Two friends and I completed a Mt. Daniel Circumnavigation over Labor Day weekend for my 31 birthday.
We had smoke on Friday and Monday night, but otherwise, conditions were nearly perfect. Temperatures were comfy. Wind was howling occasionally. Few mosquitoes still out there. Plenty of berries!
This was our 2nd attempt at the trip, canceling last time due to a slow start - didn't feel rushed over 5 days, but many side trips could have been included with more time too.
One highlight for me was that so many points on this trip had me thinking "we're going to just walk through there?!" and they all work.
Day 1: Cathedral Pass TH to Circle Lake
Slightly crowded trailhead, can only imagine what Saturday morning brought. Smoke around. Peggy's Pond was filling up by 1pm, and Circle Lake had more people than I have ever seen there. 4-5 groups
Day 2: Circle Lake to Venus Saddle
Lovely views and steep ascents and descents with a side trip up near the Citadel. A little trouble finding the right route down to Venus without getting cliffed out. Dayhikers at Venus and 2 tents, but very little camp space. Enjoyed doing astrophotography with my new Pixel 4a.
Day 3: Venus Saddle to PSL outlet
Went low and rock hopped for hours to the Daniel Hinman col. Lots of loose rock, especially in gulleys, but didn't see anyone else. Slabs under the green pea lake were nice, but the snow was kinda rotten. Getting to the Pea Soup Lake waterfall slabs was rough, our line to traverse was too high and unstable, staying low would have been better. The area seemed very "geologically active" with rocks falling around us. The waterfall slabs were great - we stayed on the left side the whole way. Campsites near the outlet were very beautiful and very windy - a nice sunset illuminated the sound in the distance. West wind ceased overnight and switched to easterly.
Day 4: PSL Outlet to Upper Deception Creek Pond
Beautiful calm sunrise. Ascending immediately along the ridge from PSL's outlet brought us to a ledge below the slabby cliffs of Dip Top. This ledge brought us right to the gap - much less exposure and instability than we expected. The snow on the northside of Dip Top Gap was fine - old stuff exposed in the center and newer on the climber's left that we slid and plunged down with shoes and poles. My first time at Jade and Marmot, and there was a lot of poo and TP everywhere as expected - both have toilets to use, but Marmot's was a mess. Smoke moved back in, heavily.
Day 5: Upper Deception to Deception Pass TH
Camped at a little basin on the way to Deception Pass. Nice, oddly flat and grassy spot that seems to get a lot of use, but was quiet on a Monday night. Tons of berries.
That's a great trip. Thanks for the photos. Good choice on camping at the Pea Soup Lake outlet. That's a beautiful spot. I found the traverse from Venus over to Rebecca and Rowena and then ascent up the south ridge of Hinman to be a worthy side trip. Still plenty of rock hopping in the late season, but there's a bit of stable rock on ridge.
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