The Desolation Duo offers two spectacular courses in the heart of the North Cascades National Park. After a boat taxi-to-trailhead start most of the miles of these runs are scenic moderate lakeside affairs, except for the 4,500’ climb up Desolation Peak. From this iconic lookout runners are rewarded with expansive views of craggy peaks, snowy glaciers, and the whole of Ross Lake. From the summit it’s all down hill and rolling trail to an epic post run feast.
Friday, Day 1: Meet at Colonial Creek Campground
Runners are welcome to arrive at Colonial Creek anytime after 4pm. Aspire will host an evening meal and review the route, logistics, and gear choices as runners make final preparations for the run.
Saturday, Day 2: Marathon, 9,500′ of Elevation Gain. 40 Miler, 9,500′ of Elevation Gain
Both the Marathon and 40 Miler routes begin with a shuttle from Colonial Creek campground to the Happy Panther trailhead. Within a mile the trail descends to the shores of Ross Lake where a boat taxi shuttles runners to the Base of Desolation Peak. Both routes climb and descend Desolation Peak and follow the East Bank Trail to Highway 20. This is the finish for the Marathon and an Aid station for the 40 Miler. Marathoners are shuttled back to basecamp while the 40 Milers continue up the Panther Creek Trail, over 4th of July Pass, descend into the Thunder Creek drainiage, and run along the shores of Diablo Lake directly into camp. Here Aspire will serve up appetizers, drinks, and a delicious evening meal.
Sunday, Day 3: Breakfast and Depart
Given the variation and variables in how long it takes folks to finish a 40 mile mountain run we plan to spend Saturday night at basecamp. All runners are welcome to leave or stay and celebrate. We will break camp and depart for home Sunday mid-morning.
Running Gear: 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 layering system that includes a wind/waterproof jacket and an insulative layer. Each runner is required to carry a headlamp and emergency blanket. All runners are encouraged carry a water filtration system and a personal first aid kit to respond to blisters, chafing, and minor ailments.
Drop Bag: 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.
Camping Gear: This course includes camping. Required equipment includes: a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and camp clothing suitable for a seasonally appropriate mountain weather. Personal camping equipment is available for rent with registration. Aspire will provide a group shelter, heaters, a phone/watch/camera charging station, hot showers, and lively camp amenities.
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
Local time: 1:18 PM