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