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Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Forbidden Peak/West Ridge

Late June one-day trip. The route is in excellent condition, though the road is still closed.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Some beta:

    • Road is still closed a little over a mile and perhaps 700 vertical feet before trailhead.
    • Snow starts pretty much as soon as you leave the trees
    • Running water available at the bottom of the glacier - wait to filter till then
    • The giant crevasse is not open yet, so you can aim from the high camp straight for the gully, no need to skirt the glacier on the climber's left
    • The gully is still in good condition. The moat at the base is barely noticeable. The moat in the middle spans half way across. While we were en route, a few more moats opened up further up. The hot weather is really taking a toll on the snow, but the gully should stay passable for a few more days. We roped up for the gully, mostly because of moats and lack of a safe runout; the snow in the gully was perfect and made it an easy walk-up.
    • The exit from snow onto rock is awkward; have some small rock pieces available to make the exit less spicy.
    • The ridge is in great condition. There's one section where you need to traverse on snow, but it's literally 12-15 feet. No need to bring an axe. Just have your partner give you some tension if you are simul-climbing, and protect right before and after the traverse.
    • One of our rope teams climbed the ridge in two long simul-pitches on full-length rope; the other  shortened the rope to reduce drag, but had to swap leads a lot more. Take a pick.
    • Some rap anchors are not redundant, and can use an extra sling. All raps on the ridge are single-length, though a couple do not quite reach the next rap station by a few feet - if needed, a temporary anchor can be placed just above the rap anchor you can't quite reach.
    • From the notch, one can do a single rope rap down to the snow. There will be an easy to reach anchor on the skier's right, and a hidden one a bit further around the corner on skier's left. The latter is preferable but requires scrambling down for 15 feet. From there, it's two double raps down the gully. If rapping from the higher anchor, your next anchor will be right over an icky moat right where the gully turns skiers right. If rapping from the lower anchor, your next anchor will be a single black sling (hard to see until you are right next to it) over an OK moat that is just out of reach for a double-rope rappel. I prefer the latter. It is also possible to rappel the gully with single raps. All anchors are on skier's left.
    • It was a hot day, so filtering 2 liters per person was just about right.


This can be done in 1 or 2 days, but we preferred car-to-car since this avoids the need to play the permit game. As a side-benefit, the trail is rough, and it takes only 3 hours to get to camp, so not having to lug all the overnight gear over the rough trail is a plus. If you do get the permit, the views are awesome though.

We bivied at the road closure, started hiking  at 3 am. It took about 3 hours to high camp, another 30 minutes to cross the glacier, another hour and a half to get to the notch (traffic jam). If we were 30 minutes faster, we could've been the first on route, and beat the traffic. Overall, 3 am start worked out pretty well. Started climbing the ridge proper at about 9:30 am and were on the summit about 2 hours later. Descent took longer than ascent with awkward sideways rappels and downclimbing. The sun has set right when we reached the tree line. We were back to cars about 20 hours after we started.