||Trad, Snow, Alpine, 1500', Grade III
|Consensus: || YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]|
|FA: ||Lloyd Anderson, Fred Beckey, Helmy Beckey, Jim Crooks, & Dave Lind June 1940|
|Page Views: ||12,254|
|Submitted By: ||Mike McL on Jun 3, 2009|
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Looking down towards Moraine lake from the top.
The West Ridge of Forbidden is included amongst the 50 Classic Climbs of North America. Expect stunning views, solid rock, an unforgettable summit, and fickle weather.
From Boston Basin, ascend scree slopes and gullies, aiming for the snowfield and the obvious West Ridge Couloir. Ascend the snowfield to the base of the West Ridge Couloir.
In early and mid-season, the best option to gain the ridge itself is to ascend the West Ridge couloir (about 40-45 degree snow). Climb the couloir until it peters out below some steep chimneys. Move left over some 4th class rock into a gully and scramble up to the notch at the start of the West Ridge proper.
In late season the snow couloir may be too melted out to climb safely. If this is the case, you can gain the ridge by climbing the rocky gully to the left of the couloir. This is how we did it in September. The rock gully is 4th-easy 5th class but was a little tricky with wet and loose rock and few options for pro.
Once the ridge itself is gained, start climbing up (duh?). Stay on or near the ridge for most of the time. The climbing is 4th and easy 5th class. Stay to the left (north side) when in doubt. An obvious steep step is reached about 2/3 of the way up. Ascend this on the left side, passing a fixed piton (5.6). Once past this, follow the ridge crest around the left of the false summit and to the true summit.
There are 2 options for the descent. You can downclimb and rappel the West Ridge itself, or you can do the "East Ridge descent route" which is actually on the NE Face.
1. The West Ridge descent seems preferable to me because you're familiar with the route already, the routefinding is minimal, and you can ditch your boots, axe, and crampons at the notch and retrieve them on the way down. Having said that, I haven't done the other descent.
From the summit, downclimb and rappel the West Ridge route (1 rope works for the rappels). Once you're back to the notch, you can downclimb or rappel the snow couloir.
An alternative to downclimbing the snow couloir is to rappel down the rock rib adjacent to the couloir. The rap route is to the skier's right of the snow couloir. From the notch, downclimb some loose 3rd class rock. Instead of moving to skier's left into the couloir, head right onto more 3rd class rock. Just before the rock drops off steeply, you should locate a rappel station. We did 5 or 6 single rope rappels from here back to the snowfield. You may need to back up some of the rap stations with webbing and rings.
2. The East Ridge Descent Route is another option. I haven't done this one, so I'll tell you what Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield say in their guide:
"From a horn on the summit make the first of five single-rope rappels (approximately 400 feet total) straight down the NE face to a series of ledges, which are followed East. These ledges are 3rd class, except for short sections of 4th class encountered at several rock rib crossings. Traverse at this level, staying well below the ridge crest, crossing five ribs before climbing up the gully back to the ridge crest at the solitary gendarme (there is a large gendarme that marks the start of the East Ridge climbing route). Descend snow and scree into Boston Basin."
Standard alpine rock rack. Ice axe & crampons. A single 60 m rope works.
West Ridge Forbidden Peak, North Cascades NP
Daniel and I on the west ridge
Looking down the West Ridge. Continuing past is t...
A rap station adjacent to the snow couloir. 5-6 s...
Looking towards Johannesburg Mountain on the walk ...
Looks inviting, doesn't it? Forbidden goes into t...
Sitting on the summit of Forbidden Peak!
Downclimbing off of Forbidden's West Ridge back to...
Looking up at the ridge from the notch.
Rapping back down to the snowfield.
Forbidden Peak in the clouds from Boston Basin. T...
Traversing around crevasses beneath the steep west...
In the couloir above the small bergshrund.
Downclimbing the west-ridge route couloir of Forbi...
Great view of Boston Glacier from the summit
After lunch on the summit, it's time to head down....
Looking back at the west summit from the east summ...
West Ridge of Forbidden Peak on Sept 20, 2014 near...
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 24, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Mod. Snow
In recent years, the couloir has been impassible in late summer due to a significant bergshrund. There is a fourth class gully system on the climber's left side that can be used to gain the ridge. On the descent, there are some established rapell stations along the ridge near the gully. Expect to clean and replace the webbing at these stations.
By Trever W.
Jan 9, 2010
I did the East Direct ridge last season (awesome route, lots of exposure and a bit harder climbing) and descended the NE face. The descent is a bit tricky and pretty exposed. The trick is to follow the cairns at each rock rib without wandering too high. There is quite a bit of rap tat left above from parties having to descend after getting cliffed out up high. That being said I think that next time I would descend the west ridge and not deal with the sketchy loose ledges on the East side.
By Wesley Ashwood
From: Squamish, BC
Aug 2, 2010
Excellent route covering a nice range of alpine conditions. We did it car to to car in a long day although Boston Basin is gorgeous and would be worth while spending a night or two in. We opted to do the east ridge and found the route finding easy and the overall experience of circumnavigating the mountain kind of fun.
Snow conditions were fine and there was a reasonable set of steps from a group that climbed a day or two before. The climbing on the ridge is stellar, but short:( We completed it in two simul-climbing sections with a handful of nuts and a few of small cams, but could have used more slings.
One other note. We were the only ones in the basin all day! Fantastic spot all to ourselves.
Aug 10, 2010
If descending the rappel route in the snow couloir, prepare to leave a good bit of webbing and pack out a good bit of tat. Also, we found having a single 60m rope very convenient. A 50 would have left us short on one or two raps, resulting in downclimbing of the couloir (bad idea in soft snow).
Couloir was climbable in early Aug. 2010, but was quite thin and had two significant moats (see photos).
By David Ford
From: Cambridge, MA
Apr 14, 2012
+1 for using a 60m rope. We had a 50m rope and found that we had to do some significant shenanigans/downclimbing (on rock) on the descent of the couloir. That said, there are a lot of rap anchors in there and it's possible that one set of anchors is set for a 50m rope... but we didn't find it!
For reference, this was in the second week of September, 2011.
By Mark Mahaney
From: St. Paul, Minnesota
Jan 6, 2014
This was a great route! The couloir was starting to melt out pretty good in Mid-July of this year and to get across it was a thin bridge followed by a 6 foot vertical section of snow. After we got to the saddle, it was approach shoes and simul-climbing to finish it off!
We descended the ridge the same way we came up before rappelling to the north ledges and traversing to the saddle (Large group was taking forever to descend).
Excellent route, would gladly do it again!