The Forbidden Tour

North Cascades National Park

Private dates in May

The Forbidden Traverse was pioneered by Martin Volken in 1999. It quickly became an classic ski tour that every backcountry skier in the Pacific Northwest aspires to do, is planning to do, or is proud to have done. Getting to ski it almost annually is one of the highlights of my ski season. The traverse quickly climbs into the high alpine, provides incredible ski descents in a truly remote and committing mountain wilderness. Every piece of advanced ski touring in the Cascades is here: spectacular scenery, big glaciers, advanced skiing, big vertical, winter camping, advanced navigation and mountaineering skills are experienced every day of this tour. The Forbidden Traverse proves that the North Cascades are a ski mountaineering destination hard to match any where else in the lower 48.

Day 1: Today is all about the up. We'll park on the edge of North Cascades National Park, on the Cascade River Road, and quickly put on skis for the long climb up to Boston Basin. A lone knob below Sahale Peak makes for the safest camping site possible.

Day 2: Time to cut the cord. At the top of Sharkfin Col a single rappel lowers the team onto the Boston Glacier. Completely committed now, we'll get two big ski descents in as we cross the north side of Forbidden Peak to camp at Moraine Lake.

Day 3: Another big climb will get us to Klawatti Col, our camp for the night. We can cache our camp gear and continue out to Austera Peak, for a great glacier run.

Day 4: Exit Day. All the uphill work from the day before pays off with the first big descent coming right out the door down the McAllister Glacier. Another climb leads the team to Eldorado Peak, which we'll take a quick detour to climb and ski before the long descent towards the car. The tour ends with a little Cascade tradition - a short hike to cross the river and reach the car park through old-growth timber.

This trip will run at a 1:3, or 2:6 maximum. 1:2 and 1:1 rates are possible as well.

The dates listed are the suggested, "best-by" dates. Don't be afraid to contact me if other dates work better for you. 

I offer these trips as a guide-employee of The Mountain Bureau.