Marmota Peak GR:334479

elevation: 3,109 m. height gain: 1,480 m. (includes height loss)
area: Icefields Parkway,AB map 82 N/15

Park at the Waterfowl Lakes parking lot and ascend Noyes Creek. At a major junction where two drainages meet, 286445, we continued up the drainage climber's left; unlike the bottom part of the creek, travel along this section is pleasant and grants interesting features. Higher up, nearing a headwall and waterfall, a climbing traverse to the left is necessary to gain a saddle, 297469, before dipping down in the Spreading Creek drainage. An easy plod on rocky terrain leads to the access gully, 314466. Once on the ridge, the objective is clearly in sight; a short loose downclimb and a drift glacier are easily negotiated on the way to the top.
noyes creek

Travelling along Noyes Creek, I've seen worse...
Scramble: RT 15.5; 8.25 up. During the week I contacted Jay to suggest we attempt Silverhorn Mountain; turns out he had something else in mind, he mentioned we should try Marmota Peak instead. This objective reminded me of our outings to Conical and Quill Peaks, I was quick to accept the lofty substitute! We met at the parking lot and left as day light came upon us. Travel up the creek wasn't too bad at first but it did get a bit more frustrating as we progressed upward. We did need to cross the creek on a couple of occasions to follow the bank that offered the least resistance. Once we reached the junction, the following creekbed section was entirely different; travel was pleasant and we stopped often to take pictures of the lovely colours and features. The upper creekbed leads to an impressive rockwall and waterfall; we did a climbing traverse climber's left to gain a high plateau and then the saddle before dipping down on the Spreading Creek side. The terrain at the saddle is nice and the descent to the access gully is gentle, it offers a merciful ascent on the return. We also saw numerous grouse there, I love to hear their chirping! Plodding to the gully is casual despite the rolling terrain and talus, the gully is surprisingly stable but loosens near the crest. When we reached the ridge, we grabbed a quick bite. I was thrilled, the rest of the hike appeared short and simple. After a decent break, we continued towards the objective. A short downclimb, which is loose, interrupted the otherwise straightforward and carefree trek; we also encountered a little bit of easy scrambling just before the summit. We enjoyed our summit stay but didn't linger for too long given our long return. I did a side trip to the southern peak and came back shortly thereafter. The view is fabulous, what a treat to be able to visit such places! Our return, via the way we came, was long and uneventful. This was a great trip and was a nice way to finish the month of August; next weekend is dedicated to camping with the dogs before leaving for Colorado.

crossing the creek

Crossing the creek to reach the path of least resistance.

nice mud flats

Nice mud flats precede the major junction of two drainages.

conveniently placed piece of wood

Conveniently placed piece of wood!

interesting features

The drainage we followed after the junction has interesting features and colourful rock.

stunningly beautiful

Stunningly beautiful.

lovely water features

More lovely water features make the hike up delightful.

near the waterfall

Near the waterfall, we ascended climber's left to execute a traverse to a high plateau.

traversing to the plateau

Traversing to the plateau.

small rockband

Ascending a small rockband.

high plateau

On the high plateau with the saddle ahead.

at the saddle

At the saddle, Marmota's northern sub-peak comes into view.

making our way down

Making our way down into the Spreading Creek Drainage.

gradual descent

A gradual descent on rocky terrain with our objective in sight.

obvious access gully

The access gully is obvious; 2/3 of the way up, we veered climber's left above the big snowpatch.

gully isn't too loose

The gully isn't too loose in the bigger rocks.

totem tower

Looking towards Totem Tower to the north-west.

nearing the ridge

As we near the ridge, it does get a bit looser...

on the ridge

On the ridge, definitely getting closer!!

looking back

Looking back.

walking the ridge

Most pleasant part, walking the ridge.

short loose downclimb

Short loose downclimb with the drift glacier ahead.

looking back

Looking back at the downclimb.

straightforward glacier

Straightforward glacier, no crampons required.

upper slopes

On the upper slopes, the summit is on the right.

s-shaped rock

Jay found a perfectly S-shaped rock.

summit ridge

Summit ridge with Marmota Peak's two summits.

a bit of easy scrambling

A little bit of easy scrambling.

oh ya!

Oh ya!!!

true summit

On the true summit with the pinnacled southern summit behind.

cool rock formations

Cool rock formations on the lower summit.

southern summit

Zen on the southern summit.

the guys on the true summit

The guys hanging out on the summit.

mounts howse and chephren

Mount Howse (left center) and Mount Chephren on its right.

quill peak

Quill Peak to the south-east.

leaving the summit

Leaving the summit.

spectacular view

The view is spectacular and the stable weather is greatly appreciated.

back at the glacier

The glacier and short downclimb.

gentle ridge

Back on the gentle ridge.

follow the arrow

An arrow scribed on a plate-rock indicates the way; just in case... hihi!!


Backtracking to the access gully.

merciful ascent

Merciful ascent to the saddle.

descending on the approach side

Descending to the high plateau.

more delightful rock

More delightful rock features in the drainage below.

dogs would love this

The dogs would love this mud flat!

near the highway

Happy to see this structure close to the highway.
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