Peak(s):  Marble Mtn A  -  13,266 feet
Post Date:  02/20/2010
Date Climbed:   02/19/2010
Posted By:  piper14er

 Marble - East/Northeast Ridge   

Marble Mountain - 13,266'
South Colony Road Winter Trailhead at County Road - 8,500'
Roundtrip - 11 to 11.5 miles
5000' vertical with approximately 250' added for loss and gain at Point 10,775.
6.5 hours from winter TH to Summit.
3.25 hours return.

The weather was predicted to be better in the Westcliffe area than other peaks I have been looking at. I had been down to the South Colony Road a month ago and decided to go for a longer more difficult hike trail braeking and more vertical). The route to Marble is not technically challenging but the physical challenge would be there with the amount of snow and breaking trail up the ridge through the trees.

A month ago I headed up the road to the Rainbow Trail and up the 300-400 feet to the ridge. I set in a track up to Point 10,775. The snow depth and the bad weather ended that day. I was pleasantly suprised that I was able to find the trough from the previous effort on this day. The snow had settled and even consolidated some since the previous hike.

Arrival and it may be a good day, maybe.

Looking from my parking spot.

Looking back at parking spot.

Looking toward Humboldt and Marble.


Thanks to the snowmobile that packed the road up to and past the Rainbow Trail turnoff.

Forest Boundary.

Rainbow Trail and the fun begins.

Turn right at the sign and up to the ridge.

On the ridge looking toward Marble. Still nice.

A good picture of the trough from my previous work. I found it at the bottom of the ridge and followed it for the most part to where I had stopped. It had taken an hour and a half to get 6 or 7 tenths of a mile last time. I was able to shave off an hour this time.



Looking back down the trail. The next 1000' up to tree line was a grind. 6" to 18" deep snow to break through, not terrible but still work. It was mostly powder.

What started out looking like a great day turned to snow and clouds with the wind picking up.

Where did the nice weather go? Okay the trees were already leaning that way. But it was windy.

I was doing my Smeagol/Gollum routine here. The wind was blowing so hard once out of the trees and with the snow I could not see my boots. So the Gollum part is saying "we hates it, we hates it." Then the wind would stop and the Smeagol part would say "the ridge is our friend, nice ridge". We did that for a while. Then the wind gods decided to let up and for most of the way to the top it wasn't too bad with only the occasional 30 mile per hour gust.

The ridge started out steeper, then relented. Dropped off snowshoes.


More ridge and more ridge.




The summit at last.

The Crestones??

Take look at KBaker's report for some great winter Crestone pictures. I was looking forward to seeing them in person but it wasn't to be.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Nice     02/05/2011 00:22
Sounds like quite the slog but fun!


Bummer     02/20/2010 21:30
Bummer to put in all that effort and not be rewarded with a view of the gorgeous Crestones.


Way to go     02/21/2010 17:46
Great report. Way to perservere!


Love the TR‘s     11/30/2010 17:28
that you've been doing this winter!
It's a pleasure to see some less popular, non-14er route options.
Way to get after it! Your dog is a tough, resilient partner!
Happy hiking and thanks for the great reports!


Thanks.     02/22/2010 21:26
The lower peaks don‘t usually get the press clippings. I was feeling good to get in under the wire too as the weather kept getting more and more socked in and snowy. Made it back at what little light there was left and the snow was accumulating a bit.

The dog has been doing well.


Persistence...     03/01/2010 14:40
Nice way to come back and get it!

I enjoyed the TR, and good to see some images from a seldom-travelled area in winter.

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