Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt Daniel, Lynch Glacier (2014 vs 1941)
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Lowell_Skoog
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PostSat Sep 20, 2014 10:50 pm 
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In 1940, Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall requested that the National Ski Patrol select men who would become familiar with mountainous terrain in their local regions for national defense. The purpose was to have trained guides who could lead troops in the mountains for training or defensive operations.

In the Cascades, a National Ski Patrol Winter Defense Committee was formed and its members made many trips in summer and winter to scout mountainous areas. On September 7, 1941, Jim Borrow, Will F. Thompson and Dwight Watson made one of these trips to the 7300-foot peak north of Mount Daniel, via Deception Pass. (Peak baggers today call this "Lynch Peak" because of its proximity and view of the Lynch Glacier.)

Dwight Watson's notebook of scouting trips was given to Ome Daiber decades ago. I borrowed the notebook from the Daiber family and photographed its contents. The Lynch Peak trip is especially interesting to me because it was more alpine than most of the other scouting trips and it included early photographs of Mt Daniel.

So I retraced Watson's route up Lynch Peak and took a bunch of photos from the summit. It's interesting to look at the changes in 73 years. I didn't descend to Pea Soup Lake like Watson's group, but I've included his photos of the lake.

It's also interesting to compare Watson's 1941 photos with the Austin Post photo of the Lynch Glacier in Cascade Alpine Guide. Post's photo was probably taken 20 years after Watson's photo, but it shows little change in the glacier. Since the 1960s, the glacier has shrunken dramatically.

Mt Daniel in September 1941, by Dwight Watson
Mt Daniel in September 1941, by Dwight Watson
Mt Daniel in September 2014, by Lowell Skoog
Mt Daniel in September 2014, by Lowell Skoog
Pea Soup Lake in September 1941, by Dwight Watson
Pea Soup Lake in September 1941, by Dwight Watson
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Jetlag
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PostSat Sep 20, 2014 11:33 pm 
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Thanks so much for posting these comparison shots!!

I climbed the Lynch glacier route in the early 1970's and camped just above Pea Soup Lake in 2013. The change in the spread and the thickness of the Lynch glacier was hard to accept. I know that I wasn't fully able to explain it to my two young climbing partners. I needed your photo collection!

As for army mountain training, last month I had a chance to revisit Quandary Peak above Breckenridge, Colorado, one of the bases for the 10th Mountain troops. It offers wonderful split-boarding terrain now, but offered something a bit different back in the 1940's!
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DIYSteve
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 6:50 am 
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Pics of the Lynch Glacier's retreat amaze me each time I see them.  It would have skied later season back then.

I also heard that at one time Pea Soup Lake was the color of pea soup, not its current aquamarine hue.
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puzzlr
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 7:51 am 
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These historical photos are very interesting. Thanks for posting them. I'd like to hear more about your trip too.

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glenoid
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 11:30 am 
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Lowell, thanks for the post!! I have been reading recent TR's about Jade Lake, Dip Top Gap and Pea Soup Lake and the Lynch Glacier, and was wondering if that really was the area I went to in the 70's. When I climbed Daniel, we dirt traversed west from Dip Top, aimed at Pea Soup and climbed straight up the Lynch. The lake then was a lot smaller and indeed the color of split pea soup. The Lynch had a very large snow bridge on it at least 75 yards long by 50 yards wide about 1/3 the way up. I see the  way we started up the Lynch is now lake. We skirted well below that rock wall that plunges into the lake! (Back then, no was up there. No people, no tents, large fish, and peace and quiet! Times change......)
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 12:12 pm 
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Pea Soup lake was the color of Pea soup into the 80's. It also had icebergs then and there was a lower Hinman glacier which has now completely disappeared.  frown.gif

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Lowell_Skoog
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 5:01 pm 
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puzzlr wrote:
I'd like to hear more about your trip too.

Details:

Don't trust Google Earth when evaluating subalpine terrain! I didn't do any research for this trip except looking at Dwight Watson's notebook. I knew that they ascended from Deception Pass and I thought (from Google Earth) that I could ascend the NE basin below the peak after a relatively level traverse from the pass. Wrong! The basin is ringed by bluffs and green hell above 4800ft. Fortunately I was able to climb fairly easily out of the basin (north) to the shoulder due west of Deception Pass. The shoulder is where I should have gone in the first place and it is how I returned. (You leave the Marmot Lake trail around 4600ft and head up, following your nose.)

The shoulder between Deception Pass and Peak 7112ft gets steep around 5300ft. The route I took through the final steep bit seemed like the only good way in my immediate vicinity, so I marked it by leaning a log against a tree above the crux so I could positively identify it on the way down. Around 5500ft the shoulder eases back and you leave it to traverse SW into the basin NE of Lynch Peak (above all the obstacles I viewed from below). The traverse is pretty straightforward. The basin is easy hiking, although the footing is a bit loose in places. You aim for the north ridge of the peak and follow it (easy class 2 with a little class 3) to the summit. It took me 4-1/2 hours up from the car. I spent about an hour on the summit and returned the way I came, around 9 hours round-trip.

FYI - Lynch Peak is point 7280+ on the USGS topo.
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Lowell_Skoog
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 7:36 pm 
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The thing that amazes me the most about these pictures is the mind-boggling amount of ice that disappeared to expose Pea Soup Lake. Here is a photo from a 2013 ski trip that gives some sense of the scale of the cliffs above the lake. These are the cliffs to the right of the lowest ice snout in my September 2014 picture.


The skier is some distance from those cliffs, so they are bigger than they appear. But in the 1941 picture, the perennial ice extends over halfway up those cliffs. I'm having a hard time thinking of a more dramatic display of glacier recession on a non-volcanic peak in the Cascades.
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Jetlag
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 7:59 pm 
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Now that the PCT runs from Deception Pass to Peggy's Pond, Lowell, there's a relatively easy way to get to Pea Soup Lake or Dip Top if you head down the PCT from Deception Pass to just a couple hundred yards short of the Daniel Ford on the PCT. Easy basin slopes curve up and eventually to the left, then back again right on an easy ridge surrounding the basin below the Daniel glacier.

Agreed that Lynch Glacier . . . and what's left of the Whitechuck . . . are startling examples of glacier recession.
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Lowell_Skoog
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 8:25 pm 
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Jetlag wrote:
Now that the PCT runs from Deception Pass to Peggy's Pond, Lowell, there's a relatively easy way to get to Pea Soup Lake or Dip Top if you head down the PCT from Deception Pass to just a couple hundred yards short of the Daniel Ford on the PCT. Easy basin slopes curve up and eventually to the left, then back again right on an easy ridge surrounding the basin below the Daniel glacier.

Interesting to hear that. I looked over there as I was hiking around Hyas Lake and it looked brushy to me, so I didn't go there. Ultimately the route that I used had very little brush and I think it may be the most direct way from Deception Pass to the summit of Lynch Peak.
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Jetlag
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 8:41 pm 
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There IS potential brush, but I've gone directly up from just beyond the end of Hyas Lake on a strand of steep trees to reach the PCT twice in the last four years and the brush can be easily avoided. It's important to pick a line of trees to the right of the Daniel Ford early in the season, because it can be a hazardous crossing. This route is really fast to Dip Top in early season . . . a bit slower now because of some loose scree if you don't find the best line. One reason it's a fast route is that it's so direct - you don't even go to Deception Pass itself.

In any case, neat TR and reflections! Thanks for taking the time to share them.
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iron
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PostSun Sep 21, 2014 9:13 pm 
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thanks for the historical info lowell. i'm sure in the next decade, some glaciers we now as as "still present" will just vanish entirely. it is very sad.

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gb
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PostMon Sep 22, 2014 6:11 am 
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I think that many of the smaller, lower and thinner Cascade glaciers are not far behind those of Glacier National Park in disappearing. The bigger ones with larger high elevation deposition areas will, of course, remain much longer, if not indefinitely.

Lowell, do you remember the traverse we did through the Alpine Lakes in (I believe) 1974? The most dramatic example of down wasting to me was the Hyas Creek Glacier. In September of that year we came straight down the headwall on residual snow and ice. I don't have a picture of that. All that is left of the Hyas Creek Glacier now is a bit of valley ice. The cliffs above are essentially impassable.

To me, the biggest thing that's changed is that the summers have become much sunnier in the mountains. Rain storms were commonly about every two weeks or so, all summer long, more frequent until about July 15th and in August. (This summer we did get summer rains but they were unlike any I've ever seen here, monsoonal with record rainfalls.) Good weather used to be at a premium now it's the norm. September was often the most reliable month for long trips. Even the onshore flow, which cools the Puget lowlands periodically is different. It often used to extend to fairly high elevations in the mountains, bringing drizzle and fog and blocking the sun from melting summer ice and snow.
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TK
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PostMon Sep 22, 2014 6:44 am 
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This are great pictures, thanks for posting them!

I don't think we should really be surprised at the extent of glacier loss in the past century.  The glaciers in the Cascades were growing considerably during the 17th-19th century. There are lots of good articles put out by the Quarternary Research Center at the UW on this topic.

We were exiting the "little ice age", which ended in the late 1800s by the time the 20th century began, most of the glaciers were already retreating.

It would be interesting to know how much the Cascade glaciers retreated during the medieval warming period (between 900 AD and 1300 AD), before the began to expand again. I'd imagine that the glaciers in the Cascades were smaller than they are today during that period.

What does a new warming period superimposed on "climate change" mean. I suppose we will see.
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Jetlag
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PostMon Sep 22, 2014 7:06 am 
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gb, for a pretty good late season picture of the Hyas Creek glacier in the early 70's you can check page 199 of the 1973 edition of Beckey's guide. The cliffs still look impassable in that photo, but I do remember going through them on a snow finger with relative ease. The editor of that guide, John Pollock, and I went up in early season before the guide was published, and I was able to glissade the entire face in one long swoop. Quite a difference now!

Also, in the 1973 guide Austin Post's spectacular picture of the Lynch glacier on 201 clearly shows the relatively small size of Pea Soup lake and the icebergs referred to earlier in this thread. Lynch Draw is still one of the most stunning spots in the Central Cascades, but it was even more stunning then
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt Daniel, Lynch Glacier (2014 vs 1941)
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