Queen Anne, WA
Explorer | 40 pts
We arrived to Marble Mount shortly after 7:00 a.m. The road was not plowed but there was hardly any snow on it.
Quick gear up and we were on our way. We started on snow right from the trailhead but with several groups ahead of us, the trail was packed and had good traction.
The first part of the winter route leading on gentle ski trails was a nice warm up. Once we broke from the trees, that's where the work started. Luckily there were good steps kicked in making the steepest part much easier.
Admiring the beauty of the snow capped mountain, we proceeded up in a steady moderate pace with occasional breaks for photo ops and hydration.
Most of the route was in a great condition with no traction needed to about 6200 ft. That's where the slope got wind blasted and at spots covered with a sheet of ice of which the rays of sunshine reflected and sparkled.
The ice became more serious as we climbed higher, and majority of the upper 800 feet was covered by it. The summit could safely and easily gained with crampons and ice axe, the sound of the ice layer crushing under our feel was a sweet music to our ears.
Needless to say it was scary to see people tiptoeing their way up in Yak Trax supporting themselves by ski poles.
As usually the summit was windy, and man, when the wind picked up, it was strong but despite the wind it was by far the best conditions I ever experienced on this mountain. Unlike the other times I was up here, this time the wind would take an occasional break, and even when wheezing by, it did not blast the typical sandy ash grains into our faces which was very nice and gave us an opportunity to stay at the summit for decent amount of time.
The snow was much softer on our way down. We chose mot to glisade considering the icy sections, and when we got lower, we postholed our way the last mile or so of the ridge back to the ski trails. From there it was a long, but easy stretch back to the snow park.
GPS stats: 10.4 miles, 5746 ft el. gain