Marble Peak Northwest Ridge / 大理石峯西北脊

Marble Peak was another back burner goal. But the South Fork Stillaguamish River was in the way. So I could see why visitors were few and far between. The first time we came with an inflatable raft. But back then, I didn’t include my gear weight. So we turned around.

Marble Peak summit above
Marble Peak summit above

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Marble Peak at a Glance

Access: Marble Pass historical signage
Round Trip: 5 miles
Elevation Range: 1480′-5160′
Gear: helmet, microspikes, crampons, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

Fording the Stillaguamish River

This time we came back with a raft twice the size. My only concern for the crossing was the likely high water level from the spring snowmelt. But after some checking, I chose to ford the river instead. The water was waist-high at its shallowest and with the least rapids.

Glad the water wasn’t nearly as cold as Miller River. Once we went to the south side, I wrung out the water on my long johns. Then I changed into boots. For the wet brush, I used gaiters, a waterproof jacket, and a pack cover to keep from getting soaked. The forest was still damp of rainwater from the day before.

Safe landing
Safe landing

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Northwest Ridge

Right away, we dove into the light brush behind the rocky shore. Soon, we went through down trees in the wetland. Then we went onto the ridge and fought through dead logs up to 2500′. The steep slopes were also full of devils club and slide alder. We sometimes followed animal tracks until they dwindled.

Above 3500′, we bypassed two sections of steep steps from the left. Eventually, the terrain flattened at 3800′. Here blueberry bushes replaced the slide alder and devils club. So we battled our way through to 4000′. Then at 4100′, we dropped 50′ on the east to avoid a massive outcrop. Later we went back on the ridge at 4150′.

Strolling along
Strolling along

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The Final Stretch on Marble Peak

The ridgeline narrowed as the terrain steepened. Off to my left were the unnerving views down into Marble Gulch. A few places with trees growing on the crest, we bypassed from the west. Then at 5000′, I put on crampons for the 100′ steep snow up to the north saddle. From there, the summit looked nearly vertical.

But after we crossed the snow arête to the south side, everything looked better. I stashed snow gear in the trees. Then we continued to finish the last bit of the climb. We went through a small section of loose rocks using solid ledges and handholds. Then a few more steps put us on the broad summit of Marble Peak.

Marble Peak summit ahead
Marble Peak summit ahead

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Marble Peak Summit

Just like on Hall Peak, the type 2 grunting and cursing came with rewarding views on top. Though, the brush fight on this peak was not nearly as bad as Hall Peak. After taking a few seconds to catch my breath, I immediately saw the dramatic landscape to the southwest. Not to mention the impressive cirque above Copper Lake.

Copper Lake was truly a hidden gem! Besides seeing it from Vesper Peak, the sight of the lake basin from here couldn’t have been any more direct. What a gorgeous day with everything in sight visible. Morning Star Peak, Del Campo Peak, Mount Pilchuck, Gunn Peak, Glacier Peak, Whitehorse Mountain, Three Fingers, Devils Peak, oh my.

Southwest panoramic view
Southwest panoramic view

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Outro

We most likely won’t revisit Marble Peak anytime soon. So we enjoyed an extended stay before leaving the summit. Getting back down the brushy section of the ridge was just as slow as coming up. But the blueberry bushes were much more manageable.

But I was not looking forward to the river crossing.

Going back down
Going back down

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