Dip Top Gap offers one of the best views in all of Washington. It comes at a high price though as the 'simplest' way to get there takes ~25 miles of travel round trip.

This is a great side trip from Backpacking to Marmot & Jade Lakes.

Check out the Adventure linked above for directions on how to get as far as Jade Lake.  I would recommend 2 nights at either Marmot or Jade to allow for a full day of exploration from your camp.  From Jade what is described below is not terribly strenuous (5hrs round trip for fit parties is more than reasonable), and from Marmot I would add another hour each way.

Note

This is a fragile alpine environment which has been getting more and more attention as of late, please do everything you can to Leave No Trace.

  • At no time are fires allowed above 4000 ft in the Alpine Lakes wilderness.  This means no fires at Marmot or Jade lakes EVER! 
  • Do you best to not camp on or trample any vegetation around the lakes, it is very difficult for it to recover.
  • Make sure to pack out all of your trash/waste.
  • Dig a hole deep enough
  • Drones are not allowed in Wilderness areas.  Please be respectful of the others trying to enjoy the Nature.

Dip Top Gap

From the east side of Jade lake follow the trail south towards some cliffs.  At some point the trail splits in two.  One branch heads up to the top of the cliffs and the other heads down steeply to the south shore.  The branch that heads to the top of the cliffs affords nice views, but I strongly suggest not using it to try to get to Dip Top Gap.  It necessitates traversing/descending a steep talus/kitty litter slope that would be miserable and dangerous. Instead take the other fork (right) and head down to the south shore of the lake.  From here you will need to make your way up the floor of the valley towards the snow slope above.  No real route markings but it's obvious where to go.  Eventually you will reach the toe of the 'Glacier' which is as benign as a glacier can be (no crevasse danger).  It is usually more or less entirely snow and we ascending using hiking boots and poles with no problems (no Ice axe, micro spikes or crampons required).  On low snow years, later in the season (September) the snow melts out exposing ice underneath.  Be prepared to turn around if this presents too big of an obstacle.  At the top of the snow get back on the loose rock and ascend to the gap.  There are at least 2 bivy spots cleared (2 man tent each).  If you were to have a windless night it would be a spectacular place to camp.  It took us less than 1.5 hours to get to the gap from our campsite on the east side of Jade.

Potential extensions

Both of the options described below involve more off trail navigation and should only be attempted by parties who feel comfortable in class 2 & 3 terrain with loose rock.  Dip Top is definitely the easier of the two.  The route up Lynch is steeper with more loose rock and should be only attempted by experienced scramblers.

Dip Top Peak

From the Gap you can reach the summit of Dip Top via relatively easy 2nd and 3rd class scrambling.  Start on the south slope of Dip Top (the side with Pea Soup Lake & Mount Daniel).  Ascend slabs until you can head north to a plateau.  There are 2 great bivy spots on this plateau and would be an absolute incredible place to spend a night.  From here head west up the obvious ridge until you reach the summit.  There is one short exposed section along the ridge right before the summit.  It's class 2 so quite manageable if you move slowly deliberately. Check this link for more information.

Lynch Peak

From the Gap skirt around the south side of Lynch until you very quickly find a loose gully. Ascend (I found solid rock on the left hand side).  At the top you will need to scramble 2nd & 3rd class on ledges.  If above looks too difficult look laterally.  I did a decent amount of traversing back and forth.  I found this section to be easier than anticipated as long as I found for the easiest route.  At a certain point you can traverse east to less steep slopes and ascend all the way to the summit ridge.  There is no need to take the west ridge of Lynch all the way to the summit, it would make things more difficult than necessary. From the top you can take the north ridge (what the link below suggests).  Some 3rd and 2nd class takes you down to the top of a talus slope.  From here head west back towards the snowfield from below.  This section and what followed I found to be rather unpleasant. The slope gets progressively steeper and you will probably knock large rocks down.  Be careful if you have a partner.  At a certain point you find yourself above loose and dirty slabs that take you down to the snow slope below.  This part was pretty nasty.  I ended up down climbing class 4 to avoid the loosest of it.  From below it looked like If I had stayed (skiers) left I could have traversed above the worst of it but not sure.  From there you can return the way you came to Jade. Check this link for more info.

Back in town

On your drive home you can stop at Brick in Roslyn for a much deserved brew and a burger.

Pack List

  • Hiking poles - helpful on the snow up to the Gap
  • Camera - you won't want to forget it for this trip
  • Helmet is useful if you plan to scramble above the Gap
  • GPS is recommended as the trail/way is not always obvious 
Show More
RT Distance 25 Miles
Elevation Gain 5000 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Running, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Lake
Scenic
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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