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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2003 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2003 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 25-27, 2003, High on Forbidden Peak
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Author Topic: June 25-27, 2003, High on Forbidden Peak  (Read 4148 times)

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June 25-27, 2003, High on Forbidden Peak
« on: 06/28/03, 04:20 PM »

Between June 25 and 27, my brother Carl and I skied around Forbidden Peak, climbing and skiing the northwest face of the north ridge along the way. On the first day we skied to Sharkfin Col and across the Boston Glacier to the head of Forbidden Glacier.  The snow in Boston Basin was disappearing fast, but we were able to ski from the lower climber's camp, just above timberline.  On the Boston Glacier we puzzled over bear tracks coming down from Boston Peak and disappearing among the crevasses below Forbidden Peak.  Where was this bear-alpinist trying to go?

From our bivouac on the second morning, we skied to the base of the north ridge, then packed our skis and climbed its northwest face.  In morning conditions, the face was a bit intimidating, so we kicked good steps that we could climb back down if need be.  We planted our skis at the top of the face and scrambled onto the rock of the upper north ridge.  With a handful of chocks and a doubled 8mm rope, we simul-climbed to the summit and back in about four hours.  Carl and I first climbed Forbidden Peak together twenty-six years ago.  The shrinkage of the glaciers, especially the snouts that once extended almost to Moraine Lake, has been dramatic over that time.

Around 2 pm we clicked into our skis at the top of the face.  Concerned about the softness of the snow, Carl belayed me with the rope as I cut back and forth, trying to sluff the surface.  Only a superficial sluff resulted, but it cleared a reliable skiing path.  We packed away the rope and took turns skiing for each other's camera.  Mount Torment, Eldorado Peak and the blue-green water of Moraine Lake offered a spectacular backdrop.  At the bottom of the face, we skied across the bergshrund and glided onto the Forbidden Glacier, where we could admire our tracks and apply skins for the climb back to camp.  

It rained that night, a surprise considering the forecast of sun and 80 degree temperatures.  On the third morning we skied down Forbidden Glacier to about 6300 feet, then traversed west below Mount Torment.  We packed up skis and cramponed up a steep gully, discovered by the Fireys in 1961, that leads to the northwest ridge of Torment.  This gully is the key to encircling Forbidden Peak when the descent to Moraine Lake is out of the question.  (It was completely melted out on this trip.)

After a ledge traverse and a bit of walking, we put our skis back on and descended a shoulder into Torment Basin.  This shoulder offered my favorite kind of summer skiing--wending between islands of rock and heather, with streams tumbling over bluffs and marmots popping out of their burrows--a tundra landscape released from the grip of winter.  We skied across Torment Basin and rappeled into Boston Basin, then contoured on skis beneath the south face of Forbidden Peak, with a couple of short ski portages, to return to the climber's camp were we had started.  As we laced up our tennis shoes and packed up our skis for last time, it was clear from the heat and snowmelt that summer had arrived.

For skiers interested in steep descents, this tour has a lot to recommend it.  The northwest face of the north ridge of Forbidden Peak is never corniced or runneled.  Its pitch is consistent, just over 45 degrees.  Except for the ridge crossings, the loop we did is a ski tour throughout, with very little ski packing.  The north ridge of Forbidden Peak is a worthwhile climb with or without skis.
« Last Edit: 07/23/12, 08:25 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
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