Surprise and Glacier Lakes
Oct 15, 2011
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Surprise and Glacier Lakes
- Region: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
- Agency: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
- Trails: Surprise Lake (#1060)
- Avg Rating: 3.23
The route finding around Surprise Lake was relatively straight forward unlike spring conditions when it still has plenty of snow. When I got to Glacier Lake, I got surprise number 3. A group of friends was just returning to the main trail and were heading south towards Surprise Mt. The fourth surprise was the new snow above 5000'. My friends stopped at the junction of the old PCT and new PCT. My decision was which way to go - on the abandoned trail or new trail. I had never been up the new trail so that was an easy choice although that lead to surprise number 6.
The PCT is intended to be a low angle trail to accommodate stock so there were no real issues as the snow got deeper and deeper. Surprise number 5: the snow was up to 1 to 1.5 feet deep as I neared the ridge line near Peiper Pass. At this time, traction devices are not needed although there were 3 or 4 short icy spots. I would have been a much happier camper with gaiters. At my turn around spot, there were nice partial views of Hinman and Daniel to the south and Glacier to the north.
Surprise number 6: After looking at the map (which I should have done at the previous trail junction), I realized that I still had significant mileage and gain to get to Surprise Mt; there was a long descent south; then an ascent back north to Surprise Gap and then a boot path to the summit. Ooops!!