Overview and ApproachBoston Basin. The three main ridges West, East and North provide distinctly alpine climbing directly to the summit. The classic W Ridge route is a fun climb but the E Ridge Direct route is as equally fun on a more challenging and moderately hard alpine Arête with a degree of exposure which can still impress after 25 years.
The E Ridge Direct route starts to the left of the lone gendarme (on the righthand skyline) and continues up the Arête to the summit. Photo provided by Johnhl94563.
A wilderness pass is needed for Boston Basin and is available at the Marblemount Ranger Station (free but limited availability). Check here for current information about roads, trails, campgrounds and such. A NW Forest Parking Pass is required for all cars parked at the TH.
Two official campsites are in the basin (lower & upper) and composting toilets are available nearby. Note: Camping is allowed on Durable Surfaces.
Route Descriptionsnow couloir which leads to an upper shoulder below the E Ridge. From the shoulder climb N, either snow or rock, and reach a “notch” in the ridge W of a lone gendarme; the belayed climbing begins here.
ridgecrest made of big slivers of stone standing on end, maybe a foot wide at the top, still only a couple feet thick 8 feet below, and uniformly curved so the ridge drops almost vertical on one side and overhangs on the other). These can be climbed directly (sporting) or bypassed on their N or S sides; nowhere is the climbing difficulty sustained.
The crux is reached about three quarters of the way up the route. After climbing a steep pitch up the last gendarme and a rappel down its back-side you will find yourself in a narrow notch with a steep wall directly in your path; we climbed this directly (difficult) and then continued up two more pitches of moderate to easy climbing which leads to the summit.
Klenke describes a different descent here.
Essential GearA full alpine rock rack, extra slings, mountain boots, ice axe, rock shoes and helmet. Double ropes would be nice, especially for the second rappel into the couloir on descent. Late in the season the couloir (on the descent) can be out-of-shape and crampons may be necessary. Many climbers have found themselves benighted while still on the peak, a headlight would be handy. There is some seriousness to the peak because of its size, the length of the routes and the fact there is no walk-off descent; lousy weather can make this climb an epic.
Cimbing BETABoth times I've climbed the peak were near the solstice weekend (June 21st); our primary reason for climbing at this time of year was to have good conditions in the W Ridge couloir. Use your best judgment on this and perhaps call the RS at Marblemount and talk to the climbing Ranger about conditions; ph# (360) 873-4590 or 4500.
NOAA Digital WeatherYou can check the NOAA weather site here for current local conditions.
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