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Here is a non-facebook style trip report for anyone who is interested in conditions on Silver Star Mountain.
Took off on Friday afternoon with my dad and brother, didn't get to the pullout till late afternoon. Headed straight down the boulder field into Early Winters creek. Boulders and fallen logs under the snow creating hollow spots kept us on our toes for this section. Found a footlog to cross just downstream of Burgundy Creek confluence with a lot of compacted snow on top. Not ideal but the best option. Ascended through more snow out of the Early Winters creek valley to the climbers trail, which was bare for about 600 ft. or so of elevation. After that, snow made the ascent up the ridge easy enough through the forest, with just a little post-holing here and there. Made camp at the plateau area on top of the ridge at 6400 ft.
Next morning headed up the gully to Burgundy col on snow the whole way, old packed in avy debris made for some convenient steps. The col had two bivy spots with wind breaks built, both were partially covered by snow. Descent down the other side of the col was initially pretty steep, 50 or 55 degrees for a short length. Traversed south under the wine spires, noticed some loose snow avalanche debris and a giant pinwheel, but everything looked like it went during the warm up the previous weekend. Snow conditions were pretty good for boot packing, not so much for skiing.
Roped up for the glacier out of habit and a just-in-case attitude, although any crevasses are still probably under lots of snow and lots of people are skiing it. Climbed the glacier on good snow to the saddle between the summit and the wine spires. From here to the summit it is still mostly hard snow and some icy spots. Kept the crampons on, crossed a short section of gravelly scree, then climbed up steep hard snow to the summit blocks.
This last part below the summit was the most thrilling, or "spicy" as one of the skiers we saw that day put it. Steep snow with some rocks cemented in and a bad run out. Snow had just enough give for kicking shallow steps. Stayed roped up and made use of some quick terrain belays around rock horns. Pulled off the crampons for the final few feet up the summit rock, spectacular exposure on solid rock here. Snow softened a bit on the descent once below the glacier, but not too slow going.
Overall a great climb with some good thrills near the summit right now. Great to share this one with my family and happy that my dad can still do this stuff with my brother and I.
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