The North Cascades are considered the most rugged mountain range in the contiguous United States. Sharp rocky spires serrate wide swaths of permanent snow fields. Glaciers cling to the steep relief of valleys carved by their icy forebears. Valleys are filled with the ancient trees and the dense foliage of temperate rain forests. Rivers, creeks, and waterfalls cascade through these spaces giving this range its namesake. The network of trails threading through this landscape are a passageway through time and wild spaces. A crude reckoning of these paths can be counted in miles and days, but their true measure lies within a much more nuanced experience that is discovered through struggle, feeling, and connection.
Day 1: Run over Easy Pass, 23 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +4,051/-6,602
We meet runners at 7am at Bob’s Burgers and Brews in Burlington WA. After intros, we shuttle runners to the North Cascades National Park. The trip begins with a trip over Easy Pass. The first 3 miles of trail and steady climbing brings one to Easy Pass and big vistas of glaciated peaks and the sweeping Fisher Basin. The trail continues west along Fisher Creek, following the network of rivers through deep old growth forests and glacially carved mountain valleys. These runnable trails continue to the shores of Diablo Lake and our Colonial Creek Basecamp. Waiting at camp will be each runner’s personal gear and plenty of hot food, showers, and drinks.
Day 2: Run over Whatcom Pass, 33 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +6,742’ / -6,010‘
After packing up personal gear in preparation for moving camp a short shuttle takes runners to the Happy Panther Trail head. The trail quickly drops to the shores Ross Lake before turning west and along Big Beaver Creek. The magic of the day lies at Whatcom Pass. Deep in the heart of the North Cascades this remote valley opens up to cascading waterfalls, sweeping glaciers, and big alpine peaks. The climb to the pass is big, but it’s a view that few will ever enjoy. From the pass, runners follow Brush Creek to Graybeal Camp and meet our “sherpa” crew who have packed in tents, sleep kits, group gear, and a personal bag for a remote backcountry camp.
Day 3: Run Copper Ridge, 24 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +6,648 / -6,399’
After a backcountry camp morning brew session, runners head out for the final day. A few miles of soft trail brings runners to the junction with the Copper Ridge trail. Here a mandatory but mellow river crossing is followed by 3,500′ of climbing. Atop the climb are some of the biggest and inspiring ridgeline views of any trail in the North Cascades. The day finishes with crossing over Hannegan Pass and running out the Ruth Creek drainage. At trails end a final basecamp of food, drinks, and celebration awaits. We shuttle runners back to Burlington and Bellingham after celebrations and all runners have finished.
Course Info Packet
For complete information about this trip, itineraries, packing and gear lists, menu and dietary information, safety protocols, and trip policies consult the North Cascades Traverse Info Packet available via our website. www.AspireAdventureRunning.com
Every year we have at least one runner who due to injury, illness, or personal/familial circumstances can not participate in their registered trip. While registrations can be transferred, Aspire does not issue refunds. See our FAQ's. We strongly encourage each runner to purchase 3rd party trip insurance that will reimburse the cost of registration in the event that you are unable to participate in the event.
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: www.AspireAdventureRunning.com
Event's current local time: 11:29 PM PT