Forbidden Peak Rock Climbing
Nearing the summit of Forbidden Peak.
Forbidden Peak is a beautiful sight to climbers, with 3 perfect ridges converging towards a pointed summit. This is one of the most popular mountains in the entire Cascades, for good reason. The routes are clean, classic, and the rock quality is good by alpine standards. The surrounding area is splendid and the views from the summit are hard to beat.
The Nelson guide states that "there is no easy way off Forbidden Peak; it is one of the most difficult descents in the range." Come prepared, but don't let this deter you. It's not as bad as it sounds, and it's absolutely worth it.
Forbidden Peak is covered in volume II of Beckey's guide. All 3 ridge routes (West, North, and East Direct) are covered in Volume I of Nelson and Potterfield's Selected Climbs in the Cascades.
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.
Forbidden Peak is approached via Boston Basin:
The approach 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.
Weather station 15.3 miles from here
3 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Forbidden Peak
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Forbidden Peak
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Forbidden Peak:
West Ridge 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine, 1500'
North Ridge 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine, Grade III
Featured Route For Forbidden Peak
East Ridge Direct 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c WA
: Northwest Region
: ... : Forbidden Peak
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
Sep 14, 2015
The trailhead for the approach is actually AFTER mile marker 22. You can't miss it. However, whether or not that's 21.7 miles exactly, i'm not sure, but that's ultimately misleading since the mile markers are your best indicators on the ground.
We turned around at mile marker 22 to look back if we had missed the trailhead because of this. Also, note that the cascade pass road is closed to car and foot traffic starting mile marker 20 (which I think corresponds to El Dorado parking) as there is road work going on (road gets washed out regularly somewhere around mile 22). I'm not sure until when this is going on but probably a month (I was there on 9/12/15, they started work on 9/8/15).
Climbers have been walking to the trailhead despite the ban though. I think that as long as you avoid the times of day when machinery is operating, you're fine.