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Silentpartner

Boston Basin current conditions?

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Climbed Forbidden two weekends ago. There is patchy snow up to the trees and then lots of soft crappy snow in the basin (postholing). I did the west ridge of forbidden. The gully has snow almost all the way to the top, and gets pretty steep near the top. No snow on any of the rock routes (Fobidden, Shark Fin, Boston) There is still snow on N Ridge of Forbidden.

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Charlie -

Assuming you are comfortable scrambling in exposed terrain, I believe you would easily be able to make the rappels up on the ridge with one rope (many parties make just one or two short rappels there). In the couloir, there are rappel stations along the sides allowing rappels over the step section, which is probably less than half a rope, and the schrund, if there is one. Again, assuming you are comfortable with the terrain, you should be able to get down with one rope.

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I would say one rope suffices for the couloir provided snow conditions are good. When we did it in June several years ago, the snow was so soft as to make downclimbing nearly impossible and we were very glad for two ropes.

If fact, on our way in we met a party who tried to down climb the couloir late in the afternoon. One fellow fell head first ricocheting off of the walls and into the 'scrund. His Joe Brown helmet surely saved his life. The helmet is on display in the Marblemount ranger station.

Another option is to descend the east ridge.

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I would also recommend 2 ropes, leave one at the top of the couloir and use it just for rapping the couloir. You don’t need it on the ridge. We climbed it in August and had an almost identical experience to Mr. D. P. Smith.

As we rapped the couloir late in the afternoon a party of two climbers were just coming up it unroped in soft slushy snow. The lead guy asked how we had climbed it that morning and when we told him that we had belayed up it and placed some rock pro in the sides, he snotted off with something like “Why would you do that, wasn’t that painfully slow”. No sooner were the words out of his mouth, when his bad karma caught up to him, he lost his footing in the sloppy snow and was off on an uncontrollable ride. He gathered speed so quickly that he sailed over the first small ‘shrund’ that was a third of the way up the couloir and bounced off the down hill edge of it with such force that he probably would have broken his back if he hadn’t been wearing a pack. He then continued to accelerate down the couloir till he finally smacked off the side and ended up landing face first in the moat only 25 feet uphill from the bigger 70 foot deep shrund at the bottom of the couloir, where he surely would have met an untimely end. He lay in the moat for about 15 minutes, moaning over and over, “my face …oohhhhh my face”. Eventually, he was able to climb out of the moat under his own power and continue his climb, but you could tell by looking at him he was in considerable pain.

It was the closest call I’ve witnessed in the mountains. 2 ropes is probably the best option for descending the couloir.

 

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another descent option is the steep heather gully to the west of the couloir. this avoids schrund problems and the need for 2 ropes. it has several anchors established but could use a couple more or some improvement in the existing ones.

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I used a single rope. I recomend taking two and leaving one at the base of the ridge. If you are comfortable on steep slushy snow you should have no problem with a single rope however. The east ridge desent route had snow covering many of the ledges on the north side and looked to be a fairly involved desent. We were originally going to climb the N ridge but were not able to due to lots of snow on the ridge still. I think the only feasable desent as of two weeks ago is the west ridge.

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