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You don’t have to be a climber to explore the Cascades' mightiest glaciers

Mountain Madness Cascade Glacier Walking Tours invite you to see glaciers up close while learning about the impacts of climate change. #k5evening

DEMING, Wash. — Want to try out mountaineering but don't know how to start?

Mountain Madness is a northwest company that has been inviting people to explore the North Cascades since 1984. Their Cascade Glacier Walking Tours allow hikers with no previous experience to traverse and explore some of the Cascades' mightiest glaciers in comfort and safety alongside a trained guide. These tours will get you up close to yawning crevasses, and glistening blue ice, with ample opportunity for photographs, and interpretation of the environment.

“This is a great opportunity for people that are interested in earth science and the environment, to get out one for a beautiful hike, and two to learn more about glaciers,” said Ph.D. glaciol­o­gist can­di­date Taryn Black.

Through­out the tour, you will also learn about Wash­ing­ton’s icon­ic glaciat­ed vol­ca­noes, the his­to­ry of glacia­tion in the Pacif­ic North­west, and cut­ting edge local research on glac­i­ers in the Cascades.

“We are here in the Roosevelt Glacier giving everyone a chance to explore,” said Mountain Madness guide Peter Chang.

After Alas­ka, Wash­ing­ton is the sec­ond most glaciat­ed state in the US with over 449 square kilo­me­ters of ice cov­ered ter­rain. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many of those glac­i­ers are now threat­ened by cli­mate change. Dur­ing the 20th cen­tu­ry rates of glacial melt in var­i­ous parts of Wash­ing­ton ranged between 7% and 22%. The rate of glacial melt in Wash­ing­ton has increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly in the 21st cen­tu­ry, com­men­su­rate with an increase in aver­age annu­al tem­per­a­ture. In fact, 4 of the 5 hottest years on record in Wash­ing­ton state have occurred in the last decade.

“One of the most common questions that I get about my work is if climate change really affecting the glaciers," said Chang, "and the answer is yes.”

Mountain Madness is offering both two and one-day glacier walking tours. For details, visit Mountain Madness' website.

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