Mt. Daniel (7960′), Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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I headed up King County high point Mt. Daniel (7960′) on Sunday with Erik, ignoring a sore throat that had set in over the weekend. Daniel looms large over the western portion of Alpine Lakes Wilderness, solidly in the middle of the Central Cascades. The northern aspects of Daniel (and its lower, more remote neighbor, Hinman) also have the only real glaciers to speak of the immediate region, gleaming and obvious from vantage points much further north. Like most glacier-clad peaks in Washington, it’s gorgeous ski terrain, and the relative inaccessibility of the mountain despite its proximity to Seattle makes it an appealing place to visit.

We spent a casual seven and a half hours on the 15 mile / 5700′ route, wishing time afforded a lap or two on Lynch Glacier, or better yet, a traverse to Hinman. It’s always good to have reasons to return places, though, especially in a state with an embarrassment of riches to otherwise distract you.

Is this the end of the (formal) ski season? I hope not, but it’s getting pretty mushy out there, and the next nine days of sun and warm nights aren’t going to help.

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Lynch Glacier above ever-growing Pea Soup Lake, with Glacier Peak and the Dakobed Range prominent on the skyline. A keen eye should be able to pick out Baker and Sloan Peak (“Matterhorn of the Cascades”) as well.

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Skinning begins in a gully above Peggy’s pond, at 5700′.

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Erik traverses to the west peak of Mt. Daniel above the Lynch Glacier headwall

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Cathedral Rock, Mt. Stuart and the Wenatchee Mountains.

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Bear’s Breast Mountain and its ridiculously rugged northeast aspect.

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On the Daniel Glacier, below the east peak.

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Happy to see fields of Veratrum again. (Corn lily or skunk cabbage — take your pick.)

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