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[TR] Torment- South Ridge 8/14/2005

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Climb: Torment-South Ridge


Date of Climb: 8/14/2005


Trip Report:

We hiked up the Boston Basin trail on Saturday afternoon. I was fantasizing about how nice the trail could be if the park actually maintained the trail as a way to take my mind of the black flies and the heat. We traversed over from Forbidden camp to the slabs below Torment - great camping and lots of water. We passed below that buttress just west of Forbidden Camp; the notch above that is also passable. I'd avoid the high notch because the glacier is very broken up - the most broken up that I've ever seen.


We headed up on Sunday morning, crossing the slabs to the left side of the basin and then following the better snow next to the south ridge of Torment. Two years ago in early August we just step-kicked right up to the notch. Now there's a shrund that spans the entire SE face (in addition to the moat). You can drop into the shrund and get to the notch by climbing sloping, dirty, wet 5th class rock for 40 feet. Or you can do what we did and go to the far right side of the shrund, descend into the shrund and scramble on rock up to the right side of the upper snow field and then walk across snow to access the Torment south ridge notch.


After that little detour, the rest of the climb goes as normal. The traverse across the SE face seemed more fractured, loose and precarious than I remember, but the trail from there to the summit was fine.


The rappel down the SE face went fine with just a little unexpected and expected drama. Since I'd done the route before, I volunteered to be the first done every rappel so that I could scout the next anchor. After the first rappel, I remembered that pile of old webbing sitting in the corner at the Marblemount Ranger Station - I think it was all taken from the SE face of Torment. They didn't manage to get all the webbing on the SE face, but it did make it a little more entertaining trying to find established rappel stations. As we rappeled, we angled down to rappelers right, doing our last rappel just left (rappelers left) of a big gully that cuts down the lower face. The last rappel off the SE face is always a big question mark - how bad is it going to be and will we all be screwed, with me being screwed and stuck in some dark over-hanging moat?


Directly below the rappel, the moat was about 15 feet wide, about 15 feet deep and overhung. Fortunately a little bit of awkward moat crawling on polished slabs while on rappel up and right got me up onto snow and from there I was able to pull my friends over and spare them the moat experience. One of my friends speculated that you could do an Australian style rappel (head first), kicking out wildly while higher up, free-falling and hoping to get far enough out to land in snow across the moat without penduluming painfully back into the rock face. Another time perhaps, and only if we have cell-phone coverage...


The route we took to the notch should stay in shape for at least a few more weeks. I was really surprised at the size of the bergshrund the the breakup of the glacier.


Gear Notes:

All you need for this route is a light alpine rack and ice axe. Bring crampons if you plan to get an early start (e.g. on the glacier before 8am) and bring some tied runners.

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They didn't manage to get all the webbing on the SE face, but it did make it a little more entertaining trying to find established rappel stations.


When I was there a couple weeks ago I counted over 20 rap stations along the ridge and SE face decent. thumbs_down.gif

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Could be Triumph where they removed the slings then - I wasn't paying much attention. But I remembered a lot more obvious piles of slings last time I rapped off Torment SE face. The first rap anchor was the standard collection of new and crusty slings. The second station was a single, new-looking sling around a block. From there you could also see a single, older purple sling about 50 feet lower and 50 feet east. The next rap station had a two or three slings. As we got lower, the accumulation of old slings got bigger until there were piles of slings and old rope on the last rappel into the moat.


And you're right - there are a ton of rap stations on the south ridge, but I don't count rap stations that aren't on my descent (sp!) route. I figure they're there for belays and epic retreats (especially the ones off-route).

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