Successful attempt on Panther. Failed attempt on Couch and Santa. Well packed trail from trailhead to well past Bradley Pond. A bit past Bradley Pond, all unbroken trail. Varied from 18-24” fresh snow. Made it to Herald Square and headed towards Panther, there was no visible trail or even an indentation of where it had been. Hit some dead ends and turnarounds and spruce traps. Headed down to Time Square and off to Couch. A lot of trouble finding and staying on the trail, couldn’t just bushwack off the trail because of the many spruce traps. Hit endless dead ends which required turnaround. We’d be going on the trail for a short bit and then hit spruce traps or impassable brush that told us we were off course. After 2 hours, we had gone about ¼ of the way to Couch and we all agreed to stop and head back to TS. Apologies to anyone who tries to follow this maze of paths to Couch, a jumbled mess that goes nowhere. From TS, there were tracks leading towards Santa, followed the tracks, several times they got off trail into thick brush. Got about a third of the way to Santa and ran into a hiker coming back, he had gotten to the 1st false summit and hit waist deep snow. Decided to turn around and head down. Wore snowshoes all day and did not carry crampons. Trail is well broken to TS.