SE Ridge Variations Overview
These two variations bring you to the crest of the Southeast Ridge at a point above the steep lower wall. The cruxes of both variations involve route-finding, and the short 3rd-class steps of the upper ridge.
For the eastern variation, proceed up from Silver Lake towards the base of the Southeast Couloir. Rather than climbing the couloir, work up the indistinct blocky rib which forms the left edge of the east face, well to the left of the couloir. For the western variation, hike up and around to the left (west) of the toe of the southeast ridge from Silver Lake.
East variation: Before attempting this variation, you should be feeling very confident of your proficiency for smooth and quiet scrambling in steep, loose terrain. If there is more than one person in your party, stay very close together to minimize the chance of hurting each other with falling rock. Wander up the indistinct rib, keeping left as much as possible. You'll frequently be able to peer down over the steep wall to Silver Lake. The terrain is littered with plenty of loose rock, but with careful route selection and focused footwork, you can take advantage of a good amount of solid rock as well. The gradient is steep enough to be more interesting than a scree slope, but not so steep as to require handholds per se. After joining the Southeast Ridge at 10700', continue to the summit passing the three steps described under the Southeast Ridge route.
West variation: Hike up the rocky moraine to the left of the base of the southeast ridge from Silver Lake. The cliffs above you to the right gradually become shorter until they disappear. Head up the scree, veering to your right to avoid another, higher set of cliffs above and to the left. Continuing to angle steeply up to your right, you end up above the lower cliffs and gain the crest of the SE ridge at about 10,630'. Continue to the summit as described under the Southeast Ridge route.
I like short gaiters and trekking poles in this type of terrain. A helmet is a good idea. Ice axe and crampons may be advisable in early season.