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Backpacker Joe
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 6:22 pm 
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Im hoping to get into the Thunder Mountain lakes this late summer. Question, it seems to me that hiking into Surprise lake and climbing the switch backs up to the saddle above Trap lake and then leaving overland to the lakes would be much shorter than the Hope lake trail to Trap lake to the saddle etc etc.

Thoughts from those whove been in there please.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

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MtnGoat
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 6:50 pm 
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been in both ways. It's about 50/50 for effort.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostWed Apr 03, 2019 6:54 pm 
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Ok then Mr. non committal,  If you were going in again, which way would you go?

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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Tom
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 7:15 pm 
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You could always loop in via Murphy and out Surprise.
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Jeff
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 7:16 pm 
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I've done both and I prefer the surprise lake route.
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Bootpathguy
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 7:24 pm 
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Used to be my favorite. Beautiful place. I've been there a few times. Always via Tunnel Creek ( aka Hope Lake Trailhead ) and have never run into another hiker after leaving the PCT. Have always had the basin to myself

A view down of Trap Lake on a sunny day from the PCT is absolutely beautiful. Also, a pretty amazing flower show on that same southern exposed slope if you time it right.

Go on a weekday, although, I don't even know if that matters anymore

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8028484

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Nancyann
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 9:00 pm 
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I like staying at Trap Lake the first night (see my TR “Tunnel Creek to Surprise Creek Loop 8/21-8/23/18). Next morning it’s an easy walk up to TML. If you can arrange for another car at Surprise Creek, or stash a bike, this is a very nice loop, even in bad weather, which we did have. Whatever you do, don’t go on a weekend. TML is not a secret anymore and Surprise draws hordes on the weekends. We started at Tunnel Creek on Wednesday and saw only a few thru hikers, had Trap Lake all to ourselves. The second night at TML we were the only ones there also. When we hiked out Surprise Creek Friday, we probably saw 50+ people hiking in for the weekend, despite the rain.
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fourteen410
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PostWed Apr 03, 2019 10:26 pm 
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Went in via Tunnel Creek + Hope/Trap Lakes and out Surprise Lake. I'd recommend doing the same.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostThu Apr 04, 2019 6:00 am 
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Thanks everyone.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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MtnGoat
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PostThu Apr 04, 2019 10:11 am 
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I'd do the upper route again simply to escape the mobs on the surprise route. Of course that doesn't escape the likelyhood of lots of company at TM. I'd go midweek for sure

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Kat
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PostThu Apr 04, 2019 11:24 am 
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I did the in via Hope/Trap out via Surprise/Glacier and the slog out the Surprise trail was the least favorite part of the trip, seemed like a long boring segment with nothing to see, plus as I recall kind of rocky, muddy compared to the inbound route. YMMV.
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Apr 04, 2019 12:44 pm 
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I’d go in and out via Tunnel Creek. The trail goes really fast, not crowded, and 100% less a pain in the ass than Surprise (all those godawful steps at the beginning of Surprise, and the brush – ugh).

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Foist
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PostThu Apr 04, 2019 3:53 pm 
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The one time I went to TML -- granted this is like 12 years ago and I'm going by memory -- I crunched the distance and elevation gain numbers and the Tunnel Ck / Trap Lake route seemed like the obviously easier way to go.  Plus yeah, surprise creek is more crowded, although I disagree with those who don't like the Surprise trail, I think it's lovely.
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joker
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PostThu Apr 04, 2019 4:50 pm 
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Yeah what Foist says. And for sure the days of having it to yourself are over except perhaps for lucky weekdays/nights.
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Schroder
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PostThu Apr 04, 2019 6:28 pm 
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fourteen410 wrote:
Went in via Tunnel Creek + Hope/Trap Lakes and out Surprise Lake. I'd recommend doing the same.

Ditto
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