Forum Index > Trip Reports > Alpine Lakes High Route Extension - Sept 4-5 2021
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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 2011 | TRs | Pics
Location: Grand Junction
Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors
PostMon Sep 06, 2021 10:02 pm 
Trip Stats
38 miles on foot
16,000 feet elevation gain
11.3 miles on bike

The map below shows the route we took (note the route line is approximate...not a tracked gpx).

Over the Labor Day holiday weekend Austin had contacted me about a route of his that he cooked up that combines both the Alpine Lakes High Route and part of the Alpine Lakes Crest Traverse for a long but doable two day trip that would include three peaks (Iron Cap, Hinman and Daniel). After three long days working on the house I wasn't too keen on starting insanely early on Saturday so Austin picked me up at 7am and we were off to the West Fork Foss River trailhead off Highway 2. I brought a bike which we stashed up at the Tonga Ridge Trailhead, then drove back down to Foss Lakes TH and by 10am we started walking up the popular trail towards Copper Lake. We quickly made it to Copper, then past Little Heart and to Big Heart Lake in a few hours and stopped there for a quick lunch break with the rest of the Labor Day hiker masses. We then continued up the unofficial trail that heads up the ridge separating Big Heart and Angeline Lake. This trail seemed to have some extra ups and downs, but the views down to both lakes were stunning. We make it to Chetwoot Lake where we refilled some water and ran into a bunch of additional campers as we began the ascent up the talus to the west ridge of Iron Cap Mountain. This ridge was a fun scramble with excellent views down to Iron Cap Lake below and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley on the south side.

We crossed paths with a solo guy originally from Venezuela on the ridge where the crux notch is located. A 3rd class downclimb was required to get down to the notch, after which we followed a wide ramp veering left traversing below the summit and meeting up with the broad north ridge. Here we dropped our packs and quickly walked the final 150 feet to the summit. Far off in the distance to the east we could see Mount Hinman, and we realized we would not be making it to Pea Soup Lake before dark, so we changed our destination goal to La Bohn Lakes. Some lenticular clouds were visible around but they didn't worry us too much. We descended the north ridge a few hundred feet, then cut sharply back right and schwacked throguh some trees to continue in a SE direction below the cliffs on the east face of Iron Cap. A wide talus strewn ramp offers easy passage to the 5100 foot level in the basin between Iron Cap and Tank Lakes. This traverse ended up being the least enjoyable part of the day due to scraggly trees often getting in the way, and us probably being off the established path which was impossible to really follow the whole way. We continued up the next hill to Tank Lakes arriving there a bit before 7pm. The place was littered with tents with a couple dozen people there, so we didn't stay long and continued down towards the Necklace Valley on the main path up to Tank Lakes. We rounded the bottom of La Bohn Peak's north face at 5100 feet and reascended 900 feet to the uppermost La Bohn Lake where we arrived at 8:15 just in time to not need headlights. We set up Austin's awesome pyramid trekking pole tent, cooked dinner and quickly went to bed as it was a long 10 hours where we covered 14 miles and about 8000 feet of gain.

Copper Lake
Copper Lake
Big Heart Lake
Big Heart Lake
Angeline Lake
Angeline Lake
Trout Lake below
Trout Lake below
Big Heart Lake
Big Heart Lake
Small tarn enroute to Chetwoot
Small tarn enroute to Chetwoot
Chimney Rock in distance
Chimney Rock in distance
Chetwoot Lake
Chetwoot Lake
Angeline Lake
Angeline Lake
Iron Cap Mountain
Iron Cap Mountain
Austin with Iron Cap Lake below
Austin with Iron Cap Lake below
Chimney Rock and Overcoat Peaks
Chimney Rock and Overcoat Peaks
Iron Cap Lake
Iron Cap Lake
On the west ridge of Iron Cap
On the west ridge of Iron Cap
Iron Cap
Iron Cap
Traversing the wide ramp on Iron Cap
Traversing the wide ramp on Iron Cap
Hinman on the left
Hinman on the left
Glacier Peak in the distance
Glacier Peak in the distance
Chimney Rock, Overcoat, Lemah and Rainier
Chimney Rock, Overcoat, Lemah and Rainier
Lenticulars
Lenticulars
Summit Chief on the left from Iron Cap
Summit Chief on the left from Iron Cap
Otter Lake below
Otter Lake below
Descending Iron Cap
Descending Iron Cap
Bears Breast Mountain
Bears Breast Mountain
Summit Chief
Summit Chief
East side of Iron Cap
East side of Iron Cap
Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock
Tank Lake reflection
Tank Lake reflection
Tank Lake
Tank Lake
La Bohn Peak
La Bohn Peak

The following morning we were up early and moving by 6:30am. We quickly wasted no time making our way up the west ridge of Mount Hinman and followed the ridge to the summit towers as the clouds would envelope us, then clear over and over again. As we neared the summit towers, we passed just below most of then on the north side. The fog made it difficult to determine exactly which peak was the highest one, and I ended up topping out on three peaks, one of the steep towers, the west peak marked as Point 7492 on the USGS quad, and the east peak. I thought the west peak was the highest. We were able to see Pea Soup Lake off to the east when the clouds cleared and didn't think it looked too far away. My answer to the question "why can't we just traverse the ridge directly to Daniel" were also answered upon gazing at the chosspile of cliffs that gaurded Mount Daniel from the west.

After a summit break, we descended down the NE shoulder of Hinman on glacier slabs for 1500 feet to a couple sizable alpine tarns that were just breathtaking. Here, Austin badly rolled his ankle and would have to endure the remaining 20ish miles with noticible swelling. The sidehill traversing to Pea Soup Falls on crappy talus was not too enjoyable, but once next to the falls it was fun glacier slab scrambling up to Pea Soup Lake. This lake has been a dream of mine to see ever since I saw a photo of it back in 2010 so it was great to finally visit this place. At first glance it did not appear there would be any feasible route up the north side of Mount Daniel this late in the season, but after taking a closer look at Austin's gpx track the route up follows the far right side and completely bypasses the lower Lynch Glacier, which would have required rock and ice climbing to get up that way!

We filled water again and started up the ridge that rises above the SW side of Pea Soup Lake. Initially it was an easy walk until the terrain steepened at about 6800 feet. A late season steep (35 degree) snowfield with quite a bit of bare ice exposed almost thwarted us from continuing up any more since we I only had aluminum crampons with trail-runners, but I managed to pick my way up about 50 feet of snow trying to find areas where there was still a couple incles of snow atop the ice. I cut off the snow and onto the rock and we started class 3 and 4 scrambling up the rock right of the snow until we reached the far west side of the upper Lynch Glacier. Here we had to traverse horizontally east across the glacier to pass below the cliffs coming down from the lower west summit of Mount Daniel but gaping crevasses and bare ice made the traverse in the typical spot unfeasible. Therefore, we ascended another 100 feet or so to a less steep secton of the upper glacier where there was less ice and crevasses and began walking across. We found a spot to transition to the rocks at the base of the cliff and re-emerge onto the eastern part of the upper glacier. Hundreds of rocks had been shed off this cliff and rained down on the ice which we traversed across so I didn't dilly dally here long. Once on the easy side of the Lynch Glacier, it was a straightforward ascent to the saddle between Mount Daniel and Middle Daniel stringing together sections of the glacier with snow still covering the ice.

We dropped our packs at the saddle and made the final 75 feet or so to the summit and enjoyed our hard earned summit. We saw at least a dozen other people headed up and down Mount Daniel all of which coming up the normal route from Peggys Pond, which we would be grateful to have a trail to follow for the remainder of our day. After 10 minutes enjoying the summit views we started down, following the trail down the SE ridge all the way to Peggys Pond. By this point it was 3pm and we still had 15 miles to walk to get all the way back to the Tonga Ridge Trailhead, then I had to bike ride another 11 miles to get Austins car so needless to say we were likely going to be arriving after dark.

The short spur trail from Peggys Pond back to the PCT was a quick jaunt but very dusty. Once on the PCT we didn't waste time zooming down, eating many, many berries as we went, which were in full swing and provided enough extra calories to keep me going. At 5:20pm we reached Deception Pass and continued down the Deception Creek Trail for another 5 miles to where the Fisher Creek/Tonga Ridge Trail intersects. I pounded out the final 1600 feet of gain back up to Tonga Ridge as it got dark (that last hill really sucked after two long days). At 9:45pm I picked up the stashed bike and coasted down the hill back to the West Fork Foss TH, which still took me an hour to ride despite being all downhill. Picked up ustin and we drove back to Monroe, which everything was closed except Jack in the Box where I stuffed myself with greasy junk food...ohh it tasted so good. It was another 2am arrival back in Renton, but the trip was amazing and very memorable with smoke free skies and comfortable weather.

La Bohn Lake
La Bohn Lake
First light on Summit Chief Mountain
First light on Summit Chief Mountain
Sunrise over Summit Chief
Sunrise over Summit Chief
Austin admires the show
Austin admires the show
Starting up Hinman
Starting up Hinman
La Bohn Lake
La Bohn Lake
Typical terrain on Hinman
Typical terrain on Hinman
Lake Rowena
Lake Rowena
Hiking into the clouds
Hiking into the clouds
Navigating the ridge on Hinman
Navigating the ridge on Hinman
False summit we had to hike around
False summit we had to hike around
Mount Hinman summit towers
Mount Hinman summit towers
Hinman
Hinman
Hinman
Hinman
Hinman Glacier dying
Hinman Glacier dying
Pea Soup Lake
Pea Soup Lake
Unnamed lake below Hinman Glacier
Unnamed lake below Hinman Glacier
Unnamed tarn at 6000 feet NE of Hinman
Unnamed tarn at 6000 feet NE of Hinman
Panorama taken on our Hinman descent
Panorama taken on our Hinman descent
View down the East Fork Foss River
View down the East Fork Foss River
Traversing to Pea Soup Falls
Traversing to Pea Soup Falls
Pea Soup Lake
Pea Soup Lake
Mount Daniel and Lynch Glacier
Mount Daniel and Lynch Glacier
Starting up Daniel
Starting up Daniel
Austin with Pea Soup behind
Austin with Pea Soup behind
Ascending the steep icy snowfield
Ascending the steep icy snowfield
Dip Top Peak
Dip Top Peak
Pea Soup Panorama
Pea Soup Panorama
Austin scrambling 4th class to bypass more steep snow
Austin scrambling 4th class to bypass more steep snow
Dip Top Peak
Dip Top Peak
Lynch Glacier
Lynch Glacier
Pea Soup Lake from upper Lynch Glacier
Pea Soup Lake from upper Lynch Glacier
Austin traversing the upper Lynch Glacier
Austin traversing the upper Lynch Glacier
Middle Daniel
Middle Daniel
Middle Daniel from the saddle
Middle Daniel from the saddle
Daniels Benchmark
Daniels Benchmark
Heading up to summit
Heading up to summit
Mount Daniel summit block
Mount Daniel summit block
Summit view
Summit view
Stuart
Stuart
Saddle we ascended to on Lynch Glacier
Saddle we ascended to on Lynch Glacier
Rock spire just below Daniel summit
Rock spire just below Daniel summit
Other hikers at the saddle
Other hikers at the saddle
Mount Daniel (left) and Middle Daniel (right)
Mount Daniel (left) and Middle Daniel (right)
Venus and Spade Lakes
Venus and Spade Lakes
Another rock spire on the SE ridge
Another rock spire on the SE ridge
Mount Daniel SE ridge view
Mount Daniel SE ridge view
Circle Lake
Circle Lake
Red already here!
Red already here!
Cathedral Rock
Cathedral Rock
Peggys Pond
Peggys Pond
Cathedral Rock from PCT
Cathedral Rock from PCT
View down to Hyas Lake
View down to Hyas Lake

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The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!!
SummitPost Profile
See my website at:
http://www.lemkeclimbs.com

InFlight, mosey, Dave Weyrick, contour5, Alpine Pedestrian, GaliWalker, kite, Randito, RichP, Pef, zimmertr, Tom
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timberghost
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 836 | TRs | Pics
timberghost
Member
PostTue Sep 07, 2021 6:42 am 
The same route where that avid hiker lady fell to her death a year or so back. Would like to see less people encouraged to partake on this route

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silence
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Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 4399 | TRs | Pics
silence
Member
PostTue Sep 07, 2021 6:52 am 
Wow!!!  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

Enjoyed the read and awesome photos. Great route. Well done!

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. Bob Dylan
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4449 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostTue Sep 07, 2021 8:31 am 
Excellent!

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani
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yukon222
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Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 1878 | TRs | Pics
yukon222
Member
PostTue Sep 07, 2021 9:19 am 
Fun looking traverse. Some unique picture angles too! 👍

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Ski
><((((>



Joined: 28 May 2005
Posts: 11818 | TRs | Pics
Location: tacoma
Ski
><((((>
PostTue Sep 07, 2021 10:27 am 
Great stuff as always, Matt. up.gif

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 23712 | TRs | Pics
Location: Cle Elum
Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob
PostTue Sep 07, 2021 1:20 pm 
Quite an adventure.  Nice work there guys.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6936 | TRs | Pics
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Sep 07, 2021 10:49 pm 
Nice to be young! That's a great concept for a really big day. I was a little surprised to see Chain Lakes completely melted out. But there are still some patches of snow in the shady alpine areas. That big winter snow pack is pretty much gone at these elevations.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
Posts: 92 | TRs | Pics
Location: Greater Cascadia
Midnight Slogger
'Schwack Job
PostThu Sep 09, 2021 7:35 pm 
Fantastic shots, and strong work! Thanks for inspiring report.

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Alpine Lakes High Route Extension - Sept 4-5 2021
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