An excellent overview of the North Cascades with wonderful pictures and a chapter dedicated to the Lookouts is:
The North Cascades National Park main website is here:
National Geographic puts out an extensive trails map:
The current lookout on Desolation is Jim Henterly who has been there now
five years. He has decades of fire and firelookout experience on many
peaks and will be able to answer any questions you might have. He is also
a friendly great guy, an ex Army Medic as well as an current fire fighter and EMT
in Whatcom Country. Like myself, Jim enjoys drawing and painting and has done some really
cool logos for the NOCA Fire and Trail Crews among many other artistic things.
There is recently a short film on Vimeo featuring Jim up on Desolation that also shows some of his art
Jack Kerouac is not well known these days especially by folks born after 1990. In his day though, he was a very well know “Beat Writer “— in fact arguably the best. He was certainly the most prolific writer of the bunch. Jack was known in some circles as the King of the Beats. As of a few years ago — his manuscript of On the Road held the record for the highest price paid for a work of American literature. I happened to accidentally see it in person about 15 years ago in the main San Francisco Library where it was displayed under a long glass table . Jack typed it in his run- on sentences style on teletype paper which comes in rolls and is yellowish and kinda of translucent thin. By typing on a continuous roll supposedly he could keep his train of thought/words going without having to switch pieces of paper all the time.
I am guessing he was at the peak ( no pun intended : ) ) of his fame in the 1960s. In my mind the ” Beats ” were the precursors to the ” Hippies ” of the 1960s and 1970s — rejecting many of mainstream society’s commonly held values.
The three books by Jack Kerouac that mention the Desolation Peak are:
Desolation Angels pages 1 — 85
Lonesome Traveler 118 — 134
Dharma Bums 222 — end
The are many books on Kerouac’s life and writings. Two of my favorite are:
Also I do paintings the size of postage stamps. To see more of that art — visit my
other website :
or follow me
and look for paintings from the imaginary country of Dharma Bums. Here are a few of those that were done or started up on Desolation:
The North Cascades Institute offers quite a number of courses ( mostly in the summer ) based in the North Cascades.
Here is their website:
Washington’s National Park Fund is a non profit that use charitable donations from folks to improve Washington State’s three national Parks including the North Cascades Park. Here is their website:
Ross Lake Resort website is:
John Scurlock is a firefighter by trade here in Bellingham but lives up in the mountains and has for years flown his little homebuilt airplane over the North Cascades ( and elsewhere ) taking photographs. I remember seeing his yellow plane one time at Desolation. Anyway I purchased a couple of prints from him and here is one of Desolation Peak and the LO in the early winter.
He has a marvelous book of his aerial photography entitled Snow and Spire which I recommend to you.
and finally I had a “business card” made up for this website using a photo I took of the the USGS survey marker up there…
if you would like one — let me know.
Enlarged a bit here it is: