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Marble Airstrip

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Airport ID: 
MarbleCo
This briefing is advisory in nature and does not replace the responsibility of the pilot in commands obligation to use sound judgment regarding skill level, experience and aircraft suitability.
The RAF makes no warranty for the condition of the runway surface or suitability of the airstrip environment.

                                                                                       Marble Airstrip

                                                                                                 Colorado

                                                             Coordinates: N 39° 04.496' W 107° 12.825'

Runway profile, orientation, elevation

Elevation:            7700 MSL

Length:                 3800 feet

Surface:               Grass/dirt

Windsock:           Western third, north side, on top of a large block of white marble

Hazards:              Narrow valley, hill and rising terrain east, tall trees both sides of runway

Special Considerations or Operations

The Marble Airstrip is a high altitude (7,800’ MSL) mountain airstrip.  As with all high mountain airstrips it has its challenges. It sits in a mountain valley.  The airstrip runs basically east west (10-28) and parallels the Crystal River, and the Crystal River Valley.  The airstrip is 3800’ long with a 300’ overrun on the east side.  There is a white strip on the east side that marks the threshold; anything east of the threshold is fairly rough.  The airstrip ranges from 70’-100’ wide.  There is steep terrain surrounding the strip to the south, north, and east.  The only descending terrain is following the valley as it initially curves northwest and eventually north towards the wide roaring fork valley. 

Airstrip Communication Frequency

122.9

Arrival Procedure

Most arrivals are made upstream from the northwest.  If arriving from another quadrant it is best to descend to the northwest and approach from up stream.  McClure pass is a good benchmark to be slowing.  It is a fairly obvious pass road on the right hand side of the valley if you are flying upstream.  It is roughly 3 miles from end of the RW10 threshold.   The runway might not be visible at this point.  We recommend flying the right hand side of the valley.  This will eventually put you on a left-hand downwind. 

You can land the airstrip in either direction.  However we recommend landing to the west (RY 28) or downstream from a normal left-hand downwind. This pattern will put you up towards the town of Marble and into the rising terrain, but it will allow you to look and survey the airstrip for wildlife or any other issues.  In the morning it will also put the sun at your back and most importantly provide for a go around in the direction of descending terrain.  If you choose to land runway 10 you may be limited to your go-around options and if it is in the morning the sun can be issue obscuring rising terrain. 

Departure Procedure

Aircraft generally depart west-downstream when the winds allow. Climb out on the right side of the valley and be watchful for opposite direction landing traffic. Tail winds out of the east of even 10 knots generate a large area of sink off the west end of the runway that has caused serious pucker for several pilots when they were unable to climb above 100 feet AGL for several miles downstream (one of them was a 300HP C-185 running perfectly). Takeoffs to the east may be more promising under these conditions (by climbing above tree height and offsetting to the right over the river) but it is suspected that downhill winds in the eastern valley might still present problems. If the winds are more than 8-10 knots out of the east, don't take off west. And, if you have any misgivings about your ability to climb in the eastern end of the canyon, stay on the ground until the winds are more favorable.

Responsibility

Remember that only you, the pilot-in-command, have responsibility for your passengers and yourself to be adequately prepared for the unique conditions at Marble including the narrow canyon, terrain affecting approach and go-around, and density altitude. There has been several fatalities at this airstrip and nobody wants you to repeat that mishap. Please be safe and prepared.

Amenities

Bring and use your own tie-downs.

Nearby fishing, hiking, and biking are great.

Additional Information

For permission to use Marble, pilots should contact Lance Ward, airport manager at LTAerospace@gmail.com. Lance will send a waiver to be signed and returned. Pilots must ask permission before using the strip each time. Please plan ahead before your trip and allow a reasonable amount of time to receive permission to land.

 


 

Above photo, looking south, shows airstrip just past the northern ridge of the canyon, formed by 11,800 foot Elk Mountain. The 10,500 foot Ragged Mountains are seen in the background as the southern canyon ridge. Approach is from the right (west) edge of this photo and the large beaver pond is mid-field. Another pond is just beyond the west runway end at the right of this photo.

Aerial view of the airstrip (west at top) with 3800 x 90 foot runway.

Briefing Date: 9/2018 (This revision is good for one year)