Ascent of Mount Daniel on 2014-08-07

Climber: James Barlow

Date:Thursday, August 7, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Daniel
    Elevation:7960 ft / 2426 m

Ascent Trip Report

Yes, I know, Mt Daniel can be done as a dayhike. We opted to do it as an overnighter because Sam's flight back to New Jersey was scheduled for a 3pm departure on Friday, so we couldn't get a real peak in and make it to the airport in time. We figured the better way to use our time was to ascend to camp on Thursday, set up the cuben tarp, continue to the summit, and then just relax in camp and enjoy the beautiful Cascades for one last night before hiking out Friday morning.

We were up well before sunrise at my apartment in Seattle and Sam made the long drive out to the Cathedral Pass trailhead while I slept in the passenger seat of the mighty Yaris. We grabbed our packed packs from the back of the car and we were on our way up the trail, arriving at Peggy's Pond by 10:30am. We set up camp, filled water, and were on our way again by 11:00. The use trails take you right up the ridge as indicated in all previous trip reports. We saw tracks in the snow from climbers (likely from the previous weekend) who ascended the upper snow field once most of the way up the ridge. We followed these, but branched further to the north than we should have, confusing the dinosaur tooth-shaped formation for the east summit. Luckily on the way to this point, we found a nice snowmelt flow on to some rocks and were able to top off our bottles. Once we realized our error, we backtracked to the correct notch in the ridge and traversed the nasty scree/dirt slopes below the east summit. This was the worst part of the ascent along with re-crossing it on the descent. Once past that ugliness, we ascended a nice snow slope towards the middle summit and followed a good use trail and some snow to the main west summit of Daniel. It is pretty much Class 2, so no real difficulties here. The summit register only goes back to July and this appears to be a popular peak. We took the usual summit photos and ate food. Some clouds were moving in from the west, but breaking over Mt Hinman and Chimney Rock to the southwest. Chimney Rock looks impressive from here and I really want to climb it someday. The clouds also occasionally went into the valley to our north, but never covered us on the summit. At times, we could make out Baring Mtn, Gunn Pk, and Mt Index to the WNW through breaks in the clouds. Both Rainier and Adams were clearly visible to the south, Glacier was visible to the north, and Stuart generally dominates the views to the east throughout the entire climb.

We retraced our steps back down towards the east summit, enjoying the descent of the short snowfield in standing glissade mode. Once we were back on the upper snowfield east of the east summit, I did a standing glissade of a good portion of it before settling into our set of tracks traversing back to the ridge. I wanted to descend on some snow fields to the glacier to save time walking by doing another standing glissade. I aborted my higher attempt of this due to snow that was getting icy in the shadows of the ridges above, and settled for a nice standing glissade lower down the ridge. Sam opted to continue down the use trail and we agreed to meet in camp. My glissades were quite enjoyable and I encountered no obstacles on my descent, traversing out of the canyon I was in near the bottom of our ascent ridge above Peggy's Pond. I encountered a pair of hikers from Portland near my campsite and we chatted for a bit. They were on a backpacking trip from Salmon La Sac to Cathedral Pass and were hiking out the next morning. We saw no other climbers above Peggy's Pond. I arrived in camp about 15 minutes ahead of Sam and went about getting my boots off, and preparing to cook dinner. The mosquitoes were out but not too terrible. We enjoyed cooking dinner as the sun dipped below the ridges to our west. We hit the sack pretty early to prepare for our early hike out and I was asleep before sunset.

We were up at 5am for our hike out and on the trail by 6am. The hike out was uneventful, just full of sunrise beauty in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We were at the car in good time and on the road back to Seattle for showers and for Sam to pack his gear for the flight home. We stopped at a really good Mexican food place in Issaquah for lunch on the way home. We were the only people there speaking English, so it was pretty good Mexican food for Washington.

GPS notes:
I only used the GPS from Peggy's Pond to the summit and back. Below Peggy's Pond, it is just trail mileage.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4760 ft / 1450 m
    Total Elevation Loss:200 ft / 60 m
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4760 ft / 1450 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4560 ft / 1390 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Route:via Peggy's Pond
    Start Trailhead:3400 ft / 1036 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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