Suiattle Crest 50 Mile 2012

I returned to repeat the Suiattle Crest 50 mile adventure run on August 20th. The original run was done on August 4, 2009 in 13h37m. Last week I completed it in 11h44m (1h53m faster). This complete loop, entailing six passes, covers most of the highlights in this region of the Glacier Peak Wilderness including a breathtaking view from Little Giant Pass, a tour through wild Napeequa Valley, 360 vistas from the High Pass area, verdant wildflower meadows, stunning Lyman Lakes, and Spider Gap. It’s quintessential North Cascades scenery – well worth a revisit after three years. With GPS, I found that total elevation gain is actually higher (near 14,000 ft), but distance is a couple miles short of 50 miles. The route/trails are in essentially the same condition as three years ago: Napeequa valley is still quite brushy (and wet in the morning) and the climb up to High Pass is nicely hidden in the brush (tip: the use path starts at the far end of the meadow near the cascading stream and it’s worth spending the time to find it since the slide alder is unsavory in this area. It’s sad to note the recession of the Lyman Glacier, which is essentially now a remnant ice patch. Despite relatively healthy snowpacks the last couple years, the glacier has continued to lose thickness appearing noticeably smaller than my visit in 2009 with the terminus even receding from the last glacial lake. It seems only a matter of time before the permanent ice vanishes entirely. The receding glaciers in the Cascades are clear signals of global warming. Splits, video and some photos below with the compete album here.

Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time (difference 2012 vs. 2009)
Little Giant TH (2,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 06:40
Little Giant Pass (6,409 ft) : 1:18:36 / 1:18:36 / 07:59 (-17)
High Pass (6,876 ft) : 4:30:18 / 3:11:41 / 11:10 (-1:05)
Buck Creek Pass (5,796 ft) : 5:39:01 / 1:08:46 / 12:19 (-1:04)
Cloudy Pass (6,420 ft) : 8:10:20 / 2:31:19 / 14:50 (-1:08)
Spider Gap (7,040 ft) : 9:32:11 / 1:21:50 / 16:12 (-1:28)
Phelps Creek TH (3,500 ft) : 11:01:50 / 1:29:38 / 17:42 (-1:41)
Little Giant TH (2,600 ft) : 11:44:19 / 42:29 / 18:24 (-1:53)

Gear:

  • La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0
  • First Endurance EFS Fruit Punch Drink Mix
  • Injinji Midweight Performance Toesocks
  • Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack
  • Rudy Project sunglasses
  • Black Diamond Z-Poles