Forum Index > Trip Reports > Forbidden via West Ridge, 6/19 - 6/21/07
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4070 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostWed Jun 27, 2007 10:32 pm 
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Dates:  June 19-21, 2007
Party:  Matt, cartman, Yana, Greg
Destination:  Forbidden via West Ridge, with camp in Boston Basin

Highlights of the trip:
The Cascade River Road closure added 2.5 miles and 1000 feet of gain to the approach.
The Boston Basin trail is very brushy and annoying.
Boston Basin is still almost completely snow-covered.
The gully up to the West Ridge of Forbidden is snow-filled all the way to the top, but shrunds are developing fast.
Going up the ridge, we used about every possible combination of footwear (crampons, boots, rock shoes) and rope-work (unroped, running belays, belayed climbing, fixed line).
Descending the West Ridge included some of the most awkward diagonal-angled rappels I’ve ever done.
Even with 16:09 hours of daylight available, we managed to take over 17:30 hours for the climb.
But if you had to spend hours of time waiting for each other to climb, I can hardly imagine a more magnificient place to do it – perched high on a rocky ridge cleaving the sky with spectacular views off both sides on a gorgeous long sunny day.
Forbidden was #90 of the Hundred Highest peaks in Washington for me.

Looking up at Forbidden West Ridge
Looking up at Forbidden West Ridge
Looking down the west ridge
Looking down the west ridge
Climber looking off the false summit
Climber looking off the false summit

Since the West Ridge really is a climb rather than a hike, I suppose this trip report should be on some climbing site, but nwhikers is a more congenial place to post it.  Plus, with the gully full of snow this time of year, you could get up the ridge crest at 8300 feet simply using (very) steep snow scrambling skills.  So here’s the report.

To reach the Boston Basin “trail,” first we had to hike the washed out Cascade River Road for 2.5 miles, starting at the Eldorado gate, 2150 feet, road MP 20.  The road had two significant washouts.  At MP20.6, just before the road crossed the north fork of the river, several hundred feet had become literally the river road, where stray braids of the river had run down the road.  At MP 21.8, Boston Creek has created a truly impressive washout.  A big 8-foot-high culvert is sitting completely exposed in the midst of a wide cut in the road.  The forest service has provided a cute little bridge over the culvert, which has the much-reduced creek still flowing through it.

First washout
First washout
Hiking the “river” road
Hiking the “river” road
Big culvert in bigger washout
Big culvert in bigger washout
Like a bridge over troubled culverts…
Like a bridge over troubled culverts…

The Boston Basin trail is no such thing.  It’s simply a track through various obstacles.  Leaving the Cascade River Road at 3200 feet, it first follows the old Diamond Mine road cut for about a mile, heavily overgrown with brush, plus trickles of water running underfoot.  Then it traverses a steep hillside with more brush and one especially steep step that requires hanging from branches to climb wet rocks and muck.  Then one hops across submerged rocks at Midas and Morning Star Creeks.  Where forest is available, it climbs steeply.  In the avalanche paths along Boston Creek, you scramble over and around hundreds of downed tree trunks.  Circa 5000 feet, we hit snow and finally arrived at Boston Basin, 5700.  With our packs loaded with snow and rock climbing gear, we were feeling pretty tired and glad to make camp.

Creek crossing
Creek crossing
Arriving at Boston Basin
Arriving at Boston Basin
Marmot in Boston Basin
Marmot in Boston Basin

The basin was still snow-filled with only a few hilltops and rock crests exposed.  In summer, the basin is a delight of laughing streams running over polished slabs.  Any time of year, it’s surrounded by the dramatic scenery.   Johannesburg stands across the valley showing off its hanging glaciers and couloirs.  Above the basin, a high rim of rocky summits circles from Sahale/Boston to Torment.  Directly uphill, we could see the unnamed glacier, snow-filled gully, and west ridge of our route up Forbidden.  We set up our tents on snow, with a stretch of rock and slabs for our cooking area.  The sky had become overcast, with just a band of colored light above the hazy horizon before sunset.

Tents in Boston Basin (Sharkfin, Boston, Sahale above)
Tents in Boston Basin (Sharkfin, Boston, Sahale above)
Relaxing after dinner (maybe avoiding looking up at Forbidden)
Relaxing after dinner (maybe avoiding looking up at Forbidden)
Twilight approaching Johannesburg
Twilight approaching Johannesburg
Twilight approaching Hidden Lakes Peaks
Twilight approaching Hidden Lakes Peaks

During the night all of the stars came out and we awoke to perfectly clear skies.  We loaded ourselves down with piles of climbing gear and headed out of camp at 5am.  Another party had climbed Forbidden yesterday, so we followed their tracks uphill.  At the base of the nameless glacier, we roped up, but it turned out to be unnecessary.  What had appeared to be icefalls and crevasses were just avalanche debris and shrunds down to bare slabs.

Hiking up out of camp
Hiking up out of camp
Yana ducking to avoid the debris overhead?
Yana ducking to avoid the debris overhead?
Approaching the gully
Approaching the gully

The gully was in ideal condition – snow all the way to the top.  Near the bottom, several breaks and shrunds were already opening up, foreshadowing the nasty breaks and slabs that appear later in the summer.  Various rappel slings tied around barely accessible horns on the rock walls showed the contortions that some parties have undergone to bypass those problems.  But we marched right up to the top, with just a single one-move rock step.

Starting up the gully
Starting up the gully
Looking down to shrunds at the bottom of the gully
Looking down to shrunds at the bottom of the gully
Nearing the top of the gully
Nearing the top of the gully

At the crest, we stood on a knife-edge slicing the sky, with one side dropping down to Boston Basin and the rockfest of Cascade Pass peaks, and the other side dropping just as steeply down to Morraine Lake and the ice-fields of the Eldorado-Klawatti crest.

Looking southeast to Boston Basin, Cascade Pass, & beyond
Looking southeast to Boston Basin, Cascade Pass, & beyond
Looking northwest to Morraine Lake & Eldorado
Looking northwest to Morraine Lake & Eldorado

At the col atop the gully, we paused to bedeck ourselves with many pounds of steel, aluminum, plastic, & nylon, and then proceeded up the ridge.

Yana gearing up
Yana gearing up
Eric & Greg gearing up
Eric & Greg gearing up
Yana waiting to depart the col
Yana waiting to depart the col

The route ahead promised interesting challenges, coated with snow on the lower reaches, then steepening to rocky towers higher up.

Two questions turned out to be relevant.  How long would it take us to get up the peak?  And then how long would it take us to get back down the peak?

Parts 2 & 3 are on page 2.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Guiran
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Guiran
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PostWed Jun 27, 2007 10:40 pm 
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Stay tuned...

Have been waiting for this one for a while, Matt.  wink.gif
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dicey
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dicey
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PostWed Jun 27, 2007 10:42 pm 
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up.gif  up.gif

--------------
I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
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Tom
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Tom
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PostWed Jun 27, 2007 10:49 pm 
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Nice!
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Andrew
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PostWed Jun 27, 2007 10:50 pm 
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Wowsers!  smile.gif
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Tazz
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Tazz
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PostWed Jun 27, 2007 10:51 pm 
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SWEET!!!  are you ready to go back I need a lead.... biggrin.gif  winksmile.gif  sweet stuff guys and gal!!! my dream.... rolleyes.gif

BTW Yana you rock girl!!! up.gif
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peltoms
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 4:01 am 
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The look back down the west ridge shows the exposure magnificently.  agree.gif  The washouts show just how soon the road is not going to be ready.
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostThu Jun 28, 2007 5:54 am 
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Thanks for the eye candy, Matt.  Most excellent! up.gif  up.gif
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Yet
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Yet
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 7:08 am 
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Excellent TR and pics, Matt. Always worth the wait.

I was wondering where your summit tea shot was, until I realized you left us with a cliffhanger. Tease.
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Randy
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Randy
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 8:12 am 
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Good stuff Matt. I (like everyone else) want to climb this too.
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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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wildernessed
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 8:35 am 
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Good Stuff, thanks for the read and eye candy. What is nice about this site is that it is inclusive of all types of foot travel along the spectrum of possibilities. up.gif  up.gif
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pochac
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 8:48 am 
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Wow!! Very Nice!!!  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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payton
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payton
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 11:30 am 
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nice TR  up.gif   Thanks for the great description and pics.
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Joe
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 5:21 pm 
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Yana...your pack looks bigger than you  lol.gif .

I guess you are not in the go lite crowd (me neither, I'm a member of the go heavy crowd  embarassedlaugh.gif  )

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Joe
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Layback
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Layback
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PostThu Jun 28, 2007 5:45 pm 
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Very nice stuff you guys.  Way jealous that I didn't go...   bawl.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Forbidden via West Ridge, 6/19 - 6/21/07
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