party's intentions. I'm glad it worked out and it looks like you had a great trip.

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#1155626 - 07/13/17 10:34 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
DPS Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 4086
TRs: 19 Photos: 64
Juan and I tried to get an overnight permit for TFT a couple of years ago. We were told all the Boston Basin permits were taken. I promised the ranger we would bivi on the Boston Glacier side. His response: "Doubtful". We were given a permit for the NW Arete on the Boston Glacier side, but it seemed completely arbitrary.
_________________________
Dispensing piss poor advice for since October, 2000.

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#1155629 - 07/13/17 10:51 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JasonG]
KaskadskyjKozak Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 17064
TRs: 112 Photos: 1037
Loc: Above Treeline
Originally Posted By: JasonG
It's a classic for sure.

Did they re-draw the permit map around Forbidden? It is right there under the glass, so I have a hard time understanding how you can't just point to where you are going to be camping for the night and have the map answer the question of what zone you need.



Just another example of how hostile and uncooperative the NCNP rangers have become. They act like climbers are trespassers on their property rather than part of the public they are supposed to serve.
_________________________
49% Motherfucker - 51% Son of a Bitch

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#1155630 - 07/13/17 10:54 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: NCNP Rangers]
KaskadskyjKozak Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 17064
TRs: 112 Photos: 1037
Loc: Above Treeline
Originally Posted By: NCNP Rangers

Regarding your experience at the Wilderness Information Center: you are correct that most of the north side of Forbidden Peak is in the Forbidden XC zone. The exact boundary between the Boston Basin and Forbidden XC zones does extend a bit north of the east/west ridges expressly to prohibit folks from using a Forbidden zone permit to essentially camp in Boston Basin. We have to deflect that strategy a lot and it sounds like unfortunately there was a little confusion about your party's intentions. I'm glad it worked out and it looks like you had a great trip.


In other words, assume the public you are dealing with is doing the wrong thing and treat them like they've committed a violation before they have.

How about you just patrol Boston Basin and issue citations to people that actually violate rules rather than accuse people of doing wrong (planning to do wrong) who have no intention of it?

Or how about politely explaining the exact places where camping is permitted and not for the N side of Forbidden?


Edited by KaskadskyjKozak (07/13/17 10:55 AM)
_________________________
49% Motherfucker - 51% Son of a Bitch

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#1155632 - 07/13/17 11:20 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: KaskadskyjKozak]
JasonG Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 2760
TRs: 105 Photos: 1778
Loc: Mount Vernon
Well, I think part of the issue is that the actual climbing rangers don't normally work the front desk (as it should be), so often you are getting permits from people that are unfamiliar with the ground that climbers travel. I don't think it is always rangers assuming we are out to wreak havoc, but certainly that is sometimes the case. Regardless, it is frustrating to have an exchange that was described above, esp. after waiting in line. Agreed on the need to assume the best and depend on enforcement to catch nefarious activity.

In talking with Kelly and Kevork over the years, a big problem is that there is a lot of turnover in the seasonal ranger corps. But I think that the NPS could do a much better job of using their database to figure out if the person standing in front of them is a newbie or not. Many of us know the ground much better than them (and have been getting permits for decades)! It's been the backyard for my entire life, and I love the park just as much as anyone (how the permit system is implemented, not so much).

Sorry for the drift!
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#1155633 - 07/13/17 12:20 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
JonParker Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/16/13
Posts: 22
TRs: 1 Photos: 29
KaskadskyjKozak,
There was also a ranger on the trail to Boston Basin who checked our permit, which is a good thing.

But yeah, the interaction at the WIC was pretty weird. I do think he was a climbing ranger FWIW.
We could definitely use clearer guidance on which zones encompass which bivy spots. Where is it written which zone the NR bivy is in? I took the map at face value.

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#1155635 - 07/13/17 12:54 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JasonG]
KaskadskyjKozak Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 17064
TRs: 112 Photos: 1037
Loc: Above Treeline
Originally Posted By: JasonG
Well, I think part of the issue is that the actual climbing rangers don't normally work the front desk (as it should be), so often you are getting permits from people that are unfamiliar with the ground that climbers travel. I don't think it is always rangers assuming we are out to wreak havoc, but certainly that is sometimes the case. Regardless, it is frustrating to have an exchange that was described above, esp. after waiting in line. Agreed on the need to assume the best and depend on enforcement to catch nefarious activity.

In talking with Kelly and Kevork over the years, a big problem is that there is a lot of turnover in the seasonal ranger corps. But I think that the NPS could do a much better job of using their database to figure out if the person standing in front of them is a newbie or not. Many of us know the ground much better than them (and have been getting permits for decades)! It's been the backyard for my entire life, and I love the park just as much as anyone (how the permit system is implemented, not so much).

Sorry for the drift!


Last year I had a ranger at the desk acting rudely to me when get a Logan permit. He was not helpful and there was an attitude thing for sure. Not going to go into details here but suffice it to say this type of behavior is only getting worse.
_________________________
49% Motherfucker - 51% Son of a Bitch

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#1155641 - 07/13/17 03:01 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: KaskadskyjKozak]
JasonG Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 2760
TRs: 105 Photos: 1778
Loc: Mount Vernon
Ouch. That's unfortunate. It's been a bit since I had a really bad ranger encounter so I was hoping things were improving.

I get that some rangers get sick of dealing with tourists all day, but if you can't treat each person independently (and listen carefully!) you best find a different job. It certainly isn't helping the NPS cause to behave that way. Is it really that hard to share in the excitement of those that are seeking a permit, rather than looking for a way to shut them down?

As much as I'm sure it is hard for the NCNP ranger corps to hear this, I'm glad they are checking the site.
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#1155642 - 07/13/17 03:06 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
JasonG Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 2760
TRs: 105 Photos: 1778
Loc: Mount Vernon
Originally Posted By: JonParker
Where is it written which zone the NR bivy is in? I took the map at face value.


Nowhere, AFAIK. The map is the map is the map. I've never, ever had a ranger try to pull that one (modifying XC zones on the fly). It sounds like they were definitely in error, or at least outside of normal protocols (the weasel clause, notwithstanding).
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#1155645 - 07/13/17 05:40 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JasonG]
KaskadskyjKozak Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 17064
TRs: 112 Photos: 1037
Loc: Above Treeline
Originally Posted By: JasonG
Ouch. That's unfortunate. It's been a bit since I had a really bad ranger encounter so I was hoping things were improving.

I get that some rangers get sick of dealing with tourists all day, but if you can't treat each person independently (and listen carefully!) you best find a different job. It certainly isn't helping the NPS cause to behave that way. Is it really that hard to share in the excitement of those that are seeking a permit, rather than looking for a way to shut them down?

As much as I'm sure it is hard for the NCNP ranger corps to hear this, I'm glad they are checking the site.


I had a positive experience once too in the past couple years. We obtained a permit for the TFT. The person at the desk in Marblemount did not know what zone was correct and pulled in another ranger. We got a permit for the Torment zone on the first night then Forbidden zone on the second. We got to the base of the SE face of Torment and decided it was too late in the day to continue that day and backtracked to below the slabs with a waterfall and camped. A ranger asked for our permits and told us that not only were we not in the right spot (not yet in torment zone) but our permits were wrong and needed to be in the Boston Basin zone for both nights. We told her we had been told differently when we got the permits. She told us that if that's what we were told, no harm no foul (I expected her to tell us to leave or cite us). She let us stay.
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49% Motherfucker - 51% Son of a Bitch

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#1155646 - 07/13/17 07:12 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
DPS Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 4086
TRs: 19 Photos: 64
I had a climbing partner who was a ranger out of Marblemount for a summer before becoming the youngest guide at AAI. He said when he encountered parties w/out a permit and would radio in and issue a permit on the spot. Hard to imagine that happening in today's climate. There was also a ranger at the front desk whom I went to graduate school with. She was nice. Frankly, Kelly's revolver scares me.
_________________________
Dispensing piss poor advice for since October, 2000.

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#1155649 - 07/13/17 08:54 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: DPS]
KaskadskyjKozak Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 17064
TRs: 112 Photos: 1037
Loc: Above Treeline
Originally Posted By: DPS
I had a climbing partner who was a ranger out of Marblemount for a summer before becoming the youngest guide at AAI. He said when he encountered parties w/out a permit and would radio in and issue a permit on the spot. Hard to imagine that happening in today's climate. There was also a ranger at the front desk whom I went to graduate school with. She was nice. Frankly, Kelly's revolver scares me.


tup
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49% Motherfucker - 51% Son of a Bitch

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#1155650 - 07/13/17 09:29 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: KaskadskyjKozak]
JasonG Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 2760
TRs: 105 Photos: 1778
Loc: Mount Vernon
Kelly retired last year, and they've upgraded to Glocks (or Sigs, can't remember).

Times/people change and the crowds only increase, leading to much of what we are discussing.
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#1155656 - 07/14/17 07:12 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JasonG]
DPS Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 4086
TRs: 19 Photos: 64
Originally Posted By: JasonG
they've upgraded to Glocks (or Sigs, can't remember).



Well, thank goodness for that. A .357 six shooter wasn't enough to keep those rowdy climbers in line. Gotta have a 16 round capacity, 9mm Luger round, semi auto to keep the peace.
_________________________
Dispensing piss poor advice for since October, 2000.

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#1155657 - 07/14/17 07:18 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JasonG]
DPS Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 4086
TRs: 19 Photos: 64
Originally Posted By: JasonG


Times/people change and the crowds only increase, leading to much of what we are discussing.

The NCNP is the second least visited of all National Parks. I suspect 90% of the crowds visit a very small handful of easily accessible areas (Cascade Pass, Baker, Shuksan, etc.). The lack of roads and trails are part of what make NCNP unique, but also what lead to overcrowding in a few areas. Most folks do not have more than the weekend to go climbing which puts most of the park out of reach. I think the answer is a three day work week. Let's face it, with the amount of time I spend on this board, I really only work three days worth anyway.
_________________________
Dispensing piss poor advice for since October, 2000.

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#1155659 - 07/14/17 08:47 AM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: DPS]
OlympicMtnBoy Offline
Marilyn Monroe

Registered: 09/23/03
Posts: 1295
TRs: 39 Photos: 79
Loc: Kirkland (Seattle)
Originally Posted By: DPS
I think the answer is a three day work week. Let's face it, with the amount of time I spend on this board, I really only work three days worth anyway.


DPS for the thread win!

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#1155667 - 07/14/17 04:26 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: OlympicMtnBoy]
dougd Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 852
TRs: 5 Photos: 17
Loc: Spokane
Originally Posted By: OlympicMtnBoy
Originally Posted By: DPS
I think the answer is a three day work week. Let's face it, with the amount of time I spend on this board, I really only work three days worth anyway.


DPS for the thread win!


I second that emotion. This would be a good first step to elimination of work altogether. Then, it might just be possible to get all the good climbs in you want while you're still not too fucking old to do so...

sincerely
_________________________
The older the violin, the sweeter the music...

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#1155689 - 07/16/17 09:54 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: JonParker]
goatboy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/01
Posts: 1933
TRs: 33 Photos: 376
Loc: Waiting for high pressure
I'd like to thank the NCNP Rangers who monitor and post on this site, for a wide variety of things.

First, congrats on having a fantastic job doing what we all WISH we could be doing, patrolling, roaming, and climbing the fabulous NCNP.

Second, thanks for maintaining a helpful blog which updates us all on current conditions.

Third, thanks for working with a vast array of people (some very experienced, some total rookies) and helping them all to encounter and enjoy the remote, rugged Cascade range.

Fourth, thanks for working hard to both prevent and respond to incidents that occur in these inhospitable areas.

Fifth, thanks for monitoring boards like this and offering helpful comments and links to recent patrols.

Finally, thanks for working in service to our federal lands, which have been increasingly endangered thanks to shrinking budgets and terrible federal leadership by the people charged with managing and protecting these resources.

Gratitude and respect to the NCNP Climbing Rangers!
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#1155690 - 07/16/17 10:59 PM Re: [TR] Forbidden - North Ridge 7/9/2017 [Re: DPS]
Staliaoftheee Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/15/17
Posts: 5
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Originally Posted By: DPS
Originally Posted By: JasonG
they've upgraded to Glocks (or Sigs, can't remember).



Well, thank goodness for that. A .357 six shooter wasn't enough to keep those rowdy climbers in line. Gotta have a 16 round capacity, 9mm Luger round, semi auto to keep the peace.


Wanna say .357 is a bigger load, similar slug. So the revolver should scare you more I guess?

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