Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Long loop to Mt. Marshall?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Long loop to Mt. Marshall?

    Has anyone done Mt. Marshall from the Loj via Indian Pass to Cold Brook Pass? I want to explore as many trails as I can (already been through Avalanche Pass)

    Seems like an awfully long route though
    46/46

  • #2
    Seems doable, I guess I just wanted to hear from someone who's done it
    46/46

    Comment


    • #3
      I was there last week. My route began at the Loj, headed in via the Indian Pass trail to the junction with the Cold Brook Pass trail, up the CBP trail to the top of the Pass where you'll find a prominent cairn marking the start of the herd-path to Marshall.

      The Marshall herd-path is easy to follow but it is "snug and scratchy" compared to many other herd-paths. The path leads over a hump, drops into a boggy col (ought to be extra wet after the recent rain), and then rises directly to Marshall's summit. From the cairn to the summit it's an ascent of about 800 feet.

      Theoretically, the herd-path terminates directly on the summit. However, I skirted a large glacial erratic to the left (maybe 100 yards from the summit?) and found myself searching for the path. I simply continued left for a few yards and intersected the Herbert Brook herd-path. Fifty feet later I was on Marshall's summit.

      From there I continued down Herbert Brook and on to Cliff and Marshall. I returned to the Loj via Avy Pass. That was a 23 mile day with about 5400' of ascent and I don't hesitate to say I was tired by day's end.

      The Cold Brook Pass trail is no longer maintained but I found it to be in great shape; it was less eroded than the Herbert Brook herd-path. It's waterfalls and pools make it very scenic.

      The Indian Pass trail to Scott Clearing is a pleasant hike but the so-called "high water" route, that skirts the site of the former pond, is a mess. It rises, contours around the old pond, and then drops back to the level of Indian Pass Brook and follows it closely. This "closely" section is cut by channels made by the brook during times of high-water.

      It's almost five miles from the Loj to the junction with the Cold Brook Pass trail. I mention this because somewhere around mile 4.75 I broke out the map to stop the nagging feeling that I may have already walked past the junction! No worries; the trail may be unmaintained but the junction is a noticeable clearing with a large sign-post. It would be difficult to walk past the junction without noticing it.

      Enjoy the hike!
      Looking for Views!

      Comment


      • #4
        I did the loop TrailBoss describes on my first trip up Marshall. It was a long day but I think he must be overestimating the mileage, my evidence being the fact that I did it. ;-)

        Comment


        • #5
          I can vouch for "long day"! Marshall, Cliff, and Redfield took me 12h 45m via this route. Less than 2 mph which is below my normal pace. After returning from Redfield to Uphill Brook lean-to, I realized I still had 7.7 miles to cover, thru Avy Pass, to the Loj.

          When I got home, I calculated the mileage and ascent. I got 23 miles using map and guidebook; using software, one might get a more accurate result but I doubt it's under 22 miles or 5200'.

          FWIW, I felt more tired after this hike, and took more time to complete, than a Dix Range Traverse from Boquet to Round (6200', 16 miles) or a day-hike of the Sewards and Seymour (5500?? 18 miles?? no clue). Maybe it was just an off day for me. I slept like a log that night and hiked Giant and RPR the next day (comparatively speaking, a short and easy hike).

          Other options include starting from Upper Works, going up Herbert Brook to Marshall, take the Marshall herd-path north to Cold Brook Pass, then take the eastern CBP trail down to Lake Colden and returning to Upper Works. More interesting than just up and down via the Herbert Brook herd-path (which has become quite eroded in many spots).
          Looking for Views!

          Comment


          • #6
            thanks for the input, i've done ~20 miles doing the Marcy/Skylight/Gray loop and i just wanted to hear that the trails weren't too bad and whatnot

            Been through Avy Pass and was looking forward to that as a relatively smooth hike out

            46/46

            Comment


            • #7
              FWIW, I felt Marcy/Gray/Sky (MSG) was easier than Marshall/Cliff/Redfield (via Indian Pass). Once you've scaled Marcy, most of the day's elevation gain is done (typically in about 3.5 hours), mostly along the gentle and well-worn Van Ho trail. Skylight and Gray are easy, one-hour, out-and-back runs from Four Corners/Lake Tear. It's mostly downhill from there unless one chooses to go via Lake Arnold which entails a 450' ascent. A return via Avy Pass is longer but more scenic.

              Redfield isn't particularly difficult but more rugged than any part of the Van Ho trail.
              The approach to Cliff is a mud-fest and the ascent/descent requires scrambling.
              Herbert Brook to Marshall is scenic but I noticed a lot of mud and erosion along it upper third.

              After hiking Marshall/Cliff/Redfield via Indian Pass, let us know your thoughts of how it compares to MSG.
              Looking for Views!

              Comment


              • #8
                Long loop to Mt. Marshall?

                Hikes can be described by three factors: distance, ascent, AND ruggedness. The last factor does not have a definition, but it takes a lot of factors into account like rocks, cliffs, mud, high steps, branches in your face, etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  for the record, i'm only planning to do marshall

                  i'll do cliff and redfield on a separate hike from tahawus tract
                  46/46

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well folks, here's the story:

                    Cold brook pass was scenic but very rugged. It took me FOREVER (definitely above my pay grade)

                    Had a nice (late) lunch on Lake Colden then headed up the herd path to Marshall

                    Somewhere along the way after the path leaves the brook, I lost it. It just evaporated on me. I bushwacked a bit thinking I would be able to reconnect and never did. Topped a knob, thinking it was the false summit on the topo and continued on to what I thought was the actual summit. The bushwacking at this point was slow going but not too bad and I did see evidence that I was following some other poor sap's whacking.

                    When I got on top of that prominence, I saw the actual summit in the distance. Big let down, looking across the dense col. Decided that I've come this far, so I might as well tough it out and get up there! Big mistake. The bushwacking was near impossible with the density leaving me few options - couldn't even see where I was putting my feet! Made almost no progress and it was getting late, so I did the mature thing and decided to pull the plug. That far and let it go...that took some supreme willpower.

                    Bushwacked back around the side of the false summit (instead of over) towards the brook. Took a while but I managed to hit it just right. On the way down, saw a couple of college kids going up - the only people I saw ALL DAY.

                    Hiked out via Avy Pass and had to put on the headlamp a bit before Marcy Dam.

                    That hike sank my battleship. At least I've now seen Cold Brook Pass and will never have to again! Pretty trail, but really difficult for me. Tons of miles, elevation, hours and no summit! Arrggh! (don't have the final figures...my GPS app is crashing)

                    Oh well, it was a beautiful day. Father's Day was fitting because my dad took me into the woods exploring a lot as a kid and that really helped me fight back the panic when I was deep in the super dense areas off trail and find my way back.
                    46/46

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If I read your report correctly, you didn't use the Indian Pass trail; you had lunch at Lake Colden and then ascended the eastern Cold Brook Pass trail. Is that correct?

                      The eastern Cold Brook Pass trail is slightly less scenic than the western side but, if memory serves me correctly, the trail-conditions are similar.

                      The herd-path to Marshall, from Cold Brook Pass, contains a few turns and is narrower than more popular paths, like Herbert Brook. I seem to recall one spot where I had to pause briefly to determine the path's correct direction.

                      Kudos for trying to bushwhack to the summit. The woods up there are very tight and I wouldn't have attempted it.

                      It's important to remember that most herd-paths in the High Peaks are used by many hikers and are well-worn. In my experience, if a path peters out it's because I've missed a turn and followed something made by water runoff or animals or other hikers who also missed the turn. It happened to me while descending Marshall along Herbert Brook. I ended up on the wrong side of the bog.

                      The key to fixing this mistake is to backtrack to a point where the herd-path is blindingly obvious then proceed forward with fresh eyes. Look for a hard-turn you may have missed. Still can't find it? Double-back some more and keep looking. The time and effort spent trying to locate a wayward herd-path is much less than attempting to bushwhack through a dense forest.

                      You'll find the Herbert Brook herd-path to be much easier to follow. Take note of the fact you pass the bog (located about 200 feet below the summit) along its south side, not north. During the descent, should you find yourself standing in or on the north side of the bog you'll know you missed a turn in the path!
                      Looking for Views!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        i came in through indian pass from the Loj, took cold brook pass all the way to lake colden, then went up herbert brook trail

                        indeed, my mountain lesson for the trip is just that: if you find the herd path petering out...BACKTRACK

                        i was pressed for time, so i errantly thought i could just push through

                        now i know

                        (next time i shall camp at lake colden, then grab cliff, redfield and (gulp) marshall)
                        46/46

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You probably hit the notorious left turn false path up from Herbert brook. At some point the trail crosses the brook and a well defined path keeps going and starts climbing away from it. This false junction has gotten me twice (and I was well aware of it the second time). The false path peters out, at which point your only recourse is to back-track, nasty bushwhack back down to Herbert Brook (my option both times), or nearly impossible bushwhack to the summit.

                          The false path really needs a good brush in to discourage it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ah! That's very different from my understanding of your route!

                            So you lost your way while ascending the Herbert Brook herd-path? Been there, done that. Here's the pertinent excerpt from my trip to Marshall on June 21st, 2011:

                            The herd path is well-defined and easy follow, at least until you lose it as I did. Somewhere along the way, I crossed Herbert Brook and followed a distinct path that led up Marshall's slope. Before long, the path petered out but, confident I had lost it only temporarily (bonehead), I pressed on. Eventually I was standing in thick woods and was clearly off the beaten path. I turned around and couldn't even retrace my route. How now, brown cow?

                            The brook was my baseline, so I made a beeline downhill towards it. It was a short bushwhack but gave me plenty of time to wonder how many others zigged, when they should've zagged, and created that silly path to nowhere. A few scratches later, I emerged at the brook and regained the herd path on the opposite bank. Moral of the story is to follow the brook to its source.
                            Better luck next time!
                            Looking for Views!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mbowler View Post
                              You probably hit the notorious left turn false path up from Herbert brook. At some point the trail crosses the brook and a well defined path keeps going and starts climbing away from it. This false junction has gotten me twice (and I was well aware of it the second time). The false path peters out, at which point your only recourse is to back-track, nasty bushwhack back down to Herbert Brook (my option both times), or nearly impossible bushwhack to the summit.

                              The false path really needs a good brush in to discourage it.
                              I think that's exactly what I did! I have been reviewing the topo and that's what I've come up with. On my bushwack return, I noticed that I joined a path along the brook higher up than when I was originally ascending.

                              Still amazed that in my desperate loop, I never noticed crossing the herd path (I had to have crossed it at some point)

                              https://www.flickr.com/photos/32909277@N04/14252512499/



                              after looking at someone's everytrail map, it looks like the topo map (from the 13th ed High Peaks Region guide has the path drawn more to the south than it actually is
                              46/46

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X