Ascent of Silo Mountain on 2007-11-24

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Date:Saturday, November 24, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Silo Mountain
    Elevation:4150 ft / 1264 m

Ascent Trip Report

Silo Mountain (map) is an unnamed peak on the western fringes of the Cascades near Mount Vernon. You can find it on the map just to the east of Haystack Mountain, from which the Silo association was surely derived. Like most of the other sub-5000-ft peaks in this part of the state, this is logging territory. The land is the property of Longview Fibre Company and the tree farm roads are gated, as almost all private timber land is these days. Fortunately, the signs near the gate indicates that the land is accessible to the public for non-motorized recreation on the weekends only. Based on the lack of trash or fire rings that we saw on our ascent, I would assume that the gate is never opened to the public even during hunting season.

We parked at this gate at the very unimpressive elevation of 150 feet above sea level. Ken had suggested bringing bikes and, while I was not sure this would be worthwhile beforehand, it turned out to be the correct choice. The road is in very good shape for biking with a good hard-packed dirt surface. It gains elevation at a modest but consistent rate--never steep but also never flat or downhill on the ascent. We pushed our bikes the whole way up but I can imagine that if one were more of a bicyclist than either of us, he/she could ride up this road. The ascent is very simple, just stay on the main road until the junction marked at 2952 ft. We parked our bikes a little bit before this junction as the snowcover was setting in with consistency. From the 2952-ft junction you'll just switchback up the ridge until reaching the 3735-ft saddle near Haystack.

From that saddle you want to continue on the main road, which now extends closer to the peak than is shown on the map. You'll get a few glimpses of the forested top of Silo ahead. Soon a fork will be reached as you approach the 4080+ knob to the west of Silo. Go left and as you round the corner you get a good look at the final hike to the top, which is 150+ vertical feet and no more than a fifth-of-a-mile away. The road soon reaches another junction a few yards north of the saddle between the 4150 summit and the 4080+ knob. Here we elected to go right for approximately 100 feet and then go left up the ridgeline as this looked a bit flatter than just heading up the slopes we could see. This turned out to be bad brush of tightly spaced young trees with downed logs to crawl over. We made it but you absolutely do not want to go that way. Instead, the better route is to go left at the last road junction and just go up the steeper but much more open slopes on the NW side of the peak. The top is fairly open regrowth without a distinct highest point.

Our descent was fairly uneventful. We took a pass on bagging Haystack Mountain as we'd had enough off-trail for the day. On the way down, we were in a very thin snow layer for much of the first 1000 vertical feet of descent. Once reaching the bikes we bundled up and glided down the road the entire way on our bikes. The round trip was 15-16 miles and 4000 feet of gain which we did in about 7 hours. I'm a slow hiker but our pace was pretty brisk considering my speed and the fact that we were pushing bikes uphill. The terrain the road slithers through is boring and ugly clearcuts or replanted land. You do get views from along the road, especially of Twin Sisters and the other hight-prominence peaks around Bellingham, but there are no views from the summit.

Silo is for peakbaggers only unless you just want some exercise. I highly recommend taking a bike. The corollary to that is that to get utility out of your bike you don't want a really low snowline so maybe the dead of winter is not the time for this peak. But you won't want to burn a summer day on this ugly duckling either. Fall or Spring would be the right time. --Eric Noel, November 24, 2007
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4000 ft / 1219 m
    Round-Trip Distance:15.4 mi / 24.8 km
    Trailhead:150 ft / 45 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3 Brush
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Calm, Overcast

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