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Torment-Forbidden Traverse

5.6 Steep Snow, Trad, Snow, Alpine, 6000 ft (1818 m), Grade IV,  Avg: 3.5 from 39 votes
FA: Ed Cooper and Walt Sellers, July 1958
Washington > Northwest Region > Hwy 20 & N Casc… > N Cascades > Boston Basin > Mt Torment
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure at Newhalem Crags March 1st to mid-July Details

Description

Traverses the jagged skyline from Mt. Torment to Forbidden Peak.

From the base of Torment, ascend the S. Ridge or the SE face (both loose 4th/low 5th class) to a prominent grassy ledge leading to a V-shaped notch climbers right. Packs can be left here as you summit and downclimb (or rap, though downclimbing is manageable) back, eventually following the grassy ledge to the notch.

From the notch, an overhanging rap on obvious slings takes you to a glacier on the northeast side of Forbidden.  Bypassing the moat on the first rap can be tricky.  From the bottom of the first rappel, determine the best route to bypass the bergshrund.  There are rappels available on skiers left and right sides of the glacier, and this can be really simple or quite complex depending on the moat, schrund, and general glacier conditions.  After getting over the schrund, traverse hard to skier's right and regain the rock at the obvious notch/ramp system.

Follow this rock around the corner, and then begin going up and gently left, aiming for the snowy saddle at the beginning of the snow traverse.  You'll need to go nearly to the top of this sub-peak to access the saddle at around 8,000 ft.  This section is mostly 4th class and some easy 5th, and the rock improves as you get higher.

From the saddle, begin the traditional snow traverse.  Descend slightly under the obvious small buttress, and then go up and left to the large saddle on the other side of the pinnacle.  Depending on conditions this can be icy front-pointing or easy step-kicking.  There is also a rock option available here which avoids the second (steeper) portion of the snow section by climbing up and over the pinnacle from the north and rappelling to ledges on the south side, but the author of this description has not completed that option.  Steph Abegg has some good beta on her website.

From the end of the snow traverse, cross over to the south side, and follow easy scrambling along heathered ledges to the "Sidewalk in the Sky" ridge traverse section.  There is quite a bit of ground to cover in this section but the climbing is very easy so it goes quickly.  Stay off the ridge proper for the easiest travel, until just before the knife-edge section, or rappel into it from above.  FOllow the fantastic knife edge, bypassing the first gendarme on the left side at about the same height as the sidewalk.  Go up and around the second gendarme on the right side, and then traverse easy terrain to the "West Ridge Notch" where you join the standard Forbidden climbing route.

This classic route is followed to the summit, via 4th/5.easy terrain to a 5.6 tower pitch, then further to the summit. Downclimbing and rappels take one back to the notch, where the standard Forbidden peak couloir/gullies can be descended (downclimbed/rapped) back to the glacier, and back to Boston Basin.  The waterfalls slabs below the glacier can be dangerous, and there have been fatalities here.  We stayed to skier's right until the terrain eased off around 6400 feet, but other routes may exist.  Familiarity with the West Ridge descent is a bonus when doing this route.

Location

Mt. Torment is located on the far West side of Boston Basin, the peak with double summits. Descent from the route is really only feasible from Torment, Forbidden Peak's West Ridge notch, or the summit of Forbidden. Rapping the SE face of Torment has been done (but watch the bergschrund at the bottom!)

Protection

Alpine rack, a picket or two and or screw for the snow traverse or crevasse/bridge issues in late season.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

On top of Torment looking toward Forbidden
[Hide Photo] On top of Torment looking toward Forbidden
Torment and Forbidden from Hidden Lake Lookout, 3/18/2020
[Hide Photo] Torment and Forbidden from Hidden Lake Lookout, 3/18/2020
Snowbridge antics since we crossed the rock rib too low/climbing in late season
[Hide Photo] Snowbridge antics since we crossed the rock rib too low/climbing in late season
The traverse seen from the top of Mt. Torment (Forbidden Peak being the prominent spire in the background)
[Hide Photo] The traverse seen from the top of Mt. Torment (Forbidden Peak being the prominent spire in the background)
Looking back at the first snow traverse (we went too low!)
[Hide Photo] Looking back at the first snow traverse (we went too low!)
After rapping down from the notch at the base of Torment you arrive on the north side. Top right is the steep snow traverse in Aug.
[Hide Photo] After rapping down from the notch at the base of Torment you arrive on the north side. Top right is the steep snow traverse in Aug.
Standing on the north side looking North east towards Forbidden, right before the steep snow traverse.
[Hide Photo] Standing on the north side looking North east towards Forbidden, right before the steep snow traverse.
Standing on top of Torment - view of ridge line all the way to Forbidden in the distance.
[Hide Photo] Standing on top of Torment - view of ridge line all the way to Forbidden in the distance.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Simon Thompson
New Paltz, NY
  5.6 Steep Snow PG13
[Hide Comment] Does anyone do this traverse by staying on or close to the ridge line? Didn't have much fun on all the loose scrambling after the first glacier traverse. Also, what are some quality routes on mt torment that provide better alternatives to the s ridge? Sep 18, 2013
max huecksteadt
Portland, OR
  5.6 Steep Snow
[Hide Comment] We ended up dropping really low on the glacier to the most obvious notch (for us), but we ran into a guide who said the entire thing can be done solely on rock (can't vouch for the quality though!). Not sure if any 'quality' routes exist on Torment...I've been up the SE face twice, its mostly 4th-low 5th talus and scrambling but 1. depending on how you approach you have to risk the large 'V' shaped serac to gain the face (No problems, BUT I believe it collapsed and killed Craig Luebben), and 2. the initial climbing off the deck is no-gear 'easy 5th', aka sketchy but doable. Pick your poison... Oct 10, 2013
Raphael Hyde
SEATTLE
 
[Hide Comment] Just did it last weekend, a full rock traverse def possible, however traversing on the snow saves a lot of time, if you're doing a solid push I'd recommend traversing snow where possible, but only earlier in the day, snow gets soft and dicy late season.

The 2nd half is a really easy rock traverse on the apex, we found plenty of rap points to get off high points. Aug 5, 2020
Ryder Stroud
Liming, Yunnan Province, CN
[Hide Comment] For those interested, I wrote a multi-media article on my website detailing my recent trip on the TFT. It has photos, maps, topos, GPX files, and short videos in an attempt to make it a little less like a standard TR. Check it out, and I hope some of you find it helpful!

itinerantclimberscollective… Oct 21, 2020