Ascent of Silki on 2019-02-27

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:14501 ft / 4419 m

Ascent Trip Report

Silki is a straightforward day hike from the standard campsite to its S. Adding next peak to E made a nice 9h round trip. Ideal plan for a fast party would be a SE-NW traverse Kidis Yared 4435m p710 from Metelal col. Prior to our trip, Peakbagger had Silki as the P600 and we didn't grasp the topography properly until already en route.

Tue 26: to Arquaziye camp. Depart Ambiko 0830, descend our outward route to  recross the small river then good path angling up R following spur, past houses, thru mule ploughed fields, crossing spur then undulating traverse, buying coke en route, 1230 lunch at 3605m saddle highpoint. Briefly heavy rain, arrive Arquaziye village 1330, 5hrs, arriving before our mules, we assemble quite an audience. Our scout gets the call and we walk an additional mile to a pleasant campsite close to the Bwahit key saddle. 1430 with a lot of day left. Coffee then wander up to nearest summit 3725m P40, gorgeous views across to Ras Dashen, back to Beroch Wuha and up along ridge to Bwahit, pair of kites circling. Complex of spires below us to W around Imet Gogo impressive. GPSd Bwahit col, P795/800 consistent with OpenStreetMap contours.

Wed 27: summit day: bright sun, pied crow and thick billed ravens strutting in front of breakfast table,  depart 0815, contour to col, beyond are remains of old settlement (village moved by the National Park c4 years ago), low ridge leads to base of peak, good trail leads R, Inatye cliffs superb in morning sun. We climb up half-left to col, avoiding spiny bushes, interesting plants including heather, serve, a long-spent catchfly, stemless thistle, large group of crows, group of three buildings below looking unusually official for this part of the world. Laze at col then take SW ridge, a succession of easy rocky rises leading to rocky summit, eastern bump a metre higher (GPS N13.34067° E38.26587°, 4421m, outcrop). GPSs consistent with mapped 4420m. Hand levelling indicates next peak to east only a few metres lower than Silki. Kidis Yared and Bwahit both higher, as expected from topo maps.

We head for next peak to east, Richard and I visiting scrambly tooth on way down, YDS3, and GPS indicates 4388m P36. Scramble down SE arete then easily to grassy col; GPSs consistent with the P265m expected from OpenStreetMap. Petter and Denise are ahead taking a line R then L for rocky summit. We taking slightly more direct line gaining ridge L of summit, a little easy YDS3 scrambling, arriving 20mins after the others. Nice patch of mauve rockcress, we saw some also on ascent, also a larger white one, also small ranunculus in shade of boulder, and alchemilla. Consensus of GPSs and hand levelling suggests 10m lower than Silki, around 4410m perhaps a few m higher. Fine views N, towers and spires in silhouette, an impressive landscape.

To N is another rocky peak, contours suggest 4225m p260 but probably higher, looks a hard scramble. To SE the next peak is approx 4325m p120, looking smooth and grassy: the ridge from here to the higher Kidis Yared 4435m p710 also looks straightforward. A SW NE traverse of this whole range from Metelal pass (3725m) would make a fine long day: our guide Meles says he did it once with a fast young party.

We descend Petter's route to join good trail on far side of col, follow this towards our third peak Beroch Wuha, below is another village with what looks like tree heather forest above it. We leave trail and angle up traversing easy grass to Beroch/Silki col, then easy grassy ascent. Its foresummit 4242m P3 surprisingly has a ring of standing stones. Beroch Wuha 4272m P130 has 2 summits close together and of very similar height, the eastern one an obvious outcrop may be a few cm higher, western summit has a few smaller outcrops. SW ridge makes a pleasant descent, grassy avoiding a few rocks and spiny bushes, a few rocky spurs/dykes add interest.

9hr round trip, down with daylight to spare, chilly evening.  Sudden lightning and thunder after midnight but no rain.

Thu 28: to Chennek camp. Cloudier morning, colourful sunrise, depart 0830, heading W over low ridge to pick up good path leading down thru terraced fields, crossing 2 streams then climbing steadily, up a spur, longish break enjoying views across steep fields to the technical looking spires and towers which fringe the massif  Richard offered live chicken for £5 equivalent, ensuing discussion over western economies of scale and farming methods!

Trail climbs a spur, taking intricate route across tall cliffs, occasional YDS3 scrambling, notparticularly exposed although path itself often quite exposed, no place to fall! Excellent range of flowers among steep tree-heather forested slopes. Longish scenic lunch break, eventually reach the clifftop viewpoint we'd visited Sunday morning on our way up from Chennek. Then short level walk to camp. As before, several groups here although we've seen no other trekkers on trail other than a single Ethiopian on Ras Dashen itself.

Back at the roadhead our trip is essentially complete. We climb some local summits in the afternoon (see Chennek TR), spend night at camp, are driven back to Gondar next day then Saturday fly to Addis for our homeward flights. Our 2 week trip visiting 5 ultra prominent summits has gone well, noting that several of the peaks were unknown to our guide Meles

Silki peaks photos
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2555 ft / 778 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Guide, Animal/Pet, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2555 ft / 778 m
    Distance:11.1 mi / 17.9 km
    Start Trailhead:11946 ft / 3641 m
Descent Statistics

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