I set out from Gold Lake Sno-Park at 8 a.m. in a light drizzle. Unfortunately, no additional snow had fallen since my last trip 2 weeks before. Snowshoes served little purpose other than being oversized crampons.
Along Maiden Peak Trail to the trail junction with Maiden Loop Trail there were no views of the familiar peaks of Fuji Mtn. and Mt. Ray. Even with very little additional snow in January the snowpack was actually deeper than it was when I led this trip last year.
I followed Maiden Peak Trail up to the ridge just about 100 ft. below the summit by a bit after noon. Upon walking out on to the ridge I met with wind driven frozen clouds and a completely cloud concealed summit. There was a half inch layer of fresh snow or frozen clouds over solid ice. The snow was so sticky that it actually stuck to the entire underside of my snowshoes occasionally making them more like skis. I decided to take my lunch break, all the while hoping that the clouds would clear a bit and that the wind would die down. Neither happened so I decided to head back. I retraced my steps along Maiden Peak Trail back to Gold Lake Sno-Park arriving at 3:45.
Departure: 6 a.m. SEHS
Driving miles: 135
Trail miles: 15
Elevation gain: 2800Members: Matthew Bell.
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