The concept of 4 Peaks in 4 Weeks originated on a cold, winter night in 2005. We had been planning multiple trips, trying to figure out exactly what would work with our schedules and fit in Mike's summer vacation from UMT. The conversation began with a few smaller alpine ascents in the Northern Cascades and ended up being an epic journey from the Canadian Border to Oregon. We were planning to take longer than one month, but 4 Peaks in 4 Weeks sounded so good that we had to go with it. And really, that's what makes the trip so cool--suffering is really the tell-tale sign of coolness.
Realistically, we understand it might not be possible to finish the trip in 4 weeks. If it takes a little longer, life goes on.
When we return, we'll be giving talks on climbing in the Cascades, visiting classrooms and encouraging kids to explore and be active, and promoting a healthier way of life through promoting our story in the media and by word of mouth.
If you're interested in the details of the trip, read on:
Beginning on July 6th, We'll be taking off early in the morning from Tacoma for a brisk 2-day ride to 10,778-foot Mt. Baker.
If all goes well, we'll summit the next day and on the following day we'll start the ride to Glacier Peak.
Glacier Peak will probably be our most difficult mountain. With nearly a 20-mile approach hike, it is Washington's most remote glaciated peak. Below is a photo of the 10,541-foot peak.
Chances are good that this peak will take almost a full week just to climb, taking away precious time to climb the two remaining mountains.
After Glacier, we have to make our way back out to the I-5 corridor to continue riding south. Once back in the valley, we should make good time to Mt. Rainier. We'll come in via Hwy 12 and climb up the south side, starting at Paradise.
Once at Paradise, we'll probably camp out and hike out early the next day. If we're feeling good, we might push for a one-day ascent but more than likely we will be camping out at Muir for the evening.
In the early morning, we'll leave for the 14,410-foot summit and hopefully be back down to the bikes by the evening. We'll probably have to camp in the Paradise parking lot again, eating hamburgers and hanging out with friends who'll meet us at the bottom.
The next morning we'll scream down from Paradise and make the ride directly through the Cascades using various forest roads that will connect us to Trout Lake, directly south of Mt. Adams.
As soon as we arrive in Trout Lake, we'll head up the road to Cold Creek Campground to begin our ascent to 12,276 feet.
The next day we'll wake to an alpine start and climb the mountain in one day, returning to the camp by mid-afternoon and riding down to town for a break.
The 2 or 3-day ride home will be following more forest roads and highways.
Of course, none of this mentions anything about weather, injury, or other various problems that we might encounter. In order to accomplish this trip in 4 weeks, we'll need amazing weather, great physical and mental conditioning, and some good luck.
Here's a map of the route we'll probably be taking:
In all, the trip is approximately 800 miles and includes over 48,005 feet in pure mountain. The total trip elevation gain will likely be much higher than that due to our riding through the foothills of the cascades.
Stay tuned for information on what we're bringing for gear and how we plan to eat, sleep, and survive the day-in and day-out 110% sustained effort.
Also, I wanted to say thanks to USGS for letting me use their images!