| Marble Mountain Loop
Date Climbed: 8/4/11
Beginning Elevation: about 10,660’
Peak Elevation: 13,266’
The Group: Dan (leader), Jen, Lisa, Marty, Steph, Terry, JimR
Distance: about 10 miles
Total Elevation Gain: about 3200’
Class 1 & 2
This is a companion trip report to my Venable Peak Report. Both hikes were done while at the CMC In State Outing near Westcliffe. The Marble Mountain hike took place on Thursday, starting at the Music Pass Trailhead. The Music Pass TH is reached by taking CO 69 south from Westcliffe to Colfax Lane (119), then just following 119 south. It becomes a 4WD road for the final couple miles, but it is a very mild 4WD road, and high clearance not necessary. I would think that most AWD cars could make it to the TH, although one car in our group had trouble with the steep slope at the very end. There’s a decent sized parking area at the TH, and a clear trail heads up toward Music Pass. The TH is at about 10,660’.
The trail breaks out of the trees as you approach Music Pass, and you get your first view of Marble Mountain to the NW, and a nice view of Tijeras Peak, across the valley to the west. The Pass is a little under 1.5 miles from the TH, at 11,446’, and there’s the usual sign and register. There were also excellent views across the valley to Tijeras Pk, Music Mountain, & Milwaukee Pk.
At Music Pass; Marble Mountain in the background.
Tijeras Peak (13,604’).
Tijeras Pk (13,604’), Music Mtn (13,355’), and Milwaukee Pk (13,522’), from Music Pass
Milwaukee Pk (13,522’)
From the Pass, the Music Pass Trail goes down into the valley, toward Upper and Lower Sand Creek Lakes. We would come back on this trail, but now we left it and started NW up the Marble Mtn ridge. There was no defined trail, and we spread out across the slope to avoid wearing a path through the tundra & flowers (or maybe we just couldn’t agree on a trail).
Spreading out to avoid trampling a path through the tundra (or maybe we just couldn’t agree on the trail).
Lupines & Sneezeweed
Looking down on the trail over Music Pass, Mt. Herard(?) in the distance.
The slope was steep enough to notice, but not too bad, and we soon reached the ridge. From there it was about a mile (?) of easy walking over a succession of small points to reach the summit. All the while, we had nice views across the valley and ahead toward the Crestone group.
Heading up (and down) the Marble Mtn Ridge
Looking across to Music Mtn and Upper Sand Creek Lake
There are how many false summits?
The group coming up the final slope to the summit
Once on the summit, we were rewarded with awesome views of the Crestones and Kit Carson (and Humboldt too, but really, how awesome can Humboldt look?)
The Crestones (left of center) and Kit Carson (right of center), with the shoulder of Humboldt on the far right, from Marble Mtn summit
Crestone Needle (14,197') and Peak (14,294'), on left, and Kit Carson Mtn (14,165'), center, with Upper South Colony Lake below them, from
After a short break to regroup, we started down the west ridge of Marble Mtn. I found myself stopping frequently to take a picture of the Crestones from a slightly different angle.
The Crestones (left of center) and Kit Carson (center), with Upper & Lower South Colony Lakes; Broken Hand Peak on left.
The Crestones & Kit Carson (again)
We followed the ridge down, contouring around the final high point, and waited until near the final low point on the ridge before beginning our descent. It’s tempting to start down earlier, but doing so makes it more difficult to pick up the trail.
About to drop down from the ridge and into the valley, Broken Hand Peak (13,573') on the right
Down into the Sand Creek Valley; Music Pass is low point on the ridge on the left
Flowers in the upper basin were at their peak.
Not a bad area for wildflowers
A light rain began at about the time that we picked up the trail, just enough to make us get out the rain gear, but it did not last long.
Looking down toward Music Pass
Cliff band that blocks the way if you don't pick up the trail on the descent.
We followed the Music Pass Trail past the turnoffs for Upper and Lower Sand Creek Lakes, crossed Sand Creek, and began the 400 foot ascent up to Music Pass.
Crossing Sand Creek
The ascent to the pass was not very steep and was soon done, leaving just the downhill 1 ˝ miles back to the cars. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off my GPS when we got back to the cars, so the GPS track includes the 30 mile drive back to the lodge. (I just throw the GPS in my pack for a hike and never take it out; consequently, I forget to stop it about half the time.) So I've just included the TPO! map, without the GPX file.
In summary, a very pleasant, not too hard hike, class 1 and 2, with great views and wildflowers.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):