Marble Peak by Hall Peak via Mountain Loop Highway + NW Ridge / 大理石峯

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Marble Peak towers above Mountain Loop Highway south of Stillaguamish River. Hall Peak, the nearest taller neighbor, sits over a mile away east of Marble Pass. Of all feasible routes, the northwest ridge is the most direct way to this modest high point.

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

The Preface

Marble Peak was another long-time goal. But what’s the catch, you ask? The mighty South Fork Stillaguamish River has long stood in the way between us and the summit. It’s also why visitors to this peak have been few and far between.

Last time we came with an inflatable raft and planned to cross the river in one try. But I soon knew something was wrong when I went inside the boat. I had forgotten to include my gear weight, and the water was trickling in fast!

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Fording the Stillaguamish River

The pup and I returned with a raft twice the size. But this time, my main concern for crossing the river was the water level from the spring snowmelt. After some checking, I decided to ford the river instead. It was still waist-high at the shallowest spot with the least rapids.

Glad the water wasn’t as cold as Miller River. Once on the south side, I wrung out the water on my long johns and changed into boots. Then I used gaiters, a shell, and a pack cover to keep dry from the wet brush. The forest was still damp from the rain the day before.

Safe landing
Safe landing

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Northwest Ridge

Right away, we dove into the light brush behind the stony shore and went through down trees in the wetland. Then we went on the ridge and fought through dead logs up to 2500′. Devils club and slide alder had inundated the hillside, where we used the animal tracks until they faded.

Above 3500′, we bypassed two places of steep steps from the east. The terrain later flattened at 3800′, where blueberry bushes replaced the brush up to 4000′. At 4100′, we dropped 50′ on the east to avoid a massive outcrop, then returned to the ridge at 4150′.

Strolling along
Strolling along

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Final Stretch on Marble Peak

As the terrain steepened, the ridge narrowed. To the east was the unnerving view into Marble Gulch. We bypassed a few places with krummholz on the crest from the west. Then at 5000′, we went up 100′ steep snow in crampons to the north saddle. From there, the summit looked nearly vertical.

Things looked promising after we crossed the snow arête to the south. I soon stashed gear in the trees to finish the final stretch. En route, we used solid ledges and handholds through some loose rocks. Then a few more steps put us on the broad summit of Marble Peak.

Marble Peak summit up ahead
Marble Peak summit up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Marble Peak Summit Views

Like Hall Peak, the type 2 grunt work came with rewarding views with not nearly as much brush. I took a few seconds to catch my breath and quickly noticed the dramatic landscape. It was the stunning cirque above Copper Lake!

What 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 to see all the familiar peaks —Morning Star Peak, Del Campo Peak, Devils Peak.

Southwest panoramic view
Southwest panoramic view

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Outro

We enjoyed an extended visit before leaving as we likely wouldn’t revisit Marble Peak anytime soon. Going down through the brush on the ridge was just as slow. But the blueberry bushes were much more tolerable in reverse.

Now, about that river crossing…

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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