Martin Volken pioneered this multi-day ski tour in 1999 and we still love guiding it.
May 24, 2019 - May 26, 2019
Martin Volken pioneered this multi day ski tour in 1999 and we still love guiding it. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20001115&slug=4053060
Pro Guiding Service has guided this by now classic traverse in several different variations. The Frobidden Express follows the same route as the standard Forbidden Tour, but we move a little further along on the first day and leave out the Moraine Lake Camp on the second day. The combination of the high alpine atmosphere, the great skiing and mountain wilderness make this trip a must for every serious backcountry skier. The region hosts every element that is needed to show what advanced ski touring in the Cascades is all about. Spectacular scenery, big glaciers, demanding skiing, big vertical drops and gains, winter camping, difficult navigating in sometimes questionable weather and a touch of mixed mountaineering. This trip will prove that the North Cascades are a ski mountaineering destination hard to match in the lower 48 states.
Suggested Forbidden Tour itinerary:
Day one: We will meet at the Ranger Station in Marblemount, conduct a gear check and commute to our road head. This should get us touring by mid morning. We will then reach the Quien Sabe Glacier via Cascade Pass or the Diamond Mine Road. We will establish our first camp near Sharkfin Col between 6500 and 7000 feet.
Day two: We will traverse the infamous Sharkfin Col first thing in the morning and then ski the Boston Glacier under Forbidden Peak. From here we cross over to the Forbidden Glacier. The 3400 foot ski descent to Moraine Lake will bring us down to Moraine Lake. From there we have to reascend back up to Klawatti Col for our second camp.
Day three: We will brake down camp early and start moving towards El Dorado peak. Ski summits don't get much better than this. From here we traverse the El Dorado Plateau to its southeastern edge and ski down the Roush Creek drainage to 3800 feet. From here we have to descend steep forest on a climbers trail to the Cascade River Road. There should certainly be enough time for a few well deserved beers in Marblemount. Please prepare well. This tour is strenuous and not over until you are at the car!
Sign up for a course or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental.
Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999.
The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.
Where in the world is Marblemount? Marblemount, WA is located on the western slopes of the North Cascades along State Hwy 20. Driving time from the Seattle area is about 2.5 hours.
Are there places to stay in Marblemount if I get there a day early? Yes, there are reasonable accommodations. You can stay at:
Totem Trail Motel
57627 State Route 20, Rockport - (360) 873-4535
Buffalo Run Inn
PO Box 133, 60117 State Route 20, Marblemount - (877) 828-6652
Skagit River Resort
(North Cascades Hwy, WA St Rte 20, Mile 103.5), 58468 Clark Cabin Road, Rockport - (360) 873-2250
Does PGS provide food for the trip? No, we do not provide food, but are perfectly happy to make food suggestions.
Can I buy food for the trip in Marblemount? There is a small grocery store in the local Shell Station, but it only carries basic things? The last bigger grocery store is located near Concrete, WA.
I do not have any prior ski mountaineering experience. Can I still come on the trip? If you have prior ski touring experience, are a good skier and are fit, it should not be a problem.
Where will we be camped? We will be camped at around 6400 feet on a moraine head near the Quien Sabe Glacier, the first night, by Moraine Lake the second night and near Klawatti Col the third night. We will have access to water on the second night, all the other nights we will have to melt it.
Is the skiing difficult? The skiing is not difficult per say, but you will be skiing with an overnight pack in a big variety of snow conditions. Solid skiing ability will make it much more enjoyable. We do not recommend this being your first ski outing with a big pack unless you are an expert level skier.
Should I tip my guides? And how much should I tip them? 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 flat price tip that you are comfortable with.