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Routes in Forbidden Peak

East Ridge Direct T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
NW Face T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
North Ridge T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Mod. Snow
West Ridge T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Mod. Snow
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Elevation: 8,815 ft
GPS: 48.512, -121.059 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 55,685 total · 484/month
Shared By: Mike McL on Jun 3, 2009
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick
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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.

Getting There

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.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Forbidden Peak

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Mod. Snow
West Ridge
Trad, Snow, Alpine
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Mod. Snow
North Ridge
Trad, Snow, Alpine
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
East Ridge Direct
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
NW Face
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
West Ridge
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Mod. Snow Trad, Snow, Alpine
North Ridge
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Mod. Snow Trad, Snow, Alpine
East Ridge Direct
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
NW Face
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
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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. Sep 14, 2015

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