Photos from this trip can be found here.
Despite the effort by the group to leave a nice path a few days ago, their tracks had since been buried under fresh powder. I parked on the other side of the railroad tracks due to the amount of snow on the road. This was our third Christmas Day trip since 2010, by far the most snow we had encountered.
Snowshoes were working overtime from the car to our turnaround point at mile 2.5. More snow was in the forecast in the next few days so our tracks might be gone by then. The crux was getting around the boulder field. Even with snowshoes, I was postholing up to the waist.
At times I was even buried up to the chest trying hard to stay in the direction of the summer trail. The trail was now a deep trench covered in snow. We ended up ditching the trail all together by walking on the snow-covered boulders.
Cloudy weather turned partly sunny around noon, and it stayed that way for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, we were in the shade the entire time and didn’t get to enjoy the much-needed heat.
Access: Surprise Lake Trailhead
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes