Having studied the USGS maps beforehand, it appeared that climbing these two peaks from the west side was desirable for ease of ascent, but there was one detraction. The trail up Marten Creek had been closed by the Forest Service several years ago and we did not know how well we would be able to navigate it. As of this writing, we expect that this old trail is even less detectable. This trail shows on the 1960 Mt. Champion quad and also on the Trails Illustrated # 127 as the Marten Creek Trail." What follows below is largely our written report of this trail & route.
To locate the trail, we headed across to the west side of the creek on a bridge that crosses over below the station spillway and then hiked west before finding a fairly well-defined trail that headed southwest up the Marten Creek drainage. At first, the trail was easy to follow and marked by an occasional cairn, but that only lasted for about the first mile, and even then, we had to be careful when it crossed grassy meadows to pick it up on the far side. Eventually, we encountered a difficult willow section where the evil alpine willows had obscured the old trail and left us to bash our way through. (Through this section, the creek was just down below us forcing us into the willows and there was a steep, vegetated slope to our right that also kept us struggling through the willows.) Passing that difficult stretch, we still found a fainter trail on the other side and followed it as it skirted marsh and willow areas near the creek. For all this time, we were on the west bank of the creek until after about two miles until we came to a place where the trail crossed the creek. We had to construct some wobbly logs to make it across dry-shod. This was about ¾ mile past where the survey map says it crosses. Once on the east side, we proceeded a little further south to a place where the forest came in close to the creek on both sides, a little below the 10,600 ft. contour. After a short trek through the trees, we began to ascend on steep, grassy slopes toward the UN 13,212 summit which was directly above and east of us.
From this point on, it was a steep, seemingly endless, but fairly easy ascent for 2,300 feet to the saddle just south of the summit and north of the southern, false summit of 13,212. About 800 feet up, we came to a nice bench area with an interesting, burned out tree that granted opportunity for some interesting photos. In fact, there was evidence of an old fire here. From that bench, the ascending became even steeper. By this time of the summer, the flowers were beginning to decline, so not too many distracted us from our hiking. While it had taken nearly an hour to bushwhack up Marten Creek, it was even longer to ascend the 2,300 feet to the saddle requiring a good hour and a half. Most of this ascending was on grass/tundra slopes.
When we arrived at the saddle between the true northern summit and the false southern one, instead of heading directly from the saddle toward the true summit on the ridge, we dropped down a little on the west side and then followed a rocky ramp back north towards the summit block. This brought us out just below the large blocks of rock that form the summit. A little more scrambling got us to the uncomfortable top where we took turns clambering to the highest point of the great boulder and taking pictures. This did indeed turn out to be an interesting summit. We're not going to provide any more details about the summit block than this so you can enjoy finding your own way up. The final scramble can be held to Class 2+ but it's easy to get into some Class 3 briefly. The summit area is comprised of great blocks of rock. Soak in the Sawatch Range view with Mt. Oklahoma off to the east and peruse your possible visit to Wayah Peak, which lies south along the ridge.