Follow the description for the Southwest Ridge to get you to the summit of Highland Peak. It is best to traverse from Highland to Silver rather than the other way, as the ascent of HighlandPeak is easier (less loose material) than that of Silver Peak.
The traverse from Highland to Silver Peak follows the obvious ridge connecting the two. With only 700 feet of elevation loss/gain, it is an easy and scenic 1.5 mile pleasure hike. All the effort is in gaining the summit of Highland Peak, and this affords a great reward if you have the extra time.
The descent of Silver Peak can be done on the west side facing Noble Canyon. Choose your route carefully and it is no harder than class 2, and there is very little bushwacking required on the cross-country return. As you look down from the west slopes near the summit, you will see an obvious ridge that curves to the right (north) as it nears Noble Creek. Aim for this ridge and follow it for minimal effort (bushwhacking). You can cross the creek and pick up the trail on the other side at any time, or continue cross-country until you nearly reach Highway 4. This map shows one variation that was quite enjoyable.
None needed, other than sturdy hiking boots. A pair of short gaiters can be helpful on the descent through the sandy chutes.
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.
Some friends and I are planning on the Highland/Silver Peak combo hike this summer. I noticed that your two links in the description aren't working. I was hoping to take a look at the maps, and find a route down Silver Peak that doesn't add too much mileage. What would you say adding Silver Peak to Highland Peak does to distance? Adds 1 1/2 hours maybe? 2 1/2 miles?
If you do the hike starting from Noble Canyon east of Ebbetts Pass, then Silver is pretty much free. Still not to bad if you're heading back to Ebbetts. It took me 1h20m to got between the two summits. A most enjoyable outing, as I recall.
Thanks. It seems to me though, isn't a safer route, just to swing around the south side of Highland, and back on the PCT to make it back to Ebbett's Pass? Seems like about 13.5 miles rt to bag both summits.
Not sure what you are referring to with "safer". If you do Highland first, the fastest way back from Silver is down the west side, whether you go up Noble Canyon (to the PCT and Ebbetts Pass) or down the canyon to the highway. "Swing around the south side of Highland" - does mean around the east and south sides? If so, that is a much longer route. It's class 2 whether you go down the east or west side of Silver.
Very little bushwhacking, if any. The west side has wide open views during the entire descent. Travel through Sierra forests is usually easy - very little undergrowth to whack through, mostly just fallen trees and branches.