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[TR] Forbidden Peak - East Ridge 7/2/2015

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Trip: Forbidden Peak - East Ridge


Date: 7/2/2015


Trip Report:

Had a great trip last week on Forbidden. Neither of us had summited Forbidden before, and although the west ridge is the notoriously popular route and obvious first choice for most climbers, we both fell for the allure of the slightly more challenging east ridge. I honestly cannot imagine how the classic west route could be any better, more beautiful, scenic, or exposed than the east ridge. This climb is quality! I'll be interested to climb the west ridge eventually to know for myself.


After picking up the last permit for the boston basin wednesday morning, I met marlin at the trailhead and were hiking by around 3pm. Despite the heat of the day, we made good pace and arrived at the upper bivy sites in a couple hours. With daylight available we continued on towards the ridge making easy progress up the slabs and eventually onto the glacier.


Unnamed Glacier



We donned crampons and axes, and made easy passage through the right most gully. The gully consisted of a short snow climb transitioning to 3rd class rock for about 40-50 feet and back to snow again. The rock transition as well as a small shrund warranted some light caution but it was overall very straight forward.


Exiting the gully, we found our bivy spot about 100-200ft below the solitary gendarme. We expected and hoped to find something on the ridge proper but the spot we found was the most favorable of anything.


High bivy




Started leisurley around 9am, took to the ridge and began climbing. Marlin led while I followed, simuling for the first 3-4 pitches. We stayed on the crest almost the entire ridge, climbing the gendarmes, downclimbing as necessary with one rapel right before the 5.8 pitch. Sometimes the climbing was somewhat difficult, often very easy, but always exposed! Made it to the summit around 12:30.






On Forbidden, the summit is only half the battle as everyone knows. The ledges went a lot quicker than expected but I would agree with Nelson and Potterfield that the east ledges descent route is a little stressful. Every step is a step of absolute intent. That said I can't say a carryover/downclimbing the west ridge would've been easier or more enjoyable.


east ledges



overall really fun climbing this. Its hard to imagine greater exposure than staring into the abyss of the boston glacier. Thanks Marlin for taking advantage of the great weather with me.









Gear Notes:

single set of C4s, axe, crampons


Approach Notes:

Bugs suck right now. Water level on the last creek is fairly high, we hiked about 100 feet upstream and found a crossing.

Edited by lutzman

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It was a great climb, up an awesome line. Here are a few more pics to go with the TR.


A good look at our objective. I had never been into Boston Basin before and it was truly inspiring. There is definitely a lot of up and down on the east ridge as is evidenced by this picture.



Taylor making his way up the final snow slope above the gully. Magnificent views of Johannesburg mountain in the background.



Our bivy, a couple hundred feet below the 1st gendarme on the East Ridge. I think the elevation was about 7,850 feet. Plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the views while eating dinner.



We had beautiful weather for the actual climb and just enough breeze to make it pleasant. Here is Taylor negotiating a gendarme.



Taylor higher up on the East Ridge.


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Great photos and strategy (high bivy) -- brings back some great memories.


I did this route car-to-car many years ago and really enjoyed it for all the reasons mentioned. When we got to the point where a rappel was needed (right before the 5.8 pitch) there were no fixed rap anchors, so we had to leave some gear and a cordellette there. What is the status of that rap, now?


I have had three very different experiences on the East Ledges, ranging from positive to terrifying. I think the micro-route finding and the general mindset/comfort you have with the exposure can fundamentally change your experience. It is not to be underestimated by any means.

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The rap station on the ridge was in good condition. There were several cords, and most looked newer. All of the rappel stations for the East Ledges descent were also in good condition. We actually rappelled 6 times instead of the 5 in the guidebook (all with a single 60M rope). But the ledges that we followed were fairly easy and straight forward. There wasn't a lot of times where you needed to scramble or use your hands. It was mostly just walking carefully along ledges being aware of solid foot placement. It definitely went a lot faster than I thought. Maybe 1.5hrs from summit to notch at base of east ridge.

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