A Forbidden and Isolated Traverse
Hi everyone, this is my first ever trip report and it seemed like a good place to start. From 4/14 - 4/18, Henry, Matteo and I (Thomas) skied from Cascade River Road to Highway 20 along the Forbidden-Isolation Traverse. The unmatched weather window with a week of warm temps and sunshine on a deep La Niña snowpack provided us a crack at the biggest route any of us had ever done, unbelievable views, and concerning avalanche conditions. In total we travelled about 32 miles and 17,000 feet through the heart of the North Cascades. This trip was physically and mentally exhausting, but one I will never forget. Thanks to Henry for taking a lot of these photos.
A late start and long car shuttle had us skinning up the road in the afternoon. We were able to drive about a mile before the Eldorado trailhead, at 1800 feet. We saw the last humans we would see for five days, followed by a startled but friendly bear. It walked in front of us on the road for a while and then hid behind a tree. What a goof. We eventually set up camp in the lower Boston basin, nervous for the daunting distance to go.
On day two we skinned to the toe of the Quien Sabe glacier and climbed up the Sharkfin Col. Our rope got stuck and then didn’t get clear the bergschrund, so we put our skis on and jumped over. Boston glacier had some good turns and minimal crevasses (for now). Pictured is the North face of Buckner, Boston Peak, and the largest glacier in the park.
We then made turns down the Forbidden glacier, some of my favorite skiing of the whole trip. The setting here is insane, with Moraine Lake thousands of feet below and Eldorado behind. We opted for the skiers left variation exit, despite the looming seracs, to avoid the steeper more south facing right exit. Both options were somewhat thin already.
Camp 2 was on the banks of Moraine Lake, with a good view of our tracks down the glacier with the summit of Forbidden and the spooky ice cliffs. Sure enough, around 6 PM a huge ice block broke off and triggered a wet avalanche. Surprisingly, despite the heat, this was one of the only slides we witnessed all trip.