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Marshall 2/1 Caveat Emptor

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  • Marshall 2/1 Caveat Emptor

    Hiked via Upper Works. As noted in the Cliff/Redfield report, Calamity Brook Trail is packed, smooth and quick. Flowed Lands seemed pretty well frozen. After the lake, I found the fastest travel right along the Western bank of the Opalescent. Well defined track heading up Herbert Brook. For a decent stretch, I travelled right up the frozen brook bed which was enjoyable. At about 2600 feet the well defined track climbed steeply up the South Bank of the Brook. I blindly and stupidly followed this for 1000+ vertical through thick trees, spruce traps and snow laden trees. This track topped out at a peak with a great view of Marshall. This peak was about 1/2 mile East of Marshall, Bummer. After descending all the way back to the brook, I saw where I made my error. The actual herd path stays right along the brook, with several more crossings, until its source at the swampy area east of the Marshall summit. I should have remembered this from my summer decent of Herbert Brook. After a brief internal discussion and tongue lashing, I headed up again to the actual summit without further incident.

    Except for the parking area, no ice to speak of. With my error, I managed to add some difficulty to what should have been a pretty straightforward trip.

  • #2
    A few years ago I did something similar, maybe even starting in the same spot. The freshest tracks had crossed to the south bank and started going up. They went a couple of minutes before coming to a dead stop. I didn't want to backtrack because "I earned this elevation gain and I'm not giving it back!" I figured I could contour over to the brook and h/p, but that was so deep and steep that I backtracked after all. I found where the h/p had gone and continued up, but that waste of time and energy had taken a toll, and I turned around. I'm glad you were able to summit after making this mistake.
    Mark
    A bad day in cripplebrush is better than a good day at work.

    Remaining Winter NE115 peaks as of 3/11/10:

    [None]
    Yes!!!

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    • #3
      Yup, I've been to Marshall East also. Lesson learned.

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      • #4
        At least you got a view of Marshall! If you go the "right" way, you never actually get to see the mountain you are climbing. Followed that wrong path myself twice by accident. Fortunately noticed shortly after starting.

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        • #5
          Every. Single. Winter.

          Only takes one group to establish the wrong path to have someone else follow it, and then another, and then ... you get the idea. Probably the same 'Sunk Cost' thinking happens and hikers refuse to give up their 'invested effort' and soldier onward, upward ... to a nameless bump southeast of Marshall. Punked!

          Weird thing is that Marshall is the perennial favorite for this foul-up. Perhaps someone does this as a practical joke every winter and establishes a false path to lure unsuspecting hikers astray.


          I believe the "well defined track" must've started higher than the 2600 feet you stated. You're already at ~2800 feet when you start on the Herbert Brook Trail.

          https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.1...645&z=17&b=mbt

          The first crossing of Herbert Brook is at ~3000 feet. By 3600 feet, you've effectively passed the "bump". The trail (in summer) crosses Herbert Brook several times in the next 600 vertical feet. So (in winter) the opportunity to be led astray lies somewhere between 3000-3600 feet.

          https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.1...523&z=17&b=mbt
          Looking for Views!

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          • #6
            Agree that 2600 is wrong, and it should have read north or east bank, not south bank. Maybe you (original poster) meant south-facing bank, which would be north.
            I might be kidding...

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