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

  • Reading time:10 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.

Cathedral Rock and Peggys Pond
Cathedral Rock and Peggys Pond

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.

Taking the scenic route
Taking the scenic route

See more trip photos here.

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.

The route on Lynch Peak soon became visible when the clouds dissipated. We enjoyed going through slabs on the southeast face, followed by grass and scree. But The broad and flat top made it hard to pinpoint the high point.

Jade Lake Basin down below
Jade Lake Basin down below

See more trip photos here.

Lynch Peak Summit Views

So far, we’ve had incredible views of Mount Daniel, but even more stunning seeing it from here. What an enormous mountain! Clouds had shrouded Jade Lake Basin, 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 reach the gap, so we tested the southwest ridgeline. But everywhere we looked would end by the cliffs. Fortunately, we later found a steep scree ramp to leave the ridge and came before an ice cave.

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

See more trip photos here.

On Dip Top Gap

I wouldn’t say I liked the idea of going under the ice cave at first. But lucky for us, we avoided it entirely from a narrow passage on the outside. Then, we hopped through boulders from the other side and reached the gap shortly.

Shortly, I set up our campsite in one of the two excellent bivy spots. Then we ate dinner and hung out in the tent as I looked at the maps. Views from the saddle were spotty because of the low clouds but clear everywhere else!

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 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

See more trip photos here.

Dip Top Peak Summit Views

At last, we made it to the narrow summit 15 minutes before sunset. It had steep drop-offs on all sides with lots of space to comfortably seat a party of three or four. But we only had enough time to savor the views.

Mount Daniel and Mount Hinman were close together. But even with an ultra-wide lens, I couldn’t fit the enormous mountains in the frame. After sunset, we made our way down and had ample daylight to reach camp before dark.

After sunset
After sunset

See more trip photos here.

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. Then I with a friend from Instagram as they headed up to the gap with their partner. The pup and I continued and 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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