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Eric T

[TR] Boston basin - TFT Solo Car2Car 9/1/2012

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Trip: Boston basin - TFT Solo Car2Car


Date: 9/1/2012


Trip Report:

On Saturday September 1st I soloed the Torment Forbidden Traverse car to car in 9 hours and 46 minutes. I had done the route five days ago with Chris Cox and it really felt like a casual outing for us to do it in two days. Word around the camp fire is this route is primed for a speed ascent. I thought I’d give it a run and start the bidding. I have no doubt that another climber will turn my time on its ear. I also have no doubt that person will be playing hurry up offense.

I found myself pacing by headlamp on Friday night. I was camped with one of my climbing mentors Bruce Wolverton, who was on a different climb Saturday. He listened to my doubts and fears and calmed and assured me that I’d be cool. He said “you’ll feel good once you’re up on the rock and moving.” Thanks Bruce!

I stepped off from my car at 4:30am and settled into a brisk pace. I got to enjoy day break in Boston Basin. On the glacier below Torment I saw two climbers ahead of me headed for the ascent gully. It was Evan and I forgot your partners name, very sorry. They waited for me where the ice turned to rock and let me pass. I was really impressed with those two, being so young and climbing with such great etiquette.

I stood alone on Torments summit and quickly signed the log and started the down climb to the rap. I wanted to go summit to summit in sub three hours and would have to keep a move on. There were two sections in the traverse that I would be changing to stay off the snow. I had to onsight the rock at these points and wanted to get that done.

I found myself at the middle bivys and had the hard rock sections behind me. I felt there wouldn’t be anymore surprises, and I was wrong. At the Forbidden Col I met Mark and Jeff who had camped there for the evening and were now headed up the West Ridge. I asked them if I could go first since I was soloing with no helmet. They were cool and let me pass them and even offered encouragement.

The cloud that had been sitting to the south of the West Ridge all morning was aesthetic; it was also depositing a small sheen of ice on the rock. This seriously made me consider abandoning my attempt for safety reasons. I found that the rock on the non cloud side was drier and could be climbed.

I had climbed with my ear phones on all day; on the top of the West Ridge just as I broke into the sunlight Ian Van Dahl’s ‘Castles in the sky’ came on with its visceral lyrics ….

do you ever question your life?

do you ever wonder why?

do you ever see in your dreams,

all the castles in the sky...


oh tell me why...

do we build castles in the sky...

oh tell me why...

are the castles way up high...


I was in complete bliss. It had taken me three hours to the minute between Torment and Forbiddens summits. I signed the summit log for second time in five days, snapped a few pics and headed for the exit.

Here are my splits, humbly submitted for your review.


Leave Car 4:30am

Torment ascent gully 7:15am

Torment Summit 7:55am

Middle Bivys 9:40am

Forbidden Col 10:25am

Forbidden Summit 10:55am

Forbidden Col 11:51am

Off the glacier 12:55pm

Back to Car 2:16pm

Total Time 9 hours 46 minutes.


Sorry for the pic quality, I was working with my phone.





Below, me leaving car






J-berg in the clouds




Even and partner at the top of the entry gully on Torment.



Torment Summit














A little icy makes the freesolo spicy....




Forbidden Summit







Above and below are Mark and Jeff having fun....




Return to car....



Gear Notes:

1 60m rope, 5 small nuts, 3 rap rings, 3 biners, 25 feet of webbing, belay device, 1 ice ax, crampons.


Approach Notes:

Marblemount to Cascade Pass road to the Boston Basin trail head.

Edited by Eric T

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Thanks Mr. Storms, that's a great compliment from a climber of your caliber.


Ha! Actually this is Clive, likewise happy to be confused with a climber of Mr. Storms' caliber. ;)

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Nice climb. I think in Selected Climbs Jim Nelson relates that Sean Courage soloed it in like 6 hours c2c.

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Nice effort.


Why does your gear pic show a helmet yet you are not wearing one? Why did you not wear a helmet?


Is that an avocado among your food?


What were the top 4 to 5 cruxes rated do you think?



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Thanks Sol! You da Man... solclimbs.blogspot.com


Sorry it took me a while to answer I car2car'ed backbone with fin yesterday....headed for Nooksack tower later today...



Thanks for the heads up on the time in Nelsons guide. I'm thinking there must be a faster time than 9.5 hours but I don't know. I would also be curious to know their route? I've been told the east ledges decent is up to two hours faster but I don't know it and didn't want to try and onsight it alone. I would think that any way is on as long as you're car 2 car and tag both summits.


That run for me was a trial run and I now know I could do it much faster. I could go a lot lighter if I had alu crampons and a tag line instead of a rope. A pair of approach shoes would be lighter and cancel a few transitions. Having one of my young climbing partners along would speed me up as well.


All told I forgot my helmet in the car...lol. My climbing helmet weighs 17 ounces and that was my bike helmet that weighs 9 ounces. I wear it for rock fall from other climbers so it was no big deal this time.

That is an avocado among my food. I like to work out on foods with a lot of fat and it has a ton of potassium. All told the avocado and half the bananas didn't fit in my final pack and were left.


The route isn't all that cruxy there are a few low fifth class hits on Torment but nothing sustained. The biggest issue there is loose rock. Then you have the 5.6 sections on Forbidden that are also short and strait forward. I think most people would have an issue with loose stuff on fourth class and low fifth class and that would be the crux.


My run went well because nothing went wrong, I never had a rope stuck or got off route or had to stand in line for anything. If someone tried this with too many parties on the route and you had to wait to rap or climb your attempt would be over. Or you could get slowed down by conditions like the ice for me. But all that is part of the "race" on big routes.


To all climbers,

I'd love to see some other runs for speed. Please know your limits and don't partake if you're not ready. If you have to ask, respectfully, you're not. Please be safe and have fun!

If anyone wants to join me on my next run I'm smithrock@gmail.com or (425) 329-5167 Have fun! Eric

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