Kyle Miller First Ever to Shred Washingtons Non-Volcanic Nines

Published on Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:54 , Category: Articles Written by Chris Gallardo

Our friends at First Ascent shared this blog-post with us about Kyle Miller's recent accomplishment to ride all of Washington's non-volcanic 9000ft peaks. We're grateful for the opportunity to share this post with our readers and super proud of our friend Kyle! Thanks for the inspiration!


First Ascent athlete and splitboard hero Kyle Miller is no stranger to challenging objectives, but the completion of his current project clearly elevates his standing in the history of Northwest, self-ascent, big-mountain riding. Miller, in partnership with photographer Jason Hummel, became the first two ever to tick off the highest rideable lines on all of Washington’s 9,000-foot, non-volcanic peaks. The undertaking was a three-year, hushed project that pushed forward this spring with a productive return to Holden Village where he bagged Mt. Maude and Seven Fingered Jack then culminated in a 30-mile roundtrip to slay Mt. Logan, the final remaining peak on Miller and Hummel’s hit list of the Washington Nines.

The stats alone are impressive with 30 days, 80,000 vertical and 170 miles of arduous approach and descent devoted to the effort. But for out-of-state residents unfamiliar with slide alder, devil’s club, raging creek crossings and near-sea-level starts, the sheer scale of this accomplishment in such remote, technical, exposed and heavily glaciated mountains is hard to describe, even without referencing the notoriously coastal weather in the North Cascades. But the deeper story will be chronicled elsewhere in greater detail. This first-look photo gallery, with one image of each peak on the list and Kyle Miller’s captions explaining the significance of each towering peak, will provide a window into the high bar these two have set for a new life list classic in the Pacific Northwest.

Captions by Kyle Miller, Images by Jason Hummel

Over the past three years I have been pushing myself in an attempt to climb and ride all the 9000-foot non-volcanic peaks in Washington State. Compared to the volcanoes these mountains offer rugged terrain, long approaches and enough of a challenge to keep you awake for months in preparation of the climbs. With more glaciers in this stretch and rugged mountains than all the lower 48 states combined, this mission was the most challenging climb of my life. But it also would not have been possible without my touring partners Jason Hummel, Steph Abberg, Hannah Carrigian, Scott McAllister, Brennan Van Loo and Adam Roberts, who each joined me at a different stage of this long process of approaches and descents.

1. Bonanza, Elevation: 9,511Ft

Bonanza is the crown of the range and has some of the most aggressive remote lines out there. It was one of the more challenging lines with the upper headwall of the true summit so steep I had to dig a tunnel in the waist deep snow.

2. Stuart, Elevation: 9,415 Ft

Mt. Stuart, the second highest peak, sits alone on the central, eastern side of the Cascades. Illuminating the sky above the I-90 corridor its distinctive faces can be seen from almost any vantage point in the Cascades. For this descent we rode the Ulrich Couloir nearly 5,000 feet to the valley below.

3. Fernow, Elevation: 9,249 Ft

Literally hovering above Holden Village, Mt. Fernow shadows the remote Lake Chelan town in darkness three months out of the year. From big open faces to steep narrow couloirs, the options are limitless and similarly sized mountains surround this quiet refuge on almost every side. This trip was my first of the 2011 season and prepared me for Bonanza, which I summited two days later.

4. Goode, Elevation: 9,200 Ft

Goode is as steep as they come in the North Cascades and equally remote. With more then a vertical mile between the valley floor and the summit it was by far the most challenging climb in the 9000er project.

5. Shuksan, Elevation: 9,131 Ft

By far the most recognizable of the 9,000-foot peaks and the most accessible as it can be seen from the Mt. Baker ski resort parking lot. Each side of Shuksan holds a different personality and it has to be one of the best training grounds in the lower 48. It’s no wonder that we call Miss Shuksan a Temple.