See Dean's post below. It was indeed a gorgeous day, amazingly warm for October. Although I have generally quit repeating summits, I wanted to join Dean and Bill on this climb. Having not been up there for over 15 years, it was interesting to see the peak with so little snow - my previous climb being in July with lots of snow still on the mountain. It's much easier and more beautiful with snow, IMO.
Unbelievable fall weather was all the incentive we needed to go after this amazing mountain. Well, the west summit of Mt. Daniel is the high point for both King and Kittitas counties so this was the key incentive which motivated us, but the weather has been incredible and it continued for us through Saturday. It was fitting that the person who put this page up originally, rfbolton , would be one of our group and whose knowledge of this peak was a great blessing to another summitposter and myself.
RPC's outstanding pictures posted recently helped to add more incentive to our effort and I really am amazed that a dog can do this route as several places along the ridge are somewhat loose and nasty as well. What a great viewpoint the summit of the West peak is. The surrounding scenery is absolutely fantastic and despite the hazy skies (from the Crystal Creek fire), a continuous stream of WOW's was uttered by the 3 of us. I could go on and on but it was fun to sign the register kept by the mountaineers. We ended up headlamping out in the dark with my boots killing me, a very long but very rewarding day.
Along with my wife and our dog, climbed this fun peak during an overnight backpack to Peggy's Pond. The weather was unseasonably hot and clear (except for smoke from forest fires). The views were spectacular! We saw Baker, Sloan, and Glacier to the north (and many others I couldn't name), Stuart and its neighbors to the east, and some Snoqualmie Peaks, Rainier, and Adams to the south. This late in the season, the SE Ridge route offers a mostly class 2 (some class 3 sections), totally dry trail to the top. Peasoup Lake at the foot of the Lynch Glacier looked INCREDIBLE from the summit.
We arrived at the Tucquala Lake trailhead Sunday night 5 PM and set up a tent for the night. Few people, nice Indian summer weather, zero bugs, and a couple of horse camps set up nearby whose occupants do NOT sack out at 8 PM (nor rise at 4 AM). Three of us set off at 5:15 AM with the aim to climb Middle Peak and return by 5:30 PM. Trail in great shape, zero snow along the route BUT warning to newbies, you can actually miss Peggy's Pond under such conditions! We followed the way trail past Cathedral Rock and found a lakelet (NOT aquamarine in color like Peggy's Pond) on a bench south of the Pond and maybe 50 feet lower. Trees in the area effectively hid the Pond from view and with hardly anyone on the trail, well, we missed it. So the way trail we picked up heading west was pretty sketchy, seemed more like imagination than trail, but there was the occasional cairn. Finally we arrived on the high bench above Circle Lake and realized we were following a WAY way trail to the lake, not the ridge route to Daniel. Oops. A somewhat tricky scramble north up a cleft in the main ridge got us back to the ridge route right where the large rock formation rears up at 11:30 AM. Our first view of the Hyas Glacier came at this point, the only "snow" on the route. From here we scrambled up and over at least 4 minor "peaks" covered with very loose rock and scant trail signs, on the way to East Peak. The two climbers ahead of us gave up due to the knife-edge route and the spooky loose rock. We attained the summit of the East Peak at 1 PM, where John and his Malamute greeted us. He left an hour after we had but knew the right way to the ridge trail (duh). Due to the late hour, we basked in the sun and took pix, but decided against heading for Middle or West Peaks. Unwilling to face that loose rock again, we descended by dropping onto the upper glacier, sticking to exposed rock and scree almost all the way back to the ridge trail; had to crampon up for about a 50-meter stretch right at the end. Then we picked up the ridge trail (in fine shape!) and headed back. Unfortunately, remember we never saw Peggy's Pond so we aimed too far south near the end of the ridge when we lost the trail in heather growth. By doing so, we ended up negotiating some pretty steep scrambling down slippery heather slopes with little to hold onto until we got back to the lakelet, then followed paths up to the real Peggy's Pond to admire it. Also to find where the REAL trail takes off for our next visit! From there it was a quick 2 hours back down to the trailhead, arriving at 7:30. Dinner at the Cottage Cafe in Cle Elum (where else??) and back in Olympia by midnight. Great weather, great trail (or so we hear, yuk yuk) great views: great trip! Enjoy your trip, but if you're new to the trail and it's a dry year like 2003 was, be careful you find Peggy's Pond and not some imposter, or your subsequent travels will be about an hour tougher than they have to be!
Fun route, only to the E Summit and back down. Cooked dinner of a piece of fuselage from the downed helicopter mentined previously. Look for it around the upper Peggy's Pond meadow.
Approached from Peggy's Pond, ascending into Hyas Creek basin, then up onto the ridge to the north. Summitted the East Peak, then descended its west slopes to the ridge leading to the center and west peaks. Traversed the center peak en route to the true summit on the west peak.
This was a two-day climb of Daniel starting from Tacquala Meadows. While we intended to camp at Marmot Lake the first night, mosquitos drove us higher, near Jade Lake. The next morning we climbed the gully behind Jade Lake and skirted around Peasoup Lake at the base of the Lynch Glacier. This is a beautiful lake with icebergs floating around - every so often the glacier would calve, dumping more ice and snow into the lake. Roping up we ascended the Lynch glacier and scrambled over the rock to the summit. The weather was great and we enjoyed the view for quite a while before beginning the descent. This was a bit tricky - alternating between snow, ice, scree, and rocky cliffs. Finally arriving at Peggy's Pond the mosquitos again drove us out and we decided to hike all the way back to the cars. As is often the case, the descent seemed unnaturally long and we ended up finishing it with our headlamps. Overall a great climb, fantastic setting, and a highlight of the climbing season.
Nice approach, great campsite @ Peggy's Pond. Big storm blew in while we were on the summit, made descent much more interesting. Greg's wee tiny head led the way... Would like to climb again in summer season.
Had an awesome weekend to climb to the E. summit of Daniel. 1rst night camped at the moraine of the glacier. Big mistake as when the sun went down the winds picked up and blew ultra fine glacial dust into my tent which I am still trying to get out. Skirted the glacier as I was solo and tried staying on rock as much as possible. Interestingly, on the snow field above Hyas creek glacier I found an old 1-2 person helipod that had crashed and melted out. Views in all direction were spectacular.
Trip report with pictures
Traversed the mountain to the base of the lynch glacier. Across frozen pea soup lake and up the glacier to the summit for a quick snack and a picture of me in my birthday suit standing on the summit. ( dont worry i wont submit it ). Then down the ridge back to Peggys pond for dinner and a nap. The weather was amazing, mid 80's, views of Baker, Ranier, Hood and many other surrounding peaks. Bring a camera for this climb.
This is a great day climb, quick and satisfying. Ski tracks came off of the middle and main summits. A frozen duck was near the top of the snowfield leading to the east peak. Pea Soup Lake at the base of Lynch Glacier remains one of my favorite glacial lakes.
Departed from seattle around 9:30am (unfortunatly a late start) arriving at the snow line by 11.
unfortunatly, the snowline was still quite low which forced us to ditch the truck and make the remaining 4 miles to the parking lot on foot which was a drag under heavy packs. we arrived at the parking lot just under 1 hour 50 minutes with several portions of the road washed out due to flooding. no more than 20 feet from the parking lot and we had completely lost all signs of the trail in the snow. so we decided to test our luck and make a dash for the first prominant geological formation on the map -a small lake over 3 miles and 4,000 feet above us through thick trees that allowed for minimal visiblity. luckily we were able to find a stream that led up to the lake. By that time the weather had begun to close in and a light snow began to fall. beyond the lake, we lost the trail once again. but following the maps provided by Beckey and Nelson we decided to follow the prominant ridge that led straight to the base of Cathedral Rock. By about 5 pm we were standing at the base of Cathedral with strong winds hitting the ridge from the north-east. Although we were still about a mile from Peggy's Pond, we decided to set a camp there on the ridge, hoping the weather would clear in order for us to see our objective. the dropping temperature formed a strong layer of crust over the snow...hoping for solid conditions in the morning. by 6:30pm the skies began to clear revieling Cathedral standing over us, Stuart to the south east, and Daniel, East Peak and the Spire to the north west.
the morning exhibited clear skies and a light breeze from the north west. by 6am we were skirting below the south-west shoulder of Cathedral, kicking steps into 45-50 degree snow slopes with fairly solid conditions. reaching peggy's pond which still lay under several feet of snow, then rounding to the north onto the southeast ridge by 8 am. Above Peggy's pond, we experienced strong winds from the Hyas glacier up to 50 mph. the snow conditions began to soften under the intense heat from the sun. and reaching up to 60 degree snow that proved to be unstable. By 9 am, we were forced down due to time restrictions in order to make an appointment to volunteer at a local climbing gym that evening. which by the way I arrived at only 5 minutes early straight from the mountain. An attempt later in the season would allow for an easier approach to and from the mountain, with a defined trail leading up to peggy's pond.
This was a 2 day climb via the S.E. Ridge route. We camped on benches north of Peggys Pond, then hiked up the S.E. Ridge and traversed across the upper Hyas Creek Glacier to the saddle below and S. of the E. Peak. From the saddle we followed the trail in the scree, weaving between the various summits, to the final small summit tower on the W. Peak. This tower is a short scramble on it's S. side. This is one of the most scenic scramble routes I have ever done. Highly Recommened!
A friend of mine wanted her first glacier experience, and Daniel seemed like a good choice from its description in Selected Climbs in the Cascades and the Beckey book. The mountain was starting to melt out when we were on it, but we still got some good snow camping in in the Hyas Creek basin before heading up. We ended up climbing high and right above the Hyas glacier because there was enough snow to do that safely, and we could avoid any crevasses that way.
Once we met back up with the Hyas Glacier, just before crossing the Daniel Glacier, we debated roping up for the traverse below the East peak because there was a huge crevasse 200 feet below our planned route, but there was also a big bergshrund that we could hook our axes in, and it seemed like the danger of rockfall was high enough that we wanted to race through that spot. We decided not to rope up, but the three parties behind us did rope up for the traverse.
Overall, Daniels is a beautiful, not-too-technical climb in the heart of the Alpine Lakes.