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

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Dip Top Gap by Mount Daniel gets the front seat view of the mountain plus Pea Soup Lake. The great camp spot on the pass also sees Jade Lake to the north. Best of all, the cross-country route beyond Peggys Pond avoids the busy lake basins altogether.

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 Pass 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 goal was to climb Lynch Peak and Dip Top Peak and see Pea Soup Lake up and close.

After reading through some reports, I decided to go cross-country. That way, we would avoid the crowd on the Deception Pass Trail. The beaten path would also offer views at every turn.

See more trip photos here.

Cathedral Pass Trail

The pup and I left the trailhead early under a cloudy sky. Surprisingly, we didn’t see many people on the Cathedral Pass Trail. It’s the high season. So I thought more hikers would inundate the trails.

Later I chatted with two Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Section J thru-hikers at the junction. Then we walked past Peggys Pond and went uphill. We aimed for the 7000′ notch on Mount Daniel’s east ridge.

Cathedral Rock and Peggys Pond
Cathedral Rock and Peggys Pond

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Lynch Peak Climb

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

When the clouds broke, I finally saw the route on Lynch Peak. We enjoyed going through slabs on the southeast face. Then we switched over to heather, with scree soon followed. It was hard to tell the high point on this broad and flat summit.

Jade Lake Basin down below
Jade Lake Basin down below

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Lynch Peak Summit

So far, we’ve had an incredible view of Mount Daniel. But seeing it from here was even more stunning. What an enormous mountain! Clouds had shrouded Jade Lake Basin, and so I never got a clear look. We hung out by the summit cairn for a while. Then we went down toward Dip Top Gap.

I read in reports that there wasn’t an easy way to go down to the gap. So the pup and I tested the southwest ridgeline for a bit. But every way we looked would end before cliffs. Later, we found a steep scree ramp that led down to an ice cave. So that allowed us to get off the ridge.

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

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Arriving at Dip Top Gap

I wouldn’t say I liked the idea of going under the ice cave at first. But lucky for us, we were able to bypass it entirely from the outside. Then from the other side, we hopped through boulders to reach the gap.

Afterward, I set up our campsite in one of the two excellent bivy spots. Then we ate dinner and hung out in the tent. Views from the pass were minimal because of the low clouds. But everywhere else, it was clear, of course!

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

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Dip Top Peak Climb

I killed time by reading the maps of the area. But I periodically peeked outside for signs of clearing. Then one hour before sunset, the temperature inversion formed in the valley. Being above clouds, we could now see everything. So I grabbed my gear, and we left for Dip Top Peak.

Summit didn’t look very far away. So I knew we could make it up before sunset. Soon, we went up on the east ridge crest. But not before going through sleep slabs and wide ledges. Then below the top, we reached the high-exposure crux. But we had no issues crossing it.

Until tomorrow
Until tomorrow

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Dip Top Peak Summit Views

At last, 15 minutes before sunset, we made it up to the top. There was only enough time to savor the views we had missed. The narrow summit had steep drop-offs on all sides. But there was plenty of space to seat a party of three or four comfortably.

Mount Daniel and Mount Hinman were close together. Even with an ultra-wide lens, I couldn’t fit both in the frame because they were enormous. We soon made our way down after sunset. But we had ample daylight to reach camp before dark.

After sunset
After sunset

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Leaving 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, long time. Later I chatted with a few campers who came up from Jade Lake. Afterward, we packed up and left the gap.

I had planned on going out via the lower lakes. There I met a friend from Instagram as they headed up to the gap with their partner. The pup and I continued and later went through Deception Pass to finish the loop trip.

Star trails over Dip Top Gap
Star trails over Dip Top Gap

See more trip photos here.

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