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Need a good 50+ mile route

Nate Boone

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I have a group of around 10 16-18 yr old Venture Scouts who want an adventure in the North Cascades. I don't know the North Cascades very well but can't wait to get out there. I have some requirements but I was hoping to use some of the CC expertise to help me find a suitable route for my boys. I just need some ideas that I can research. If you know of good resources to look at, please share that as well.


1. At least 50 miles

2. A lake/s to fish at

3. A peak/s to climb

4. A route that has at least one portion requiring some technical skill (a lead climb or a rappel)

5. Would like it to be remote (prob goes without saying)

The boys:

Our crew climbed Mt. Rainier last year, so they are pretty tough boys. One or two of the boys will slow us down. There's a possibility they may need to find a way around requirement #4 but hopefully not.

Thanks in advance for any input here.

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Roads, access, trails and bridges have certainly changed since I was in Boy Scouts and 50-milers were de rigueur. We used the Glacier Peak Wilderness for this purpose, but the destruction of the Chiwawa River bridge at the Little Giant TH, the discontinuation of high country shepherding, as well as destruction of portions of the Suiattle and White Chuck River roads adds complications.


From the SW (Sloan) gain White Pass and climb the south side of Glacier. Return to high camp and travel east, either on the snows of the Ten Peak massif ( which will involve some trickery to gain High Pass) or down the White to connect over Boulder Pass to the Napeequa. Over Little Giant and the questionable ford at Little Giant TH, or connect to High Pass. Either way, go to Buck Creek Pass.


From there, east to Massy Lake and a connection which Tabor and Crowder speak of to Spider Meadow. One could then travel over Spider Col then to Image Lake and the Bath Lakes High Route (optional) and out. Or out via Lucerne.


The Massey Lake portion could be omitted, and one could reach the same alternatives by going directly from Buck Pass to the Suiattle Mines area.


I live in Maltby, and could make you copies of the pertinent pages of Crowder's and Tabor's book "Routes and Rocks". It has been out of print many years, and is valuable, and its information for this area is invaluable

Edited by MarkMcJizzy
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Another one would be from Sahale pass to Boston Basin, thence to Eldo. North to Ross Lake. Much less than 50 miles, but many challenges in other ways. One could burn up a lot of days there.


One problem could be NPS permits, but that becomes less problematical out of Boston Basin.


I know that the Olympics have good traverses also, Rob did a good one a couple of years ago.


A group of 12 may overload the Ptarmigan Traverse

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my vote is for Hannegan Pass to Ross Lake/HWY 20, going over Whatcom Pass and through the Little and Big Beaver Valleys. Probably 55-ish miles all said and done. The trail is solid, the campsites nice, and the route accesses some of the deepest territory in the North Cascades. As far as climbable peaks go, Ruth and Challenger are good options. did this traverse a couple years ago, took five days and really enjoyed it! highlights included tons and tons of berries, the view of Mt. Challenger from Whatcom Pass, and walking through ancient cedar groves in the Big Beaver Valley.

Edited by kinnikinnick
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Given the mixed nature of your group, its inexperience, and your not knowing the Cascades that well, I'd take such a group into the Pasayten or Sawtooth Wilderness areas rather than through the heart of the North Cascades, with its crevasse and steep neve/ice hazards and poorer fishing opportunities. It would suck to get stuck, say, on the middle of the Ptarmigan Traverse because of your weaker party members.


Dropping an inexperienced kid in a crevasse on Rainier is one thing: the mountain is crowded and MRNP has full SAR apparatus on hand. Do the same on Mt. Challenger and the situation is a very different one.


Other suggestions:


A trip through the Pasayten's Shellrock Peaks (Lake, Carru, Osceola, Lost) and up past Ptarmigan peak, then back via Hart's Pass will give them all the remoteness, peak bagging, and scenery they need without having to worry about pulling a kid out of a crevasse. You can pull out your rope and play around a bit on a any number of those peaks if you wish...at your discretion.


Alternatively, the Oval/Star/Reynolds area, which has more lakes than the trip above (with GREAT fishing) would provide the same, again, without the crevasse hazard.

Edited by tvashtarkatena
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yep Pasayten/Shellrock etc a stellar idea, fine trip for anyone, scout or not. I've passed a group of scouts on the trail inbound from Slate Pass. Several years ago John Roper laid out a 50 mile rt in the Oval/Star/Reynolds area for the scouts he was working with (including his son). not sure if they ever did it, might have ended up somewhere else. But he has done several of those 50 milers with the scouts. pm me if you feel like it, I could put you in touch with him.

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These are fantastic ideas, I really appreciate the time and thought put into them. I'm researching several of these ideas and may pm several of you for contacts and additional info. Thanks again. Any additional thoughts or ideas are still welcome.

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A common one is the PTC from Stevens Pass to Snoqualime Pass. Pretty sure it's 50 miles or there abouts it was a popular one when I was in scouts but that was over 10 years ago so my memory on it's a little foggy. HAHA Hi Nate! I just realized it was you. It's Zach Sheldon used to live in Duvall and then Index. Try calling my dad and asking him he's a wealth of info 788-6557.

Edited by ZachoftheShack
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