Elevation Gain: 1,661m
Total Time: 7 hours 19 minutes
Date: May 9th, 2021
Mount Marriott is a 2735m peak located just North of the famous Joffre Lakes group nestled among the Cayoosh Range. I first discovered this mountain earlier in the year when doing an ascent of Mount Rohr and immediately added it onto my list. I didn’t know much about the peak, but it appears to be done fairly often in the summer time and is described as “boulder field hell”. With that being said, Mount Marriott wasn’t on my radar for the spring time and I was thinking of suffering through the summer conditions for an attempt.
Instead, I was saving the nice weather window on Sunday for doing Vantage Peak and potentially Mount Duke closer to the Joffre Lakes area. At around 7pm the night before, a trip report came in from Matt at SWBC Peak Baggers about their successful summit of Mount Marriott. They reported excellent snow conditions and a straightforward ascent all the way to the top. All of the sudden temptation called as it was going to be hard to resist tagging a 2700m+ peak in prime conditions, but I couldn’t make my mind up and figured I’d decided in the morning.
As usual Jacob was in for a doing a summit with me and we left Vancouver at 5am to head out towards the Pemberton area. I see-sawed back and forth between our original objective and Mount Marriott until finally Jacob and I both decided at the last minute to send Marriott instead. With the decision made, we forked off from Pemberton and continued North to Birken. Once we made it to Birken, we turned South down the “8 Mile” FSR and continued up to around 1050m where Jacob’s FWD car made it as far is it could. The road up was in great condition with a few water bars, but you’d only need a medium clearance vehicle to get through them. In Matt’s TR they were only able to make it another 2-300m down the road, so we weren’t to bothered about having to stop where we did.
Once parked, we started the plod down the snow covered FSR. It was around 8:30am and the sun hadn’t yet reached this stretch of road, so we had firm snow to walk on the entire time. We continued on for about 4.25km before reaching the area where Matt’s group turned up the Mount Marriott’s slope. Before us was a massive slide path that ran almost the entire length of the mountain. I imagine in the deep winter, you’d want to avoid this area on all but the best of days. Thankfully for us, it was well into spring time and avalanche path was mostly melted out at the bottom and looked solid higher up.
Jacob and I simply followed the tracks up the fan out zone and pushed straight up the slope weaving through a few sections of bush. At around 1930m, the route veers climber’s right up a much steeper slope before connecting with the rocky ridge line that would take us to the summit. Here the snow was super firm and so Jacob and I finally opted to put the snow shoes on for some much needed traction. This slope is one I’d be concerned about later in the day if the sun got to it enough, but we arrived early and it was rock solid at the time. Once we made it to the top of the steep pitch, the slope eased out again and then it was bit of side-hilling to reach rocky ridge line.
From the ridge line it’s a straight ~500m push to the summit. There’s a few steep sections but for the most part it’s a just a grind with one foot after the other all the way to the top. The snow was in perfect condition and we had no boulders or holes to worry about. About half way up the ridge line we ran into a pair coming down from the summit and learned that they too had changed their objective at the last minute thanks to the trip report. After our quick exchange, Jacob and I pushed on. Finally, after a tireless slog up we reached the summit without any technical difficulties.
At the top we were met with some of the best views I’ve come across yet. Mount Matier, Joffre, Cayoosh, Oleg and so many others were all visible under our perfect weather conditions. Jacob and I spent at least an hour at the top taking photos and enjoying the views. Finally, with the sun now bearing down on the slopes for a long time, we decided it would be best to head down.
Coming down was fairly straightforward, although the snow now had a loose wet layer on top of hard crust and made things considerably more slippery than on the ascent. That being said, it made it much faster to get down the slope (not always by choice) as you could practically ski down with just boots and the occasional glissade. We paused a number of times to take photos and commit the views to memory. About an hour from the summit, we reached the steepest pitch again. I donned my crampons for this section, as it was both steep and now slippery. Jacob wasn’t so fortunate as he only had snow shoes. I was able to make it down fairly easily with the extra traction and waited for Jacob at the bottom. He had to down climb some spots to get enough grip, but made it down with only a few falls under his belt.
From there it was an easy descent down the fan out zone and back to the FSR. The snow along the FSR had turned to mush so I switched over to snow shoes and then we carried on all the way back to the car.
I am super thankful for Matt and team’s SWBC Peak Bagger post as I would surely have missed out on a perfect summit day without it. For those considering Mount Marriott, I can’t recommend it enough. Better yet, if you can go around the same time as us to avoid the boulder fields. It’s a hard push in terms of effort, but no technical work required to reach the summit and the pay off is amazing.