Dip Top Gap by Mount Daniel and Jade Lake via Peggys Pond / 斜頂缺口

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Dip Top Gap by Mount Daniel brings an intimate view of the mountain and Pea Soup Lake. Meanwhile, the camp spot on the notch sees Jade Lake to the north. The cross-country route beyond Peggys Pond lets one avoid the busy lake basins nearby.

Dip Top Gap view of Mount Daniel
Dip Top Gap view of Mount Daniel

See more trip photos here.

Dip Top Gap at a Glance

Access: Cathedral Rock Trailhead
Round Trip: 23 miles
Elevation Range: 3360′-6680′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, crampons
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

The Preface

I wanted a Mount Daniel do-over this summer. But instead, the pup and I visited Dip Top Gap north of the mountain. My goals were Lynch Peak and Dip Top Peak, and I wanted to see Pea Soup Lake up and close.

After reviewing some reports, I decided to avoid Deception Pass Trail to Jade Lake. In turn, it would let us avoid the weekend crowds on the popular trail. Our cross-country path past Peggys Pond would also offer views at every turn.

Cathedral Rock and Peggys Pond
Cathedral Rock and Peggys Pond

See more trip photos here.

Cathedral Rock Trail

The pup and I started walking Cathedral Rock Trail early under a cloudy sky. Surprisingly, we only saw a handful of people en route to Cathedral Pass. I thought more hikers would’ve already flooded the trails being the high season.

At Cathedral Pass, I chatted with two Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Section J thru-hikers. Soon, we walked past Peggys Pond and went uphill right away. Then we aimed for the 7000′ notch on Mount Daniel’s east ridge.

Taking the scenic route
Taking the scenic route

See more trip photos here.

Lynch Peak Climb

We dropped to 6400′ on the other side from the notch to bypass the buttress. Then we stayed at the same altitude and headed to Pea Soup Lake’s east end. The mountaintops were too cloudy to see either of our goals.

The route on Lynch Peak became visible as clouds slowly faded. It was enjoyable traversing the slabs on the southeast, followed by grass and scree to finish. Then we paced along the flat and broad summit to find the high point.

Jade Lake Basin down below
Jade Lake Basin down below

See more trip photos here.

Lynch Peak Summit Views

So far, the incredible views of the enormous Mount Daniel were even more so seeing it from here. Clouds shrouding Jade Lake Basin never gave us a good look. We were on top for a while before going down to Dip Top Gap.

Reports I read cited the lack of a feasible way to the gap. We tested the southwest ridgeline, where everywhere we looked would end by the cliffs. But we found a steep scree that took us off the ridge and down to an ice cave.

Dip Top Peak from Lynch Peak
Dip Top Peak from Lynch Peak

See more trip photos here.

Camping on Dip Top Gap

The thought of going under the ice cave made me cringe at first. But glad we could avoid it by squeezing through a narrow passage on the side. Before long, we had hopped through boulders and reached the gap shortly.

I set up the solo tent in one of the two excellent bivy spots on the pass. Views were spotty in the inversion, but it was clear outside the area. So after dinner, we hung out in the tent and waited as I looked at the maps.

A sun-kissed good night for Mount Hinman
A sun-kissed good night for Mount Hinman

See more trip photos here.

Dip Top Peak Climb

I read the maps while sometimes peeking outside for signs of clearing. Then one hour before sunset, the inversion lowered and let in all the views. So I quickly grabbed my gear, and we left for Dip Top Peak.

The summit was close, so I knew we could make it up before sunset. We went through sleep slabs and broad ledges on the east crest. Then soon, we reached the cited crux with lots of exposure but had no issues crossing it.

Until tomorrow
Until tomorrow

See more trip photos here.

Dip Top Peak Summit Views

Hooray! We reached the narrow summit 15 minutes before sunset. There were steep drop-offs on all sides with space for a party of three or four to sit comfortably. We had just enough time to savor the dramatic views.

Mount Daniel and Mount Hinman were so close together. I couldn’t fit both in the frame, even with an ultra-wide lens. After a quick visit, we retraced our steps at sunset. There was still plenty of light to reach camp before dark.

After sunset
After sunset

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Exiting Dip Top Gap via Deception Pass

It was another beautiful night looking up at the starry sky. The following day, we hung out at camp for a long time and chatted with several campers from Jade Lake. Then we packed up and left the gap afterward.

I bumped into Carrie from Instagram as they went to the gap with their partner. The plan was to exit via the lower lake for different scenery. Soon, we moved through Marmot Lake and Deception Pass to finish the loop.

Star trails over Dip Top Gap and Mount Daniel
Star trails over Dip Top Gap and Mount Daniel

See more trip photos here.

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