Forum Index > Trip Reports > East Ridge of Forbidden Peak Sept 1-3, 2018
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cindybeavon
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cindybeavon
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PostTue Sep 04, 2018 10:10 pm 
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¬East Ridge Direct of Forbidden Peak
September 1-3, 2018

Colin and I climbed the East Ridge of Forbidden Peak over Labor Day weekend. It was somewhat of a compromise, in that I could do some rock climbing, and Colin could tick another Bulger peak off his list.

Saturday, September 1st:
We woke up in my truck along Cascade River Road, ate breakfast at Mondo, leisurely organized our gear, and started hiking around 11:30. We were at high camp by 2:30. I don’t know why I was surprised to be done with the day so early because all the trip reports said to expect a 2-4 hour approach. Why didn’t we bring the novels we were reading to help pass the time? Instead we took naps and half heartedly explored the approach route before deciding it was pretty straight forward, charted with cairns, and we’d figure it out easily on Sunday. We encountered 2 parties that had bailed on the West Ridge due to dense fog along the ridge. Tomorrow was a day with many unknowns, still, with regards to weather and the approach route.

Sunday September 2:
Colin and I set our alarms to 5:30, and left camp around 6:30. The Cascade’s Rock approach beta suggests approaching by aiming for Forbidden’s south face, then trending east. We didn’t do that because I could not see a safe looking route in that direction. Instead, I led us intuitively up the East Ledges descent route. It was free of snow, and I felt we were able to move quickly and easily. Basically, we kept trending north east from high camp until we ascended a gully slightly east of the gendarme, then came back west about 50 meters. We stashed our crampons and axes.

We started rock climbing a little before 9am. I had a topo from Becky’s Cascade Alpine Guide that described 9 pitches. I know that many people simul climb some of this route, but I did not feel comfortable enough with the quality of the rock for us both to be moving at the same time. I’d say about 70% of my hand and foot holds I lightly tested before committing. Blake’s book calls the rock on the East Ridge “good,” and whereas I haven’t done a ton of alpine climbing in the North Cascades, I would instead describe it as “do-able.” There were some fun knife-edge sections, and the 5.8 crux which I led had good gear placement and good rock. I wish we would have pushed ourselves just a little harder to move at a faster pace, but everything seemed to be going smoothly and it wasn’t until the last few pitches did we realize how late it was getting. Party after party seemed to be topping out from the West Ridge and celebrating, which made us both increasingly eager to finish the climb.

We finally finished the climb at 3pm, and whereas Colin encouraged me to relax for a second and enjoy the views, I immediately started setting up the rappel from a nice, new-appearing purple sling. I was getting anxious about the waning daylight and was hyperfocused on starting the descent, having heard such mixed reports of the East Ledges. Even though Blake’s book describes the rap from the NNE side, I unfortunately started rapping down the south face. At the end of the rope, I, of course, could not find the next rappel. I swung back and forth on the rope, confused and worried. I almost went off rappel on a large ledge ~60m down, with the assumption that I could peek over the ledge to find the next rappel, but thought better of it and ascended the rope instead. Reunited on the summit again, an hour later, Colin and I straightened ourselves out and started rapping down the north side of the peak.

The raps went smoothly; we didn’t tie end knots in our 60m rope and it pulled fine. As someone very new to mountaineering and alpine climbing, I disliked very much the loose moss and choss of the East Ledges, but as I had no choice, I committed to it, and it was fine. Not something I would want to do again, though Colin later told me he enjoys this kind of slip-and-you-die scrambling, so who am I do say? I would encourage people to trend downwards rather than upwards when faced with a choice. We even found maybe a dozen cairns to help guide our way. The end of the descent is the start of the route, and you can see it for the last 100-150 meters, which is reassuring. There is a brief scramble up a steeper, sandy gully to return to the ridge. It took us 2 hours from summit back to the beginning of the climb.

At this point, the sky had started to change colors from sunset. Time to hurry up. We hustled back to our stashed gear and kept going down, this time guided by numerous cairns. By the time it got dark, we were atop some 3-4tth class slabs, and many were covered with glacier run-off, and wet. Colin and I were both avoiding the word “bivy,” for as long as possible, it seemed, as we took turns blindly leading each other to different cliffs. Someone in an orange tent at high camp had a light on, and that tent was a beautiful beacon; as they say, so close yet so far away.

Finally, Colin realized he had stored someone else’s track on his GPS app, and we were back on the trail! Or, at least, a trail. We made it back to camp around 9pm, ate, and called it a night. It started lightly raining, and we were grateful to be in our sleeping bags and not up on some slick slab that night.

Monday, September 3:
Wake up in the clouds, casually pack up camp, hike out in ~2hrs.
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostThu Sep 06, 2018 2:32 pm 
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Nice trip you two had!  I hope to get up there some day...
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Jeff
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PostThu Sep 06, 2018 5:18 pm 
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If you want to live a long enough to not be new to climbing, tie knots at the ends of the rope.
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cindybeavon
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cindybeavon
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PostThu Sep 06, 2018 10:05 pm 
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Hi Jeff! Thanks for your concern about my life. The raps are all shorter than 30m and you can see the ends touch down. Sometimes I make the call to leave out the knots, if this is the case, and the terrain looks like it could catch the rope, which would mean a potentially dangerous climb up to free the ends and another downclimb. Of course, use your judgement in each case!
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Lutzman
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Lutzman
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PostFri Sep 07, 2018 9:09 am 
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How do you rap the wrong side of the peak?? What a clusterfu** haha, at least you knew how to reascend the rope... anyways, good job on a safe ascent/descent. East ridge is one of the best climbs i've ever done.

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"Don't trust anyone who tells you it's all been done. They're either an outright poseur, or you're being sandbagged."
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evergreen199
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evergreen199
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PostFri Sep 14, 2018 7:20 am 
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Sounds like a fun and rewarding trip for both of you! Nice work!
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b00
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b00
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PostFri Sep 14, 2018 10:53 am 
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wow!  cool climb.  i love the view from the top.  i've only done the west ridge, but east ridge route you did looks like a spectacular setting.   
loved your pics!
loved your pics!
loved your pics!
loved your pics!
loved your pics!
loved your pics!

btw - awesome job.  do take the unsolicited advice you've been getting with a grain of salt.  it is always easier to judge what others should do from the comfort of an armchair.  i've been up more than a few peaks and have watched supposedly very experienced people rap the wrong direction - when i was near the summit of goode, a very experienced pair of climbers, in a rush to get down before darkness, rapped right on top of us :<(  we did not think about them until we were about to descend, when we see them re-ascending because they had rapped the wrong way.    they then informed us they were joining us for descent.  fortunately for all 3 parties on the summit that day, my partner brian led us down the right way.  if not for him, the "experienced" party would have had a miserable bivy in a terrible spot.  thanks solely to brian, when darkness arrived, we had reach the easy terrain and all made it to camp without drama.

cindy - keep up the great work!
:>)
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iron
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iron
getting old
PostFri Sep 14, 2018 11:13 am 
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sounds enjoyable. nice to get this peak.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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DIYSteve
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DIYSteve
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PostFri Sep 14, 2018 11:19 am 
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up.gif  Cindy and Colin
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dicey
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dicey
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PostFri Sep 14, 2018 1:41 pm 
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Nice job up.gif
Nice report up.gif

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
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raising3hikers
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raising3hikers
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PostFri Sep 14, 2018 4:19 pm 
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up.gif definitely a great summit.  nice job on a tougher route, you gotta be proud of that

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Eric Eames
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Snowdog
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Snowdog
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PostSat Sep 15, 2018 12:48 pm 
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excellent TR!  We don't get as many climbing reports here as I'd like. Thanks for taking the time to write one up.

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'we don't have time for a shortcut'
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > East Ridge of Forbidden Peak Sept 1-3, 2018
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