Route: Tour de Volcanoes (Cascades / CA, OR, WA)

California, US
Oregon, US
Washington, US

Richard Kresser proposed this bike & hike challenge:

Mount Lassen to Mount Baker in the Cascade Range

I will be attempting to climb all the active volcanoes in the Cascade Range, from south to north.  To travel between mountains, I will be biking and carrying all my equipment, solo and self supported.  To make the entire voyage human powered, I will be biking from my home in Tacoma down to the southern end, Mount Lassen in northern California, and back to my home from the last mountain, Mount Baker.  To my knowledge, no one has attempted to climb all the active volcanoes in one season before, much less by human power.  The closest was in 2012, Chris Davenport and Jess McMillan skied 15 of the volcanoes in two weeks, traveling by RV in between.  As this will be a combination of bicycling touring and climbing, I'm calling it the Tour de Volcanoes!

The bike ride down to Lassen will be a leisurely warm up along Highway 101.  Once I begin climbing from the Mount Lassen trailhead, the "clock" starts, and stops when I have made it back down to the Mount Baker trailhead after successfully summitting all 16 of the peaks.  My goal is to complete the climbing portion of the tour in 30 days.  While this is a very ambitious timeline, I believe it is possible by combining a lot of climbing days with biking.  From what I've timed out, I hypothesize the fastest possible time to do this would be 24 days without any weather delays, rest days, or bike issues.

A few more specifics on the geology:  I chose the 16 mountains on the list based on which mountains were active volcanoes.  From the south, they are Lassen, Shasta, Medicine Lake (Mount Hoffman), McCloughlin, Mount Mazama/Crater Lake (Hillman Peak), Newberry Volcano (Paulina Peak), South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Jefferson, Hood, Adams, Helens, Rainier, Glacier, Baker.  Two of the volcanoes, Medicine Lake and Newberry, aren't the typical stratovolcanoes that explode dramatically like Rainier or Mount Saint Helens.  Instead these are shield volcanoes that erupt gently and have low viscosity, forming a wide low "shield" shape.  Medicine Lake is the largest volcano in terms of volume, and Newberry is the largest in terms of surface area coverage!  Mount Mazama is actually a stratovolcano.  It formerly stood much higher, but about 8,000 years ago it erupted and collapsed in on itself, forming Crater Lake.  While these three aren't typical "climbing objectives, they are very much active and therefore I've added their subsequent high points to the list of volcanoes to climb.

I've chosen NOT to include some typical climbing objectives such as Bachelor, Thielsen, or Washington (Oregon volcanoes), as these are extinct volcanoes.  Also, one could argue the Cascade Range continues into Canada and should include Mount Garibaldi or Mount Silverthrone.  However, it seems most geologists consider the Cascade Range to end at the Fraser River north of Baker, and the Pacific Ranges pick up from there.

A few notes on the self supported objective.  While unsupported and supported have very clear definitive boundaries, self supported does not.  Taken from the Fastest Known Time website, "Self-supported means that you don't carry everything you need from the start, but you don't have dedicated, pre-arranged people helping you."  Specifically, I will resupply with food and water along the route from grocery stores, gas stations, roadside cafes, or anywhere I can get some food.  While mailing boxes to myself is allowed, I do not believe this is in the spirit of the challenge and will not be doing it myself.  For example, I don't need any of my climbing gear for the 800 miles of biking down to Lassen.  Nor do I need my technical gear (rope, harness, pickets) for many of the mountains.  I could potentially mail these unneeded items forward to particular spots, but I feel better about starting and ending the tour with all my gear, and only resupplying with food and water.  I potentially will have gear shipped to me or bought in a store if gear breaks or I lose it.  Also, I plan to meet up with my girlfriend at some point on the tour, but no assistance from her will be provided.

I will have a SPOT Tracker on me and tracking anytime I will be moving, whether it be biking or climbing. I foresee the only time I will shut it off will be while at camp for the night or to change batteries. I also will do my best to verify every mile of biking and climbing via GPS watch/Strava, but I foresee issues with keeping rechargeable items charged at certain points on the trip. I also am taking a gopro to capture footage of all the adventure.

I've invested countless hours of planning and scouting for this trip, and most of it is compiled in this Google Spreadsheet.  Feel free to read more into the specifics of biking routes, climbing routes, the mileage/elevation gain, planned schedule, etc.

48.7766868, -121.8144143