Trip: Forbidden Peak - West Ridge

Date: 7/18/2017

Trip Report:
This trip report is from about a week ago, but as they isn't a more recent one, maybe it's still useful to get an idea about the conditions. Even though things are melting out fast...

A friend of mine and I climbed to W Ridge of Forbidden on June 18 in amazingly beautiful weather. This was her first real alpine climb, so we did not expect to break any speed records and definitely wanted to bivy in Boston Basin. We got to the ranger station Monday morning just before 7am, and we were fortunately able to get a permit. With this annoyingly early start from Seattle, we had all day left for moseying to the upper bivy sites, looking at the scenery, taking some naps... At first we were the only people at the bivy site, but after a few hours more and more people showed up - probably about 15 or so. We had hoped for more solitude midweek, but thankfully not everyone was headed for the W Ridge the next day, and everybody was nice and coordinating our start times avoided a cluster.

Getting to the base of the snow gully was a straightforward walk mostly on snow. We went left around the rock island at the base of the gully, using a thin snow finger that already started to disintegrate later in the day on our way down. The right-hand side looked like a jumble of ice blocks on slab. The gully itself still had snow all the way up to the loose 4th-class rock gully, with a maybe 5-foot wide crack 30m from the top. It wasn't completely hard-frozen in the morning, but firm and solid to climb. The crack required stepping down onto the rock at its bottom and getting back up on the other side by surmounting a maybe 5-foot vertical step, but it wasn't a major problem as long as the snow was firm. From the notch onward it was all dry rock and fun exposed climbing to the true summit. We simul-climbed to near the 5.6 crux, then belayed 2 or 3 pitches to the top.

After hanging out on the summit for a while, two other parties had showed up. We downclimbed the ridge, making 2 single-rope rappels on the way. Back at the notch, the two parties who were with us on the summit were so nice to let us rappel with them. One single-rope rappel on a 70m rope brought us down to almost the bottom of the 4th-class gully, a 70m double-rope rappel from a slung block got us across the crack in the snow and over the steepest bit of the now much softer snow. Here it was nice to have the double-rope rappel, as our one 60m rope would have reached to just around the crack in the snow, which had deteriorated noticably in the meantime. From the end of the rappel it was easy to downclimb, watching out for the soft snow and the thinning snow in the snow finger around the rock island.

Good times! More people than hoped for, but very enjoyable company, so no complaints smile Sorry, no pictures - my camera decided to stop working after the approach frown

Gear Notes:
60m rope
a few nuts
single set of cams to #2
a bunch of slings
ice axe

Approach Notes:
On the way out, the water at the creek crossing was high, so we had to make a long detour up and around to cross the smaller feeder streams.

Edited by alps (07/26/17 09:49 PM)