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Photo: Hiking Washington's Cascades
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I took this photo on top of Bonanza Peak in northern Washington.  At 9,511 feet (2,899 meters), Bonanza is the highest non-volcanic mountain in the state and the North Cascades. The first time my team tried to make it up the mountain, we camped at the base and awoke to rain blasting our site. On our second attempt, we scored a beautiful day of scrambling up the treacherously rocky slopes. At times, we found ourselves free climbing on vertical rock faces, spacing ourselves approximately 15 to 20 feet (5 to 6 meters) apart so that the other climbers could hear us yell when we'd dislodged little missiles from the mountain. Our final ascent took us along a spine-like ridge up to the magnificent summit. My friend, Josh Eastland, found peace in this meditative mountain seat.

Paul "Pablo" Pitcher, 27
Community development
Santa Cruz del Quiché, Guatemala

DIY: To get to Bonanza you must go to Chelan, Washington, and find the Lady of the Lake (, a ferry service to take you 30 miles (48 kilometers) across  Lake Chelan and onto Lucerne, where you get on a school bus that takes you to Holden Village (, a small Lutheran retreat center. From there, you will begin with a short hike out into the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area ( In the summer, Holden Village has a hiking service, Hike Haus, that can assist you in planning your climb of Bonanza or any of the stunning surrounding mountains.

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