There is very little information on this mountain which is relatively close to Hwy 3 and Sunshine Valley. Grant Myers has a report on here from 2006 via the West ridge starting from the old Sunshine Valley ski lift area as an overnighter. Next is the hardcore North Shore Hikers who did it in 2009 via the same way in a 14.5 hour day and then descended down the NW ridge after doing a car drop. Both reports are on Clubtread. Aside from that it's a rarely down peak. Katie and I have been knocking off alot of the peaks in the area, so Marmot just happened to be on the list. Looking at the topos and Google Earth it appeared attacking it from the Skagit River trail and crossing the river and then heading up the South ridges could work. There is no information anywhere to be found by doing it this way. I showed Steven Song this idea and he has wanted to do this mountain for 4 years, and he had considered this same line. With a plan in motion we assembled an MSR All-Star team consisting of Steve and Me and Vlad(Culater) on Clubtread, Mel Olson, Illya and a newbie girl I found Winnie who was wanting to progress from just casual hikes. I have only done Potter with her but I told Steve I would vouch for her. I crammed 12hrs into a 7min video that shows all the hard work involved that the pictures don't really show.
Asking around on a few Facebook hiking pages I managed to find out that the Skagit trail was at least packed down till the 4km mark and looked to carry on. This was good news because we would have to hike 8.5km of this trail just to get to the creek crossing. Mel set a blistering pace as the trail was hard packed ice. It felt like I signed up for a trail race at one point since we were marching a 9min/km. The trail is kind of annoying since it meanders alot, it has ups and downs, and you lose it in blowdown sections, but nothing major, It does suck that you are losing elevation the whole time. 1hr 40min later we arrived at our creek crossing where I realized I forgot my river shoes, so I was the first on to just do what had to be down and embrace the cold pain.
Once across we took a fair sized break and then made our way to the start of our ridge. We had to find a way on it so Steve lead this section and as he got tired of traversing to find a good spot, so straight up he went.
Getting onto the ridge was steep, loose dirt/rock. A group of 7 this resulted in some little/medium rock fall hazards but we tried our best. Eventually once we gained the ridge it was nice at times, and then we hit our first cliff band. Not wanting to waste too much time going left or right we just took a class 3/4 shit loose line up it, after this it got nice again. Eventually we hit 1 more minor cliff band but all in all things were going well.
Marmot was putting up abit of a fight but now we finally hit snowline so the snowshoes went on and things started to open up, with our next obstacle looming above us. The grade was fairly relentless since crossing the river and it still continued. Steve was leading the charge breaking trail in snow that was slowly starting to soften up and become heavy. After a good sweat we made it into the alpine and got a a look at our open South slopes. There were 2 ways to possibly traverse over and gain our next ridge we opted to loose abit of elevation and hook up with it lower down.
Traversing over Mel took over breaking trail up some fairly steep slopes to hop onto our next broad ridge. After arriving at this point the summit was probably only 30min away but it was such a nice day and we were doing well on time we decided to have our 3rd stop on the day.
I was feeling good on the day so after the break I took the lead, although now on this broad ridge leading to the base of the summit the snow was fairly firm so I really wasn't doing all that much. Mel and Steve did all the hardwork lower down. The peak when it came into view looked awesome and contributed to both me and Steve really hoofing it to get up it. Working our way up it kept getting steeper up into the 40-45 degree at one point. The snow was perfect for kicking in a platform for the snowshoe to bite on. The fall zone to the left was a definite no slip zone though. I decided hang back at the steep spot and wait for some others to catch up to snap some hero shots of them as seen in the video while Steve was standing on the summit waiting for us to appear 1 by 1.
There was minimal wind on the summit and the temps were just right, the views were dope, there was even a bald eagle flying around overtop of us. I have no clue what that was all about but it was a big eagle. We snapped a summit photo with yours truly screwing around with a yoga pose. Namaste bitches! The 2 girls who haven't met the legend yet wanted their pics taken with the rockstar Steve Song lol!
My trip reports usually get really lazy when I describe the way down. We heel plunged down, Winnie hasn't really been on snow like this before or even a trip like this but she killed it! I hung back with her on the steep parts while the others were well on their way to transitioning back to snowshoes and motoring down.
On the way down always looking at the next peaks, Brice was right next door which is now on the hit list. The snow was now stupidly heavy and soupy. Mix that in with the steepness we came up, it was actually quite abit of leg work descending and falling and sliding and lifting up all that extra weight. Easier to buttslide at times, until you end up in a 3 car rear ender. Everything is all smiles in the alpine, because soon the class 3/4 dirt/loose slopes coming up will wipe that away rather quickly.
The lower portion of the cliff bands we descended a different route than our uptrack just cause it all looks the same, either way it was all shit, it was a pretty gnarly descent and I was relieved to finally get back to the Skagit River.
Team Cariboos couldn't be bothered to take off our boots and socks so we just said fuck it and walked across in them and told the group we have 2hrs to walk in soaking wet boot so we weren't gonna wait around while they changed. We took our time and eventually the group caught up to us. The 8.5km back took forever. Mel and Steve split off and started pulling away, Winnie finished strong in 3rd and the rest of us all rolled in together. maybe 10 min after Mel and Steve.
Mel and Illya were going to go do Matier the next day so they couldn't stick around long so Steve drove them and Winnie back. Vlad was stuck with the misfits as we decided to hang out in our camp chairs having some beers and decompressing on the day. If anything this might be the first documented way to do this mountain there was a group looking for some weird flower in 2003 the Dru found a link for though. Who knows maybe someone will follow suit cause it seems to work well without anything really difficult. Distance wise it was around 33km~ - 1800m gain, in just over 12hrs including breaks. Gender doesn't really matter but for what it's worth I think these are some of the toughest girls doing this kinda thing right now around these parts, but I"m probably biased.
I anyone wants to read a proper trip report with WAY more detail here is the link to Steve's report.