10000 ft North Cascade Weekend Part II - Highway Cycling

This year, SR 20 the North Cascades Highway opened unusually early due to the increasingly warm weather. I had been planning this scenic cycling trip for years but was concerned about the road conditions and whether they would be suitable for my road bike. This time, I borrowed a gravel bike from a friend and finally made the trip!

The trailhead felt like a party. The parking lot was packed, and the highway shoulder was lined with vehicles. The entire trip route from Ross Dam Trailhead to the Washington Pass sign spanned roughly 60 miles with an elevation gain of 5,000 feet. We maintained a relaxed pace and finished just before a beautiful sunset.

The entire route was easier than I had anticipated. Although there were multiple passes to cross, the inclines were manageable. When riding back, you can imagine how it felt to descend 4,000 feet.

Riding in the center of the highway, enjoying the full width of the road, was a unique experience. The views were just gorgeous. And it turned out there were not as many tiny rocks or dirt patches as expected, so a road bike could have easily handled it.

Our final stop was just past Early Winter Spires at the roadside view of Washington Pass. I’m grateful for all the hard work done to clear the route, providing us cyclists with this once-a-year opportunity.

10000 ft North Cascade Weekend Part I - Hidden Lake Touring

This year’s severe snow conditions have closed off many backcountry destinations. Meanwhile, Highway SR 20 opened on one of its historically earliest dates. After a much shorter resort season, I enjoyed a very busy weekend. According to my Google Maps notes, it seems that I had been to Hidden Lake Peak and the lookout a long time ago, but I can’t remember any details.

The length and elevation gain of the Hidden Lake Peak route were relatively moderate—roughly 7 miles and 4,000 feet, so fortunately, no alpine start was needed for a one-day trip from Seattle.

Driving north, the view to the right featured the morning mist accumulating in the Snohomish Valley. Far in the distance, Mount Pilchuck was prominent to the east. After turning right towards Darrington, Whitehorse Mountain loomed next to the town.

After crossing the Marblemount Bridge, we headed towards the center of the North Cascades. The last time I was here was probably during an attempt to climb Eldorado Peak. My list of destinations definitely grows much faster than my ability to check them off.

It was mid-April, and the unpaved road was snow-free almost up to the Hidden Lake trailhead. In a day or two, the trailhead would be completely free of snow. Naturally, the approach took about an hour before we began to skin up.”

After another hour or two, we arrived at the ridge of Hidden Lake Peak, approximately 6,200 feet in elevation. Before heading up to the summit, there was a bit of drama when a friend accidentally dropped one of his skis. The ski brake wasn’t released or leashed, and it shot down into the gully, disappearing from sight. Just when we thought we might have to end our day early, someone surprisingly found it and carried it back up! We were incredibly lucky to have someone find and return the ski.

Having retrieved the ski, we didn’t need to give up our summit plans and continued to hike up. The next 1,000 feet of elevation gain was much more straightforward. Eventually, we summited Hidden Lake Peak. The view was gorgeous, and the hidden lake, now fully unveiled before us, was frozen.

The ride down mostly followed our ascent route, although we enjoyed some better turns on the upper part of the mountain. Due to the extreme heat, the snow became extremely dense after dropping below 6,000 feet. When we got back to the car, the snowpack had significantly retreated from our morning footprint.

This time, we did not visit the lookout. The route to the lookout was a bit further from the summit route. We saw a group planning to stay there, which might be my next plan. The alpine glow and the cozy hut are definitely worth a trip!

CMH - Five-Day Trip Revelstoke Heli Snowboarding

Booking a snow trip in advance is a gamble. You take a chance on the weather, hoping for the perfect conditions.


In late March, during my trip from the 20th to 24th, a heatwave brought several days of summer weather to the entire Pacific Northwest. Snow level rose drastically. Revelstoke, a small town, basked in warm sunshine. Only dusty patches of snow remained in the corners of parking lots.

三月中的一波热浪几乎席卷整个北美西北,几乎一个周末的时间,气温从冬天转为夏天。周末提前登滑去了Mount Rainier的Camp Muir,感受到了“直把三月作五月”的体验。又将手机里各种气象预报软件反复打开,最终得以放下执念,决意享受度假时光。

Conditions were completely different on my previous trip to Revelstoke in Christmas 2021. Despite a thin early-season snow base, a winter storm brought frigid temperatures - thermometer dipping down to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This time, however, everything had transformed. The lake was thawed, and new growth sprouted on the branches.

Over the five days, we hoped for some nighttime snowfall, but only a few centimeters accumulated. Landing on the ridges in the helicopter, I encountered a thick layer of ice encasing the powder snow from early March. In some areas, this firm layer was so thick that my boots and board could barely break through it.

Despite the lack of ideal snow conditions, the views were breathtaking, and the guides did find pockets of terrain with softer snow. While experiencing true powder days remained elusive across North America, both in resorts and the backcountry, I found myself surprisingly content - at in-bounds resorts in Salt Lake City or Colorado, fresh snow would disappear immediately after just a run or two; in the backcountry, the single ideal window for harvesting spring corn snow was really narrow, offering just several perfect turns for the entire day’s effort.

Over four days, we explored four distinct areas around Revelstoke, each with unique features. Two days were spent shredding the glaciers, while the remaining two for tree runs and lower-elevation terrains. Checking the terrain map and soaking in the surrounding views, I couldn’t help but imagine the thrills these runs would offer only if snow conditions were ideal.

I also noted down some touring-accessible destinations. Mount Begbie‘s twin peaks stood out, with a seemingly inviting chute facing Revelstoke and the Columbia River. The descent must offer an incredible view.

Despite the lack of ideal snow, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, perhaps due to my lowered expectations. The warm weather allowed me to explore the town beyond the slopes. I enjoyed afternoons visiting museums, restaurants, and bars before dinner.

The town has a railway crossing and a nearby railway museum. Displayed were historic locomotives and carts, along with photographs chronicling the construction of the railway from the mountains to the coast. The exhibits highlighted the ‘collaborative efforts’ of various communities.

A charming cafe called “La Baguette“ is worth a visit. Local musicians provided a casual atmosphere in the evenings. I tried the “Frangelica Latte”, which was surprisingly delicious, especially during the winter. With my new luxury coffee machine at home, I might even attempt to recreate it.