Mount Daniel II via Peggys Pond / 經佩姬池塘上丹尼爾山之二

The glorious one
The glorious one

See more trip photos here.

For Mount Daniel East Peak trip, check out this post.

The Lowdown on Mount Daniel

Access: Cathedral Pass Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3360′-7960′

Gear: helmet, ice axe, crampons
GPS Track: available

Preface

It finally happened eight years after my initial attempt! My friend had recently confirmed that we never made it up to the main summit in the whiteout. So it was nice to revisit and cross off the mountain from my redo list. This time yellow pup graciously offered to accompany me on my quest for the real summit.

After yesterday’s conditioner, we drove straight to Tucquala Meadows, and car camped at the trailhead. There were many deer hanging around, but our presence didn’t seem to faze them. They have become used to seeing humans and their pets. But at times they were getting too close for comfort even with the pup around. About two dozens cars combined in both parking lots.

Squaw Lake
Squaw Lake

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Cathedral Pass Trail

We hiked the Cathedral Pass Trail two years ago on the way to Dip Top Gap. The gap had the best campsite. We also had front-row seat view of the impressive Mount Daniel and Pea Soup Lake. Snow patches appeared before Squaw Lake. Then small snowfields showed up between the lake and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) junction.

Surprisingly, it was snow-free past the junction and around the west of Cathedral Rock. Then more snow appeared before we reached Peggys Pond. Several tents by the pond when we hiked passed quickly. The only group of campers we saw started a campfire. I guess they didn’t take the “no campfires above 4000/5000 feet” restrictions seriously.

Cathedral Rock with Peggys Pond
Cathedral Rock with Peggys Pond

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Peggys Pond to East Ridge

Lots of boot tracks in the snow minimized route-finding issues in getting onto the east ridge. We spotted three skiers going down the eastern basin just as we went up on the crest. Two groups came down as we approached the 6960′ saddle above Circle Lake. I then chatted with another group of two on the east slopes toward the east peak. I used crampons through this section.

The notch between the east peak and Point 7662 gave access to the west side. So we traversed the steep southwest slopes to the west saddle at 7640′. Then from there, we climbed a short distance onto middle summit’s southeast ridge. With crampons off, we traversed the ridge on scree and talus up to the top.

Main (left) and middle summits
Main (left) and middle summits

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Middle Summit to Main Summit

The sun had been coming in and out of the clouds up until now. Under the uncertain weekend weather forecast, the visibility was weak. But I was sure glad that there were no signs of rain. We couldn’t see much to the west because of the clouds. But we did hear voices coming from the main summit.

After a quick photo break and we were off to our real destination– the main summit! Clouds made it challenging to tell just how close we were to the main summit. But it ended up only taking us 15 minutes to get there. Voices we heard earlier were of the three skiers getting ready to ski down Lynch Glacier. I left the snow gear, and then we scrambled to the top.

Lynch Glacier with Peak Soup Lake
Lynch Glacier with Peak Soup Lake

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Mount Daniel Main Summit

It got windy fast after we got to the top. Occasionally, the fast-moving clouds made it possible to catch glimpses of the nearby peaks. Above us, the sky even cleared up a few times. But the clouds never truly lifted to provide a panoramic view of the area. I was just glad that the rain never came. At least we could see something from the summit!

We enjoyed an extended stay on the summit and waited out the clouds. So I could get some decent photos before heading back down. Before long, we were back at Peggys Pond. Then we uneventfully headed down the trail back to Tucquala Meadows.

Thanks for another great day
Thanks for another great day

See more trip photos here.

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