Peak(s):  Forbidden Peak - 8815
Mount Torment - 8120
Date Posted:  08/15/2016
Modified:  08/16/2016
Date Climbed:   08/06/2016
Author:  Monster5
Additional Members:   FireOnTheMountain
 Torment to Forbidden   

Mount Torment (~8,120 ft) to Forbidden Peak (8,815 ft)

"Small but Mighty."
I have a shirt from middle school with that slogan garishly type-printed across the front. I still have it. I still wear it.

August 6-7, 2016
Partner: The Noob
Route: Torment S Ridge, traverse, up and down Forbidden W Ridge via Boston. ~10 mi/5800 ft vert/5.6 moderate snow, 5 rappels to 100 ft.
TH: Bostin Basin (Cascade River Rd, 23 miles past the bridge in Marblemount, 2WD, permit required)
Gear: Ax, crampons, climbing shoes, 60 m rope, webbing, single rack (unused)

Mosquitoes, humidity, biting flies, and a bearded Grizzly Adams nuzzling up to your bear can. Oh, the joys of camping in the Pacific Northwest. Except no Grizzly Adams.

There's something about a female climbing ranger who knows her peaks. There I sit, bored and twiddling thumbs whilst Abe does his best to charm the forest green right off a young lady under the pretense of picking up highly limited permits and a bear can. And there she stands, enmeshed in Abe's scandalous tales of Flatiron linkups and the Top Ten in a Day whilst she returns with her own stories of treed vertical bushwacks, overhanging seracs, and multipitch alpine climbs on the narrowest slivers of rock.

Parking at the trailhead is limited, so we nestle our economy alongside the road and submit to the trial of the flies. I'm not sure what evolutionary trait convinces a species to bite another with a 155 pound advantage, but it didn't work out in the flies' favor.

The trail is relentlessly steep, and the humid heat makes for a drowned pair of rats, but it is a trail and a good one at that. Switchback, switchback, up we go, stop to debate which berries are edible and decide on none. Peak views crop up and so do a couple creek crossings. One crossing in particular required a 2 ft jump, so naturally Abe went around a different way.

Views of the peaks. Torment on left, Forbidden right.

The day is still early, 3PM or so and only having taken about 2 hrs to get to camp slightly away from the composting toilet waft. Throw down bivies and discuss trudging up Sahale and Boston. But... it is quite warm so I think I'll just lean my head back...


Engineers do read.

Up and moving around 4AM. We notice West Coasters tend to wake up later than us in summer. It must be nice to not care about afternoon storms. Follow the trail up the side of Boston Creek and cross it near the terminal moraine. A bit more traversing to the high camp and continue the rock hop contour over to the Taboo Glacier rock steps, aiming for a small saddle just below a steep bisecting ridgeline.

The rock steps go at class 3 and perhaps 4 on the right side. Next comes the glacier and 'pons. We can see our path and the crevasses quite nicely.

Aim for a notch in the south ridge and climb a gully under yellow lichen walls. A bit of 4th classery in the loose.

Up on the notchtop, click click click, up through the chimney goes ol' Saint Noob.

Ascend and traverse ledges on the left side of the ridge. Exposed, but no harder than 5.4 on route. There are plenty of bail slings lining the path, but given the traversey nature, it would be quite annoying to descend this way.


Reach the notch prior to the headwall and skirt around right like a proper mountaineer.


Ledges and more ledges, scrambles and more scrambles, and eventually, on the NE face, class 3 terrain up to the NE ridge and summit. Narrow, exposed, perhaps a bit overhanging. An impressive small and mighty to be sure.

They claim the traverse requires a variety of mountaineering skills and all the skills you've got. I'm not sure about that, but it is quite varied, clinging to rock faces high above glistening glaciers. Glisten glisten. Such an apt and descriptive word. The glaciers sprawl, split by parallel fractures and ridged ice falls, like a dumped bag of cotton puffs when viewed from above.

Forbidden afar

Warm and fuzzy

Blue sky, gray rock, green forests, and white glaciers. Let's keep it simple.

We downclimb the NE face around 300 ft until par with a notch and ledgy terrain leading to said notch on the connecting ridge. At the notch, we don crampons and Abe rappels on down to the north side of the ridge onto the glacier, perhaps 40-50 ft, and tensions me over the bergschrund. The chimney could probably be canyoneered. Maybe not, but I think so and a trip report isn't complete until you work the word "canyoneer" subtly, so subtly, into it.

Abe has actual mountaineering boots and I brought high top approach shoes, so the plan was for him to take the high ground and serve as the anchor on the glacier traverse. Turns out, there are big chopped steps in the snow, relegating 45 deg slopes to plenty manageable in flexible shoes.


We drop a hundred feet or so and spy a pair up above at a bivy spot. We transition off the glacier to a loose scramble, working our way around the buttress and then up to the ridge on ledge-y 4th class for another snow crossing.



We quickly catch the bivy pair on the slopes and converse with them as we cross. Jake and Sam, solid climbers it sounds. Despite all the females we encountered on the trip, Abe ignores them yet scores Jake's email. Nice work buddy. One time, Abe and I rescued a fallen gal in Yosemite, lowering her off the cliffs. The girl practically threw herself at Abe and into oblivion...

Still, Abe's speed and general badassery make him worth hangin' around.

Back on the ridge, bypass right on ledges before scrambling up a weakness to regain the apex. Some more good bivy spots here prior to the ridge narrowing to sidewalk and au cheval status.

Climbing back to the ridge

Abe found a high route and I went low. Mistake.

Stay the ridge or bypass left, creeping closer and cloiser to Forbidden's classic West Ridge. The final tower prior to the saddle can be bypassed right at third or over with a short rappel. We took the bypass and didn't realize how lame it was until it was too late. While disappointed, the start of the West Ridge quickly turns the mind. As others have done on the popular route, we drop pons, tools, and the inessentials prior to scurrying up the ridge.


Looking back

The start of the ridge features a nice airy jump or step, depending on the status of your small and mighty. After, stay the ridge with the occasional and brief jaunt left/north.

The crux looms above, and a guide offers that the face is better than the dihedral. We agree, a few slabby moves to jugs. Abe leads up first, cruising it, while I put on rock shoes and scramble up after. More of the same, airy and fun ridge, above until the false summit.

A really bad shot of Abe on the crux, under the guides' lines

The traverse in view

Getting to the true summit requires a bit of reverse bouldering, aka grab a jug and lower until the promised holds. Easier than it looks.

False summit from summit

The summit greets us and we're lucky to have it alone, having passed several roped parties on the route. The solitude doesn't last so we reverse course and begin our downclimb, careful not to dislodge anything on the other parties. We contemplate soloing down the crux, but there's a move in there that is less than inspiring. With the anchors in place, a 20 ft rap goes pretty quickly.


We continue on down the ridge to our packs, passing a wide-eyed leader claiming exposure isn't her thing, followed by a terrified male and another hefty older guy with a look of perpetual slack jawed shock. They might not have been having fun.

Jump the gap, look back at Abe and make a few comments about his jumping ability, don packs, and drop the gully south.


The approach gully has four options: the couloir itself and three narrow, parallel gullies to the west/climber's left. The couloir was out and looked a bit nasty sans a longer rope and proper snow gear. We started off down climbing the furthest west gully, somehow ventured into the middle gully, and then the furthest east gully. The down climbing was getting tedious and loose, so we opted to make use of the plethora of rap stations. Non-vertical rappels are always a rope cluster for the first person, but probably takes the same time as downclimbing, albeit a whole lot safer. One 90 footer off webbing takes us to two bolts, and a higher angle 100 footer takes us to a rock bench where others had stashed gear. A final 80 footer off rusty pitons takes us to the glacier, which is in sorry shape.

A lot of this crap

Stash the rope, don the pons, and out we go, aiming slightly west to reasonable terrain. Brief scrambling and talus hopping and on the trail again, admiring the views. I think we're the first group down, having beaten all of the Forbidden parties.

Back at camp, we pack up bivies and bags and take the knee-jarring, fly-biting trail on down, content with our first climbing foray into the northern Cascades. Small but Mighty, indeed.


And the route, approach trail approximate

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Comments or Questions
Jon Frohlich
08/16/2016 12:29
I'm I'd love to visit the North Cascades soon but I don't need to do this.

08/16/2016 12:31
Was looking into that route recently, looks like a lot of fun! Congrats!

You guys are
08/16/2016 14:18

Incredible journey!
08/16/2016 14:55
... and fantastic shots to document it! Thanks for sharing it!

08/16/2016 15:03
No other comment necessary.

Dad Mike
08/16/2016 16:20
Capital peak on crack...a lot of crack. Lots of Alpinist worthy pics here. #34 is my favorite.

Well done Mighty and Minnie.

Vicarious livin', my young friend...
08/16/2016 16:38
Nice little weekend there for you & Abe, buddy. What a combo 2 peaks with a sweet looking traverse in between. Some of those pics are just amazing especially #34 like Mike said. Glad to see you are bringing back the long johns under shorts. I used to sport that look back in the mid-late 90s & early 2000s. I knew you had some "old school" in ya. Congrats, boys.

Brian Thomas
very cool
08/16/2016 16:50
A place very few of us may ever see. Solid narrative to support a great selection of pics. Rather enjoyable read. Thanks for posting!

08/16/2016 21:08
From the title I thought this surely was going to be a masochistic sufferfest.
Alas! I'm quite the noob, never heard of these 2 summits.
Superb read - entertaining, humorous, coupled with unbelievable pics.
What a post.

08/16/2016 21:53
from cali, to the desert, to now the PNW. lets keep it rollin...

fun trip man. although i didn't hear many violins on this one.

08/17/2016 11:14
Jon - check out the nearby Boston Peak and Sahale, both via Quien Sabe glacier. Those look like great and reasonable routes.
Mike - I don't really see Abe in a red skirt. Maybe blue.
The Good Buddy Chalk - Us younger guys can't afford those big fancy hiking pants. Tights are great for keeping the smell in. Looking forward to getting out with you this fall.
Sunny - oddly enough, this involved probably the least amount of suffering I've had with Abe.
FOTM - #TeamFiremonsterontheloose #showusyourbear

Thanks for the comments1

Don't you ever get tired?
08/17/2016 18:39
Geez... Wow....

Wow Factor Surpassed!
08/17/2016 20:09
Your trip reports are dreamy to us mortals! Fantastic work and photos!

this is sick
08/18/2016 18:56
I'm not gonna lie. I didn't read it all because all the pictures were unreal. In fact I don't really know how to read. Nice work out there! Oh and these pictures need timestamps.

08/19/2016 10:17
Stellar stuff gentlemen, and a solid recap Ryan. I really enjoyed the read. Love the IMAX experience style photos too.

Never underestimate
08/19/2016 10:46
The small but mighty

08/24/2016 18:19
Consider me inspired. Incredible photography, inspiring adventure. Thanks for sharing!

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