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mthorman

Torment-Forbidden Traverse

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I have had this route on my list for several years. Finally I scheduled some time, found a willing partner, and hoped the weather would be good. I met Duncan at the trailhead the night before and we made some last minute gear decisions before getting a few hours of sleep. By 5am we were hiking up through the mist towards Boston Basin. We past the bivy sites and this is where it started to get interesting. Neither of us had been over on the Taboo Glacier or Torment before and with the thick clouds we couldn't see more than a couple hundred feet max. We made a few ups, downs, and arounds, but finally managed to get onto the Taboo glacier on the far left side. It wasn't too broken up right near the cliff and after a little while longer of hiking through the clouds we found the gully to the notch in the South Ridge.

 

July22ad.jpg

Duncan on the approach during a brief clearing in the clouds where you could actually see a little.

 

 

From the notch we roped up and climbed 2 simul pitches to the upper notch where we crossed over to the SE Face. A quick scramble later and we reached the summit of Torment. It was about 11:30am and the clouds were starting to break up. Also we found that the north side valleys had no low clouds.

 

July22an.jpg

The view from the summit of Torment looking north.

 

 

After a short break we climbed back down the SE face then contoured over to the notch. The rappel looked pretty straight forward although the glacier below looked to be pretty broken up.

 

July22au.jpg

Duncan getting ready for the rappel onto the glacier.

 

Once on the glacier we studied our options. There were faint tracks that went down and over the lip of a large crevasse then came out the other side. The only problem was we only had 1 60m rope and it wouldn't be long enough. We looked at trying to avoid the glacier all together and traverse the rock but that didn't look enjoyable. Finally we decided to extend the anchor that was already there by 20 feet of cord which would give us just enough rope with our 60M to rap into the crevasse.

 

July22bi.jpg

Duncan rappelling into the crevasse on the glacier.

 

 

Getting off the glacier also proved a touch tricky. Where we thought the "normal" spot was there was a moat that was 15 feet wide and 40 feet deep. So we crossed over to the rock much higher and had a short pitch of mid 5th class traversing above the moat/glacier and below a snowfield to get to the easy ledges.

 

July22bl.jpg

Looking back to the glacier and Torment. We rapped through the upper large crevasse, and then exited the glacier where the snow touches the rock in the center of the photo.

 

July22bp.jpg

Taking a short break after exiting the glacier.

 

 

After some easy simul climbing we reached the snow and ice traverse. It looked pretty melted out but we could see faint footsteps so we gave it a try.

 

July22bt.jpg

Our first look at the snow/ice traverse.

 

 

The first section of the traverse wasn't too bad. We soloed across a couple of cracks and then headed straight up the snowfield. The plan was to traverse across near the top (following tracks ahead of us). There was some softer snow over hard stuff and it made for decent although careful frontpointing. Crossing over a rock band we attempted to gain the snow again. The consistency was much worse however. We hadn't brought any pickets and didn't trust the quality for screw placement. Or maybe it was the thought of traversing another 200 feet with only 1 ice ax. At any rate we wimped out and just continued straight up for the ridge where we found loose but easy climbing.

 

July22cf.jpg

Duncan at the beginning of the traverse.

 

 

We made 2 raps off the ridge to the south side and then followed ledges passed the next large gendarme. 1 pitch of easy climbing brought us to a prominent notch and a nice bivy spot. It was about 6pm so we decided this would make a great location for the night. Unfortunately the clouds came back in and sun down was less than dramatic.

 

July22cn.jpg

The sun piercing through the cloud layer later in the afternoon.

 

 

After some dinner we watched the clouds for awhile and then turned in. The next morning we woke to a cold wind but a spectacular view. We were between cloud layers.

 

July23aa.jpg

Morning views from our bivy looking south.

 

 

We got packed up and scrambled over to the base of the next gendarme. I led out up and left around it. On the other side I found a rap station and we made 1 rappel back down to the ridge crest.

 

July23ah.jpg

Duncan leaving our bivy spot.

 

 

From here we stuck right on the ridge crest and enjoyed the exposure and quality of the rock. It was 3 simul blocks to the end of the "sidewalk" where we made 1 short rappel to the south to ledges below.

 

July23as.jpg

Duncan just about to cross over the "sidewalk".

 

 

A short walk and we reached the notch at the base of the West Ridge of Forbidden. We opted to continue carrying our packs and descend the East Ledges. We made the decision partly because neither of us and been up or down the gullies leading to the west ridge and also partly because we wanted to avoid the congestion that everyone talks about on the West Ridge. From the notch we climbed the west ridge in 2 simul blocks. It was great climbing with good exposure and definitely the highlight of the traverse for me. Overall on the traverse the rock quality seemed to just get better the closer you got to Forbidden Peak.

 

July23aw.jpg

Duncan on the West Ridge of Forbidden with the traverse in the background.

 

 

The descent down the east ledges was straight forward and easier than its reputation. I had done it before (after climbing the east ridge) so it helped to know the way. We made 6 raps with our 60m rope then walked ledges over to the gully. A quick scramble and we stopped to put away all the climbing gear. From here it was a nice scramble back down to the bivy ledges. The weather just kept getting better and we were treated to amazing views from Boston basin. We made quick work of the trail and reached the cars and biting flies around 3pm.

 

July23bp.jpg

Johannesburg as seen from Boston Basin.

 

 

Gear Notes

6 cams, 10 nuts, lots of slings (singles and doubles). Didn't need that many nuts, and needed more slings for the simul blocks. I had one ice ax, and Duncan had two. He definitely felt more secure on the portion of the ice traverse that we did. Had a couple screws but never had the opportunity to place them. Could have protected the traverse with pickets if we had brought any.

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Nice pictures! I like the one of the purple flowers with J-Berg in the background. I remember hiking by them on the way out a week ago. Fun climb.

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And a little reciprocity...

 

Tippy top of Torment:

4617-small.jpg

 

Coming up on Columbia crest:

4633-small.jpg

 

Canonical tilted forbidden:

4635-small.jpg

 

Thy name is desire:

gunsight.jpg

 

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