Forbidden Peak Ascents - 8815' / 2687m
1-3 Days, July-October
Forbidden Peak, located in North Cascade's National Park, is an iconic summit - its sharp three-sided pyramid looks like it was first sketched by a kid. I'd argue that each of its three ridges, and two of its faces, should be on anyone's tick-list for the Cascades.
A circumnavigation of Forbidden Peak - The Forbidden Tour - is also offered as a backcountry ski tour. Learn more by following this LINK.
The West Ridge, 5.4, 3 days
As Forbidden Peak is arguably the most classic peak in the North Cascades park, the West Ridge is its most classic route. Its a full Cascade alpine experience - hiking up an old mining trail through old growth into alpine fields of heather, blueberry and flowers; granite slabs where glaciers once lay; cramponing across the remaining glacier-icefield and up the couloir; finally climbing the clean granite ridge to the summit.
Since the climb itself is a big day, this is really best done as a three-day itinerary. Depending on our itinerary we can add a short climb of the Aiguille de l'M, a neighboring rock tower, or the Sharkfin Tower, a slightly longer climb near Sahale Mountain. You can read about these climbs here: LINK.
The East Ridge, 5.8, 3 days
If you want to climb Forbidden Peak but with more challenge and less people, than the East Ridge is it. The East Ridge is longer and more technically difficult, with an incredible position over-looking the Boston Glacier. We'll descend the West Ridge route to get back to camp too.
The South Face, 5.10a, 3 days
Like the NW Rib (scroll down for that) the South Face is one of those obscurities that is deserving of attention if you climb harder, have done the more classic ridge routes. The approach and bivouac is identical as for the East and West Ridges. The route splits the face that you spend the night staring up at, and features only one pitch of actual 5.10 and the remainder are strenuous 5.8 and 5.9.
The Forbidden Express, 2 days
What do you do to up the game? Do one of the above routes in two days! To accomplish this we'll hike further, bivy higher, wake up earlier, and have a longer second day. I'll need to have climbed with you before, or you need to present me with a short resume that convinces me you can handle two 10 to12-hour back-to-back days.
The Forbidden Bullet, 1 extreme day
Sometimes having a Bullet day is just FUN. Huge days, constant movement, headlamps before and after. Forbidden Peak is one of these days. Like the Express trips, I need to have climbed with you before or you need to have a pretty convincing case.
The North Ridge, 5.5, 3 days
The North Ridge is the third most popular route on Forbidden Peak. The approach requires a committing rappel through Sharkfin Col to the Boston Glacier, a glacier crossing to the North Ridge and a high bivy, then a climb up and over with your bivy gear. We'll descend the West Ridge route, and depending on the day bivy somewhere on the ridge or in Boston Basin before hiking out.
The NW Rib, 5.8, 3 days
This might be my favorite route on Forbidden Peak. It requires the same alpine and glacier approach as the North Ridge, but we'll continue across the Forbidden Glacier to climb this incredible arete that West Ridge climbers stare at as they ascend. We'll say high to those folks, now green with jealousy, as we descend the West Ridge and bivy at one of three possibilities on the way down.
All of these climbs have a max ratio of 2:1.
I offer these trips as a guide-employee of The Mountain Bureau.