Mount Silverheels

24 Jun 2000 - by Tony Bulik

Route: NW Ridge

Trailhead: Highway 9 (3 Miles North of Alma)

I climbed Mount Silverheels (13822 ft) with Jim Brock on Saturday, 24 June 2000 via the Northwest Ridge. The route we took corresponds to the route described in Garrat and Martin's book. The trailhead is right on Highway 9 so any vehicle that will get you there will work!

Unfortunately when we got the trailhead, I discovered that I had left insoles to my hiking boots at home. 3300 feet up and down in steel-shank hiking boots with no insoles was not part of my plan for the day. I strapped on my trusty old beat up tennis shoes and proceeded. They turned out to work just fine except for the lack of ankle support. We started out at about 7:30 AM with clear skies by following the old jeep road to the left for few hundred yards. Right before the road closure we just started climbing er, uh, I mean bushwhacking straight up the ridge/shoulder that heads east. We schlogged up the quite steep shoulder to a jeep road at about 12000 feet (per the book), passing over the first jeep road lower down.

The direct route which drops and heads straight west looked pretty 3willowed out2 (there ain9t no catwalk there!) so we took the longer and easier route will follows the old jeep road left (north) and then back to the southeast. We left the road where it crossed the creek(s) at about 9:00 and headed SSE up the fairly gentle slope. As usual, I found some snow and climbed it and Jim opted for the grassy slopes. After about 45 minutes of climbing I reached the west ridge and made a left hand turn and headed toward the summit.

The clouds were building so after a fairly short stint on top we headed back down the same way we came up. The last 750 feet down the bushwhack route was brutal on my ankles. I was thinking maybe the bare steel shank was a better option at this point. It apparently was allot steeper than we had remembered on the ascent. Finally we motored toward home without experiencing even so much as a clap of thunder. Guess the mountain gods were smiling again. It9s confirmed -- Jim is good luck.

It was an easy hike, but a good workout. We saw only one person way off in the distance the whole day. There was very little snow anywhere on the mountain except in a few couloirs. You have to try hard to find snow so an ice axe is definitely not needed.


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