Last week I headed out to climb the north ridge of Forbidden Peak with Karsten Delap, a career guide from North Carolina. I was delighted to acquaint him with my home turf a little bit; I am pretty sure that the glaciers are generally a little bit smaller in North Carolina. I've also heard that the marmots aren't as fat or noisy.
We headed up the Boston Basin trail and found straight forward and snow-free travel up to timberline. The snow began here, and we worked our way up onto the Quien Sabe (where, incidentally, you can make or even receive a cell phone call). I couldn't resist proposing a side-trip to climb Sharkfin Tower and show off some awesome North Cascades rock. It seemed fair, considering I made Karsten lead the slightly-less-bomber pitches up to Sharkfin Col. A pleasant stroll across the Boston led us to some interesting climbing to gain the north ridge and the top of the Forbidden Glacier.
Fred Beckey first climbed the north ridge (without the NW face snow variation) in 1952. If it seems wild to think that he has been doing first ascents for that long, consider that he did the first ever ascent of this mountain (via the West Ridge) in 1940--when he was 17 years old! Fred was also on the first ascents of the NW Face and East Ridge Direct (both brilliant climbs worth repeating). Lastly, consider that the word 'forbidden,' is an anagram for "Fred-bid-on." I don't know about you, but I'm going to start calling it Fredbidon Peak.
From our comfy camp we descended to the base of the NW face of the northwest ridge. Four long pitches of steep snow brought us to the narrow upper ridge, which we climbed in great appreciation of the fine rock. The clouds of our semi-summer finally parted on the way down the West ridge, and by the time we reached the basin below it was t-shirt time. Thanks for a great climb, Karsten!
One final note regarding a Boss other than Fred: I learned that the drive down from the Boston Basin trailhead to Marblemount takes EXACTLY long enough to take in the entirety of "Darkness on the Edge of Town" by Bruce Springsteen. Get yourself a copy and see!