Anyway, we started walking at shortly before 6AM and with Matt setting a torrid pace we got into the basin by just after 7AM. A short break (for me!) and then more plodding across the basin towards the Taboo glacier. By 9 (or so) we were high on the Taboo near the start of the SE face route. A few crevasses, shrunds, and moats to negotiate to get to the rock, so this took a while. Plus, by 6500 feet, the snow was postholy and damn tiring to walk on. We started climbing probably by 10:30. The climbing was dictated by where we could find dry rock, so felt harder than the class 3/4 promised by Beckey (doesn't it always?). I think the best approach is to follow weaknesses in shallow gullies, but these, of course, were filled with unconsolodated, unadhering snow, or just plain running with water (think waterfalls, not drips). So we ambled up the steeper ribs. Rockfall and sluffs from above, combined with noisy orgasms from Jo-berg roughed up our nerves. We did two+ leads, until I had to try to do a sequence of shitty mantles onto angled slabs in big boots (with carryover pack on), and decided to turn back. We did two double-rope raps and just reached the snow, avoiding the moat. The only good thing about this route is that there are lots of good rap horns, as Beckey notes. The S ridge looks steep and much better.
After a beatiful camp on the spur separating the forbidden and taboo glaciers, we got up early to try the W ridge of Forbidden. A warmish night meant more postholing. Matt was up to the task (given that our wakeup time was only about an hour after my usual bedtime, I was usually pretty useless for the first 5 hours of the day). We were moving by 5 and got to near the top of the couloir by 7ish. Here we had 3 options. To the left, very steep snowslopes up very soft snow. No. To the middle, a loose, running water and snowy gully. No again. (Although this is the best way, I think.) To the right, more solid looking rock, which gets steeper (pass a fixed pin, badly driven) and eventually a few overhanging moves and my first ever gym-move-backstep in mountain boots to get to easier ground leading to the ridge proper. Time from camp to ridge about 3 hours.
The first 200+ feet on the ridge were actually a snow arete, so this went quickly. The next 200+ feet (to the first step were quickly simul-climbed). We belayed the first 80 foot step (easy class 5, but some moves around looseness). Then more simul climbing to a belay at the base of the next step (the actual 5.6 portion). Snow on bypass ledges forced us to stay right on the crest and actually climb this, which neither of us had the bock to do at this point. Time, approx 10:30 (?). I think hunger, second-day-hangover, and not pacing ourselves just sapped our motivation. We had a nice lunch and took in the views and then turned back. All in all, a nice outing. We were bummed that we didn't summit, but not that bummed -- it was a nice trip and the weather was great. Plus, we wanted to get the hell off and down the gully before things got really mushy. About 2.5 hours of climbing back to the top of the gully (slow at this point, because of a hung rope and having to pass lots of parties, which is easier in dry conditions because of route latitude, but here everyone was piled on the ridge proper).
What can I say about the descent. It sucks. We went down the gully. Lots of really wet raps. A single rope can actually do it, if you're willing to do more downclimbing at the bottom. I couldn't figure out how I had rapped over the shrund in the past. I guess seasonal differences. (See N Ridge Trip
Maybe a better strategy is just to climb the S ridge of Torment and call it good. It looks like a nice line...
* Two ropes: 2x8.5 mm * Med Rack 1 set stoppers Camalots 1,2,3 Friends 1,1.2,2 3 dbl slings (should have had more, as always) 10 single slings (could have had fewere, I guess) * Ice axe. (didn't take crampons) * Rock shoes (but never put the things on -- too mixed)