Mount Daniel

Traversing the snow

With my hand still in a splint following surgery to reattach the UCL on my left thumb, my tick list shrank down to climbs I normally wouldn't prioritize—long approaches, less-technical routes, etc. Mount Daniel had been on my list as a ski tour, but the stars aligned to do it as an easy car-to-car mission with some good friends.

We had read some trip reports suggesting up to 12 hours for the round trip, so we left Seattle at about 5am, were hiking by about 8am, and quickly ascended the bench and up to Cathedral Pass. From there, it was a quick dip and back up to Peggy's Pond, which was beautiful, but pretty buggy. We'd brought crampons and axes and considered going up the glacier, but the snow didn't look continuous, so we went up the SE Ridge, which afforded some great views in most directions. We hit snow about 1,000 feet below the East Summit, traversed over, and hit the saddle on the South end of the East Summit.

The talus on the traverse around the summit was a bit sketchy and not something that the crew was psyched on, so we scooted up to the East Summit and called it good. The timing was perfect—an F16 jet came screaming through the valley and did a fully banked turn in front of us. It was really awesome.

From there, we retraced our steps to Peggy's Pond where we went for an invigorating, albeit brief dip before continuing on and finishing up in about 9 hours car to car. It was a solid day, followed by burgers and beers at The Brick in Roslyn and some live music in the town there.