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Katherine Donnelly | 06.04.2018

Words and photos by Josh Perez.

Most of us work a 9-5 and eagerly await the weekend to squeeze in as much adventure as possible. Or we wake up at extreme hours and pull all-nighters when we absolutely must get into the mountains during the week.

Occasionally we’re blessed with a holiday weekend, which seems like gold for us weekend warriors. With July 4th in mind, an extra day or two off from work gave me just enough time for an epic pedal-to-peak bikepacking trip, a mini sufferfest.

I’d recently purchased a new bike and kitted it out for the purpose of bikepacking in Washington from Seattle to Rainier, with the goal of climbing Mount Rainier, and then heading back.

It took three days:

  • Day One: Bike 77 miles from Seattle-Tacoma Airport to Glacier Basin Trailhead
  • Day Two: Rest in the morning and begin climbing at 10 pm. We climbed in a single push.
  • Day Three: Begin biking back to Seattle.

With this trip I learned a few things:

Multisport adventures let you pack in as much fun as possible into as little time as possible.

I built my bike in the airport once I landed, then started biking around 4 a.m. I called my friend in Seattle to meet me along my bike route for some quick coffee. I stopped for quick moments at almost every tiny shop or café along the way, because that’s all part of the journey. In this single weekend I learned more about Washington than I have on all of my other trips combined. Passing through towns on my bike gave me an entirely different perspective. Had this trip been for the sole purpose of climbing, I would have never seen all of this.

Water filters will be your best friend while bikepacking.

Biking 77 miles with 40 pounds of gear on your bike will make you thirsty. The AutoFlow Gravity Filter is my go-to filter when I know I’m going to be drinking tons of water. (Side note: I use this same filter for a month in Nepal and it was a life-saver. I swear by this thing.)

The WindBurner Stove is the perfect solution.

Having one system that could serve multiple needs was key to staying light. I traveled with the WindBurner and two fuel canisters. From morning coffee, freeze dried meals, and melting snow on the climb, this one system did everything I needed.

Multisport is the way to go.

If you’re like me, exploration is addicting. I’m by no means the best adventurer out there. But learning new sports and pushing yourself to combine them with other sports you’re good at is the perfect way to empower yourself and push your own boundaries.

Prior to this trip I had never biked more than 30 miles. After this trip, I found out that I haven’t felt as much freedom as I did riding a bike with everything I need on it and heading to the mountains. With a new sport in my adventure toolbox, I’m now certain that I’ll be going on many more bikepacking adventures.

This piece was originally published on the MSR Summit Register Blog.


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