Ascent of Silver Lake Benchmark on 2015-04-19

Climber: Dan Baxter

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, April 19, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Silver Lake Benchmark
    Elevation:3773 ft / 1150 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drive 13 miles east of Baker on I-15, exit at Halloran Springs.
Go north on occasionally paved road 1.0 miles, then Left at Y
This is signed BLM road 661. Stay on it at all minor junctions. There are a few minor washouts that make high clearance vehicles preferred. This is more in the first section, the road gets better!
There is a very brief (100' or so) section of 661 which is not in continuity. Here you make a L (south) on Rd 563, then quick R (west) back onto 661
At Wonder Mine turn L on NW580. I parked, camped and in the am hiked from a nice pullout 0.9 miles down this road. (UTM 11 S 0593791 3917115, elev 2833'). You can make your hike a little shorter if you drive a little further, but I didn't bother as the road annoyed me.

I hiked SW between some small hills. There is a small range basically NNW-SSE and I wasted some time on a few of its slopes. Better to aim for the spot just S of here: UTM 11S 593215mE 3916061mN NAD83 / WGS84 . I did this on the return and much easier. A few minor washes to cross on this section.
Then aim for the small gap in the ridgeline at 11S 592760mE 3915959mN 2951 ft. Then find a way to scramble downslope just E of the small red cliffs to the dry wash.

You then have a choice. You can keep heading SW up the ridge, then west up this ridge to the Silver Lake BM, or you can go up the dry wash (L at fork) and up slope between the aforesaid BM and the 2 northern potential HP's.

I recommend the dry wash. I did the east ridge route on the ascent and was annoyed by the rocky scrambles and traverses and ups and downs. This route does, however, have two impressive 4' cairns on a false summit which made me ponder their origins until I read in the register that a climber found a mining survey paper on this route. Miners have time to build such things as big cairns, I suppose.

The south summit, with the larger contour line, I suspect is the true HP. Here was the classic register in a red can, placed in 1980 by Gordon Macleod on a DPS outing. Not a lot of sign ins - last being March of this year. Some old triangulation timber. Good views of I-15, and the town of Baker.

It is a very short jaunt to the two northern potential HP's, with minimal elevation loss. Perhaps 10 minutes. The middle one is lower I'm sure. The northern one has two small cairns, no register and one of those directional BM plaques.

I then headed back S nearly to the small saddle between the HP's, skirting SE downslope and then down the dry wash. No loose scree to speak of, and the tightest part of the canyon was only some minor brief rock hopping and a couple of 4 ft downclimbs. I thought this route to be much easier than the ridge route I took up. Just past the small red cliff I scrambled back up to the shallow saddle, and out.

It was a very hot day , 87 degrees back at the Jeep. Why would I climb this in an April heat wave, you ask? Well, the previous day I joined a group of ten on a climb of nearby Tiefort Mtn, and the ARMY decided when that ascent could be done. Heat and mismanaged ascent route finding had an effect on my climb times for this day.

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The summit area from my trailhead (2015-04-19). Photo by Dan Baxter.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1198 ft / 364 m
    Total Elevation Loss:270 ft / 81 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1098 ft / 334 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 928 ft / 283 m; Extra: 170 ft / 51m
    Loss on way in:170 ft / 51 m
    Distance:2.4 mi / 3.8 km
    Route:East ridge
    Start Trailhead:Road NW 580  2845 ft / 867 m
    Time:2 Hours 10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:East dry gulch
    Time:1 Hours 40 Minutes

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