This course has it all. Remote wilderness travel, expansive views from high alpine passes, deep old growth forests, cascading creeks, rivers, and waterfalls, big mileage, and lots of elevation. Beginning at the eastern limits of Hwy 542 this course ascends 4 miles of the Ruth Creek drainage to Hannegan Pass (elev. 5,066’). Here the trail drops into the North Cascades National Park and follows the Chilliwack River for 8 miles to the confluence of Brush Creek. Turning east the trail climbs creek side for 5 miles to the course high point at Whatcom Pass (elev. 5,206’). Continuing east runners travel another 11 miles down the Little Beaver Creek and up to Beaver Pass (elev. 3,620’). From this last climb runners enjoy a 14 mile decent along Big Beaver Creek to the shores of Ross Lake. Pause for a well earned dip in the lake and gear up for the 7 mile lakeside stretch to a Hwy 20 finish.
The Whatcom Passage 50M is a remote wilderness experience. Many variables including weather, fitness, terrain, and potential accidents or injury can greatly affect the time required to complete this course. Aspire is committed to providing exceptional crew services and professional support to guard against and respond to emergencies. The following schedule is a tentative outline for making travel arrangements.
4:00pm. Course check in. Burlington WA. Meet in the parking lot of Bob’s Burgers and Brews. Address: 9440 Old Hwy 99 N, Bow, WA 98232. Look for the green Suburban with “Aspire Adventure Running” decals
4:30. Depart for North Cascades campsite
6:30. Arrive camp. Aspire will serve an evening meal; conduct a course overview and orientation. Runners pack/prep for an early start.
6:00 am. Wake and hot breakfast served by Aspire.
7:00 am. Run
Estimated travel time for the course 10-17 hours.
Given the length, difficulty, and remoteness of this course, runners will be expected to travel in small groups or pairs.
Aspire will provide a trail “sweep” who will be equipped with a minimalist first aid kit and emergency supplies as well as satellite communication technology.
5pm-Midnight. Course finish.
As per all Aspire events, course finishes are well stocked with food and beverages, hot showers, and camaraderie. These activities will be staged out of the Hannegan Pass trailhead parking lot.
Aspire will be maintaining a base camp out of which all friends and family are welcome
All personal gear will be shuttled and waiting Hannegan Pass.
8-9am. Aspire will serve a hot morning breakfast
10am Shuttle departs for Burlington.
Noon. Shuttle arrival Burlington.
Each runner should come equipped with a personal running pack/vest, hydration system, water filtration, and personal snacks. Aspire has a selection of bars, gels, electrolytes etc. available, but we also encourage folks to bring foods that they are accustomed to for long runs. Running clothing should consist of a system that includes a wind/waterproof jacket and an insulative layer. Each runner is encouraged carry a personal first aid kit to respond to blisters, chafing, and minor ailments.
A bag of post-run clothing is essential. This bag should include an insulative jacket preferably down or synthetic, a wind/water resistant outer layer, dry clothing, and dry shoes.
This course includes 2-nights of camping. Required equipment includes: a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and camp clothing suitable for a spectrum of mountain weather. Camping equipment is available for rent with registration. Aspire will provide group shelter, heaters, a charging station, hot shower, and lively camp amenities.
Aspire Adventure Running
Aspire courses are non-competitive runs that embrace the challenge and adventure of traveling in wild and scenic terrain. This event operates in accordance with wilderness land use designations and a commercial use permit with the North Cascades National Park. Course fees include: shuttle transportation from I-5, all meals, and the support and safety net of experienced trail guides.
Aspire Adventure Running holds a commercial use authorization with Mt. Rainier National Park, the North Cascades National Park, and the Mt. Baker National Forest. Contact us to design and support a custom run for you and your running group in some of the best terrain Cascadia has to offer.
Local time: 6:30 PM