I've been telling people this: Those Washington Cascades are nothing like ours in Oregon. Yup, the volcanoes are there but the exploded remnants up north are bigger and more glaciated. Squeezed in from all directions throughout those big volcanoes are endless ranges coming from all directions. The approaches are wild with waterfalls and the mountains shoot up into every view. From the dense valleys to the icy summits its a long way up and the trailmakers' favorite tool is the switchback... and once your in the mountains there's granite and andesite and snow and ice to keep one busy for a lifetime.
Well, all this still holds true, and there's more. Yesterday we made a one-day ascent of Mount Daniel's 7,899 foot East Peak. It was our first notable journey into the Central Cascades this summer and we were quickly reminded of the sheer size of the range.
We climbed from 3:30am to the reach the peak by 10am. During the dark hours of the morning we climbed through pitch black forest to reach still ponds reflecting the morning clouds. Mount Stuart and the entire Enchantments sat to the east and we watched them fend off an early morning advance of desert cloud cover to leave us with a fantastic clear route to the summit.
Unfortunately the summer heat was immediately upon is and the snowfields turned to guck at once. We rushed up through the heat to beat the encroaching mountain melt-down. We climbed straight through the morning to make sure we could descend the steep snow before the sun had its full impact. The day was wild and hot and long and gave us a complete view of the many ranges laid out before us.
The Cascades, in their entirety, are all well within striking distance from Harvey Basecamp and from our Mt Daniel summit we saw we had a lot of work to do. I wished to be able to point of the names of each and every peak near and far, and for that, we must climb and explore across the range. Sometimes the only way to pick out and name the mountains in the distance is to have climbed them before. So, ...off we go.