Silver Mtn and Unnamed 13681

27-29 Jul 2001 - by Mary Gilbert

On 7/27-29/01 a CMC trip went to 13,714' Silver Mtn and Unnamed 13,681' from the north via Fall Creek. I gave everyone a computer-generated "Topo!" custom map.

Access is the USFS Rd to Little Cimarron Creek trail, off Hwy 50 ~41.5 miles W of Gunnison (or ~3.5 miles E of Cimarron). The Fall Creek trailhead is ~21 miles in at a gated closure.

8 of us packed in 4 miles along a mostly flat trail and camped in a meadow at 11,400'. Trail goes along Firebox Creek, then two miles in drops into the HUGE meadow with the Fall Creek drainage. Here, the dead domestic sheep I had seen on a scouting trip earlier this month was now really stinking. We crossed the fairly deep Fall Creek twice, but it wasn't too difficult. Trekking poles really help.

Our campsite involved some walking to trees for potty purposes. For good water there was a nearby tributary stream in the timber. Fall Creek was right there, but I had seen ~3000-4000 sheep grazing just upstream on my scouting trip.

Our weather the entire time was perfect--no rain, warm. The only annoyances were some biting monster horseflies with huge iridescent green eyes.

Next day we started up the Fall Creek trail to the peaks shortly after 6 am. We saw a shepherd's tent and sheep high on the slopes to the east, but a different herd from what I had seen--much less sheep.

At the 12,760' pass directly east of Silver Mtn we determined its east ridge was a no-go. We left the trail, contoured around and hiked up the valley WSW to the 13,160' saddle S of Silver Mtn. We stayed high on the right (north) side of this valley below a headwall because it looked difficult to attain the saddle at its center. We walked on mixed tundra and rock, some loose stuff. From the saddle it was an easy stroll to the flat summit.

We got to Silver ~9:30 am then headed NW over a tundra plateau to Unnamed 13,681', which we arrived at ~10:45. The panorama was magnificant. Dominant Uncompahgre Peak to the south seemed to tower over us like a leaning stack of pancakes. Coxcomb Peak perched like a skinny graceful sphinx between Wetterhorn Peak and Redcliff. One could identify many San Juan peaks, including distant Pigeon Peak.

We walked to the east edge of the plateau between Silver and Unnamed 13,438' and descended off via either a snowfield or the wide diagonal scree slope to its right (south). The scree was a bit testy, but a direct way back to the Fall Creek trail over retracing our steps.

It was only 1 pm back at the trail, so we grabbed easy Unnamed 13,051' to the east then went back to camp. I figured we hiked ~9-10 miles.

Late afternoon we packed out since the day went so quickly--original intent was to stay another night. On the way a few dropped their packs near the dead sheep to do a short side hike to some spectacular falls on Fall Creek. We got back at the cars, camped there and drove home Sunday.

Thanks to those who had responded to my inquiry early this year as to how to do these peaks. It was really a wonderful trip!!!


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