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Pro Guiding Service
Domestic & International Trips & Courses with Certified Mountain Guides
Trip

Forbidden Peak Climb

Overview

Climbing Forbidden Peak via any route is a quintessentially North Cascadian Experience. All the classic ridge routes - the famous West Ridge, the East Ridge, or the lonely North Ridge - are well worth the effort and provide an unforgettable experience in a stunning setting.

$920 Per Person
3 Days
Difficulty
Ratio:
2:1

Trip Information

$920
Price is based on 2 climbers. Please call us for pricing for a single climber. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com
The three principal ridges of Forbidden Peak radiate in almost perfect symmetry away from its 8815 foot summit. The approach into the Boston Basin is steep, but reasonably short.  It is about 3 to 4 hours from the car depending on which camp you choose.  The lower camp is at 5400 feet and the upper camp at 6200 feet. The routes themselves do not offer any particularly high grade of climbing but the terrain is transition intensive, exposed, and constantly demands your attention. 
 
The Forbidden West Ridge:  Grade 3 / 5.6:
The Forbidden Peak West Ridge is one of the 50 Classic Climbs in North America - with good reason. An approach from camp of about one hour will get you to the base of the Unnamed Glacier which is located below the Forbidden Peak's South Face. We will ascend the glacier and then climb up the well-known access couloir to the actual West Ridge. In early season this is a fairly straight forward affair involving basic crampon and ice axe work. Eventually the couloir melts out and we then access the West Ridge via one of the rocky gullies that border the snow couloir on its west side. 
Once on the West Ridge, we follow the ridge to the top. On this ridge is where the route truly earned its reputation. The rock quality is great, the exposure is spectacular but not overwhelming and the scenery is stunning in every direction. Round trip time from Camp to Camp is approximately 8 to 10 hours. 
The Forbidden East Ridge Direct: Grade 3 / 5.8
The initial approach from camp is the same as for the West Ride, but before truly reaching the Unnamed Glacier we trend east and up a broad shoulder to the base of the East Ridge. The good news is that the East Ridge is easily accessible any time during the summer season - no matter how melted out conditions are. The East Ridge Direct followed by a subsequent descent of the West Ridge is a popular way to complete the route. Either way, it should be a great time. If you are up for a bit harder climbing, this might be the route for you. The rock (Skagit Gneiss) on the ridge is very good,  and the 5.8 sections of climbing provide significant exposure. Round trip time from camp to camp is approximately 8 to 10 hours. 
The Forbidden North Ridge: Grade 4 / 5.7
This climb involves a crossing of the famous Sharkfin Col from the Quien Sabe Glacier to the impressive Boston Glacier on the east side of Forbidden Peak. On a side note; the Boston Glacier is the biggest of the over 300 glaciers in North Cascades National Park. Once on the glacier, we head north to access the toe of the North Ridge. From here we have the option of following the entire ridge to the summit or drop onto the Forbidden Glacier which allows us to access the ridge proper via a snow and ice shield (it is called the Northwest Face of the North Ridge). Either way - you will feel that you are in a magnificent setting. The actual rock climb on the ridge is always enjoyable and pretty straight forward, since the rock is solid and favorably layered for movement. We highly recommend to do this climb as a three day climb, since the approach to the toe of the North Ridge already involves over 6000 feet of vertical gain and a lot of distance. The extra day increases the trip price, but it is well worth it. 
 
The NW Buttress and the South face direct offer more challenging climbing and are usually done in 3 days. Please contact us if you'd like us to put together a trip for you to climb one of these routes.
Duration: 3
Ratio: 2:1
Difficulty Level:
Click here to learn more about difficulty ratings.

Overall difficulty: difficult

Skills: prior mountaineering experience

Fitness: very good physical fitness


Private Trips Available

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest.
Learn MoreView Dates & Availability

Itinerary

The Forbidden West Ridge:  Grade 3 / 5.6:
The Forbidden Peak West Ridge is one of the 50 Classic Climbs in North America - with good reason. An approach from camp of about one hour will get you to the base of the Unnamed Glacier which is located below the Forbidden Peak's South Face. We will ascend the glacier and then climb up the well-known access couloir to the actual West Ridge. In early season this is a fairly straight forward affair involving basic crampon and ice axe work. Eventually the couloir melts out and we then access the West Ridge via one of the rocky gullies that border the snow couloir on its west side. 
Once on the West Ridge, we follow the ridge to the top. On this ridge is where the route truly earned its reputation. The rock quality is great, the exposure is spectacular but not overwhelming and the scenery is stunning in every direction. Round trip time from Camp to Camp is approximately 8 to 10 hours. 

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
View Private Trips

Pricing

$920
per person
Price is based on 2 climbers. Please call us for pricing for a single climber. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com
View Dates & Availability
Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 30 days away or an international trip that is over 60 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 30 or more days before domestic trips or 60 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 30 days of the start of domestic trips or 60 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Clothing
Base Layer
  • 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
  • 1 or 2 Tops - midweight or lightweight
  • Socks - 2 pair
Mid Layer
  • Windshirt or light soft shell jacket
  • Fleece or similar warm layer
  • Synthetic climbing or hiking pants
Outerwear
  • Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
  • Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Pants
  • Warm Hat - should cover your ears
  • Sun Hat - baseball cap or visor
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Warm gloves
  • Down or Synthetic Puffy-type Jacket
  • Gaiters--low top or full size
Personal Gear
  • Internal Frame Pack - 50 Liter/3100 cu.in. minimum
    • Everything must fit inside except ice axe, crampons, helmet, and pad
    • If approach shoes are worn, mountaineering boots may be on outside of pack as well
  • Sleeping Bag - down or synthetic, 20º F or warmer
  • Compression Sack - for sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Pad - closed cell foam or self inflating (or both)
  • Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
  • 2 Water Bottles - liter bottles, wide mouth recommended
  • Water purification - tablets or filter
  • Bowl and Cup - bowl is optional if eating from freeze-dried meal bags
  • Spoon, Fork, or Spork
  • Small Knife
  • Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+
  • Lighter
  • Personal Toiletries - keep it simple: toothbrush, tiny toothpaste, hand sanitizer
  • Small Personal First Aid Kit - just the basics: blister care, ibuprofin, prescription meds, etc.; your guides will have a substantial group first aid kit
  • Toilet Paper (blue bags provided by PGS)
Technical Gear
  • Ice Axe - lightweight, 45-70cm
  • Mountaineering Boots - crampon compatible
  • Boot Crampons - 10-12 point steel with anti-ball plates, pre-fit to boots
  • Climbing Harness - mountaineering style preferred (no padding; ex: BD Alpine Bod)
  • Adjustable Trekking Pole(s) - nice to have for approach/crevasse navigation
  • Helmet - climbing helmet UIAA approved
  • Glacier Travel Kit:
    • 2 Locking Carabiners - 2 large/2 small with at least 1 large HMS style
    • 2 Non-locking Carabiners - any style, we recommend wire gates
    • 1 Single Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (60cm/24in diameter loop)
    • 1 Double Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (120cm/48in diameter loop)
    • 1 Cordelette - 6 mm cord, 6 meter length
Optional Items
  • Camera - we’d like some shots for the PGS website!
  • Ear Plugs - essential for sound sleep
  • Camp Booties
  • Thermos - vacuum type
  • Electrolytes - tablets/powder/gel/blocks
  • Note Pad and Pencil - Rite-in-the-Rain brand waterproof notebooks work well
  • Compass - adjustable declination a must
  • Altimeter
  • Map Case - large Ziploc bag works well
  • Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
  • Tibloc and/or MicroTraxion devices - used for crevasse rescue
  • Collapsible Water Canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp
  • Liner socks - if blister-prone
  • Warm Socks - to sleep in
  • Approach shoes--lightweight running shoes work well
  • Foot Powder
  • Neck gaiter - for protecting your face from sun, wind, cold
  • Post-course care kit (to leave in car): cotton T-shirt, flip flops, favorite treats
Equipment Sales & Rental

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FAQs

How much prior mountaineering experience is required?

At least some prior mountaineering experience is required?

Does PGS provide food?

No, you are responsible for your own food; however, we are glad to help with suggestions.

What size pack should I bring?

Try to fit your gear into a 50 liter pack.

Should I tip my guide?

Although tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or a flat amount that you are comfortable with.

Why Book With Us? 

Certified Professional Guides & All Access
All of our guides have the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate.
Safe, Well-Planned Tour Design
Every tour has a carefully thought-out guide-to-customer ratio. You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us.
Pioneers In The Industry
You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on skills and routes in the industry. 
Read Our story
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