I hope you enjoy site dedicated to my personal pursuit of alpinism in the Pacific Northwest. The Cascades are easily my favorite range that I’ve climbed in and I’m sure it will hold that distinction for all time. It was in the Cascades that I learned technical climbing and where I completed climbs that I never would have thought I would have been able to do. Since moving abroad in late 2007, I haven’t had much opportunity to climb in the Cascades, but whenever I’ve been in town in the summer (I don’t do winter anymore), I’ve tried to get in a climb or two. However, during the summer of 2008, I visited Europe instead of the Cascades. Though visiting the Alps was fantastic, I found myself really missing the Cascades. It’s a special place: the luscious greens of the forest, the deep blue of the sky, the black and grey rock, and the stark white glaciers give it a one-of-a-kind look and the challenge of the climbs guarantee that success will come only with an unforgetable struggle.
I was pretty ignorant about the Cascades when I first moved to the Seattle area to work for Microsoft in late 2001. I left Colorado thinking, “Well, there’s only one fourteener in Washington; I guess I’ll just have to accept it.” Sometime around the first week of moving to Seattle, I was in a Borders Books when I picked up a copy of Jim Nelson’s Classic Climbs of the Cascades volume 2 and opened it to page 183 (I think) where I saw a stunning shot of Triumph’s northeast ridge in winter. I was blown away; floored!
A couple of weekends later, in early November, I took a solo drive up to Diablo Lake just to take a look at the mountains. I had no idea what to speak, and for many miles I was disappointed. The valleys are so deep that you can’t really see any rugged alpine terrain for a long time. However, when I finally arrived at Diablo Lake, I pulled into the parking lot, turned my head and saw Colonial Peak, Snowfield, and “Paul Bunyun’s Stump”. The mountains had just been dusted with a fall snow which gave it a Himalayan chiseled look to my gentle Colorado Rockies eyes. Again, I was floored and I could not wait until the next season to start enjoying the mountains.
Whereas the Rockies virtually never demanded a rope, there were only a handful of trips that I took into the Cascades that didn’t require a rope. And there was never a time during the year, even in late summer, when I didn’t take an ice axe into the range. I’m thankful for all the great times that I’ve had in the range and my good climbing friends who were super companions and great teachers.