Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Forbidden Peak/West Ridge

A climb team of four successfully completed a one-day climb of Forbidden on Saturday 6/4/2016. Weather & snow conditions were near optimal for this trip, and the snow finger leading to the 4th class scramble gulley topping out at the notch on the west ridge was viable.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We parked at the Eldorado TH parking lot (the Cascade River road remains gated at that point with no stated ETA on when road crews will have completed debris removal and washout repairs). 

    We brought bicycles and rode/pushed them to the Boston Basin TH and stowed the bikes in the bushes.  Upon our return to the Boston Basin TH at the end of the day, having bikes to coast down to the Eldorado trailhead was sublime.
    We found the road in good condition to the Boton Basin TH.  Perhaps road crews are still completing work above that point?
Friday night we camped at a nearby National Forest campsite, drove in very early, parked at the Eldorado trailhead and pushed/road our bikes to the Boston Basin TH.
On the early AM ascent streams were fordable by rock hopping, but upon our return late in the day we waded through calf-high fast running water (overtopping gators in places).  Being within a short distance of the trailhead we were not concerned about a water in our boots, but parties heading up in the late afternoon / evening should consider bringing wading gear (grippy shoes & trekking poles for balance) to avoid soggy boots for the entire trip. 
Lots of snow in the basin below Forbidden and the snow finger to the West Ridge was viable although it had pulled off of the rock wall on climbers left revealing a deep moat about a third of the way up (fairly easy to navigate around), and the moat that spans the snow finger about halfway up had begun to open (the upper lip was within reach and the snow was firm enough that we could self-belay with a solid ice axe placement above the moat and kicking a step in the vertical face up the upper lip).  
We roped up at the base of the snow finger and placed pickets for a running belay to the top of the snow finger, protecting steep snow above the very large moat below the snow finger, crossing the mid-finger moat and the steep snow toward the top of the snow finger.  The lead climber PA'd into the anchor at the top of the finger and belayed the rest of the team up the final steepest section. 
We scrambled the 4th class gulley to the notch where we set up to simul-climb the west ridge route.  As we ascended the ridge we met climb parties descending after summiting via other routes on the mountain.  Great rock on the ridge, great climbing, great views, good times! 
On the descent rather than rappelling the 5.6 tower pitch we put the lead climbers on belay and they down-climbed and then they top-roped the followers as they descended the pitch.  Rather than having the followers unwind their kiwi coils we put the lead climbers end of the rope through the rap rings prior to their down climbing the route so the rope was all ready for top-roping their follower.  We simul-down-climbed back to the notch,  scrambled the 4th class gulley and set up for double rope rappels at the top of the snow finger. 
When we arrived at the top of the snow finger we came across a climb party of three ahead who had just finished their first rappel, but with one 60 meter rope and some navigational issues they had gotten off-course and had single rapped to a location without a rappel anchor and were considering rappelling off of two placed nuts for a make-shift rappel anchor. 
We encouraged them to use our double rope rappel built off of a bonafide rap anchor, and then at the end of the first rappel we set up their rope as a single strand rappel to get them safely to the bottom of the snow finger and on their way.  From the top of the snow finger, two double-rope rappels are sufficient to get to the base of the snow finger and then carefully down climb to the top of the snow slope to skiers right of the large rock and then plunge step back to the basin.
Getting the climb party ahead of us situated, back on route, and safely down to the bottom of the snow finger took a good chunk of time and we ended up hiking out with headlamps, following our footprints as best as possible but also relying on a GPS trace of our ascent.  Once back on trail we scooted along to the Boston Basin TH and relished using our bikes to coast back to our cars at the Eldorado Trailhead.