From lush prehistoric forests with trees the size of skyscrapers, to snow blanketed volcanoes towering high over the rest of its prospect, the Pacific Northwest is a daunting landscape of immensity. Over the last month I was fortunate enough to spend several weeks wandering the high cascades and the steamy forests of coastal Washington.
First, a week of exploring in the forests outside of Bellingham with the boys of Sweet Grass Productions, and my dearest friend Eliel Hindert. Our forays into the sponge of life that are the rainforests skirting the base of Mt. Baker were for a test of skiing ingenuity. Eliel and several other Surface friends went off piste and shredded some dense jungle foliage for the cameras of Sweet Grass. Only time will tell, but from behind the camera next years film might just awe a few folks, says this observer.
Back to Montana for a few days of R&R and work catch-up. Then back across the expanses of Eastern Washington, but this time down to Mt Rainier National Forest with my father Conrad Anker, my brother Sam and his friend Kevin. After meeting up friends Kalen of Voke Tab and Brandon Watts of Freehub Magazine, we all donned heavy packs and headed for higher ground.
I have done a fair amount of alpine adventuring, but our hike up to Camp Muir, the high camp of Rainier, with heavy laden packs in the mid day sun, was a push. After a hot alpine dinner of ramen noodles and Salami, we retired for our much-needed 3 hours of sleep before our summit bid at 1 AM. The expanse of black heavens above us held a million flickering stars as we trekked slowly, step by step up the face of the age old volcano.
Few things can top the beauty of a sunrise from 14,000 feet. As the sun crept over the horizon, an alien landscape of titanic expanse revealed itself. This was a place not meant for man; yet here we stood. At the summit, we rested and reflected on our ascent and on the decent yet to come.
After a grueling slushy trudge down to Camp Muir, thankfully we were able to don our skis and fly down the extensive slopes that took us so many painful hours to hike up. Back at Paradise, after a mere 48 hours, we cracked some chilled Rainier Beers, and toasted to a climb well done.