Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Daniel, 11/29 – 11/30/08
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4046 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Dec 08, 2008 2:00 am 
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Dates: November 29-30, 2008
Destination: Mt. Daniel
Party: Dicey, Yana, Heather M, Gabriel D, Matt

Who’d have thought you could drive to the Cathedral Rock trailhead at the end of November?
But there was less than a foot of snow on the road, and barely a few feet of snow all the way up on the highest parts of Daniel.

Snowpack for the trip was much more like late spring than early winter - varying from minor slush to deep enough for snowshoes.  The snowshoes went on or off at least eight times between trailhead and summit.

Clouds both obscured and enhanced the view – hiding the peaks from below, but highlighting the dark summits between bands of bright white up high.  Overhead, gray drizzle turned to clear blue and then back again, timed just right to match our summit visit.

Lakes slowly conceded to the winter cold – the big lakes still mostly open water, but the smaller tarns reduced to shrinking patches of ice amid the encroaching snow.  In between, the transition crafted complex swirls of ice and snow across the water’s surfaces.

Daniel Trip Map
Daniel Trip Map

Saturday: Cathedral Rock Trailhead to Peggy’s Pond

We didn’t need our snowshoes till we were above Squaw Lake.  Some places under the trees, the ground was still almost bare.

Out in the open, we began getting views of Cathedral Rock, with a rainbow coming across the valley right onto the rock.  Or maybe being cast upward by the rock out across the valley.

Cathedral Rock throwing a rainbow
Cathedral Rock throwing a rainbow

Deep Lake had intricate swirling patterns of snow, ice, and open water, reflecting mountain slopes on the icy parts and glaring sunlight on the melted parts.

Deep Lake Snowy
Deep Lake Snowy
Deep Lake Shiny
Deep Lake Shiny

The only tricky part was traversing the steep slope below Cathedral Rock, with a mix of frozen ground, shallow snow, and wet rock to challenge our traction.

Peggy’s Pond had solid gray ice, with some widening ovals of snow accumulating on its surface.

Crossing below Cathedral Rock
Crossing below Cathedral Rock
Arriving at Peggy’s Pond
Arriving at Peggy’s Pond

After setting up camp, I wandered around to look at the little tarns in the area.  Several had become just a small contracting circle of blue or gray ice left open at the center of an expanding rim of snow.

Blue Tarn near camp
Blue Tarn near camp
Blue Tarn Close-up
Blue Tarn Close-up
Gray Tarn near camp
Gray Tarn near camp

The day was short.  It was a dark and drizzly night.

Dinner
Dinner

Stats: TH 3360, Squaw lake 4841, Peggy’s Pond 5590.
5.5 miles, 2500 cumulative gain, 6 hours.


Sunday: Daniel via SE Ridge & East Bowl

It rained for the next eight hours.  But this time of year, that’s only half the night!  Sometime after midnight, the patter of raindrops ceased.  While we made breakfast before dawn, the skies were clearing.

We began hiking up the SE ridge with sunrise spreading an orange band below the eastern clouds.

Departing Peggy’s Pond at sunrise
Departing Peggy’s Pond at sunrise
Higher up
Higher up
Passing a tarn on the SE ridge
Passing a tarn on the SE ridge

The east summit of Daniel emerged from the clouds.

East Daniel materializing from the mist
East Daniel materializing from the mist
East Daniel above the clouds
East Daniel above the clouds
Long legs help the ascent
Long legs help the ascent

Behind us, Cathedral Rock and Stuart played hide and seek among the clouds.

Cathedral & Stuart Hiding
Cathedral & Stuart Hiding
Ready or Not
Ready or Not
Here We Come
Here We Come
Tag, You’re It
Tag, You’re It

Bands of fog and cloud made the summits really stand out, separating and stacking each layer of terrain.

Cathedral amid layers of cloud and fog
Cathedral amid layers of cloud and fog
Hiking above it all
Hiking above it all

Circle Lake came into view.  Looks like some of the ice sheets have been drifting on the surface.

Circle Lake
Circle Lake

We had been hiking on the ridge crest, but beyond Point 7020 the ridge became thin snow over frozen rubble, so we got off into Daniel’s east basin.

Putting snowshoes back on in Daniel’s east basin
Putting snowshoes back on in Daniel’s east basin

Venus & Spade came into view.  Venus Lake had only a thin film of clear ice, and Spade Lake appeared ice-free.  Volcanoes hovered on the horizon above them.

Venus & Spade
Venus & Spade
Venus & Spade, Adams & Rainier
Venus & Spade, Adams & Rainier

We made such good progress up the snow that we went too far and ended up at the east summit.  But we didn’t want to be on East Daniel.  We needed to have traversed westward off the ridge lower down.  And we were eating up a short supply of daylight.

It looked like we might not have time to finish, but we decided to see how much farther we could get before our turn-around time.  High in the mountains, I’d much rather keep traveling and experience more of the place, especially on such a beautiful day, even if we don’t reach the summit.

So we backtracked downhill to where we could cross onto the west side of the ridge, and traverse across the loose rubble to the East-Middle Daniel Col.  From there, progress went surprisingly fast on easy terrain past Middle Daniel and on to West Daniel, the highest summit.

Traversing off of East Daniel
Traversing off of East Daniel
Easy terrain to Middle & West Daniel
Easy terrain to Middle & West Daniel

Pea Soup came into view, looking more like navy blue soup.

Pea Soup Lake & Glacier Peak
Pea Soup Lake & Glacier Peak

The scramble to West Daniel was easy.  Views were wide and sunny.

Approaching Daniel’s Summit
Approaching Daniel’s Summit
Short scramble on West Daniel
Short scramble on West Daniel
Heather, Yana, Dicey, & Gabriel at the summit
Heather, Yana, Dicey, & Gabriel at the summit
Matt at the summit
Matt at the summit
Hinman from West Daniel
Hinman from West Daniel
Snoqualmie Crest – Bears Breast, Summit Chief, Chimney Rock, Lemah, Chikamin
Snoqualmie Crest – Bears Breast, Summit Chief, Chimney Rock, Lemah, Chikamin

We trotted back down to the east summit and followed the beaten track back to the col just north of Point 7662.

Returning past Middle Daniel (look for three dots on the snow and rocks)
Returning past Middle Daniel (look for three dots on the snow and rocks)
Traversing past East Daniel (upper track incoming, lower track outgoing)
Traversing past East Daniel (upper track incoming, lower track outgoing)
The col north of Point 7662
The col north of Point 7662
Venus & Spade in brighter sunlight
Venus & Spade in brighter sunlight

Rather than use the ridge, we hiked down the snowy bowl all the way to camp, staying toward the south side for a few steep parts.

Looking back to East Daniel from a lower step in the bowl
Looking back to East Daniel from a lower step in the bowl
Shiny little tarn in the lower bowl
Shiny little tarn in the lower bowl

Stats for Daniel Ascent:
Peggy’s Pond 5590, East Daniel 7899, East-Middle Col 7620, Daniel 7960.
Round trip 5 miles, 2800 cumulative gain, 6:30 hours.


Sunday: Exit Hike

At our camp, I discovered that I had left a cup of tea unfinished from breakfast.  Mmm, iced tea to sip while I packed.

Iced tea at camp while Yana is consumed by her pack
Iced tea at camp while Yana is consumed by her pack

The snow had become softer and wetter.  Where we had hiked across frozen tarns on the way in, our snowshoe tracks floated amid slushy snow and wet ice.

Tracks across tarns below Peggy’s Pond
Tracks across tarns below Peggy’s Pond
See the snowshoe tracks on the ice?
See the snowshoe tracks on the ice?

Then it was back down the trail to the cars, using headlamps for the last thousand feet or so.

Goat watching our progress past Cathedral Rock
Goat watching our progress past Cathedral Rock
Drizzle returning at the bridge across Cle Elum River
Drizzle returning at the bridge across Cle Elum River

Exit stats:  5.5 miles, 250 gain, 3 hours.
Total trip: 16 miles, 5500 gain.


Daniel

While I was on the summit of Mt. Daniel, I couldn’t help thinking about my son Daniel.  Mt. Daniel is an impressive mountain, and it was a beautiful scenic day for a climb, but it pales to insignificance next to the pride I take in Daniel, and the rewards I have experienced in raising him.  At thirteen years old, it is sometimes a rude and rough journey, but shining through the teenage turbulence is the maturing shape of the fine young man he’s becoming - a caring heart that doesn’t hesitate to help others, a creative mind full of imagination and enthusiasm, and a distinct personality unafraid to express himself.  It was wonderful knowing him as a child, and I look forward to discovering the adult that he will become, while we work our way through the challenges of these years in between.

Daniel being polite two days earlier at Thanksgiving
Daniel being polite two days earlier at Thanksgiving
Daniel being rude two days earlier at Thanksgiving
Daniel being rude two days earlier at Thanksgiving
Daniel
Daniel

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Schmidt Altitude
Whippet Entourage



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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Schmidt Altitude
Whippet Entourage
PostMon Dec 08, 2008 2:35 am 
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Another entertaining read with great photos Matt.  Especially liked "Hiking Above It All"

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"Forest 101: These big wood stick things are called trees.  The big rocks are called mountains, and the little rocks are their babies."  Elliott from Open Season
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Go Jo
of the lykkens



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
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Go Jo
of the lykkens
PostMon Dec 08, 2008 3:14 am 
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Matt wrote:
Departing Peggy’s Pond at sunrise
Departing Peggy’s Pond at sunrise

It's always a wonderful feeling to poke your head out of the tent and find clearing skies and a beautiful sunrise. Glad the views opened up in time for your summit traverse.
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DIYSteve
mere tourist



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
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DIYSteve
mere tourist
PostMon Dec 08, 2008 8:27 am 
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Thanks.  Great pics.  Daniel in late November!   up.gif
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peltoms
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peltoms
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 8:37 am 
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A trip to Daniels in December, unreal without snowshoes and stopping due to leg ache much lower.  Daniel looks older than 13, looks ready for Mount Daniels in better conditions.
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wamtngal
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 9:30 am 
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I've been looking forward to this trip report and it did not disappoint! Mmmmm, eye candy! Nice work all!  up.gif  up.gif

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Opinions expressed here are my own.
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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
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iron
getting old
PostMon Dec 08, 2008 10:11 am 
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Quote:

Long legs help the ascent
Long legs help the ascent

dang, those must be nice to have!

--------------
man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Slide Alder Slayer
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 1:15 pm 
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Outstanding trip and pictures!!!
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adamcwatts
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 2:34 pm 
:)
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I always wanted to see a trip report of Danielle in December and now I have. It looks like snow shoes are a must for the climb although I would think that crampons would be used more, am I wrong?
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4046 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Dec 08, 2008 2:49 pm 
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I'd always bring both snowshoes and crampons in winter.  Which one you need depends on conditions.  This year there was exceptionally little snow, and we could mostly boot up, more like spring conditions.  Usually, early in the winter like this, you'd have unconsolidated snow and have to use snowshoes.  I've also known people who went the whole way on crampons later in winter on top of a hard crust.

Also, if there were normal snow depths, avalanche danger would require careful evaluation.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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adamcwatts
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 4:17 pm 
Thanks
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Makes sense Matt, thanks for explaining  biggrin.gif
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BirdDog
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 4:23 pm 
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Way to go folks, nice!

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"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country."
Teddy Roosevelt August 6, 1912
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run4cache
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 4:53 pm 
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I'm jealous.  What a GREAT trip!
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touron
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touron
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 6:38 pm 
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Beautiful pictures! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif   Very neat the liquidy icy appearance of Deep Lake and how it reflects.

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Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
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Tazz
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PostMon Dec 08, 2008 6:59 pm 
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sheesh Matt you need to get a bit faster on your trs...I have been WAITING for this one!!!!! frothing at the mouth... winksmile.gif

good stuff folks...great images!! I love that climb.
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