|North Cascades panorama by Heinrich Berann, 1987. (Click image to enlarge. Click here for route overview.)|
the Cascade Crest has been a twenty-five year project for me.
Had I known at the beginning what my goal would be at the end, I
suppose I could have finished it sooner. In 1982, I skied my
first Cascade high route with three friends. I enjoyed it so
much that in the following years, with
my brother Carl
especially, I skied more of them. The routes Carl and I skied
were mostly in the North Cascades and around Mount Rainier. In
2000, I embarked upon a project to uncover the
history of backcountry skiing in Washington.
I did extensive library research and conducted interviews with
old-timers, and I also ventured into the mountains to retrace
some of the routes of the pioneers. The historical routes I
investigated were mostly in the central Cascades.
In October 2005, my brother Carl died in a ski mountaineering accident in Argentina. The following spring, I scattered some of Carl's ashes on a favorite Cascade peak. As I drove home to Seattle, I mused about our trips together and my subsequent historical efforts. An idea came to me, a dream that would integrate my experiences with Carl and my historical journey. I imagined completing a continuous ski route from the summit of Mount Baker to the summit of Mount Rainier. I realized that such a route would link my trips with Carl, my historical travels, and sections of the Cascades I had never seen. On a clear day in Seattle, the two end points of this route beckon like white sentinels.
During the winter and spring of 2007, I managed to ski the remaining segments of this route. Along the way, I gained a deeper appreciation of the Cascades, the skiers who have explored them for a hundred years, and my own experiences in these wonderful mountains. (For some retrospective thoughts, click here.) The stories collected here describe this twenty-five year odyssey. I dedicate these stories to the friends who have shared the journey with me:
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