Skiing the Cascade Crest
Cascade panorama by Heinrich Berann. Click to enlarge.
North Cascades panorama by Heinrich Berann, 1987. (Click image to enlarge. Click here for route overview.)
Skiing 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:

Sam Avaiusini
Gary Brill
Joe Catellani
Sean Courage
Paul Ekman
Garth Ferber
Matt Firth
Bruce Goodson
Jason Hummel
Josh Hummel
Mark Hutson
Tom Janisch
Jens Kieler
John Mauro
David Nicholson
Dan Nordstrom
Kerry Ritland
Paul Russell
Andreas Schmidt
Sky Sjue
Carl Skoog
Brian Sullivan
Overview - Mount Baker to Mount Rainier on Skis

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