Backcountry skiers Trevor Kostanich and Forest McBrian have completed one of the most ambitious ski ventures ever attempted in Washington’s mountains.
It took 30 paper maps, 23 8-ounce bottles of isobutane fuel and about 4,000 daily calories apiece for Trevor Kostanich and Forest McBrian to ski from Snoqualmie Pass to the Canadian border in a single, uninterrupted push. The pair emerged from the wilderness about a week ago, with stories to tell and showers to take.
By the end of the trip, their cellphones (equipped with GPS) had died. Their solar charger was on the fritz. An animal, probably a pika, had eaten about a dozen quarter-sized holes into Kostanich’s shirt. Their fingers were raw.
“It was blissful,” Kostanich said.
And somehow they’d managed not to succumb to cabin fever even though they’d spent most of their 33 nights outside sleeping about two feet apart on towering slopes beneath a floorless tent that McBrian said looked like a “little wizard hat sticking out of the snow.”
“It’s an amazing thing,” he said. “We still like each other.”
Save for some bushwhacking near Highway 20, the pair traveled almost entirely on skis, zigzagging past cornices, over glaciers and through the snowy passes of Washington’s Cascade range. Family and friends five times delivered them resupplies of food.
The duo otherwise spent the month in near isolation. They spoke to just two sets of strangers during the journey, which spanned about 110 miles in straight-line distance and plenty more in actuality. It’s likely the longest continuous ski traverse completed in Washington.
“It’s … by far the most ambitious ski venture attempted in Washington’s mountains that I know of,” said Lowell Skoog, a backcountry skier and a documentarian of the sport in the Northwest. “They’ve sort of one-upped everybody.”
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