Wednesday, Sep 13, 2023

North Cascades Climate Summit & Trail Fest

18-50 Miles, 3 Days, Rendezvous

Bellingham, WA September 13th -17th, Weekend Special

This Event Took Place Wed. Sep 13, 2023

Why a Climate Summit & Trail Fest?

Trail runners are among the most active and engaged users of wild spaces. When we run trails, we feel the terrain beneath our feet. We breathe mountain air deep into our lungs. We bear witness to the beauty, power, and value of our earth as she is.

Most of us also burn fossil fuels, participate in a largely disposable culture, and feel powerless to disrupt or even curb the currents of consumerism and cultural conditions that are relentlessly marching us towards irreversible climate change. As we hear the alarms sound, we may question our choices while we struggle to grasp the details of the science and the immensity of the politics behind these new realities.

Hope lies on the flip side of these isolating questions, and through working through these valid concerns and uncertainty together. The North Cascades Trail Fest and Climate Summit will center the felt experience of connection with glaciers and their changing alpine environments as we face and explore these questions together alongside leaders in the trail running and climate spaces.

Land Acknowledgment

The North Cascades are raw, rugged, and remote. The deep valleys, abundant resources, and numerous waterways of these mountains have been home to many Coast Salish peoples, particularly the Skagit and Nooksack tribes. Mining, logging, and colonization disrupted these cultures. These unceded lands where we are privileged to play are now managed by the North Cascades National Park Complex. Aspire operates trips in this region with the authorization from the North Cascades National Park and the Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Course Overview

Wednesday, Day 1
Meet at the Mt. Baker Mountaineer's Lodge

Runners are welcome to arrive anytime after 5pm. We'll hold an opening circle and land acknowledgement, setting the tone for the weekend. Cold drinks and plates of fresh appetizers will be served alongside libations while runners settle in.  Dinner will be at 6pm followed by a trip overview and stoke building for the running that lies ahead.

Thursday, Day 2
Run the Hannegan Zone

Runners will enjoy breakfast at the lodge before shuttling out to the Hannegan Pass trailhead. There are three out-and-back distance options, and climbing to Hannegan Pass and climbing up to explore the Ruth Glacier. Those who would prefer longer mileage can opt to bag Hannegan Peak, and/or continue out to the Copper Ridge Lookout. Runner's will be shuttled back to the lodge in waves for an evening meal and engaging presentations focusing on the intersection of climate science and the lived experience of our environment.

Friday, Day 3
Run Yellow Aster Butte & Excelsior Ridge

After a hot predawn breakfast, runners will be transported to the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead. Runners can opt for an out and back summit of Yellow Aster Butte, or continue to climb Tomyhoi and run Excelsior Ridge before descending to the Nooksack Valley and shuttling back to the lodge. Dinner, drinks, and engaging discussions about the living landscapes you are running with are a guarantee!

Saturday, Day 4
Run Chain Lakes, Ptarmigan Ridge & Lake Ann

Runners have 3 distance options for the day, each leaving from the Mountaineer's lodge and immediately dropping into stunning alpine terrain with breathtaking backdrops in every direction. Tour the region via the 7 mile Chain Lakes loop. and add more views and vistas with optional out-n-back extensions alton Ptarmigan Ridge and Lake Ann. Workshops and time to reflect on climate impact and action will be integrated into this day of exploration.

Sunday, Day 5
Breakfast and Goodbyes

Runners will wake up for an optional sunrise run, a final breakfast, and weekend reflection before saying their goodbyes. All activities will wrap by 10:00am. The Aspire shuttle will have runners back in Bellingham by noon.


This trip begins and ends at the Mt. Baker Mountaineer’s Lodge. Aspire will provide an optional round trip shuttle from their headquarters in Bellingham to the lodge on Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning.


Our basecamp for this Rendezvous will be The Mount Baker Mountaineer’s Lodge. From this incredible group space we will prepare all our meals and have access to comfortable indoor spaces for dining, orientation, and community activities. Aspire will provide delicious meals and a community oriented/celebratory environment.

Course Info Packet

For details about the trail, itinerary information, packing and gear lists, menu and dietary information, safety protocols, and trip policies please check out the Wonderland Course Packet available on our website:

About Aspire Adventure Running

Aspire organizes single and multi-day running adventures in backcountry and wilderness terrain. We pair logistical and emergency support with delicious meals for a unique and memorable running experience. More info about our project is available at:

About Runners for Public Lands

Climate destabilization and environmental degradation have put at risk a livable and runnable planet. RPL organizes runners for environmental justice, advocacy, and conservation. We’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Ventura, CA, passionate about equitable access to nature; climate, public lands, and green space advocacy; and hands-on conservation work. Learn more at

Event's current local time: 1:26 PM PT


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