West Ridge of Forbidden Peak Climb Itinerary
We’ll do a morning gear check at 6:30 am and thoroughly evaluate all the equipment to be used throughout the program and address last minute questions and gear concerns. From the Seattle office, we will drive to Mt. Erie to learn about the basics of rock climbing in a spectacular setting. The climbing areas on Mt. Erie overlook the Puget Sound with panoramic views of the San Juan Islands, the Olympics, and several of the Cascade Volcanoes. Students will learn and review skills including belaying, rappelling, lowering, descending, footwork, rope/knots, and climbing techniques. Plan to spend several hours working on technical skills that will be used throughout the climb. Finally, in the evening, we will drive to the town of Marblemount and car-camp at a campground in the verdant forest along Cascade River Road near the trailhead.
It is a short drive to the scenic trailhead near Cascade Pass. From the trailhead, a steep trail leads up through dense forest and creek beds to the spectacular Boston Basin, considered by many to be one of iconic spots in Washington State. At this point, we are above tree line and have several camping options available to us depending on the weather and route conditions. Many times it is advantageous to complete the approach (a gully with steep snow early season and easy rock late season) on this first day. This sets the team up for an early summit bid the following day. It is also possible to have a more leisurely day and camp in the upper reaches of Boston Basin. Either way, the views of the surrounding peaks, particularly Johannesburg, make for a spectacular backdrop.
The start time will depend on where we camp the night before, but expect a proper alpine morning start. The West Ridge consists of several pitches of easy rock climbing to a definitive harder pitch near the top. The climbing on the route is sustained, but never too challenging, making it appropriate for those who have some experience on rock as well as good levels of fitness. The descent is just as airy as the ascent and requires down-climbing and rappelling. In addition, guides may lower climbers down some sections. We return to our camp and rest for the hike out the following day.
The team wakes up and prepares a leisurely breakfast, hopefully basking in the alpenglow and glory of climbing Forbidden Peak. We then pack up and hike back to the trailhead. This day can also be used as an alternative summit day, as it is possible to summit and hike all the way out in one day. The weather in the Pacific Northwest can be fickle and having an alternative summit day leads to much higher summit percentages on this coveted Cascades classic.
Itinerary subject to change due to conditions.