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Dannible

best of cc.com [TR] Forbidden - NW Face, with a near disastrous descent. 7/26/2007

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Trip: Forbidden - NW Face, with a near disastrous descent.

 

Date: 7/26/2007

 

Trip Report:

blood.jpg

 

On July 25 Blake, AJScott, and I headed up to the Boston Basin with our sights set on the NW Face (really a ridge) of Forbidden. This was my third trip up to the basin, and I had been telling Aaron and Blake how easy the trail was all morning, but somehow I managed to lose the trail in the first avy path, forcing us to shwack straight up for an hour to get to the basin. We were planning on bivying at the west ridge notch, but the prospect of lounging in the sun for the rest of the day and not having to carry bivy gear any higher stopped us at the high camp.

 

Boston and Sahale

sunrise1.jpg

 

Forbidden. To get to the notch we climbed the rightmost "catscratch" just left of the couloir.

from_base.jpg

 

The next morning Aaron and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:33 for coffee and tea, and got Blake up when our breakfast burritos were ready. At about 5 we were on our way up the glacier. We were told that the couloir was out (on a side note, someone left a rope sitting at the base of the couloir), so we decided to go up one of the gullies to the left. One mid 5th pitch lead to easier ground, and before long we were at the base of the west ridge. We downclimbed to skiers left for a while, then made a couple of 60m raps down to the snow. From the top of the glacier we belayed a traverse down and to skiers right to a 2 pin rap anchor that would get us over the gaping shrund. I went first, and ended up having to do a free hanging rappel down to the knots in the end of the rope, and a swing and quick axe placement to get over to other side of the shrund; I was then able to direct the other guys to a better spot to come down. From there it was an easy walk down to a ramp that put us on the ridge.

 

Aaron rapping the huge icecliff.

shrund.jpg

 

The ridge is pretty much amazing. The first half was class 4 with a little loose rock here and there, but fun climbing. A short simul pitch up an arete just past a neat ridge top sidewalk took us to the crux, which was a short but steep 5.8 fistcrack (could be bypassed to the left), and a pitch of fun 5.7 face climbing. From there we simul climbed 2 long low class 5 pitches on spectacularly clean and solid rock to the summit. This route deserves far more attention than I think it gets. It is like the west ridge in terms of rock quality, but a little steeper and about 3 times longer. I would say that it is the best moderate climb that I have ever done. Aaron called it a mini north ridge of Stuart. If you are up for the alpine shenanigans on the approach, seriously climb this route.

 

morane.jpg

 

scoping.jpg

 

After relaxing for a while on the summit we quickly downclimbed the west ridge, and once at the notch I told Aaron that we should be at the car by 8 or 9. I spoke too soon. Aaron found a reasonable way to downclimb all the way to the snow in one of the gullies and was way ahead of us, but Blake and I went a different way and decided to do a rappel because of all of the loose rock. At the base of the gully I started to pull our ropes, and a few rocks came down. Blake suggested that we get out of the line of fire, so he moved to the left of the gully, and I to the right. As I continued to pull the rope we heard the terrifying sound of a big rock coming down, and at the last moment I decided that Blake's spot looked more protected, and ran in that direction. The next few seconds happened slowly. I felt a horrible pain in my leg, saw a big rock and my shoe flying down the slope out of the corner of my eye, and gave a loud yell. I think we both knew in an instant that things had just gotten bad.

 

I lifted my pant leg and a stream of blood squirted out a ways. I sat in shock holding pressure on the deep gash while Blake clipped me into a #2 Camalot anchor, grabbed my medical bag (which happened to be in my coat pocket because we had decided to leave my pack at camp), and went down to get my shoe. I quickly decided that my leg was not broken, which put my mind at ease because it meant that I would get to climb more this summer. I managed to stop the bleeding and bandage myself up, and somewhere along the line slid down a few inches to put my weight on the anchor. I suddenly heard a huge crack behind me. Blake yelled something and shoved me aside and in my numb state of shock I watched a several hundred pound block roll past where I had just been sitting. “Wow, things just aren't going well.” It turns out my weight on the anchor had caused the Camalot (which was destroyed in the process) to tear the flake off, just as Blake was working on setting up a better anchor. Without much discussion we decided that it was time to go. Blake found a crack to place the only nut that we had left (Aaron had the rack, and was way below us at this point) to lower me down to the glacier.

 

 

cam.jpg

 

Once on the glacier I glissaded and limped down to camp as Blake ran ahead to start packing up. Once I got back to camp we ate some dinner donated by our friendly neighbors (if you read this, thanks again), and Blake and Aaron packed up our packs, dividing up most of the weight between themselves as the marmots watched curiously. Under normal conditions it is reasonable to get to the trailhead in about an hour. We left a little after 8 and got down there at about 1. The walk out went pretty much as one might expect: a lot of swearing, some clenching of teeth, and a snail's pace. By 4am I was doped up in the Skagit Valley Hospital, chatting with the doctor about how great the mountains are. I got 6 stitches and can't really walk all that well for now, but things could have been a whole lot worse; in fact things went about as well as they could have in that situation.

 

The point:

 

Never get too comfortable or let your guard down in the mountains. Once you do, they will kick your ass just to remind you who's in charge. Rockfall has been my biggest fear for a long time, but for some reason I was not paying enough attention to it in this case. Climb with people who you think you can trust in stressful situations, and don't go out there if you aren't sure that you can keep your head on straight when the shit goes down. Aaron and Blake get two thumbs up as partners, as they really stayed calm, and were super helpful on the way out. Thanks guys. Oh, and if you climb with Blake, remind him that he might want all of that food that he may have left behind at the last minute. ;)

 

 

Gear Notes:

Carry a medical kit and know how to use it. It doesn't need to be huge, you can only do so much out there, but you should be able to stop a good amount of bleeding to stabilize a person. Sure you can improvise bandages, but it is nice to not have to think about things and be creative when everything is crazy. I had a wide gauze roll, a sponge, tape, a triangle bandage, and was glad to use it all.

 

We bootied about 4 nuts, 1 pin, 2 slings, an atc, and could have taken 2 ropes (though one was bleached white).

 

Approach Notes:

Road still closed at the Eldorado TH. This adds about 2.75 miles to the Boston Basin approach.

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HOLY SHIT. way to keep it together out there boys. congrats on the climb and the self-rescue! that #2 looks like fricking play-doh. :crosseye:

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Wow! scary shiat!!!glad you are all ok. Good work keeping your cool and getting out of there! Again glad you are all safe! great report!

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It's good to hear you made it out ok. :tup:

 

I assume we're talking about the NW face, but I saw a NE face mentioned...probably a typo

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:noway:

 

Sounds like you almost re-enacted the Sharkfin accident. I am glad the outcome was much better for you.

 

Good job keeping your wits about you and getting out safely! :tup:

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It's good to hear you made it out ok. :tup:

 

I assume we're talking about the NW face, but I saw a NE face mentioned...probably a typo

 

Yeah, it was the NW Face.

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ridgeeeeee.jpg

radness

 

danooooo.jpg

dan-o on the crux

 

blakeeee.jpg

ridgester

 

what a great climb! its too bad about the accident and i have thought about it a lot the past couple days. I learned that my communication skills are as bad in the mountains as they are in the city and i apologize for kinda taking off. I wanted nothing to do with rapping and when talk of it came up i just kinda took off. I thought you would be fine with all those rap anchors everywhere up there (what a mess by the way, we got some of it cleaned up but theres tons o tat.) Anyways, I shouldnt have left without talking about it first...dan, your a fucking tough dood, that shit had to hurt and you didnt complain once! and even offered to carry "a good amount of weight." Blake is a solid climber and remained super level headed about the situation and organized our rescue perfectly, running ahead and scouting out the trail and hooking up a much needed dinner for us as well! This was an amazing climb.

 

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Aaron, don't worry about taking off. I prefer downclimbing over rapping too but Blake and I were moving so slow trying to avoid dropping loose stuff on eachother that it seemed like it would be faster. Maybe downclimbing one at a time and having one person wait until the other was in a safe place at the bottom would have been the way to go. Live and learn.

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Way to keep it together guys!! Nice pics+TR as well!

 

Two years back, we took a gully way to the left of the actual gully to access the West Ridge, as the main one was melted out. We had to climb two full pitches of dirty 5.7-ish rock, and then were faced with 4 more pitches of easy but exposed enough to warrant belaying rock. Since we left our axe, crampons, boots etc. at the base of this gully, we were rapping down the same. We had slung a horn about half way down for the next rap anchor. My partner went down, and moved to the side. I put myself on rappel, and as I was about to unclip myself from the anchor, the rock that I was standing on fell off from under my feet!! As it thundered down breaking into pieces, my partner was lucky to be out of the way and just watching.

 

There is a fair bit of loose stuff on that side.

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ridgeeeeee.jpg

radness

 

danooooo.jpg

dan-o on the crux

 

blakeeee.jpg

ridgester

 

what a great climb! its too bad about the accident and i have thought about it a lot the past couple days. I learned that my communication skills are as bad in the mountains as they are in the city and i apologize for kinda taking off. I wanted nothing to do with rapping and when talk of it came up i just kinda took off. I thought you would be fine with all those rap anchors everywhere up there (what a mess by the way, we got some of it cleaned up but theres tons o tat.) Anyways, I shouldnt have left without talking about it first...dan, your a fucking tough dood, that shit had to hurt and you didnt complain once! and even offered to carry "a good amount of weight." Blake is a solid climber and remained super level headed about the situation and organized our rescue perfectly, running ahead and scouting out the trail and hooking up a much needed dinner for us as well! This was an amazing climb.

seems like you did the right thing.you cant always convince others.they learned something you knew?all move on........

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seems like you did the right thing.you cant always convince others.they learned something you knew?all move on........

 

I think you misunderstood what he was saying, there was no disagreement.

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Some b'ham mounties almost killed my wife and I when we were coming off of the Torment-Forbidden Traverse in the exact same spot a few years ago.

 

I'd have been pissed if my boy took off with the rack without saying anything. :wazup:

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Hey guys,

Maybe you should report your incident and self-rescue to the NPS. In this case, your self rescue saved lots of money, headaches, and hazards. Perhaps this good story should get out.

Just a thought...

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Hi Dan and Aaron,

 

Nice job on your climb, and I'm glad you are ok Dan. Heel up soon.

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It was a great climb. You guys should post more shots of the overhung ice cliff "it's something"...

 

The accident was caused by me and dan being lazy. After down climbing all the way from the summit, we did one rap at the very end and stood in the fall line while pulling ropes. If we'd both been off to the sides, the whole thing would have been avoided.

 

If entering or leaving Boston Basin on hot days, you have to go several hundred feet upstream from the main crossing in order to ford the stream. (or else your wagon will sink and oxen will drown)

 

 

Has anyone climbed the rib/arete to the climber's left (East) of the NW face route?

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Off the top of my head, I seem to remember the Skoogs climbing some of the ribs to the WEST of the NW Face route, but not sure about the rib to the East....nor do I have the red bible here at work (they'd fire me the same day -- hey, maybe that's not a bad idea!?!?)

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I have been considering this route for the coming weekend and just got turned onto your trip report. I am glad things turned out for you guys as well as they did and nice work on sorting it all out.

 

I was wondering how you (or anyone who's been there) think the rap from the West Ridge Col to the glacier would go with one rope? Any way to piece it together, or are two ropes definitely required?

 

Thanks for any insight you might be able to offer!

 

Coley

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I assume you are talking about rapping onto the north side? On the rock part of the descent one rope wouldn't be a problem if you bring a little tat for more anchors, but in order to get over the shrund you would have to make a super solid bollard near the edge in order to get over. We were at the end of our ropes going from the lowest fixed rock anchor to the other side of the shrund. I will post more pictures of the whole thing tonight; it is the kind of thing that you really don't want to mess up. Another option is to go over Sharkfin col to the Boston glacier, over the N ridge of Forbidden, and from there go down to the base of the NW ridge. We figured that that would take just as long, but would have a little more elavation gain.

 

 

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