The Dakobed Infinity Loop*, or Glacier Peak Infinity Loop, is an extension of Chad Kellogg's Infinity Loop concept to Glacier Peak, a stratovolcano deep in the heart of the North Cascades. It offers a magnificent challenge and an epic tour of one of the Cascade’s finest peaks. This is not a casual trail run. It involves non-trivial crevassed glacier travel, steep snow, rock, and ice, and some very brushy, unmaintained trails. The Infinity Loop is an unusual challenge dreamed up by iconic Washington climber Chad Kellogg, for Mt. Rainier, but which he was never able to complete due to his untimely passing. The essence of Chad and the Infinity Loop is captured beautifully in "To Infinity" by Dirtbag Diaries - a podcast responsible for spreading inspiring the for whole infinity loop phenomena - it should perhaps be considered essential listening for imparting on this FKT or challenge.
Infinity Loops are a fairly simple concept, the basics are as follows:
- Ascend a route to the summit then descend a route on approximately the opposite side
- Run a half-circumnavigation back to where you started your climb
- Climb over the mountain again
- Complete the other half-circumnavigation and get back out to your car
Efforts on this route should include a full circumnavigation of the peak, as well as two complete traverses of the peak that leave and rejoin the circumnavigation route at the same points each time, see other infinity loops below for clarification if this route style is new to you.
On his effort, Nathan ascended Frostbite Ridge, a moderately technical route involving some AI2 climbing, and descended the standard South Route (Gerdine Ridge/Cool Glacier). Other variations are possible, but would likely be more hazardous or less aesthetic. Even these routes are non-trivial and should be researched and properly prepared for before an attempt like this is ever considered. However, within the niche that is chasing infinity loops on volcanoes, this is a grand endeavor on a great PNW peak.
The circumnavigation included a section of the PCT, as well as portions of the White River Trail, Boulder Creek Trail, Napeequa River Trail, Liberty Cap Trail, Buck Creek Pass Trail, and Indian Creek Trail. Please consider donating to the Washington Trails Association to maintain these trails, we don’t pay entry fees for FKTs so let's support our trail infrastructure.
You can see a Caltopo Map of the route that starts and finishes at the White River TH of Nathan's "first known time" of this route.
The Glacier Peak Infinity Loop Challenge:
Aside from FKT chasing, the first Infinity Loop on Rainier was originally done with each of the 4 parts taking roughly a day, this timeline itself is a respectable challenge for partners set out to complete to participate in this community, without chasing sleepless pushing through the wee hours. This sub-4 day - sub-96 hour - timeline feels like a meaningful challenge as a way to plan, execute, and experience this incredible mountain, allowing each part to be completed in daylight hours. A more audacious timeline would be to complete the challenge sub-48 hours, fitting the outing into a standard weekend. Infinity Loops and big volcanoes are aesthetically meant for one another, give it a try!
so, Who's Next?
Other established Infinity Loops:
Podcasts and articles on the Infinity Loop Experience:
"Bringing a Vision to Life" by The Mountaineers on Gavin Woody and Ras Vaughan's establishment of the Rainier Infinity Loop
"To Infinity" by Dirtbag Diaries
First All Women's Team to complete Rainier Infinity Loop - Kaytlyn Gerbin, Alex Borsuk - interview on Ginger Runner
"Suffering and Serenity on the Rainier Infinity Loop" on Essential Strength Podcast
* Dakobed is the indigenous name of Glacier Peak, known in the Sauk-Suiattle dialect of the Lushootseed language as "Tda-ko-buh-ba" or "Takobia"