Bio: Twenty years ago Ras was eating himself to death. When he reached 265 pounds, his beloved wife Kathy proposed the idea of thru-hiking the 93-mile long Wonderland Trail around the base of Mount Rainier as a family adventure with their seven year-old daughter, Angela. It took them 20 days. That hike ignited a love for moving through beautiful and challenging places within him.
Since then, after developing his fitness, skills, and techniques over the intervening years, Ras has become known for pursuing Only Known Times: pioneering new routes and/or new iterations of classic routes for which no Fastest Known Time exists. He loves the dichotomy of an Only Known Time, quipping that it is the Schroedinger’s Cat of the FKT scene: it exists simultaneously as both the fastest and the slowest known time, until someone else completes it and the parallel realities resolve into a single reality.
Ras’ signature projects include:
- Double Wonderland, Only Known Time
- Grand Canyon Sextuple Rim-to-Rim, OKT
- Unsupported Washington Traverse, OKT
- Cowlitz Connection via Mount Rainier Summit, OKT (with Richard Kresser)
- Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) Yo-yo, OKT (with Kathy Vaughan)
- Kettle Crest 15, OKT (with Gavin Woody)
- Mount Rainier Infinity Loop, OKT (with Gavin Woody)
- Mount Adams Infinity Loop, OKT
- Harvey Manning Challenge peak bagging route OKT (with Seth Wolpin)
- Rainier-Adams-St. Helens Traverse OKT (Kyle Pease)
Home: Our current Base Camp is Whidbey Island, Washington, but the Okanogan Highlands are the place I truly call Home.
Outdoor Organization Involvement: Ras has done speaking engagements for The Mountaineers at both the Seattle headquarters and the Tacoma branch, and he and Kathy did a speaking tour across Arizona promoting the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Not considering himself to be an extraordinary athlete in any way, Ras’ speaking engagements always focus on the amazing and extraordinary things of which ordinary Human Beings are capable.
Favorite Training Ground: Washington’s North Cascades and the Cascade Volcanoes, the deserts and mountains
I Never Hit The Trail Without: Dehydrated soy strips. I buy them bulk in 12lb boxes, season them up according to different recipes I’ve developed, then dehydrate them. On the trail they can be quickly rehydrated with boiling water, or simply soaked for a couple of hours while hiking. And they’re high in protein, so they give my body the raw materials to repair and build muscle tissue even when grinding out high mileage day after day.