16m 5,200ft gain
Mount Daniel is the highest peak between I-90 and Hwy 2 on the Cascade Crest. It’s also the highest peak in King County but it can’t be seen from Seattle. It’s a giant quintuple-crowded massif with high ridges, bowls and a few glaciers still hanging on. Dwarfing everything in its immediate vicinity the views are world class! This is definitely one of my favorite hikes in Washington. The standard route starts from the Salmon Le Sac trailhead, passes Peggy’s Pond then traverses up and over ridges to the handful of summit pinnacles.
From Baring Mountain:
From Evergreen Mountain:
From Dragontail Peak:
1st Trip: 10/13/18
Pierre, Ben and I slept at the trailhead for an early start the next day. We got going around 5am and didn’t see a soul until our way out. The route starts on a nice trail to Peggy’s Pond passing Squaw Lake and Cathedral Rock. You’ll also cross over the PCT.
The first light was gorgeous.
The trail starts to fade after Peggy’s Pond but the right direction is pretty clear.
Here’s our first view of the mountain with the first traverse ahead.
The view of Circle Lake, the Citadel, Rainier and the Chimney Rock area was unbelievable!
No matter where we were Rainier always seemed to be perfectly framed.
At the base of the east peak we started the second traverse which involved more scree and scrambling. Cathedral Rock was starting to look tiny.
The view of Venus and Spade Lakes are mind blowing. No wonder it’s called the Alpine Lakes Wilderness!
From here we traversed under the east peak and began working our way up towards the saddle of the middle and main summits.
At the saddle we enjoyed our first northern view and a look down on the Lynch Glacier.
The summit block is an easy little scramble. The rocks jolting out of the peak look like kryptonite or a massive hand.
Seemed like every mountain in Washington was out. Crazy beautiful views!
We took a long break at the true summit and decided to save the other peaks for another time. This is without a doubt a mountain worth repeating!
Back at the saddle we could see the mountain’s shadow on the Lynch Glacier which drains into Pea Soup Lake.
It was a joy to retrace our steps and take in the clear views once again!
We saw only one cloud all day and it was hovering over Rainier.
Once below the east peak it was smooth sailing back to the car. I took quite a few photos!
Coming up on Peggy’s Pond and Cathedral Rock:
Perfect conditions and a perfect team lead to a perfect day in the Cascades! My plan is to come back with as many people that I can find named Daniel!