Forbes, Mount


Trip Details
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Date: 
Saturday, April 30, 2016 to Monday, May 2, 2016
Summit Elevation (m): 
Summit Elevation (ft): 
Elevation Gain (m): 
Round Trip Time: 
Total Distance (km): 
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

The approach is long and arduous with a backpack involving moderate scrambling to 5th class depending on route. The main climb (northwest face route) involves a heavily crevassed glacier, steep snow and / or ice to the summit.


Trip Report

I've been dreaming of climbing the highest peak in Banff National Park and 8th highest in the Canadian Rockies for many years. I'm not 100 percent sure when I first laid eyes on the hauntingly beautiful northwest face and dramatic summit pyramid of Mount Forbes but I do know that it probably terrified me the first few times I looked at it. That giant triangular face of snow, rock and ice stretching upward into the clouds continued to draw me in as I gazed at it from many surrounding summits, year after year. In 2015 I was sure I was going to climb Forbes with Ben and Steven, but alas they chose a weekend that didn't work and I was once again left to wonder at a missed opportunity.


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Nice TR, I have definitely been on the side of sharing negative press about this bloody mtn. I've made 4 attempts, My climbing mates 5 and 3 respectively. Your timing was perfect. Our first trip to ski it was a DISASTER. Bushwhacking with skis, record high temps(not forecasted) and a forest fire.

2nd attempt my friends wife was driving him nuts that we always left her behind and she WAS coming. Late season, our "omega block" turned into a crap shoot. Solid access to the headwall then the type of rain that makes you wonder if the sky is falling. Then her heels opened up due to newer boots and we went back.

3rd attempt was early season around late April or early May. We had a "great" window. Weather had clearing skies after a few days of cloudy """LIGHT""" precip. After this many attempts we were plain old angry. Our packs were super light and we damn near jogged to the lake. As we approached the lake from the shoulder it looked high....I know what you are thinking but it did. At the end of the lake it was painfully obvious that the so called light precip was heavy rains. I only had one pair of shoes(I wear far lighter footwear then my climbing partners) So I simply took them off for the swamp hike. We've been there/done that so we can follow the trail under water and its better then the forest. I did the entire lake to river crossing in bare feet. At the river crossing the water was...high and not slow. Bonus points were the microwave sized ice bergs floating by. Needless to say it was so bad that we spent an hour assessing the crossing down stream and even climbing up and around the bloody Lyell ice fall (We climbed it previously with a buddy taking a ground fall on bad pro). The water was ankle deep, then knee, then waist, then nipple then Derek was swimming/rolling with a pack. fast forward to a very wet bivy up the canyon while trying to dry out....oh mother nature bonus points for the rainfall as soon as we wanted to dry out.

4th attempt was from the BC side(i was absent) Que another forest fire, an army of little pack/rope/food destroying marmots/pikas and a bear. Oh and a route finding error. Left one guy in the tress while peter and derek made the push. Super isothermal snow, no food(see previous statement) and what judging by there faces was an D-Day style bug attack on their bodies and they called it.

5th attempt. 3 guys, 2 girlfriends.SK crossing side. Easy approach, other then I had been working non stop and I was way out of shape. MAY long weekend. We took (always did) the headwall direct climbing route. Set up a camp on the headwall in a gorgeous flat spot right beside the gorge. We overslept our alarms and started late. I made it about 1 km from the headwall when my cardio meant I would slow them down and volunteered to chill there. Derek and joey(1st trip) pushed on. I tried to sleep, threw rocks at other rocks and was annoyed by a bloody bee that bugged me all day. They returned LATE having made the summit it what they told me was horrendous avy conditions. Mass sluffing, sloughing and a small slab of the rock band. Needless to say Derek said it was a very dumb decision but he was NEVER coming back to this stupid mtn.

Glad your trip went so well, those kind of TR's make me hate people like you.;0

Wow!! Thanks for sharing that Chris. And here I was feeling sorry for myself that I missed the first opportunity with Steven and Ben to climb this beauty. :)

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