N Ridge (August 15-16, 1997)

Just climbed the N ridge of forbidden, which is a fantastic climb. Less technical than the E ridge, but longer, and with a real sense of commitment. The first day we crossed sharkfin col (hideous gully, tech crux of the climb, probably 20 feet of 5.6/7) and the boston glacier to neat bivy site on N ridge. This took ~ 7 hrs (car->base of col: 3.5 hrs; over col: 1.5 hrs; glacier->ridge: 1.5 hrs). The second day we climbed the ridge, which has maybe only one unavoidable low-5th move. The rest is 3rd and 4th class if you don't try to stick to the ridge, but we made it a bit more interesting by tending towards the crest more (again, never harder than low-5th). We simul-climbed to the summit in ~3 hrs. Amazing exposure in places. On the recommendation of a ranger, we downclimbed the W ridge (< 2 hrs), which was harder than the way up. Some party we passed gave me a hard time for descending a route I'd never climbed before, which was annoying. Rapping the W ridge gully took almost another 2 hrs, due to stuck ropes, hard to reach belay stations (lots of penduluming to throw your body into the slot between snow and rock while wildly lunging for the rap slings). The trick is to do one single rope rap down the 1st gully to the head of the main gully. From here 2 double rope raps reach the ground (just barely: wild hanging rap over the base of the snow gully onto slabs). 3 hrs from glacier to car. I learned my lesson: take the E ledges down from the summit. All in all, it was a splendid climb though, esp w/ a bivy on the ridge (this solves any and all permit problems for boston basin, and means that you get the ugly part of the climb (sharfin col) on the 1st day and makes the second day mellow in terms of time).

Rack and gear:

* Two ropes: 9mm and 6mm * Small Rack 1 set stoppers hexes 6,7,8,9 18 biners 4 dbl slings (should have had 6) 6 single slings * Ice axe. (didn't take crampons) * 1 picket (didn't need it)