My 50 Peaks Project: One Year. One Park. 50 Peaks

Scott Kranz 50 Peaks North Cascades Ruth Mountain

My Big Project for 2018

In 2017, I vowed to reach all Seven Continents in a single calendar year—a goal I achieved when I set foot on Antarctica in December 2017 after boating across the infamous Drake Passage from South America. It was challenging and exhilarating—but it also made finding a goal for 2018 a little difficult. After all, how do you top that experience, right?

My 2018 plan doesn’t require a passport or even getting on a plane—but I’m still excited (and a little bit daunted) by what this year's project involves. This week, I’ve piled my pack, boots, ice ax, and camera into the car and have headed to North Cascades National Park, roughly 2-3 hours from my home in Seattle. One of three national parks in my home state of Washington, North Cascades NP was established in 1968. Many months ago when I realized that 2018 was its 50th anniversary, I decided I wanted to find some way to mark the occasion: Over the course of this summer, I plan to summit 50 peaks within the park's boundary, including the 10 highest summits and other classic climbs. 

A Park that Changed my Life

Beautiful, remote, and blanketed in heavy snow for much of the year, North Cascades National Park attracts the attention of hikers, skiers, and photographers (but not many—it is one of the lesser visited parks in our country). My encounters with the park, however, literally changed my life. In 2015, I left my original career as an attorney and decided to devote myself to my newfound passion—outdoor photography. My treks and climbs in the North Cascades, which I’d discovered just a few years earlier, helped inspire me to take the leap into this new professional venture.

My plan to summit 50 peaks in the North Cascades isn’t just about personal ambition, though. And by no means is it about conquering these mountains (all of these peaks on my list have already been climbed; and no one can "conquer" a peak, in any event). I believe passionately in the protection of public lands and, as I work my way through this list of 50 peaks, I plan to use social media and other messaging to promote national-park stewardship, leave-no-trace practices, wilderness protection, and much more. I will be calling on people like you to take action and donate directly to benefit the park and the infrastructure projects that are critical to its future. I am proud to say I have gained the support of the park itself and the park’s official nonprofit charitable partner, Washington's National Park Fund, as well as a sponsoring partner, Eddie Bauer, a longstanding supporter of my work.

Stay tuned for more details on my 50 Peaks Project. Please consider reaching out with ideas or questions or support as I tackle this project, and please follow along on my website ( and on social media at #NC50Peaks.



Scott Kranz