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Sorry this isn't the Reader's Digest version:|
Pat "We don't need no stinkin' rope" Ragar and I departed Friday night,
destination Marblemount and the prized permit for Boston Basin. Having
acquired the last permit and being in high spirits, we prepared a gourmet
dinner at the gated Cascade River road of the provisions from Café Chevron.
We were on the road by 6am, with thoughts of Pat and Toby in our minds,
hoping that their car (which we awoke next to) will have been gone when we
got back. The morning made for fast traveling up the steep portions past
the Diamond Trail. Large portions of the "climbers" trail into the Basin are
still snow covered and lead to some challenging stream crossings, as we
later found out on Sunday. Before our first major stream crossing we
decided to diverge from the popular trail and take the "Ragar-direct" route,
which consisted of devils-club navigating, stump jumping, no switch backing,
and up the snow, toward the southern flanks of the Basin.
After setting up the camp/bivi site we had a restful snack, and departed
for Sharkfin Tower. The quick approach, due to the stupendous surrounding
views, was on snow, as was the entire Basin except for a few exposed
outcroppings, and moraines. Reaching the upper portion of the Basin and the
base of Sharkfin, we followed a beaten path up an approach gully (couloir),
where we encountered the company of Alpine Ascent Intl. After showing the
AAI student how snow travel was done the WAC way, Pat and I quickly
discovered that we were in the wrong gully. A short scramble up the couloir
side, and a short snow traverse, we were at the base of Sharkfin Tower.
Pat and I ascended the Southeast Ridge route, with good views/exposure on
the Southeast Face looking down onto the Boston Glacier. 2 and half pitches
later we were both on top enjoying the view and reading the climbing
register. Decent was by rappel the way we came. Several more rappels were
needed down in the approach gully due to snow covered slaby rock and a small
bergshrund at the true base of the Tower. Several nice long glissades put
us back in camp in record time.
Sunday morning, after a quick breakfast, Pat and I were on route to
Forbidden Peak's West Ridge. Travel was quick due to firm snow and a beaten
path (No missed couloir this time). At the base of the snow couloir we ran
into several parties. One going up and another on their way down, after
having spent an unplanned bivouac. We later found out that that party
started from Boston Basin at 5am and got stuck near the top around
midnight???!!! We climbed up the 40- 50 degree snow, which had great steps
already kicked for us, navigated through the chimneys and onto the ridge
crest. Pat and I sat and rested while the other parties on the route
climbed, took in the scenery, and warmed ourselves as the sun raised over
Forbidden's ridge line.
Pat and I traversed/scrambled along the "exposed" 5th class west ridge,
making great time unroped. We encountered the earlier parties on the route
whom graciously let us by. Pat and I achieved Forbidden's summit in late
morning (and home of 1 marmot), enjoyed conversation with another group on
the surrounding peaks, and took in the sites. Decent of Forbidden was by
the way we came, consisting of down-climbing and with a couple rappels
thrown in for good measure.
Back safely in camp at around 3:30'ish we packed up and traveled the
slippery snowy fields, following previous party's tracks out. With a minor
set back of a large snow bank with a precarious snow bridge over the last
stream crossing, we bushwhacked, crossed the stream and prevailed to find
the trail once again. Finally, back at the trailhead relieved, both to be
at the car and to see Paul and Toby's car gone, we loaded up and after a
quick sign-out at the Ranger station we concluded our adventure at the well
anticipated Taco Guyamos.