Cascades Rock

Climb every mountain

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blake Herrington doesn’t live in Bellingham anymore, but the time he spent here before graduating from Western Washington University and moving to Leavenworth directly correlates to the publication of his new mountain climbing guidebook, Cascades Rock.

For example, three of the primary photographers who contributed to the book—which features location details, death-defying images and intricate maps related to 160 multi-pitch and alpine climbing routes in Washington state and southern BC—hail from the City of Subdued Excitement.

“Bellingham is small enough for a devoted and close-knit local outdoor scene to thrive, and the access to mountains is much better than Seattle, with closer and easier drives into British Columbia, the Mt. Baker/Shuksan zone, and the North Cascades and Squamish,” Herrington says when asked why he thinks it’s a great place to live (and now, visit). “The lack of local rock climbing is the only real drawback.”

That said, he’s excited to debut the tome, reconnect with some of his contributors and return to his alma mater for “An Evening with Blake Herrington” Wed., Feb. 24 at WWU’s Arntzen Hall. In fact, he’s so gung-ho about the event that he’s offering free copies of the adventure guide to the first 20 people who walk through the door. Reps from the American Alpine Institute will also be on hand to distribute raffle prizes.

Those who leave with copies of the publication should know a couple of things before they delve into its intricacies. The book features dozens of climbs not included in any other guidebook, and Herrington not only provided the copy for it, but also designed it, arranged the printing and is handling his own distribution.

“I was inspired to write Cascades Rock because after years of hiking and climbing in the Cascades, I became convinced that many of the region’s best climbs were relatively or completely unknown and could rival the quality of famous routes in Colorado, California, or British Columbia,” he says.

Attendees at the event will also be treated to a related 15-minute film. The “outdoor adventure story” was filmed on location during a 24-hour climbing period in the Central Cascades. In it, Herrington and a friend combined difficult ascents of new routes on three different peaks—all of which are included in the book. Herrington says it’s the first climbing film that he’s aware of to focus its lens on the Cascades range.

Whether you’re there for the film, the book or both, be sure to ask Herrington any questions that arise when you take a look at his impressive climbing lineup and realize the information in Cascades Rock represents his own adventures, and his love of the ascent.

“I climb,” he says, “because I’ve never found any equally complex and challenging activity that involves the teamwork and emotions of a big mountain day.”

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