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Silver Peak

WA Snoqualmie Pass
Posted by BigWilly22 on 5/24/24 8:51am

BLOG LINK: https://noahzadventures.com/2024/05/21/silver-peak-skiing-the-east-bowl/


On the cool morning of May 20th, Taylor and I set off to ski Silver Peak. A Mecca for May-June skiing in the front range of the Cascades, Silver Peak stands at a height of 5,605 ft. The best part of the route is the ease of access–we drove past Hyak, and onto the winding FS road 9070, eventually finding the snowline directly on the road. From here, we booted up and started off up the road on skis.

Arcteryx model and part-time skier, Taylor Yi.

Eventually we left the road, climbing up past short, sparse groupings of pine trees. We were soon confronted with a formidable obstacle: a shallow, grassy swamp. Obviously the best option was to go through and not around. 

After we squelched our way through the swamp, we continued up into increasingly tight, and moderately short pine trees. There may have been some bushwhacking involved. Short trees gave way to larger old growth ones, which we hiked next to for about half a mile. 

Eventually, we reached the base of the Western bowl on the North side of Silver Peak. From here, we climbed a steady gradient over the undulating, tree-free terrain of the bowl. On both sides stood steep headwalls, and up ahead loomed the peak.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a skier appeared on a ridge up ahead. To our surprise, he wore ski boots paired with a birthday suit. A hilarious and unexpected sight.

This skier was “totally cracked out.”

With a laugh, we continued up the increasingly steep bowl. We crested and reached the final bowl, where we ascended up mushy, wet snow to the summit ridge. Making it to the true summit would involve some intense scrambling, which we weren’t too inclined to do in ski boots.

Though cloudy, the views were incredible. To the west, Anette Lake peaked out, still mostly iced over. To the Northeast I-90 was visible. The surrounding mountains were melting fast, fueling countless tributes and rivers below us. 

We sat for a bit, taking in the scenery and eating some snacks. Then it was time for the fun part.

A photo of a photo.

The snow may have been soft and wet, but it was still an exciting descent. We carved through wide-open bowls, narrow avalanche slides, and past a waterfall.

Towards the end of the steeper section in the East bowl, we traversed through a beautiful old-growth forest, sliding over piles of pine-needle strewn snow. Before long, we were already picking our way through the (annoyingly) tight trees of our ascent. At last, we reached the road, sliding effortlessly back to our car.

But the fun wasn’t over yet. Taylor transformed the trunk of my car into an authentic Mexican street taco stand. In other words, we ate well.

“El Chef” himself.

Thanks for the great post.  Even with the swamp, it has inspired me to get up there at the next weather window before it is too late.  Silver has a lot to offer and is so close to town.  And apparently, all you really need to ski it is a good pair of socks!

This is TR might have set the record for most words about Silver Peak, good job! And not a single mention of the condition of FS-9070, to boot...

An easier ascent route is to follow the road network to its bitter end then latch on to the obvious skin track up the western bowl. Getting to the actual summit does require more work but it's not that terrible, esp. when there's still snow on the Annette Lake side. Many folks ski down towards (sometimes all the way to) Annette then hike back up before skiing back down the north side to Windy Pass. The best descent route isn't always apparent to first-timers, but if you head over the "hump" in the summit bowl and follow the obvious drainage you'll find a nicely pitched, continuous route through the trees that then traverses left below a waterfall and meets up with the dead end of the road in the meadow for an easy bypass of the not-so-clearcut / swamp and back to Windy Pass.

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2024-05-24 15:51:45