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| | |-+  July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
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Author Topic: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel  (Read 5066 times)
Marcus
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July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« on: 07/05/11, 02:47 PM »

After scrapping plans to ski Glacier due to the bonus road-mileage from the washout on the way to the NF Sauk trailhead, AP and I finally settled on a trip into the Daniel-Hinman area for our last big ski adventure for the season.  It was a dog-friendly trip with a relatively low-key itinerary, which matched Andy and Mica's requirements for the weekend -- the six of us (four bipeds, two quadrupeds) loaded into their van Saturday morning and headed east.

It was exciting, having never been into this area before, to get glimpses of Daniel and Cathedral in the distance as we drove up FS 4330.  Scatter Creek was knee-deep on Mica, but she's "vertically challenged" and the deepest part isn't all that wide.  We left the half-full trailhead parking lot at 10:45, happy to have avoided 3 miles of road walking.  The trail to Cathedral Gap is in good shape, with only a couple of blowdowns to add some upper body work.  Continuous snow starts suddenly at a big bench at 4500 feet, remaining intact to Cathedral except for a couple of short stream crossings.  Over the weekend we probably lost a foot of snow, so this low elevation stuff won't last long with the coming week's weather.


Mt. Hinman from Cathedral Gap (click any picture to enlarge) - photo A. Toyota

After a leisurely lunch at Squaw Lake we arrived at the traverse to Peggy's Pond.  There's continuous snow for about the first third of it, but it soon became faster to rack the skis and walk.  There's some pretty good exposure here if you slipped and we were all happy that the snow wasn't hard-frozen, since we chose to leave boot crampons at home. 


AP and I on Cathedral's traverse - photo A. Toyota

We regained continuous snow for the last little climb to camp and discovered that Peggy's is only just beginning to melt out -- the lake was still largely frozen, with thin ribbons of blue all around.  Andy found a great campsite on a knoll just south of the lake and we settled in, the dogs running sniff-patrol and setting up their perimeter.


The battle for fiercest furball - photo A. Toyota

We planned on a 7 a.m wake-up and a trip to Daniel's true summit and hopefully Hinman as well, but when we got up the weather was less than inspiring.  The cloud ceiling was at about 6500 feet and the winds were ripping along the ridge line, refreshing the cloud cover as fast as it could blow off to the east.

We left camp around 8:30 at an uninspired pace.  Climbing into clouds is not my favorite thing -- I'm definitely more a fair-weather adventurer.  We kept on plugging, sticking to the first part of our plan and gaining the 7600 foot col on the SE ridge of Daniel's false summit by 10:30.  Some protection from the wind-hose was found in the lee of the ridge, but we hung out only long enough to decide on an alternate plan.  I wasn't comfortable pushing around to Daniel's true summit in the blowing clouds and we decided to turn our longer tour into a quest for turns.  The slopes we'd climbed were in prime shape, so we set off to harvest.


Canine wind vanes - photo A. Toyota


Mica on Daniel's upper slopes - photo M. Engley


Super blue tarn - photo M. Engley

As we'd left camp that morning we saw a lone skier and his dog heading up the ridge to climber's left, which is where the summer trail goes.  I'd guessed that it might be JPH, who'd posted in Planned Trips about coming into Daniel this weekend.  After our first lap we saw him head off Daniel's SE ridge and he soon joined us at the watering hole pictured above for a lunch break.  Great to meet you John!

He headed off in short order to take advantage of our skin track to the col and was kind enough to put in the last section from there to the summit, which made our post-lunch choice easy.  The eight of us (five bipeds, three quadrupeds) were soon reunited on Daniel's false summit.


AP on final approach - photo A. Toyota


AP and Mica on the summit - photo A. Toyota

We were soon drawn down by the prospect of sunny afternoon camp-lounging.  John and pooch took off first and we gave them some space, so John wouldn't find himself saddled with a second fluffy, enthusiastic ski partner.  Andy cut the upper slope, sending the top 3-4" of soggy corn down in a crashing wave that piled up 18" of debris. The bed surface skied well and additional sluffing was minimal, though AP and I both skied it pretty cautiously to make sure it was clean.  We were soon on the morning's fantastic lower slopes and they skied just as well the second time.  Lounging at camp was as delightful as promised, with tasty meals, dry liners and half a flask of Patron to pass around.


AP on sluff patrol - photo A. Toyota

The night was windy and cold and we woke up to a hard freeze.  We took our time packing up camp, but were still on our way by 8:45, knowing that the Cathedral traverse wasn't going to get any sun for several hours.  With whippets at the ready and some good bootpack tailoring (thanks Andy & Mica) we made quick work of the steep, frozen slopes and were soon sliding down the long low gully to Squaw Lake.  We'd all come close to finishing all our food for the trip, so it was with delight that we tucked into our sausage sandwiches and beers outside the van, down by the river, at two o'clock.  Great trip, thanks y'all -- happy 4th. 
« Last Edit: 10/14/11, 08:52 AM by Marcus » Logged
Zap
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #1 on: 07/05/11, 04:33 PM »

An enjoyable TR with some great photos.  Once you post the dog images, they steal the show.  Wink The image with the canine wind vanes provides a clear description of the wind velocity.
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JPH
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #2 on: 07/05/11, 06:10 PM »

Hey Marcus, nice to meet you and your crew!  Definitely a great and very uncrowded weekend up there. 

Here are a few more pictures:


Coverage at Cathedral Rock


Marcus's group skinning up


Summit nap


Dog spelunking, a reminder that a dog will run at you, not follow your tracks! (luckily she extracted herself and was fine)


Monday sunrise - this would have been the day to summit!


Summit sluff and tracks
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pipedream
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #3 on: 07/06/11, 02:29 AM »

Was there any snow at the Trail Creek TH? I'm itching to loop from the Cathedral Rock TH over to the Waptus River while the weather is nice, but my backpacking friends are wusses when it comes to hiking in continuous snow.
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Moral of story is don't ski when you can snowboard
ryanl
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #4 on: 07/06/11, 08:53 AM »

Dogs on Daniel- I love it!! Looks like a super fun trip Marcus.
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Marcus
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #5 on: 07/06/11, 09:15 AM »

Great pictures John!  Mae's a cute pooch, glad she came out of her spelunking adventure unscathed.

Thanks Ryan -- it was super fun.  Lots of relaxing time and some great turns.

Pipedream, from looking at the map the junction with the Trail Creek trail is almost exactly where we started the continuous snow.  We didn't see the junction as we passed through, but I'll bet you wouldn't be on continuous snow for more than a mile before it was totally melted out again, especially with this weather.
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John Morrow
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #6 on: 07/06/11, 09:35 AM »

Was there any snow at the Trail Creek TH? I'm itching to loop from the Cathedral Rock TH over to the Waptus River while the weather is nice, but my backpacking friends are wusses when it comes to hiking in continuous snow.

That loop's a favorite.  Just for info, the river crossings (Waptus 2x) are running about to the base of my crotch and swift.  And after many, many times crossing the Waptus, on Sunday I let my guard down, stumbled, managed to keep 2/3 of my pack dry but lost my prescription glasses, my hat, and one croc in the (what seemed an eternity) flail to regain balance in the swift current.  Lost the glasses when the boots that were around my neck took on water and pulled my face into the drink.  I am personally going to wait a couple weeks before I do the loop.  Once the Upper Trail Creek flats around Squitch Lake are free of snow I usually find the Trail Creek Trail ford manageable.
« Last Edit: 07/06/11, 02:21 PM by John Morrow » Logged
tabski
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #7 on: 07/06/11, 01:14 PM »

Killer report, Marcus!
What do you mean "last big ski trip of the year"?  Embarrassed
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Marcus
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #8 on: 07/06/11, 01:16 PM »

What do you mean "last big ski trip of the year"?  Embarrassed

I've got 4 nights/week of classes this summer, which means I'll probably have at least a full day of studying every weekend... cramps the style a bit Smiley
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Gregg_C
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #9 on: 07/06/11, 01:28 PM »

I enjoyed reading this trip report.  Thanks for posting the pictures.  Dogs and Corn--great combination.
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Big Steve
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Re: July 2-4, 2011; Mt. Daniel
« Reply #10 on: 07/06/11, 09:00 PM »

.  .  . I let my guard down, stumbled, .  . . lost my prescription glasses, my hat, and one croc in the (what seemed an eternity) flail to regain balance in the swift current.  Lost the glasses when the boots that were around my neck took on water and pulled my face into the drink.
Whoa bro
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