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Ascent of Forbidden Peak on 2015-06-13

Climber: Jaime McCandless

Others in Party:Andrew Fabian -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Saturday, June 13, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Forbidden Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8815 ft / 2686 m

Ascent Trip Report

For my BOEALPS ICC Alpine I climb, I climbed the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak with Andrew Fabian, Ilia Slobodov, and Brice Collamer. It was absolutely incredible. Everything worked better than even our highest expectations.

We left Seattle early Friday afternoon and managed to snag a Boston Basin permit for Friday night. We left the trailhead at 6:36pm and arrived at high camp at about 9pm. There was one other group of three there who were also planning to climb Forbidden - they were planning wake up at 3am - an hour earlier than us. We hoped that they would stay enough ahead of us that it wouldn't cause any problems.

We woke up at 4am on Saturday and left camp at 4:30 as planned. Although much of the beta we found suggested traversing far left under some slabs, we saw a thin couloir to the right that looked like it was still in, so we stayed right and were able to ascend the couloir and cut out some extra traversing. We initially traveled unroped over the glacier, since the crevasses were shallow and easy to navigate over and around, but then decided to rope up on a flat section mid-glacier since we planned to do a running belay up the West Ridge Couloir and didn't see any good places to rope up later. We aimed for the left side of the "major rock", navigating around some larger crevasses on the way. There was an interesting, but not too difficult step to get off the glacier and onto the base of the couloir on the left side of the "major rock".

We started heading up the couloir at about 6am. Brice lead a running belay - we'd brought three pickets but only ended up placing one (for fun) because there were already dead-man pickets the whole way up. These pickets still felt quite solid but were probably each less than a foot under the snow - they must have been placed a while ago and the snow above them since melted out. We crossed two moats on the way up that were still easily passable but might not be for much longer. At the top of the couloir, we ascended a loose 3rd class gully to the notch.

We arrived at the notch at about 7am and roped up for the traverse. We split into two rope teams - me and Ilia on one, and Andrew and Brice on the other. Andrew and Brice left first. Almost the very first move out of the notch is the "airy step" which we found exactly as advertised. We simul-climbed in one long pitch to the base of the crux tower - perhaps 2/3 of the way across the ridge. We had 12 slings, 5 cams, and 5 nuts, but probably could have gotten away with fewer cams/nuts - the only place that really needed it was the short crux pitch. We actually passed the party of three ahead of us midway to the crux - it turned out they had a new climber in their party who didn't know to recover gear after unclipping from it, so Brice picked up their gear and brought it up to them, and in exchange they let all four of us pass them. At this point there was also a two-person team behind us.

At the base of the crux, I belayed Ilia in and we swapped leads, so that he could be on belay for the crux moves up the tower. After he lead the crux, he continued on and we simul-climbed the rest of the route to the summit. There was significant rope drag in this section caused by the notch between the false summit and the true summit. I reached the summit at 9am. Shortly after I arrived, Brice and Andrew started the downclimb, and Ilia and I followed after them. We simul-down-climbed to the top of the crux pitch (although the rope drag was so bad after the false-summit tower that I had to retrace my steps back to the false summit and belay Ilia in from there before resuming the down climb). We rappelled the crux, and then continued simul-down-climbing to the notch, passing the two-person party who were on their way up. Overall, I found the down-climb harder and scarier than the climb up. We arrived at the notch at 11:40am. We did three double-rope rappels - one down the 3rd class gully and two down the couloir. We ended up trusting one of the existing dead-man pickets as a rappel anchor, although we backed it up with a picket for all but the last rappeller (me). From the base of the couloir (at 2pm) we roped up and traveled back across the glacier, then descended back to camp, arriving at 3pm.

We relaxed around camp for a little while, then packed up and left camp at 4:30pm. We got back to the cars at 6:33pm, almost precisely 24 hours after leaving them the night before. Excluding time at camp, we did 2.5 hours TH to camp, 4.5 hours camp to summit, 5.5 hours summit to camp, and 2 hours camp to TH.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5615 ft / 1711 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Bivouac
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5615 ft / 1711 m
    Route:West Ridge
    Start Trailhead:3200 ft / 975 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jaime McCandless
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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