2012 Adventure Run Ideas – Cascades

The North Cascades of Washington state are a special place. These mountains were the inception of my adventure running in 2006. While I do many more trips in the High Sierra these days, I always look forward to a trip up to WA to visit some of my favorite mountains. The North Cascades have a unique character as glistening white glaciers beneath rugged summit pinnacles juxtapose deep green valleys choked with brush and forest. Here are a few ideas for this year:

  • Isolation Traverse: The traverse from Snowfield Peak to Eldorado Peak is the missing link to two areas that I have visited many times. I’m especially interested in views of the immense McAllister Glacier icefall and an up-close view of Backbone ridge. 
  • Pickets Westside: From Hannegan Pass to Diablo Lake, this route through the Pickets is even more remote and rugged than 2010’s Luna Cirque Traverse and passes underneath the towering walls of the Southern Picket “fence.” The terrain is arduous and challenging so the Westside is only traversed a couple times a year, if at all. Intense summit names like Challenger, Fury, Terror, Crooked Thumb, and Phantom manifest the difficulty of reaching this fabled region and there is virtually no evidence of human impact.
  • Mount Redoubt & Mount Spickard: The Redoubt region is located near the Canadian border and it’s been a long time since I’ve visited this highly scenic corner of the North Cascades. It would be nice to do the Redoubt High Route to Whatcom Pass with stupendous views of the Picket Range. 
  • Luna Peak: The highest point in the Picket Range, Luna Peak also offers the best view with its eastern position offset from the crest of the Northern and Southern Picket Range. The view from the summit at sunrise is pictured below and I would like to return to watch another sunrise from its summit. Plus, it’s been a couple years since I’ve had the honor of battling the Access Creek bushwhack!
  • Mount Logan: I have climbed Mount Logan twice, but the view from the summit of the Eldorado Ice Cap and Boston Glacier is breathtaking. This mountain is one of the more remote summit in the range, but lends itself to running with a long approach on trail.
  • Mount Formidable: A summit along the Ptarmigan Traverse that I climbed in 2005. This summit provides amazing views in all directions and the approach is equally scenic.
  • Wonderland Trail: The 94 mile loop around Mount Rainier has been on my mind for a few years. This outing entails a lot of planning and preparation so I’m not sure it will get done this year, but we’ll see if the opportunity presents itself.
Past adventure run ideas for the Cascades: 

Photo Locations:

  1. Dome Peak from White Rock Lakes, 2008
  2. The Southern Pickets from the summit of Luna Peak, 2005
  3. View from Austera Peak, 2011
  4. Mount Challenger and Whatcom Peak reflect in Tapto Lakes, 2005
  5. Ridge to Mount Fury, 2008
  6. View of the Eldorado Ice Cap from the summit of Forbidden Peak, 2006
  7. Dana Glacier, 2008
  8. View of Boston Glacier from the summit of Mount Logan, 2006
  9. View of the Dakobed Range from near High Pass, 2009
  10. Southern Pickets from the summit of West McMillan Spire, 2011

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrea says:

    More great ideas. Your pics of The Southern Pickets and Mount Challenger and Whatcom Peak are especially breathtaking!

  2. bh says:

    Thanks for these ideas. Can you add the distance for each one and (if possible) a map link?

    1. pantilat says:

      The actual distance of these adventures belies the difficulty of the terrain, which is the most remote and rugged in the lower 48. In fact, most of the ideas entail only a small fraction of total time on trails and the remainder is on snow/ice, rock scrambling, or bushwhacking through brush and forest. Careful preparation, planning, and familiarity with the region are essential.

  3. drdirtbag says:

    Thanks for the ideas. I’ll have to give some a try if I make it up there this summer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s