Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Marcus Peak & Grand Park Traverse

This long, misty, and moist traverse allowed us to hone many of our scrambling skills, as well as providing a stunning Grand Park finish.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Steep snow remains on the northern aspect of Marcus Peak.  The attention getting runout below this slope make crampons a good choice for parties considering this trip in the near future.  We mitigated this hazard with our first person kicking extra substantial steps across the entire slope (on an ascending traverse), with the remainder of the party crossing without interruption to  minimize the time spent hanging out over this bad runout. Misty conditions gave us extra slippery lichen on the Marcus rock scramble, motivating slow and deliberate travel both up and down, with several one-at-a-time sections to reduce rock fall hazards.  Extra credit navigation practice was provided by foggy conditions at the sharp drop off 0.5 mile NW of Marcus Peak.  Our 4000’ elevation crossing of Huckleberry Creek was made more reasonable by its avoidance of the extra stream flow emanating from Cold Basin.

Pick a scrambling experience, endurance/pacing, snow travel, rock scrambling, navigation/route finding, cross country travel (with brush ;), stream crossings, hypothermia avoidance, and breathtaking natural wonders, this trip had it all (except for views ;).  Due to the challenging nature of this route (the ridge running NW from Marcus Peak), leaders of future trips will appreciate it’s intersection with the Huckleberry Creek trail at 4000’.  Although we did not utilize this backup plan, this trail offers an opportunity to shorten the trip with an early exit to Sourdough Ridge and Sunrise.  Our ~1 mile stroll through Grand Park, plus the slow ascent through Berkeley Park to Frozen Lake/Sunrise gave us lots of time to appreciate the day. This ~17 mile/5000’ elevation gain trip took us just under 13 hours.  Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.