Boston Basin lies within the heart of Washington's stunning North Cascades. The big attraction here is Forbidden Peak, particularly its West Ridge, which is included among Steck and Roper's 50 Classics. Other draws here include Sahale Peak, Boston Peak, Mount Buckner, Mount Torment, and Sharkfin Tower.
The objectives here are truly alpine, and most require some snow and/or glacier travel. Be prepared for inclement weather. This is the Cascades, right?
If you're not going car-to-car, permits are required to camp in Boston Basin.
Wilderness Information Center 7280 Ranger Station Road Marblemount, WA 98267 Phone: (360) 854-7245
Fred Beckey wrote the definitive three-part guide to the Cascades. The Boston Basin area is covered in Volume II. Jim Nelson's and Peter Potterfield's "Selected Climbs in the Cascades" (Volumes I and II) is also a great series.
Driving directions: From Seattle, take I-5 North. Exit in Burlington for WA 20 East, which becomes the North Cascades Highway. Drive about 50 miles east to Marblemount. Make a right in Marblemount onto Cascade River Road. Drive 21.7 miles (according to the guidebook) on Cascade River Road. There's a small pullout on your left directly opposite Johannesburg Mountain. Park here. If you've gone to the end of the road, you've gone too far.
The approach to Boston Basin starts directly from the parking pullout. After a short while, the trail climbs very steeply uphill and is very eroded. Stay on the trail, crossing several streams. Continue switchbacking uphill until out of the trees. Boston Basin lies at about 5700' . Campsites and a composting toilet (best crap you'll ever take) are located in Boston Basin. Several options for campsites are available.
A great alpine climb easily accessible (~4-5h from car park). From camp, ascend north towards Forbidden's South Face. Reach a notch in the ridge and go left around the first gendarme. You'll reach a bivy spot where you can leave your boots+crampons,etc.From the bivy spot climb a few pitches of low class 5. Climb up a second gendarme and knife edge ridge. After climbing the third gendarme you'll need to rappel into a narrow notch, there's plenty of tat. The third gendarme can be avoided by climb...[more]Browse More Classics in WA