Forbidden Peak is one of a kind “obelisk of rock”, created by the merging of several glacial cirques.
Forbidden Peak – 8,815 feet / 2687 meters
Three remarkable ridges radiate from the summit (N, W, and E), Alpine Grade II-III and 5.2-5.8 (depending upon route and which guide you survey). The icefield and valley views, the alpine approaches, the rock quality, the shear majesty and position of the peak combine to make this a memorable and magnificent ascent by any route.
West Ridge and Sharkfin Tower – 4 days
The West Ridge receives the most attention due to its inclusion in the 50 Classic Climbs in North America, and the attention is well-deserved. A rewarding and classic alpine climb leads to a summit with spectacular views of the nearby surrounding Northern Cascades. The summit ridge is one of the most beautiful rock ridges in the world – wild exposure, solid rock and moderate climbing all combine to make an amazing climb. You can also throw in a steep snow couloir, a moderate glacier and a beautiful, high alpine camp to round out this classic.
The approach to the West Ridge of Forbidden starts at 3,200’ on the Cascade River Road just outside the town of Marblemount. The trail leading to high camp starts in the forest but quickly climbs into the alpine. To reach your high, alpine camp you will end up climbing 3,100’ in approximately 3 miles. The approach trail is steep but it efficiently gets you to your highcamp. From there you will climb up to the base of the West Ridge Couloir via moderate snow and glacier. Climbing the couloir consists of steep, 45 to 50 degree snow, with often an easy mixed section near the top. Once you reach the ridge-crest you can cache your snow climbing gear and switch into rock shoes. The ridge itself is relatively easy in terms of technical difficulty, but the exposure and views are unmatched. The route follows on or near the ridge-crest all the way to the summit. The summit of this beautiful pyramid is truly spectacular.