East Ridge on Forbidden Peak

Exposure on the East Ridge with views of Buckner, Boston, and Sahale

Forbidden Peak and the Boston Basin area keep drawing me back.  Even after climbing the TFT, East Ridge, North Ridge, and NW Face of Forbidden, I was happy to head back and get out there with Colin—the position, rock, and views are all awesome.

We drove up from Seattle on Friday after work, enjoying a dinner at the Train Wreck in Burlington on the way, and slept in the back of the car just below the trailhead.  We left the car at about 5:30am, got to the edge of the basin at about 6:45am, geared up at the start of the route at 9:30am, and were off on the sea of jagged ridgeline shortly thereafter.  Everything on the approach was nice and straightforward.  The Unnamed Glacier was well covered and quick in approach shoes with strap-on aluminum crampons.

Making progress with the North Ridge making up the right-hand skyline

We'd read a recent trip report suggesting that the East Ledges anchor was missing, so we brought all of our gear just in case.  The route was longer than I remembered and I was surprised that it took as long as it did to reach the large gendarme.  Exposure is a constant companion on this route and it can wear on you if you're not ready for it.  We found fun, pretty well-protected climbing on good holds through the couple of steep crux sections (around 5.8).

Taking in the view of Rainier, Glacier, Johannesburg, and more

We hit the summit at about 2:45pm and took in the views for a little bit before heading down the East Ledges thanks to a shiny new rap anchor right off the summit block.  Thanks to whoever placed that purple webbing at the top and backed up some of the raps on the way down.  We did 5 single-rope raps down and then did a downward-trending traverse across the ledges, taking our time on the loose, somewhat nerve-wracking terrain and reaching the start of the route at 5:15pm.

Boston Basin alpine meadows going all "Sound of Music" at golden hour

From there, it was smooth sailing back down, including a glissade from the high point of the glacier all the way down to the waterfall just above camp and a jaunt through the alpine meadows at golden hour.  Totally worth the resulting wet, frozen bum.  The hike out was predictably painful, but not terrible.  Another great adventure up in Boston Basin.

Coleman-Deming Route on Mount Baker

Enjoying the summit views

Enjoying the summit views

With a stellar forecast only days after returning from Peru, it was hard to pass up the opportunity to take Erica out on her first volcano and enjoy some beautiful views.  We drove up on Saturday afternoon and left the car around 3:30pm in a very busy parking lot.  The approach was mostly snow-free until the base of Heliotrope ridge, which itself was bare in many places.  We stayed unroped up to the 7,000 ft glacier camp, with only one or two gaps to keep an eye on along the way.  It took around 3 hours to get to camp, where we set up shop among many other tents and promptly took a pre-dinner nap after having dessert first—I love doing things backwards, I guess.

Sunset at glacier camp

Sunset at glacier camp

We had dinner to an awesome light show over the Northwestern reaches of Baker and Puget Sound, with views of a sea of mountains extending into Canada.  We decided to start early since freezing levels were above the top of the mountain and we wanted to avoid a slushy mess on the way down.  Plus we were motivated to get ice cream on the way out at Graham's.  We left the tent at about 4:15am and made fast progress in a well-established boot pack.

We took a break at the Colfax-Baker saddle at about 6am and then headed up the Roman Wall with many other parties on the route.  We broke into the sunshine on the summit plateau and were on the top by 7:30am with great views of the North Cascades and Shuksan, in particular.

Heading back down the Roman Wall

Heading back down the Roman Wall

It was an uneventful descent, including a brief nap at camp before breaking it down and continuing out to the car, making it there by 1:30pm or so.  I'd never spent the night on Baker before despite having been up there many times between the North Ridge, Coleman Headwall, Coleman-Deming a few times, and Colfax a few times, so it was a nice change of pace and chance to enjoy the views.