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 it’s 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 the expereince of this dynamic lanscape.
Wednesday, Day 1: Meet in Burlington WA
We meet runners at 4pm at Bob’s Burgers and Brews in Burlington WA. We shuttle runners to Colonial Creek Campground inside the North Cascades National Park. That evening Aspire serves an evening meal after which we go over the route, risk management, and gear in preparation for the run.
Thursday, Day 2: Run over Easy Pass: 22 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +4,000/-6,000
After a hot breakfast it’s a short shuttle to the trailhead. 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 a network of 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 runners personal gear and plenty of hot food, showers, and drinks.
Friday, Day 3: Run over Whatcom Pass, 33 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +6,600’ / -6,000
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 leading to Beaver Pass. Pause to enjoy the view before descending to Little Beaver Creek and then climbing again to the course high point at Whatcom Pass. This place is more than beautiful. Here the trail follows Brush Creek to its confluence with the Chilliwack River. At these intersecting rivers runners will meet our “horse crew” who have packed in a specific set of tents, gear, and personal bag for a remote backcountry camp.
Saturday, Day 4: Run Copper Ridge, 33 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +6,600 / -6,210’
Waking up in the backcountry an absolutely spectacular day of running awaits. A few miles of soft trail brings runners to the junction with the Copper Ridge trail. Here a mandatory river crossing is followed by 3,500' of climbing in side of 4 miles of switchbacks. Atop the climb are some of the biggest and inspiring ridge-line views in the North Cascades. The day finishes crossing over Hannegan Pass and running out the Ruth Creek drainage. At trails end a final basecamp of food, drinks, and celebration awaits.
Sunday, Day 5: Shuttle Runners back to Burlington WA
Given the many variables that play into how long runners will take on the final day of running we plan for a Saturday night camp and Sunday morning shuttle back to Burlington. There is a possibility, if requested, for a Saturday night shuttle as well. Runners can plan to be back to their cars by noon on Sunday.
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 on 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
Local time: 11:31 AM