Route: North Cascades Traverse (WA)

Washington, US

Jessica Kelley posted the route:

Early tomorrow morning [7/11/2015] I'll begin a traverse of North Cascades National Park, crossing the north unit from Ross Dam to the Hannegan Pass trailhead, covering approx 50 miles and 12,000 feet of elev gain. The park service describes the area as "mostly a vast unbroken wilderness surrounding the remote Picket Range. This route crosses three mountain passes (Hannegan Pass, Whatcom Pass, and Beaver Pass), follows several wild, free-flowing creeks and rivers, and winds through the largest stand of massive old-growth western red cedars in the park."
This route is also described in the guide book Hiking the North Cascades by Eric Molvar. He dubs it the "Whatcom Pass Expedition" and estimates it should take backpackers 6-9 days to complete the journey. 

This route has been on my mind for a few months... Ever since I got back from doing the Zion Traverse (in nowhere close to record time), I've wanted to do a similar North Cascades traverse. I love the idea of crossing one of my favorite national parks on foot! The route also excites me because as far as I know, I'll be the first woman to do it in one push.
To the best of my knowledge, Luke Distelhorst is the only other person to have done this traverse in one day. He completed it in just over 16 hours in Aug 2014, including ~10 bonus miles on Copper Ridge. He blogged about it in his usual understated fashion, and definitely didn't bother to make any fancy announcements. :)

[Note this is in the northern North Cascades, vs. the Rainy Pass - Cascade Pass route which is in the southern North Cascades!]

48.8837373, -121.5334712



I just gave this route a shot on Saturday 9/29. Just looking to have a nice long run, no hopes of a FKT. Completed in just over 12 hrs. It's a terrific route, I was blown away by the trail quality. It really lends itself to a fast push. The fall colors were great and it's the best long run I have done so far. Thanks for the inspiration!