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Mountain Madness Climber

Prime Time on Forbidden Peak, North Cascades National Park

MM Guide Marc Rip­perg­er and I just wrapped up 4 days with a great gang on For­bid­den Peak. Day 1 was spent review­ing rock climb­ing skills at the scenic Mount Erie. Belay­ing, rock climb­ing move­ment, rap­pelling, and mul­ti-pitch tran­si­tions were cov­ered. After a nice sun­ny day in the rain shad­ow we drove out to Mar­ble­mount, and Marc head­ed up the efforts cook­ing up some gourmet burritos. 

Climbers Todd and JR. Alan Rousseau photo

The next morn­ing we woke up and fin­ished a hearty break­fast of omelets and hash­browns just in time for the rains to begin. We man­aged to pack up for our three days in boston basin under some thick trees before they soaked through. After the quick dri­ve to the Mar­ble­mount ranger sta­tion the rains began to let up. As we drove the Cas­cade riv­er road we ascend­ed into the clouds and left some of the wet­ness below us.

On the For­bid­den Glac­i­er with Johan­nes­burg in the back­ground. Marc Rip­perg­er photo

We hiked in through the dense for­est in a light mist, which helped keep us cool on our steep approach hike to base camp. As we arrived in camp the skies cleared briefly and gave every­one a chance to see the beau­ti­ful peaks sur­round­ing us in the Basin. Includ­ing our main objec­tive the West Ridge of Forbidden. 

Climb­ing up the West Ridge. Marc Rip­perg­er photo

We had ques­tion­able weath­er and an unset­tled fore­cast for the next day. But in the Cas­cades, if you don’t go, you will nev­er know! So we woke up at 4:00 and the crew was out of camp by 5:45. The approach couloir was in good con­di­tion and we began to pitch out the steep snow as the crevass­es below pro­vid­ed some poten­tial haz­ard and expo­sure. The clouds began to clear as we ascend­ed the Couloir, and I began to feel opti­mistic about the weath­er for the first time that trip.

Look­ing back at the gruop near the sum­mit. Marc Rip­perg­er photo

As we exit­ed the snow, 100 feet of 4th class ter­rain led us to the start of the West Ridge. After some short rop­ing and short pitch­ing we moved into the more seri­ous climb­ing and start­ed pitch­ing out the route for the remain­ing 600 feet of the ridge. We reached the sum­mit at noon in clear skies, no wind, and com­fort­able temps. For the descent we reversed our climb­ing route as the West Ridge is the most pop­u­lar descent route. Every­one agreed the way down was hard­er than the way up on For­bid­den. It was a good thing every­body had plen­ty of gas left in the tank when we reached the sum­mit. We all arrived back in camp by 5pm in time for a pad thai din­ner. After the hard day of climb­ing, we were all asleep by 9pm. 

So guys, from Marc and I, thanks for a great week and suc­cess­ful mis­sion. We wish you safe trav­els back home and hope to climb with you all again soon.

~MM Guide Alan Rousseau