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[TR] Forbidden Peak - East Ridge Direct 8/9/2014

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Trip: Forbidden Peak - East Ridge Direct


Date: 8/9/2014


Trip Report:

Trip: East Ridge Direct of Forbidden Peak


Date: 8/9/14


Trip Report:

Dave and I kicked around some alpine objectives after having some success with climbs at WA Pass and Dragontail. I have been more into rock climbing lately, and Dave has extensive mountaineering experience with renewed interest in rock climbing. Weighing in on our attributes, we settled on the East Ridge Direct of Forbidden Peak. The forecast looked good with partly sunny and temperatures up to 63 F for Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, we lazily left Seattle and made our way to the Marblemount Ranger station for a backcountry permit. After making the phone call, we knew our odds were good though there were some guided groups up on Boston Basin that reserved 2 permits that day. There were 6 permits available all together.


We parked at the Boston Basin TH at about the driving distance described in Nelson and Potterfield. After enjoying our delicious gourmet sandwiches at the TH and drooling after the victory beer in the ice chest, we bolted up the trail and made some easy creek crossings until we reached the big creek near the confluence of two streams. We opted to cross higher up which did not require us to take off our shoes. Shortly after, we ran into some climbers from the guided group. After some chit chat and beta exchanges, we were off to the upper campground at around 6200 ft.




There were dry sites. We enjoyed the alpine ambience and pleasant weather that nite. We were frequently visited by a resident marmot. The new compostable toilet provided an awe striking and unobstructed view of Johannesburg. In nice weather, this toilet can arguably be the best toilet in the state of WA. Kudos to the rangers at the NCNP.


Next morning, the alarm did not go off because I absentmindedly set the alarm for 4:30 PM instead of AM. We were able to leave camp by 5:30 AM and scrambled up the granite slabs towards the glacier and found a narrow snow field to the east of the basin that was not contiguous with the east ridge but allowed us to travel up towards the ridge as far as possible before having to take off the aluminum crampons.




The snow was firm in the AM, and the snow travel was quick without any significant shrund crossing. Once we hit the end of the available snow, we made our way to the left of the large rounded gendarme where a notch and a bivy site can be found. We stashed some gear at the bivy site.




Climbing along the ridge was amazing with impressive exposure and phenomenal views of the neighboring cascade peaks and massive glaciers. For awhile, I felt like I was in a dream or standing on a Hollywood movie set. Then two thirds of the way, some clouds crashed into the south headwall of Forbidden, obscuring our view on the southside. The north side of the mountain maintained its bright sunshine and sweeping views. The temperature dropped, but no wetness was rendered from the clouds. The rock quality was very good with only some loose sections as expected in the alpine.







We were not graced with a summit view due to the clouds at 8800 ft. The summit registry was missing a cap and pencil. If any one is heading up there soon, perhaps a 1.5 inch PVC cap and pencil could restore the registry to its glory.


We chose the east ledges for our descent route. We did five rappels and down climbed while traversing to the ledge systems. The ledges did not have snow or mungy debris. I can imagine that early season conditions along with the exposure could create anxiety for some folks, but we were blessed with dry ledges from the warm summer. After returning to the notch next to the starting gendarme, we gathered our gear and made the long descent. The snow was soft in the afternoon. The clouds that tormented us during the ridge climb cleared by the time we returned to the notch. We made a quick stop at the campsite to gather our things and strike a final pose.




Soon enough, we were enjoying our flip flops and warm victory beer.


Gear Notes:

Single rack to 2", a single set of nuts, 3 double length slings, 8 single length slings. Boots, aluminum crampons, one trekking pole, and an ice axe.


Approach Notes:

Get a backcountry permit if you can. Otherwise, car to car is an alternative. Be patient and look for best options to cross the streams.

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Nice! We're heading up there nest week. How long did it take you from camp to camp? How was the bivy you mentioned? Comfortable?

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With the chit chat and some doubtful moments on the ridge when the clouds rolled over Forbidden, it took us close to 11 hours from camp to camp. The campsites at 6200 ft were nice this time of year. There are at least 3 dry and flat campsites with nice running water sources. The camp was very comfortable with small rock walls to break some wind. There is one really large flat campsite the we only noticed after hiking past our campsite up and above towards the west. At least two sites can take a 2 person tent. The bivy site by the notch at 8400 ft was flat, dry and adequate with borderline real estate for 2P tent. No running water source other than snow below. Have fun next week.

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