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Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Daniel/Lynch Glacier

Great single day, early season climb of Mount Daniel via the Lynch Glacier. Slept at the TH the night before to get a 5 am start. Expect a long, but fun-filled day!

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • The route up Lynch Glacier was perfect w/o any open cracks. Great snow conditions. 

Everyone met at the Cathedral Rock Trailhead the evening before the climb to avoid a long early morning drive and to talk climb logistics. The FS road 4330 is really rough (full of potholes) and Scatter Creek is always a pleasure to cross. Average speed is probably between 10-15 mph. Note that there are NO open toilets on the entire FS road or at any THs with the exception of one portapotty shortly after the gravel road begins. Bring blue bags.

Our team of 6 started walking at 5 am. Everyone was dialed and ready to roll exactly on time. The Cathedral Rock trail is in good condition with minor blowdowns and a handful of creek crossings. We made it to Squaw lake in about 1.5 hrs and took a short break before heading to Peggy's Pond. Snow started shortly after Squaw lake. We stopped shortly past the northwest edge of Peggy's Pond (a little under 3 hrs from our start time) where we could see the beginning of our route. We had a quick snack, put on crampons and sunscreen and then set out again. 

We passed several tents near Peggy's pond but had the Lynch route mostly to ourselves. We took the most direct route to the first ridge and put on helmets and  a combo of ice axe and trekking poles through this area. There was a section of steep snow and potential for rock fall. One person had crampon issues going through a steep section which delayed us about 30+ min in this area. It's beautiful so not a bad place to take in the scenery. Luckily, after a handful of adjustments, the crampon issue was resolved and we didn't have any issues the rest of the trip. (The issue was crampon bar length being slightly too long for slightly more flexible, lightweight boots). 

Once over the first ridge, we traversed west and came across a set of footprints. We were able to follow these across the snowfield to the second ridge, and then finally to the ridgeline above Pea Soup Lake, which was mostly still covered in snow. We descended toward the lake through a wide snow gulley and then traversed toward the base of the Lynch Glacier where we roped up. Note that it wasn't obvious whether we could traverse high w/o dropping down from our viewpoint. However, after traversing low, we saw that the snow went through and we could have taken a high traverse. Depending on the party, this may be a good option to reduce elevation loss/gain. 

The bootprints that we had previously followed remained high and avoided the Lynch glacier all together. It looked like the prints headed to the Middle summit and not the true summit. We had the Lynch to ourselves w/o any exposed cracks. It was a gorgeous day - sunny but not too hot. We made it to the summit ridge and noticed there were no other boot prints heading to the summit. We remained roped up until the base of the rock scramble since there were a few large cornices that looked a little fragile. Once at the base of the scramble, we dropped ropes and packs and all scrambled to the summit by around 12:30 pm. Summit chocolate and group photos were had before heading back to our packs. We decided to stash ropes and harnesses since we could descend while avoiding cornice danger.

We walked passed the middle summit since it didn't seem too enticing (rather uninteresting and just a walk-up) and stashed our crampons. We came across bootprints again traversed toward the East summit. If the bootsteps weren't there, I would have opted for crampons again. With them in place, we were able to reinforce them while walking carefully with our ice axes. Once at the base of the East summit, all but one opted to scramble to the top. Apparently, this is where most people call it good. It's a great summit with lots of space. 

We opted not to descend the standard scramble route as it seemed longer than the alternative route we chose. Instead of following the scramble route via the ridge we cut down the basin where most of the ski touring occurs. It was a fast descent. There were signs of glide avalanches on the opposite side of the basin as we were. I don't think our descent route would be optimal with poor avalanche conditions OR in the summertime where there is little snow.

We stopped at Peggy's Pond on the way out to filter some water, have a snack, and put away helmets and ice axes. Soon enough we were back on the trail making good time. The trail out was relatively uneventful, passing several parties also on their way out and made one last stop at Squaw Lake. 

Car to Car was 13 hrs at a relaxed pace for the fitness level of the group. We could have easily shaved 1-1.5 hrs if we didn't have the crampon debacle or stop to talk to so many parties. Good times were had by all!