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[TR] Boston Basin - NW Face of Forbidden Peak 6/21/2015


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Trip: Boston Basin - NW Face of Forbidden Peak


Date: 6/21/2015


Trip Report:

On Sunday, June 21st, a group of four of us did the NW Face of Forbidden Peak. It's a spectacular route that is never hard, but long and somewhat committing. Highly recommended.


At first light we hiked to Boston Basin, then up and right toward Sharkfin Col. We rappelled onto the very broken Boston Glacier, and spent several hours traversing toward the N. Ridge col. It's important to go to the RIGHT col, as it allows easy access to the glacier that continues down to the toe of the NW Face route. The glacier is quite broken up, but still passable with keen navigation skills.


Best approach is to get onto the route from the lower right toe of the ridge (we did not do this and ended up doing one unsavory entry pitch. See photos. Once on the climb, it goes fast and is really good climbing. About halfway up, the ridge narrows and the easy climbing ends at a stance. From here, down climb to the left to find easier ramps which continue up past a fixed Friend and fixed pin, through a slot (What Beckey calls "the chimney"). Not hard and pretty low angle. From here, stay on the very (blunt) ridge crest and follow your nose to the top. We simul climbed the entire ridge in about 3 hours. The crux is getting TO and ON the rock, not the rock. We descended the east ridge and were back to the car by day's end. A fantastic route.


Gear Notes:

We brought a single rack with doubles of smaller stuff. Lots of small cams are useful as there are many thin cracks in the .5 Camelot and smaller size. No big gear is needed. We brought a #2 Camelot and could have left it behind. A #1 is handy, often. Bring a dozen long slings and a few draw. We used and Wild Country Ropeman for simul climbing. Handy. We did the entire route in approach shoes. Rock shoes not needed if a competent 5.9 climber. We used a lightweight axe and strap on spikes, and I brought a single ski pole for the hiking and snow travel.


Approach Notes:

69 photos of our climber can be found here.




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I'm not sure how it looks right now, but when Steve and I were in there a couple summers ago it looked pretty spicy to down climb from the raps with at least few tricky crevasses to negotiate (would need to go back and look at my photos to refresh my memory exactly). As the glaciers are continuing to thin in there I think it isn't as straightforward as in years past. But maybe it was always a bit spicy?

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I climbed the NW Face three times between 1978 and 1986. Back then, in July, it was generally possible to climb the glacier for several hundred feet on the right side of the NW face rib, then work left onto the rock. This avoided the more difficult lower toe of the rib. I haven't been back in almost 30 years, so I don't know if that is still possible. Once on the ridge, the "chimney" on the left side (where the rib merges into the face) was the crux. We thought it was 5.7-ish.


It's a beautiful route, probably my favorite on the peak. We usually bivouacked on the lower north ridge. I don't recall using rock shoes on the climb.


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