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Surprise Mountain (winter)

12/13/14 We had a strong party, with five certified scramble leaders among us. With the paucity of snow so far this year, we figured this was a good time to stretch for the summit, a summit not often achieved in winter due to the length of the approach. For most of the day, the snow was less than 3 or 4 inches deep, the exceptions being in the bowl around Surprise Lake and everywhere above Glacier Lake. Even with so little snow and a strong party, we needed headlamps for two and half hours of the descent. We used snowshoes crossing boulder fields near Surprise Lake and in the bowl above Glacier Lake, not because the snow was so deep as to require them but because they reduced the risk of plunging between boulders. One member of the party reported feeling nauseous and stopped in the bowl above Glacier Lake. Two leaders stayed behind with him. Vineeth, Manisha, and Rena took over the leadership and led the rest of the party to the summit. The descent from Surprise Gap to the bowl above Glacier Lake was steep, icy, and tricky, but everyone descended carefully and without incident. A good time was had by all.


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