Just prior to crossing the North Fork Cascade River for the last time, motorists driving the Cascade River Road may notice a lofty series of steep cascades visible through the trees across the valley. This waterfall is both one of the tallest in the area as well as one of the most agonizingly difficult waterfalls to see in the area. Torment Creek, fed by remnant glacier fragments and snowfields on Mount Torment, cascades somewhere between 1200 and 1600 feet down the steep wall of the Cascade River valley, its final drop as a rather impressive 3 or 4 tiered horsetailing waterfall. Its hard to gauge where the falls begin and though I have reached the foot, mapping the location is a tricky endevor. Unfortunately the falls cannot be easily seen due to a stand of quite rudely obstructive trees along the banks of the North Fork Cascade River (though the river in this area did flood severely in 2006 and may have exposed a view since), so the only readily clear view of the falls is from the immediate base where only a fraction can be seen.
- Torment Falls is the Proposed name of this waterfall.
I initially gave this waterfall the working name of Torment Falls after the creek, well before I knew what it had in store for me. Turns out there must have been some kind of karma in the air that day, because after having tried 3 times to view the falls, only to find that only a fraction can be seen, I don't think I could have named it better. To this day, it still torments me.
Driving east along US 20, enter the town of Marblemount. At a bend in the highway (in the middle of town), keep straight across the bridge spanning the Skagit River, when Highway 20 makes a sharp left. This is the Cascade River Road, which ends in 23 miles, at the Cascade Pass trailhead. Proceed for about 20 1/2 miles from US 20, about 2 3/4 miles from the boundary of North Cascades National Park, to a pair of picnic sites, just before crossing the North Fork Cascade River for the last time. Park here, and walk across the bridge, then dive into the woods to the left of the road. Stay away from the river, where the brush is thick. The woods are relatively open in this area, and travel isn't that hard. Heading gradually uphill, towards Torment Creek, you'll eventually run into the avalanche path, brush central. When you hit the thick brush, start heading straight up the hill, still in the woods. Eventually, you'll hit a dry streambed of some sort, where you can continue working towards the creek under cover of smaller trees. Following this up, you'll come out of the brush at the base of a rock incline, with the falls on the left. Just walk up the mossy rocks, and head a little further left, and you should come out near the bottom of the final 300 feet of the falls (as seen above). Total distance from the road is about a quarter of a mile. The falls can also be viewed through the trees about 400 feet west of the bridge over the Cascade River, along the Cascade River Road.