The first ascent party brought nothing but a single orange to slake their thirst on a hot August day, hence the name "Torment". Of course, contemporary mountaineers would never make such a mistake, right? Whether you bring enough water or not, an ascent of Torment is an worthwhile outing with reasonable approaches from the south, and impressive position no matter which route is taken.
Torment Basin TH
Approximately 4.5 miles past Mineral Park CG (or 21 miles from Marblemount) is a bridge across the North Fork of the Cascade River. Park beyond the bridge and locate a climbers trail paralleling Torment Creek approximately 100-200 yards east of the creek. Ascend past treeline and camp wherever you please. I have not personally done this approach, so I can't offer much more detail.
Boston Basin TH
About 6 miles past Mineral Park CG (or 22.5 miles from Marblemount) locate a small parking area (i.e., a wide spot in the road) opposite Johannesburg Mountain. The trail leaves from the northwest of the parking area, and there is a small wilderness sign festooned with the usual NPS info sheets. Approximately 2.5 miles of trail and class 3 tree roots lead 2,500 feet up to the lower camp on a moraine (pit toilet, small number of camp sites, great setting). Another mile or so and thousand feet of relatively good trail lead to the upper camp (pit toilet, many more camp sites). Two hours to lower camp, three to high camp. Both are fine base camps for Torment and other peaks in Boston Basin.
|Southeast Face||II Class 4||FA D. Cole, M. Hane, June 1958. Much Class 3 scrambling with impressive exposure. Moat on Taboo glacier can be problematic in late season. Good descent route back to Boston Basin (rap stations abound).|
|South Ridge||II 5.4||FA E. Cooper, W. Sellers, July 1958. Climbing is on the west side of the ridge until a class 3 notch is reached, then traverses southeast face until it is possible to scramble up to the summit.|
|Southwest Face||II 5.7?||FA J. Schwabland, H. Stanley, August 1946. Protection may be difficult, loose rock. Difficulty depends on routefinding. Poor rappel options. Several variations have been done.|
|Northwest Ridge||II 5.6||FA T. Miller, F. Mohling, June 1958. Stays near ridge crest for most of the route. Rock quality variable. North side easier. One rap to notch below summit.|
|Northwest Glacier||II Class 4, 40 degree snow/ice||FA J. Firey, J. Firey, A. Hovey, D. Keller, June 1961. May be done from base of glacier (crevasses), or start from northwest ridge (FA route).|
|North Ridge||II Class 3/4||FA E. Cooper, J. Kurtz, July 1960. Good quality rock. Obvious routefinding.|
|Upper Northeast Face||II Class 3/4||FA D. McGowan, T. Miller, July 1954. Route of second ascent of peak. Good quality rock.|
|East Ridge||III "Class 5"||FA M. Borghoff, D. Hiser, June 1961. Sketchy route info available. FA used aid to surmount an overhang.|
|Torment-Forbidden Traverse||III Class 5, snow/ice to 50 degrees||This is not a route up Torment per se, but an alpine traverse connecting the two peaks. Starts with an ascent of Torment, followed by nearly a mile of class 3-5 climbing on rock, snow, and ice, culminating in the west ridge of Forbidden Peak. This moderately difficult route involves every alpine skill. Though not hard, it is long. Many parties bivy, though a strong, fast team comfortable with easy class 5 soloing can easily do it in a day.|
Marblemount ranger station
7280 Ranger Station Road
Marblemount, Washington 98267
(360) 873-4500, ext. 39
When to Climb
The National Weather Service provides a synoptic forecast for the North Cascades area That is reasonably useful.