Saturday, July 30, 2016

Rainier Infinity Loop Completed

Mount Rainier Infinity Loop Completed
Only Known Time of 99 hours 7 minutes

Our Parks/Your Adventure Fundraiser for The Mountaineers Youth Programs - Ras Vaughan and Gavin Woody

by Ras Vaughan

THE MOUNT RAINIER INFINITY LOOP IS IN THE BOOKS, and it is an amazing honor to be a part if it. Gavin Woody and I put up an official time of 99 hours and 7 minutes, sneaking it in under the three digit mark by less than an hour. We ran two unsupported loops traversing the summit of Mount Rainier twice, one clockwise and one counterclockwise, resupplying at our cars at the midway point in Paradise. We got all of our water, other that what we took from our cars at the beginning and middle, from natural sources and did not drop off any of our gear or garbage except at our cars. So, for all my beloved Adventure Dorks out there, technically it was a self-supported project comprised of two unsupported loops. And for the record, I did forage some berries along the route.

An Armchair Alpinist long before I ever touched an ice axe, I've been strongly influenced in my approach to adventure by the values of climbers such as Chad Kellogg (who designed the Rainier Infinity Loop). "Fast and Light", "sustainable pace", "fair means", and "good style" are all precepts I hold dear, and they are all paradigms I have applied to fastpacking, thru-hiking and adventure running, but that had their origins in Alpinism. I was especially Blessed over the last four days to do my best to apply these values to a dream route of Chad's that he was never able to attempt. I'm certain it would have looked a bit different done by him. There were a few specifics that I didn't know about his vision of the Infinity Loop and Gavin and I made a couple small choices that are ours alone. But our goal was to complete it in a fashion that would honor and propagate the inspiration we took from Chad's life and adventures, and I feel we did that to the best of our abilities. May the circle of inspiration spiral ever onward into the endlessly amazing possibilities of future generations of adventurers.

I was also quite blessed to have the opportunity to do this project with Gavin. There are not as many people as you might think who really understand the beauty and the simple purity of carrying an ice axe, crampons, harness and other assorted climbing kit esoterica for 93+ miles simply in order to have them when you need them for twenty-ish miles of actual mountaineering. But Gavin not only understands it, he feels it, it resonates for him. This project would not have been possible without him, and it was a blessing getting to stumble around Rainier with him punch-drunk with adrenaline and sleep deprivation. Hopefully we'll come up with something else crazy and beautiful to attempt together in the future.

I'll post more details and a trip report over the coming days.
We hope to use this project to inspire future generations of climbers, runners, thru-hikers, fastpackers, backpackers, and adventurers of all stripes by helping raise money for The Mountaineers Youth Programs by means of the Our Parks / Your Adventure initiative. Please click here to learn more about the program and to donate. Whether you give $10 or $5,000 your donation will help introduce deserving young people to the fulfillment and enrichment of outdoor adventure, essentially helping to reintroduce them to their natural habitat.

What a Blessing to be a Hominid! Give Thanks for Life!

photo by Ras /

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