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Trip Report

Surprise Lake Snowshoe, Surprise and Glacier Lakes — Saturday, Mar. 7, 2015

Central Cascades
Note: 2015 is an absurdly low snow year. Ordinarily, I'm not sure you could even make the 1/4 mile drive to the trailhead in a street vehicle. Drive across a bridge and the tracks (very busy -- watch for trains) and turn right; drive 1/4 mile. Note that this trail has considerable avalanche exposure (do I recall a fatality here long ago?) -- half-a-dozen chutes reach/cross the trail. They don't show on the Green Trails map, but look at the satellite views and they're obvious. Avy danger was zero this weekend. There are 3-4 logs up to 2' dia; not serious obstacles. At least first mile of trail is snow-free. Much compact snow/ice on trail; microspikes advised. I wore crampons for much of the way to beyond Glacier Lake, where the snowshoe trail ended. If you do this, please don't step on live roots or wooden trail structures, which will not take much of this abuse. Snowshoed to Surprise Gap and then east up the crest of the ridge to Peak 6594. Avalanche danger low, although the 3" recent snow tended to slide on the south slopes in late afternoon after it thawed in the sun. The north-facing bowl below Surprise Gap did not thaw. If the snow in this bowl is hard, and esp. if there are expose rocks below, you might want an ice ax. Beckey says this peak is unnamed. Being opposite Surprise Mtn., I'm calling it Tedium Peak. It is higher than Surprise and Thunder, and offers an excellent view, better than Surprise (it blocks the view east from Surprise).