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Kyle M

[TR] Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Mt. Daniel via Snoqualmie Pass (The Alpine Lakes Crest Traverse) 06/30/2019

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Trip: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Mt. Daniel via Snoqualmie Pass (The Alpine Lakes Crest Traverse)

Trip Date: 06/30/2019

Trip Report:

Over the weekend, Logan and I completed a high route from Snoqualmie Pass to the summit of Mt. Daniel, traversing the remote 7,000 ft+ peaks we call the "Alpine Lakes Crest". We started at Snoqualmie, took the PCT to Chikamin, went over Chikamin, down to Iceberg Lake, up to the Overcoat Glacier, across to Summit Chief Pass, down to the Dutch Miller Gap Trail, up to La Bohn Gap, over Hinman, across to Pea Soup Lake, up Mt. Daniel and down to the Cathedral Pass Trailhead. 37 miles, 14-15k ft gain. The meat of the the trip is a spectacular 20 miles of nearly continuous off trail, above treeline travel. We didn't see a single other soul in those 20 miles.

The crux was definitely traversing from the Overcoat Glacier to Summit Chief Pass. Stay high on the ridge and aim for the "key ledge" an obvious sloping ledge about 100 ft below the ridgetop that gets you through the obvious vertical cleft that splits the ridge. The scramble up to the Overcoat Glacier from Iceberg Lake was also a little cruxy near the top on the wet 2nd and 3rd class ledges.

On a side note, we figured out a great alternate route up the Lynch Glacier. Climb the ridge on the west side of Pea Soup Lake to a snow finger and ascend this to the Upper Lynch Glacier. This gets you by the lower icefall, which is difficult to even access once the lake melts out.

This region may not have any Bulgers, permits, or a national park to its name, but we think it is as raw, rugged, and stunning as any other part of the Cascades we have visited. We crossed four glaciers, passed dozens of sparkling lakes, and danced across remote summits. The terrain was huge: everything we dreamed of and then some. There were so many special spots I don't know where to start. And the line felt so pure and alpine.

We did the traverse comfortably in two days, having to route find along the way. Our first day was 11 hours and second was just over 9, so it is definitely doable in one big push, but it is also worthy of 3 or 4 days to enjoy the marvelous spots along the way or maybe bag some more summits. If you want to get it, I'd recommend sooner rather than later because the snow cover makes all the boulder and talus less painful.

For more details and beta, see: https://climberkyle.com/…/…/the-alpine-lakes-crest-traverse/

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Descending Chikamin.

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Nice tarns on the backside of Chikamin.

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Iceberg Lake.

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Looking up to Overcoat Peak.

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Crossing the Overcoat Glacier.

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Chimney Rock.DSC04443.thumb.JPG.8a53237d8246968c7fb19ec6e6ea2947.JPG

Summit Chief Pass.

DSC04480.thumb.JPG.9115644e9ea7a5c491617188b3d3e5e9.JPGLittle Big Chief.

DSC04522.thumb.JPG.18a6de4eedecc8787fa9d142f1a8a2b8.JPGWilliams Lake.

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Chain Lakes.

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Shoulder of Hinman.

DSC04609.thumb.JPG.50b3cd631634f4b3d41bcf0b40e6cbb9.JPGLepul Lake and Baker in the distance.

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Hinman Summit views.

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Descending to Hinman Tarns.

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Hinman Tarns.

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Alt route: Ascend the ridge and snow finger on the right up to the Lynch Glacier.

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Pea Soup Lake.

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High on the Lynch Glacier.

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Daniel Summit!

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Daniel summit views.

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Racing down before the storm hits.

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Gear Notes:
Waterproof running shoes, crampons, ice axe. Didn't bring a rope but some might want to for the Lynch Glacier.

Approach Notes:
PCT to Chikamin, then straight up the face.
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  • Rawk on! 4

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Wow! Looks wild Fred Beckey country.

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Cool idea - thanks for sharing the route and all of the beta. 

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Nice trip. I love the alpine lakes. I’ve done lots of exploring on and off trail out there and there are always new adventures to have. What a special place. 

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