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Jan 4, 2008 (Fri)
Elevation: 4360 feet; Order of Height: 25
Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Jennifer Innes
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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


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