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[TR] Forbidden Peak - North Ridge 6/7/2015


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Trip: Forbidden Peak - North Ridge


Date: 6/7/2015


Trip Report:

We got a leisurely start on Saturday, departing the car at about 12:30pm. It was a little under 4 hours to the rappel station just East of Sharkfin Col on a very warm day, which caused some serious sweating despite wearing running shorts and a tank top.



Crossing the Boston Glacier


The rappel was barely necessary as we were hitting the route in early-season shape and the snow on the North side was nearly continuous to the col. Our glacier traverse went without incident and afforded breathtaking views across a sea of crevasses to Mount Buckner, which Kelsey and I had teamed up for last July. We wove our way through the crevasses and got below the bivy notch at about 6:30pm, so 6 hours from the car. The snow was pretty sloppy and steep to get to the ridge and the moat was significant, so we ascended the snow, taking our time to kick good steps since a fall would have ruined our whole day.



Getting to the bivy


There were two bivy spots free of snow on the NE side of the ridge (the other sites were snow-covered) and we enjoyed one of the most stellar bivy views in the North Cascades while making dinner and nodding off. Given the hot temps and desire to really enjoy the hyped-up bivy, I packed in a liter of boxed Pino Grigio, which was lovely after being appropriately chilled in the snow.



Pinot Grigio



Sunrise on Buckner and the Boston Glacier


After taking in some coffee and a phenomenal sunrise, we started moving at about 5:30am. The initial 5.6 (technical crux) left-facing corner wasn't too tough in the boots and we quickly scampered across the ridge to the area where Beckey suggests staying on ledges to the East before regaining the ridge at 8,100 feet. We encountered quite a bit of snow here and traversed it a ways with rock pro every hundred feet or so until running up the steep snow to the ridge line at about 7am. We'd each brought aluminum crampons, one tool, and one ultralight axe, which worked well. There was a short bit of exposed rock ridge until we made it to the next snow patch, which was pretty flat.




Steep snow low on the ridge





A sea of ridge line


The rock above this section looked improbably steep from afar, but we found good climbing just East of the ridge for the first 100 feet or so before getting onto the ridge proper and continuing along until the final snow section at about 9:30am. We avoided the large cornice and put our tools and crampons away after this snow section since it was clear from there to the summit. Again, the rock seemed improbably steep right at the ridge line, but we stayed very true to it from the snow to the summit. The final 50 feet had some perfect holds and cracks despite being pretty steep and finished on some easier moves before we arrived at the summit at about 12:30pm. We simul-climbed just about everything, but did take our time on the route, given the snow and the fact that we weren't in a big hurry.



Descending the West Ridge


The view was, as expected, spectacular. Rainier, Glacier, Baker, Shuksan, Eldorado, and Buckner were all out in force. We descended the West Ridge to the notch, did two more raps, and then worked our way down snow to the glacier before slogging out to the car. A great alpine ridge route in a stellar setting. It reminded me quite a bit of the NE Ridge on Triumph, but was much longer and more consistently exposed.


Gear Notes:

Single rack .3-3" and a set of nuts. Aluminum crampons, one ultralight axe and one tool, mountaineering boots. Single 70m rope doubled in half for simul-climbing.


Approach Notes:

Snow free until after the river crossing at the edge of Boston Basin. Rappel almost unnecessary coming down from just East of Sharkfin Col. Boston Glacier was easy to navigate.

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