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Steph_Abegg

[TR] - Torment-Forbidden Traverse 8/18/2009

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Trip: - Torment-Forbidden Traverse

 

Date: 8/18-19/2009

 

Trip Report:

Jason Schilling and I spent 2 days on the Torment-Forbidden Traverse earlier this week. The conditions were rather spicy with the warm-summer-mid-August moats and shrunds, but that just added to the appeal for us. The recent tragedy of Craig Luebben's fatality on the route added a bit more caution to every move we made. The steep ice section on the north side was pretty melted out, so we opted to do a bypass via the rock, and to ledges on the south side. We also enjoyed a spectacular bivy mid ridge.

 

As usual, I posted a full trip report and lots of photos on my website:

http://sites.google.com/site/stephabegg/home/tripreports/washington/northcascades/tormentforbiddentraverse

 

Here are a few photos:

 

The traverse stretches about a mile on the ridge between Torment (on the left) to Forbidden (on the right).

IMG_8219pano.jpg

 

The changing conditions of the north side steep ice/snow traverse:

northside.jpg

 

Negotiating some bergshruds and moats along the traverse:

IMG_0209.jpg

 

Night photography from our mid-ridge bivy (exposure: 18 minutes, f/4.5, ISO 400):

IMG_8391cb.jpg

 

Again, I have posted several more photos on my TR on my website:

http://sites.google.com/site/stephabegg/home/tripreports/washington/northcascades/tormentforbiddentraverse

 

 

Edited by Steph_Abegg

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Excellent TR as usual Steph: I really enjoy your sharing of your adventures. Of course this one has special relevance with the recent Craig Luebben tragedy that you referred to on your website. Hope to see you out on the rock or in the mountains sometime myself.

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Steph, You inspire me! You kick ass! Thanks for all your reports and great images!

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Nice! Great photos and report, as usual.

 

The loss in thickness and coverage on the north side ice patch is striking... and over only three years. At this rate, in a couple more years there won't be an ice patch to traverse there in late season, just more rock scrambling. I've always been pessimistic about the glaciers in the Cascades, but they are vanishing faster than I even imagined.

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Just over the last few years, I've noticed that routes in the North Cascades need to be done earlier and earlier to avoid glacier/moat/shrund/couloir problems. Comparing my photos to my parents', the June conditions now are like the July conditions 30 years ago.

 

What is somewhat problematic (especially to those who do not realize the changing conditions or to those new at mountaineering) is that most of the route descriptions were written when there was much more snow in the North Cascades. The Torment-Forbidden Traverse is only one example of a "moderate alpine" route that now in later season involves quite tricky routefinding and awareness of hazards associated with open glaciers. Some routes are becoming so different as conditions change and detours develop, that new route descriptions are definetely in order. The next edition of the CAG might (should?) have several route revisions!

 

-Steph

Edited by Steph_Abegg

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Very nice photography. I have been wandering the Cascades for going on 20 years and I have to agree with your assessment that many routes need to be done earlier.

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Thanks for the great TR and trip Steph. The highlights for me were our ridge bivy and seeing a pair of peregrines and a golden eagle near the crest on the first day.

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The highlights for me were our ridge bivy and seeing a pair of peregrines and a golden eagle near the crest on the first day.

 

Thanks for being a great partner on this trip, Jason! I share the same highlights - no better place to have a morning cup of coffee than high on a ridge in the North Cascades, and seeing that golden eagle fly by was not the first time I have wished I added my 400mm telephoto lens to the trip's camera "rack"....

Edited by Steph_Abegg

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