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Trip Report    

Palisades Peak & Marcus Peak

Brown, Slide, Palisades and Marcus. 9/19/2015.
In a 10 hour 13 mile, 4600’ gain trip we took in these 4 peaks in that order.
Brown Peak is boring tree and elk poop covered summit via an easy walk-up on a side trail about 200 meters before Upper Palisades Lake. The only redeeming thing about the summit is the great views of The Palisades half way to the summit.
Slide Peak is one of those where the USGS map marks the lower point while the higher point on the ridge sits to the south. The Rainier 100 peaks book said the south/higher summit counts for credit, so we stopped there. Unlike Brown, this peak is very nice, and so is the class-2 ridge walk out to it. Including time to hang out on the summit of South Slide, both peaks were about a two hour round trip. The views of Rainier popping up behind The Palisades, (see above photo) made the detour quite worthwhile.
From Upper Palisades Lake, we hiked SW to the prominent boulder field, followed it up to the 6050’ foot basin, then turned NE and headed up to the ridge, where we hit it at about 6550’ – just to the NE of a prominent rocky/steep section. We followed the ridge up and above that steep section then dropped down into the north basin and contoured the basin at 6600’ above the bone dry tarn, then ascended the north ridge. Except for a couple trees to bash through on the final ridge, there were no big obstacles.
From the summit of the Palisades, we retraced the last bit of our ascent route, then dropped down in a SE direction to below 6600’ then veered south over to the ridge looking down at Hidden Lake. There are some dense trees in the area that forced us east to the ridge, but I think we could have found a direct route to the 6388’ tarn. We headed south on the east edge of the Palisades / Marcus ridge then popped back to the west side at the low point on the ridge. We side-hilled the basin above the shallow tarn (which still had water on this late summer day) and then climbed up a prominent loose rock gully up to the NE ridge just to the SE of the brush. The last couple hundred feet of the NE ridge was quite fun and offered options from T3 – T5.
From the summit of Marcus, we descended the steep gully to the south ridge. A few people were slowed down by the large steps, but the hand holds were bomber. We followed the south ridge south about 500 meters. At times I wondered whether the route would go, but each time I found a nice key-hole to slip through. I promoted the idea of following it all the way to Dege Peak, but several party members had had enough. We dropped down the grassy slopes into the east basin mid-way between Clover and Hidden Lakes to where we found the hikers trail near the ponds. I highly recommend this south route as either the ascent of descent of Marcus.

. We could have shortened the descent, by contouring
The firsttraversed the b