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East Ridge Direct 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c [details]
FA: 1940 Fred Beckey, Helmy Beckey, Jim Crooks, Dave Lind, Lloyd Anderson
Season: June - August
Page Views: 6,718
Submitted By: Adrian Lazar on Aug 11, 2011

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (27)
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The last gendarme


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 climbing around it on the north side. The second last pitch is the crux pitch, 5.8 (nothing difficult).

The great rock provides awesome holds.

Descent the north side by rapping and traversing climber's right. We made 5 rappels and simul climbed until we reached the bivy site where we stored our gear.


Forbidden Peak, located in Boston Basin, east of Marblemount on the Cascade River Road


A set of cams, half a set of nuts (small nuts), lots of slings.

Photos of East Ridge Direct Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pretty cool setting.
Pretty cool setting.
Rock Climbing Photo: On the East Ridge.
On the East Ridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the top of the ridge on July 4th
Near the top of the ridge on July 4th
Rock Climbing Photo: East Ridge climbin.
East Ridge climbin.
Rock Climbing Photo: Booyah!
Rock Climbing Photo: Traversing the East Ledges of doom. This photo was...
Traversing the East Ledges of doom. This photo was...
Rock Climbing Photo: East Ridge of Forbidden Peak starting to the left ...
East Ridge of Forbidden Peak starting to the left ...

Comments on East Ridge Direct Add Comment
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By Daniel Coltrane
From: Seattle, WA
Aug 19, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Why would this be rated PG-13? The gear is good and there are no substantial runouts on hard ground.
By Eric Fjellanger
Aug 25, 2011

I found the rock to be pretty good with ample gear. The climb is largely a rising traverse, so there's nearly equal risk for the follower as for the leader.

Note that you can bypass both Gendarmes on the right/east side. Done this way the whole climb can go at 5.6 or so.

Have your descent figured out!! There's no easy way off Forbidden, so whether you descend the East Ledges, or downclimb the West Ridge (or some more obscure option), when you reach the summit, you are no more than halfway through your day.
By lucander
From: Stone Ridge, NY
Aug 5, 2013
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

I actually thought this was a better route than its famous neighbor. We went directly over each gendarme, there's some suspect rock at a few points. Note that descent via 5 raps down east ledges gets very dangerous once "3rd classing" begins.
By Nick Seaman
From: Denver, CO
Mar 6, 2014

Classic route in a classic setting! We stayed true to the ridgeline the whole climb and found the rock to be of good quality minus one or two loose easy sections. The real fun (type 2) begins after leaving the summit. I've read that some climbers find the descent down the East Ledges "loose and stressful", and I totally agree. Intense exposure and unprotectable loose scrambling in the no fall zone make for a full-on descent. However, if you can keep your sh!t together it's not that bad, and I would use this descent option in the future.
By Liz Donley
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 9, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Fairly safe but time consuming to descend the west ridge. Good judgement and route finding skills needed! The exposure and position were great, but the rock quality was sometimes not the best (in my opinion). I agree with the type II fun comment! The approach and descent were quite strenuous for the number of pitches of technical climbing that you get on the climb. Great exercise, for sure!
By Nick Drake
From: Newcastle, WA
Jul 5, 2016
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

I felt there was very sub par rock quality in quite a few places though and I didn't find any of the technical climbing to have memorable movement (the complete NR of Stuart may have ruined ridge climbs for me). However this was compensated with great position, lots of exposure, and a beautiful setting.

We did a carry over with our boots/pointy bits and simul climbed down the west ridge as the east ledges were thinly snow covered and quite sketchy. This made for a much more interesting alpine climb than late in the year when you're doing more choss dodging. You'll get some steep snow, if it's nearly melted out maybe some mixed climb stemming to get up a vertical moat too :)
By Zak Krenzer
From: Auburn, WA
Jul 6, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed this recently and pitched out the entire ridge. The climbing took around 5 hours for approx. 8 pitches of ridge scrambling. We brought doubles fingers to #1 camalot, a single #2 & #3 with a handful of wires. Finger sized pieces were very helpful, the hand sizes weren't as useful. Maybe ditch the #3. Lots of double length runners, and a few singles, we brought 4 double length runners and used them frequently. Big loose triangular block on the crux pitch, be careful what you pull on!

We descended the East Ledges, which are not as dramatic as everyone makes them out to be. I will say, that it is a no fall zone and there is plenty of loose rock on it. There are 5 raps, each of which are between 25-30 meters, don't quit rapping too soon. Scramble and traverse a series of sandy, grassy ledges for several hundred meters until you see the first gendarme. Once you reach the gully, simply ascend 4th class blocks to the beginning of the route, no need to actually enter that loose gully. Descent took ~2 hours unroped from the last rap.
By Steve Guillian
Aug 16, 2017

I did, to my unhappy surprise, pull a 5'x3' block off of the ridge (mid July). Beautiful ridge. I would definitly go back.

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