Plan was to backpack over Silver and Highland to camp at Noble Lake. My hiking partner was feeling done at the saddle between the two but he made the effort up Highland. Instead of continuing over Highland South and down the ridge, we left the ridge and tried the gullies to the west. This sucked, took forever, and left us on our asses more than a few times each. Once we made it down to the forest, our bad moods subsided and we found a great creek side campsite for the night. I slept like a baby, best night sleep under the stars of 2020.
Kyle and I started from Noble Canyon, taking the gentle trail for a little over 2 miles until it was time to get serious and head uphill. The uphill portion was first through trees which was easy, then low brush which typically had cuts through it that were not too difficult to weave through. Above that, however, was some taller, thicker brush that was really tough to get through, made especially so because of the steepness of the slope. Getting our legs above the height of the brush was not possible so we had to just power through.
We left the bad brush behind at around 8800 feet, at which point we were back in the lighter brush as we followed the ridgeline we spent a fair amount of time on rock, ascending some class 2/3 outcrops to stay on the ridge, which broke up the monotony of the steep slope and was actually fun. All this led up to the ridge connecting Highland and Silver at 10,200 feet. From there, we started up the rocks to the false summit, then down maybe 30 feet then up to the real summit of the OGUL listed Silver Peak (SW Summit, the lower summit of Silver). We only spent a couple of minutes on top since we were going over to the WSC listed higher summit about a quarter mile away where we planned to rest a bit. The descent off SW Silver was a bit challenging and steep, but not too long. Then it was a very easy walk up to the higher northern summit. The trip between summits took 20 minutes.
About half the entries in the register in the northern summit mentioned coming from Wolf Creek which is probably the better way to go, especially if just going for the northern summit. It took us 4:15 to reach this second summit. We stayed on top for 20 minutes, then skirted around the lower south summit, then took essentially the same route back down. Once back on the trail we came within about 150 feet of 1 really large bear and another bear that we couldn't get a good look at. We saw the large bear first and stopped to watch as it kept plodding towards us before it finally saw us and then ran the other way. Total trip time including summit breaks was just under 8 hours.
Up the PCT to Noble Lake, then up the SW ridge of Highland and across to Silver. Mostly off trail.
I figured I might as well tag it while I was in the area. Returned to the saddle before dropping down to the creek on the return. Trip report.
Accompanied by my dog, we departed the Noble Cr TH at 9:30 to make an attempt on Highland and Silver Peaks. We followed Noble Trail toward Highland. After the trail crosses Noble Creek, we made 3 crossings of tributary creeks, topped off water at the 3rd, then headed up a spur ridge to the Highland Silver saddle, then followed the NW ridge to Highland's Summit, arriving about 12:15. After a 30 minute break we were off along the Silver Highland ridge to gain Silver's S Summit at 1:45 then the N Summit about 2:00. Returning to the S Summit, we descended talus (sometimes loose), sparse trees and meadow down a rounded ridge to Noble Creek accompanied by lightning, thunder and hail, feeling lucky that we did not dally on Silver. Arrived back at the truck at the TH at 3:30 for a 6 hr RT.
Just visited the named summit.
Cross country up the west slope from the bottom of Noble Canyon
Was my 54th OGUL peak.
Pics and commentary are here.
Only hit up the lower SPS summit on Silver. Still need to go back for the more prominent summit. Trip Report.
Very long day. PCT towards Noble Lake, then up Highland. Then crossed over to Silver Peak. Then dropped down the center rib (should have used the rib to the left) into Noble Canyon, back up to the PCT. About 14 miles for the day.