Just north of Mount Daniel and Pea Soup Lake are two peaks of nearly equal height separated by a high col and a dying glacier. If peaks had genealogy, Dip Top and Lynch would be twins. Both peaks have long north ridges with steep west faces and gentler eastern slopes. Dip Top Peak is the higher of the two by roughly 10 feet, but Lynch is slightly tougher and less often climbed. Lynch Peak was named for John Lynch, a miner and prospector of the Hyas Lake area in the 1800's.
At 7280+ feet, Dip Top Peak is the 8th highest peak on the "Home Court" 100 List. The west slopes drain into Jade Lake while the north ridge extends to a north peak at 7112 feet. The east ridge of Lynch rises over 3000 feet above the Cle Elum River and can be seen from Hyas Lake. The northwest face is sheer and the west ridge and south slope is blocked by cliffs which range between 200 and 300 feet high. Fortunately the north ridge offers a more reasonable scramble route.
Jade Lake and Marmot Lake are both popular backpacking destinations in the summer, however Dip Top and Lynch are seldom climbed. One reason for the neglect of these peaks might be distance. It's roughly 27 miles round-trip to climb both peaks via the easiest route. Also there is a glacier crossing to consider albeit a benign one. To reach the summit of Lynch also requires some scrambling which is either easy or sketchy depending on the way you go. See the route section for more information.
The col between the peaks is known as Dip Top Gap. This high saddle boasts one of the best views in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and it's no secret. Many hikers make the difficult trek up to Dip Top Gap with no summit bid in mind. The view of the north face of Mount Daniel and the Lynch Glacier rising above the newly formed Pea Soup Lake is jaw-dropping. It's one of those alpine scenes that would fit into nearly any premier mountain range in the world.
Route OptionsThere are several alternate and obscure routes which will not be described here. One such route traverses from Mount Daniel, while another ascends the eastern slopes of Lynch. Perhaps someone will make route pages for those at some future time. Both options discussed here, including the north ridge and west ridge direct, make use of the trail system which ends at Jade Lake. If you are mainly a hiker, I strongly suggest you do the north ridge, but if you are a climber or experienced alpine scrambler you might prefer the more challenging west ridge direct. The west ridge ascends exposed ledges and features loose rock as well as a good possibility for getting off-route. Bring helmets!
Hike north on the Deception Pass trail. Don't get confused and end up starting out on the Cathedral Pass trail. After the first mile you will pass Hyas Lake with numerous camping spots. After the first 4 miles you will pass the Tuck and Robin Lakes spur trail. Just under 5 miles from the trailhead you will come to a 4 way junction at Deception Pass.
A sign on a tree will direct you to the Marmot Lake trail. Hike another 3 miles on trail to Marmot Lake. You will pass the Lake Clarice spur trail junction along the way. From Marmot Lake go south following the unofficial trail along east shore of the lake and ascend a steep gully with a talus slope at the top. It's two miles from Marmot Lake to Dip Top Gap. Boot paths and cairns make for easy navigation. Cross the talus to the climbers left-hand side and follow sections of trail up to No Name Lake.
From No Name Lake the trail descends slightly to Jade Lake where you can see The impressive north peak of Lynch as well as the main peak above the small glacier. The trail continues around the east side of Jade Lake. Watch for the correct path which ascends over and around some troublesome cliff bands and then descend the steep dirt to the north shore of Jade Lake. That's it! The end of the trail. You're on your own now.
From Jade Lake ascend scree and glacial silt, or snow in early season, to reach the base of the glacier. Crampons and ice axe or micro-spikes are suggested here. Stay along the eastern edge of the glacier to avoid minor crevasse danger. If you plan on the west ridge direct route, proceed to Dip Top Gap. Take a moment to appreciate the view of Pea Soup Lake, Mount Daniel, and the Lynch Glacier.
Traverse around the south side of a rock horn to reach a hidden loose rock gully. Ascend the gully to a notch and then scramble class 2 and 3, making use of ledges. Beware of loose rock and exposure. When possible make an ascending traverse to reach the more moderate south slope, several hundred feet above Dip Top Gap. The final south facing slopes below the summit are steep heather, dirt and scree.
If you prefer the easier north ridge route, do not go all the way up to Dip Top Gap. Instead, watch the left (east) walls above the glacier looking for steep dirty slabs. At some point several hundred yards before Dip Top Gap the cliffs open to these slanting slabs. This might be the most unpleasant part of the route.
Scramble up the slabs to reach a rib above a tiny lake. Ascend talus and more slabs to reach the connecting ridge between the main peak and the north peak. There is some class 3 scrambling on the second band of slabs, as well as on the final north ridge to the summit, however neither is exposed or difficult. You can see the entire north ridge route from the glacier to the summit in this photograph.
As of August 2015, the summit registers on Dip Top and Lynch had both been removed. Please bring a new register tube if you are planning a trip here.
Getting There / Driving DirectionsDrive I-90 east from Snoqualmie Pass or west from Ellensburg and take Exit 80.
Proceed north through Roslyn and Ronald and toward Salmon la Sac, 16 miles from Roslyn.
Just before entering this little community, turn right on Forest Road 4330 and drive another 12.5 miles to the end of the road and the Deception Pass trailhead.