Ascent of Mount Daniel-East Peak on 2016-07-20

Climber: Jeremy Benezra

Others in Party:Daniel
Date:Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Daniel-East Peak
    Elevation:7899 ft / 2407 m

Ascent Trip Report

My hiking/climbing pal Daniel is leaving the country to go to med school in north Italy. What a jerk! So we decided on a going away climb of Mount Daniel. We were looking for some adventure and if we knock off a county high point, even better.

I picked Daniel up at about 6am in Cap Hill and “we headed east” (anyone remember that from Diablo 2?).

Left our car at the trailhead at 930. Made good time through the forest. Started noticing mosquitos at maybe 4000 feet. They were persistent throughout the hike. Hit Squaw Lake. At about 115 we were at about 6800 feet. This was where a large bench was before a bowl leading to the East summit. Here we dumped our camping gear, rested until 145, and Daniel, in better shape than I, shouldered our summit pack.

Daniel, never a fan of the “standard route” opted to make our own route. This was possibly a bit more tiring than the standard route, which follows the ridge line almost from Peggy’s pond, heading NW. We, instead, ascended the large steep snow field, on maps it has 6600 written in the middle of it. This drained me massively. Daniel didn’t think we needed ice axes, but I decided to bring 1 up just in case, and we ended up needing it. Since I had the axe and better boots, I lead the steep snow. A lot of up and a lot of traversing, kicking steps. Daniel, more fit but in worse boots and sans axe, followed with the pack.

We made the East summit at about 430. 2 USGS markers up there. Not knowing our exact decent path and noting the late hour we decided to pass on hitting the main summit. Another time! I tried to put on my snow pants for our upcoming glissade, but my hip flexors and quads decided getting into ¾ side zip pants was too much contortion and went into about a 20 minute session of bad cramps. I drank water and ate while Daniel stretched my legs and massaged my cramps. What a partner! I’ve only had muscle cramps maybe 10 times in my life, but these were the worst ones in my life!

We glissaded an insane amount of elevation in minutes. Me with the ice axe, Daniel with 2 knife shaped rocks. We camped at about 5900 feet. Not many mosquitos that night. This is the highest elevation I’ve camped at so far. There is a sandbar between the creeks that was soft to set our tent up on. At about 10pm the full moon rose up out of Cathedral Rock and was quite the sight. We were confused at first by the sudden bright light. We thought maybe it was the headlamp of someone climbing Cathedral Rock. But it kept getting bigger and we figured out it was the moon. With the bright full moon, we didn’t need headlamps the rest of the night to snack and get ready for bed.

The sun and heat woke us early. Mosquitos were bad as we broke camp. Left our camp at about 755. At the car at 1025. Quite the fun outing. I’m extremely sad to see my buddy go, but that guy can’t seem to live in the same zip code for more than a year or two, and I know it’s the right path for him. I bought him a map of the Alps and hope to visit him soon to hike the nearby Alps or maybe the Dolomites.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear

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