24 Hours in the North Cascades

We had the idea. We didn’t know where we were going to go or what we were going to do exactly, but after driving around aimlessly and poring over guidebooks, we found our objective. My friend, George, and I set our sights on South Early Winter Spire in the insanely beautiful North Cascades of Washington state. We headed East.

 

Hiking in North Cascades Mountain-Foundation Fitness

 

Winters in Washington can be rough. This winter, in particular, was one of the grayest and wettest winters in something like 20 years. And also my first winter here, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was a definite change from the arid winters of the high plains of Wyoming, where I spent the last winter. I didn’t mind it too much because the snow was usually great for skiing and you don’t feel too bad about cuddling up and watching a movie (or two) when the sun sets at 4:30pm. But this weekend was a different story, the weather was absolutely perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, no wind, the temperature was just right, and the sun didn’t dip below the horizon until nearly 9pm.

 

Hiking in North Cascades Mountains-Foundation Fitness

 

We set out from our car, quickly ascended the steep couloir, crossed the ridge, and arrived at the base of the climb. From the get-go, we decided we were going to sleep at or near the top of the climb, depending on the availability of bivy spots. So we had our bags packed with the lightest overnight gear we needed and began to climb. The climbing was very moderate and just a whole lot of fun. Type-one fun; the good kind.

 

Man hiking in North Cascades Mountain-Foundation Fitness

 

We arrived at the summit just a little bit before sunset, after scouting out our bivy spot for the night, a (not-so) flat ledge just below the summit with just enough room for two people to lay down comfortably. We ate some snacks, played around on the summit and just took in the beauty surrounding us. This was my first climb in the Cascades and it could not have been on a better day. We could see a seemingly endless amount of peaks surrounding us in all directions. I was in love. In love with this state that I now call home. We went to bed shortly after stuffing curry couscous, veggies, and sausages into our bellies and quickly fell asleep (kinda) to shooting stars overhead and the sound of distant cornices breaking off and crashing down. Not. Bad.

 

Man in sleeping bag in North Cascade-Foundation Fitness

 

We woke with the sun the next morning, made our coffee, ate some bacon (yes, bacon), and prepped for the quick rappel and glissade to get down to the car. We went home tired, yet full of life.