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Val Zephyr

[TR] Torment-Forbidden Traverse - 8/20/2011

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Trip: Torment-Forbidden Traverse -

 

Date: 8/20/2011

 

Trip Report:

I know there's a ton of TRs here about this route, but it changes considerably from year to year (so I hear). Here's what it looks like this year. Apparently, there's quite a bit more snow up there now than there usually is most years in July!

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

Ian, Ben and I completed the Torment-Forbidden Traverse, a fantastic mile-long route that, while not too technically demanding in any one aspect, uses every skill you have as a mountaineer, plus a little ingenuity in spots.

 

This began on Thursday at noon with a plea for partners by myself. Ian and Ben quickly jumped on the chance for the TFT in such great conditions and I was so happy to have a good team on such short notice. I’ve have several “attempts” at this route over the last two years that have ended in the planning process and wanted to finally have a go at it! Ian was joining the trip fresh out of a long Peru trip (he got home Thursday at 3pm!), so we decided to wait to leave Seattle until Friday morning. A navigational error later (Ben and I were talking about hand cracks and missed the turn for HWY 20) and we were finally hitting the trail by 9:30 am.

 

We made quick progress up to Boston Basin and took a quick lunch break at one of the last trees that offered shade somewhere just after leaving the trail. It was at this time that Ian realized that his camera wasn’t working. Well, no sense carrying a DSLR and a tripod on a long climb if you can’t even use it. We stashed it under the “lunch tree” next to the “big bush”.

 

A couple more hours of hiking brought us to the notch at the base of the South Ridge. The notch can be easily gained right now (no moat issues to speak of) which is why I picked this route over the SE Face route. To climb the South ridge route, begin just to the other side of the notch from where you came up (this can be done by either traversing up and climber’s left on rock from the notch or by walking on snow, if available, to gain a nice ledge with a chimney on the right and a dihedral on the left). Take the dihedral and continue climbing up and left for a few rope-lengths. The route follows a long string of rap slings that never make it unto the ridge but stay well to climber’s left of it, enters into a “scoop” formation and up to the SE face. We continued roped up until the top of the SE face and unroped for the final scramble to the summit. Lots of ridge ahead of us!

 

First pitch of Torment, the notch is to the right of the climber:

2582699560101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Somewhere on the SR of Torment:

2471757200101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

The “scoop”, head straight for the notch in the middle:

2786870490101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Summit of Torment!

2898066920101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

A mile of ridge ahead!

2695185220101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

My original hope had been to get past the steep snow field on the first day, but it was getting late at this point (maybe 5:30 or 6pm?), I figured that we could at least make it to the first bivy (that I knew of), just before the steep snow to camp.

 

We made our way to the rappel. This ended up being one of the cruxes of the route for us. Ian peered over the edge to find that there was no way that we were going to reach the snow on the other side of this gaping moat (it was at least 10 feet away from the rap line). This is where we had to get a little creative. We re-routed the rap line to the end of a rock outcropping near the rappel station. From here Ian was just a couple feet out of reach of the snow. While dangling from the rappel, Ian got his ax, clipped two slings to it and threw it at the snow numerous times until it finally stuck! He could then pull himself over to the other side. This translated into several minutes of grunting from Ben and my perspective. We re-routed the rappel back to its usual location and, with Ian holding the ends of the rope, he was able to swing us onto the snow.

 

2702496870101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

We traversed most of this small glacier with ease. We decided to rope up before a short, steep section that re-gained the rock, because climbing chossy rock with crampons on warranted a rope. I led out here and after some swearing (climbing rock in crampons sketches me out) I found a crappy anchor, but wedged myself into a moat enough to protect a potential slip from Ben or Ian. Back on rock, we ditched the crampons again. It was now dark. Ian continued onward and three careful leads brought us across the fourth-class terrain to where the first bivy was supposed to be. We didn’t see it, and we didn’t want to wander around in the dark anymore, so we made camp under a rock. It was tight, it was bumpy, but we all slept great!

 

Small glacier:

2138704030101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Our camp:

2927732540101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

2457402880101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

The next crux of the route for us was getting over the bergschrund that sat between us and the steep snowfield. We opted to rappel into it and climb out the other side. The climb out involved a few feet of stemming up vertical snow. I first tried with my alpine ax and second tool, but was much happier after I borrowed another tool from Ben (amazing how much more grab the tools have over the alpine ax in this situation). After this, the snowfield was a breeze. We followed good steps from the day before across in one simulpitch with two pickets on the traverse and a third as an anchor on the other side.

 

Rapping into the ‘schrund:

2320778560101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Getting out of the ‘schrund:

2364578740101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

 

The steep snowfield (camp marked in the background):

2333184950101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

The rest of the route was easy and fast (good thing too as we didn’t make it as far as we had hoped for the first day). We passed a gendarme on third class ledges on the south side, then regained the ridge at the start of the classic knife-edge. The knife edge was really cool, mostly 3rd class, but very exposed. We climbed this in 2 long simulpitches, gaining the base of the west ridge at 2:20pm.

 

The end of the “sidewalk”:

2650379220101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

We climbed the west-ridge in the same fashion as I did a week and a half ago. One simulclimb, one pitch at the 5.6 crux, and another simulclimb to the summit. Ben got the 5.6 crux pitch. I think this was one of his first alpine rock leads. What an intro to alpine rock! We reversed our steps down the ridge, one simulclimb down to the top of the crux pitch, two rappels and one simulclimb to the base. This works really well!

 

West ridge:

2500253830101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Forbidden Summit:

2341008610101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

We rappelled down the rock beside the couloir (it is amazing how much time rappelling can eat up) and made it through all of the difficulties by dark…. or so we thought. Our final challenge was to find Ian’s camera. It was under the “lunch tree” by the “big bush”, remember? Of course it was also off of the main trail and it was now dark. We wandered everywhere, went back to Boston basin and retraced our steps. Finally we found it!

 

Somewhere near the end of the rappels:

2339660560101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Back down at Boston basin again, we tried and tried to cross the creek. This was the hottest weekend of the year so far, there was still a ton of snow up there and the creek was a now raging river. We wandered up trying to find a place to cross with no luck. It was midnight. Even if we did find a place to cross we wouldn’t get down until around 3 am and driving home at that point would be a bad idea. To the dismay of our significant others, we spent an extra night out and crossed first thing in the morning. It did add a night of stress to those back home, but was the better and safer option.

 

The creek was much better after a night of cooler temps!

2390149630101779210S600x600Q85.jpg

 

Again, I am so happy to have finally done the TFT and to have had such great partners for this route!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Job. Nice TR and pics.

 

Wondering if it's the same Ian and Ben I gave a ride to from White River to the Paradise cutoff after they climbed Sunset Ridge on Rainier this year...

 

The names sounded familiar.

 

d

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damn....incredible shots. scary stuff! i'm frightened just looking at the pix...hold me!

Edited by zoroastr

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Great job and photos! I was in the party of two guys just ahead of you three. We did a few things slightly different. One, we bivied just around the corner and up on dry rock. I heard you guys down in the snow hole the next morning. Two, we just rapped into the moat off the Torment Ridge and easily climbed out. 3. We did not rap into the bergshrund but rather climbed rock, rapped into a gulley and then went on the ridge above the steep snow slope traverse. I have a couple of awesome photos of you guys crossing from directly above! 4. We were just able to cross the raging river (scary) and get down at dusk.

 

BTW, what did you use for an anchor to rap into the schrund?

 

 

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Great job and photos! I was in the party of two guys just ahead of you three. We did a few things slightly different. One, we bivied just around the corner and up on dry rock. I heard you guys down in the snow hole the next morning. Two, we just rapped into the moat off the Torment Ridge and easily climbed out. 3. We did not rap into the bergshrund but rather climbed rock, rapped into a gulley and then went on the ridge above the steep snow slope traverse. I have a couple of awesome photos of you guys crossing from directly above! 4. We were just able to cross the raging river (scary) and get down at dusk.

 

BTW, what did you use for an anchor to rap into the schrund?

 

 

We rapped off of a horn on a huge rock on the ridge. It worked really well, especially since you can cruise the snowfield right now.

 

I'd love a copy of the photos that you took of us! I'll send you me e-mail address via PM. Thanks!

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Nice work!

 

The established bivy is about 100 feet before where you slept -- in your photo that points out your camp, the bivy is immediately on the right side of that snowpatch, and probably 30 feet above the path (just off the right side of your photo).

 

When we did the route a couple weeks ago, another party was in that bivy, and we ended up building our own when we ran out of daylight up on the "rock bypass ridge" that Steph describes, above the steep snow traverse. Very scenic spot!

 

 

 

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Neither of those bivys have late sun or a great view. Just 30 ft. past the one Val and party used, to the south and up another short rock scramble is a great one in the late sun and a direct view of JBerg, Cascade pass and Glacier Peak and all around....

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