ApproachYou can't miss the trailhead as it is on Highway 9 right at Hoosier Pass. Drive Highway 9 south of Breckenridge or north of Alma and park on the west side of the pass.
Route DescriptionNote: This will be described as a winter route, and it would not be the shortest route to the peak in summer.
This is a simple and easy to follow route, but it has a lot of extra “ups and downs”. From Hoosier Pass, head east and up the slope. There may or may not be a ski trail you can follow, but just head east and slightly south to timberline and the ridge top.
Once you reach timberline, there is a big cairn and you may want to stash your snowshoes, but don’t do this if you aren’t going to stick right to the ridge route (sticking to the ridge routes is better anyway). Climb up to the Hoosier Ridge and follow it east.
If the avalanche danger is low (which is should be for most of the winter and spring on this route), you can skirt to the south of Hoosier Ridge and Pt. 12,814 and head due east, short-cutting across the wind-blown basin. See the map (blue line). Once you are on the ridge east of the Oxide Mine, follow it south. Just north of Silverheels, there is a saddle with some power lines crossing it. From here, climb south along the spur to the summit ridge. The spur is steep, but not bad when the talus is all frozen in place. The winds had scoured all the snow off the spur on our ascent. Once on the summit ridge, follow it east to the summit.
You can take an alternate route down via the Northwest Ridge of Silverheels, but it may take longer than reversing the ascent route. See the map and the “red line” route. From the bottom of the basin, you will have to cross some tedious willows and then climb northwest up “Heartbreak Hill” to a saddle. From the saddle, follow the ridge up and to the north to the main Hoosier Ridge. Don’t try to short-cut west across the basin to Hoosier Pass, especially if you ditched your snowshoes. That route is no shortcut and is really nasty.
The round trip distance is about 8.2 miles and is an all day climb, depending on conditions.