Returning to the Adirondacks after a 3-month hiatus, we climb Mount Marshall via the Herbert Brook ascent route.
We set off on a clear but cold day that had originally been forecasted for clouds and possible snow, making rapid progress (2 hours) from Upper Works to Flowed Lands. We took advantage of the winter highway across Flowed Lands to the Herbert Brook Lean-to, and from there started our ascent up the Herbert Brook route.
An excellent broken snowshoe track and the beauty of Herbert Brook made for a very easy, very enjoyable ascent. Near the top we discovered the "right" way to reach Marshall's summit - a route that leads to the small col just to the north of Marshall, and then climbs steeply up to the summit ridge. There is little to no bushwhacking or blowdown. It is practically a fully-fledged trail.
A breezy and cold summit had us on the way back down within a few minutes of reaching the top. The clear route and good track had us back at flowed lands in no time, and we then marched steadily back to the Upper Works trailhead, arriving 8.5 hours after starting out.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: January 2013 Marshall Climb
Mount Marshall and Cliff Mountain were two of the few remaining trailless peaks on the Jenn winter-46 catch-up program. They are also situated relatively close to one another, making a trip which combined climbs of both of them an efficient prospect. We therefore decided to do a two-day overnight trip, staying at the Calamity Lean-tos, and doing Marshall on the first day and Cliff on the second. The Lean-tos are strategically positioned at Flowed Lands - nicely between the two peaks.
After hiking into and dropping our overnight gear at the lean-to, we started off towards Marshall. This season's snowy weather had been continuing - the 48 hours prior had seen a good 6 to 12 inches of fresh, new snow. I was expecting the worst: a totally unbroken trail up to the top of Marshall.
To my mild surprise, there was an indication of freshly-covered over snow-shoe tracks leading up the herdpath route. Excellent - a track meant less thought and time required for routefinding, and it also meant a firmer base of snow to hike upon. Up we went, buoyed by this and hopeful for a fun and quick ascent of the peak.
We couldn't tell for sure if the person or persons who'd made the track had gone up before or after the last snowfall - it was hard to tell. But, in any case, it was easy to follow at this lower elevation. Soon, the route emerged onto Herbert Brook, and we started the long stretch that more-or-less follows the bed of the brook. Unfortunately, the bed of Herbert Brook was not in ideal winter condition. It was possible to break through in various little hollows and dips in the brook, and in general the way was somewhat tricky. We had to slow down and probe and test anything which looked suspect.
Once above the brook section, we again had a relatively easy time following the track through a section of fairly open forest. Following that was a difficult and wet final bushwack to the summit. We trudged back down our track, out across Flowed Lands and back to our lean-to. As we approached, we could see several headlamps there. Was our lean-to now occupied by others as well?
Four hikers were at the lean-to, busy preparing hot food and drinks. As we approached, the greeted us and expressed relief. They had seen our entry in the trailhead register, and they had talked to the ranger we encountered, so they knew our plans. They were worried about us, and were starting to think about heading out to look for us. How very thoughtful!
Our companions turned out to be a special bunch: four firemen from the New York City Fire Department, up for a weekend in the Adirondacks (now the 'rescue' thinking is starting to seem more obvious!). They were all from Battalion 46 of the FDNY, and were a lively bunch. We had a great time chatting over dinner. As it turned out, they were on the first day of a three-day trip, climbing over Mount Marshall and then down to Indian Pass. We told them that their way up, at least, was now well-tracked and marked!
We settled in for a nice, long restful sleep, which was unfortunately interrupted several times by nosy, quarreling martin(s) living under the lean-to.
Ewart was scheduled to arrive in the morning at 6:30am, and we would then attempt to scale Cliff via the Flowed Lands side.
See the image gallery link below for a more detailed writeup and the set of pictures.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: January 2008 - Marshall and Cliff
First Spring daks hike of 2006: Mt Marshall. I'd done this peak two years before from heart lake, and so this time I figured it might be nice to climb up from Upper Works, and, as a bonus, do it as a loop, ascending the standard route via Herbert Brook and returning via Indian Pass (which I had never seen before). Plus, Jenn and Brian needed to cross this peak off of their 46er list.
Only patches of snow at Upper Works Trailhead. Snow became continuous along Calamity Brook trail, but snow conditions excellent in cool early morning. Weather also excellent! Calm and clear.
Located the base of the herdpath just beyond the little bridge over Herbert Brook. A few tracks were present on the herdpath, which allowed us to get started up with relative ease.
Soon switched to snowshoes and had a wonderful, wonderful ascent up a mostly snowy Herbert Brook. This is a very nice ascent. Near the top got off the route a little and had to do some bushwacking to get to the summit. Weather still perfect. Lots of snow up here - full winter conditions still!
Bushwack over to Iroquois pass was completely horrible in spots, especially with all the fresh wet snow about. No recent tracks on way down to Indian Brook, nor on Indian pass trail. South of Indian Pass the trail is partially snow-covered, and where not snow-covered is very wet and muddy, very difficult to negotiate - not too fun! Arrived back at Upper works trailhead well after dark. Its been quite a while since we've come back from a hike this late!
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: April 2006 Marshall Loop Hike
The plan for this hike was to hike up via the trail up to Indian Pass, then up to the pass separating Iroquois and Marshall and from there to the summit. A return via Lake Colden and Avalanche lake would make for a really neat loop. Weather started off a bit cloudy but soon turned clear. We made good time up the trail towards Indian Pass - Really nice when the snow trails are in shape! Had to break the trail a bit going up towards the pass - I don't think anyone had been up that way in a while. Andree was feeling pretty under the weather and was having a tough time but she stuck with it! At the pass, I struggled a bit to find a way that matched the discription of the herd path from there to Marshall. Eventually I did stumble on to something which I _think_ was the way but I cannot be sure. If it was the herd path, I lost it somewhere going across the sub-peak before Marshall. What followed after that was a difficult time bushwacking through deep snow with spruce traps everywhere. On the positive side, though, were some simply excellent winter views of the High Peaks. After much toil we made it up the last stretch to Marshall and the summit sign. Weather was starting to turn (big weather system moving in) and at the summit our clear sunny skies were completely gone. I attempted to find the more official herd path leading up from Lake Colden but just couldn't find it in the snow. Time was getting on so we just decided to retrace our steps, which was much easier now that we'd trampled a path through the snow. We made it down from the pass before it got dark and then it was just a long mostly flat walk out to ADK Loj. A loop would have been better but overall still a very good day.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References: Image Gallery: March 8 hike (Mount Marshall)