Silver Star Mountain!
Silver Star Mountain 8,876'
 

Silver Star Mountain 8,876'!

 

 

In the North Cascades, a trip report from July 15, 2001

 

Back to PNW!

Back to Treks Home!

Back to History!

Backcountry Hiking!

Back to Trails!

 

2000 Trip Reports!

2001 Trip Reports!

 

We had planned an attempt on Glacier Peak this weekend, but the weather forecast for clouds and rain made us decide to wait for a better weekend. So Doerte and I headed over to the East Side of Washington Pass, to attempt Silver Star Mountain on a day trip.

The climber’s trail begins at the end of the pullout just past mileage marker 166 on Highway 20 in North Cascades National Park. There were several cars and while we were packing a group of 8 hiked up the trail, having summited the day before.

We started at 9 am, first down 200 hundred feet from the roadside, across the creek and up directly East for Silver Star. The trail has probably never had any maintenance, and sees no one other than climbers. It zig zags around trees and boulders, with short, occasional switchbacks as it starts up. There are many fallen trees to walk over and loose gravel and dirt.

Finally, at about 6,000’ the ridge leveled out. This area has good campsites, but no water. The snow is all melted. We did find some water in nearby Willow Creek. We continued up the main path up the scree filled gully, finally crossing right over to the scree beneath the Burgundy Col. It was a relief to finally attain the Col between Burgundy and Vasiliki Spires at 7,760’.

We enjoyed the fantastic views toward the Early Winter Spires and Liberty Bell Mountain. Glacier Peak was still out in spite of the forecast. Doerte and I prepared to access the Silver Star Glacier, with rope, ice axe and crampons. The route descends a hundred feet, then turns to the right (east) underneath the backside of Burgundy Spire. There were many rocks in the snow that could only have come from above so we moved briskly. Finally, we headed up the main part of the glacier to the Col between the West and East Peaks of Silver Star. There were 3 crevasses to cross that we could see.

We were amazed to come upon the remains of a small airplane high on the glacier. The snow and ice was black where the impact occurred and debris was scattered around. Fiberglass, windows, foam, a wisk broom, screwdriver, and even a piece of broken propeller lay scattered in the snow. We speculated that the pilot was attempting to fly between the two summits and did not gain enough altitude. It gave us an eerie feeling to be standing in such a disaster. We found out later that the tragedy had occurred about ten years ago.

At the Col between the East and West Peaks, we left our crampons and climbed the Class 3 broken rock to the summit. We belayed each other a couple times and did a short rappel on the way down. The actual summit is a big slab turned side ways that we had to straddle. The summit register consisted of a copy of Beckey description. We were the only party of the day. Silver Star Mountain 8,876’, was first climbed by Lage Wernstedt in 1926. We looked for smoke from the tragic 30 Mile Fire near Winthrop, but with the building clouds and westerly wind we couldn’t see it.

Unfortunately, we could not linger on the summit, and began our descent. We stopped for water at a rock toe before the traverse under Burgundy Spire. We heard rockfall behind us, then watched in amazement as a huge snow slide came down directly in front of us, and tumbled down the glacier! So that’s how those rocks got there! We were glad we had stopped for water.

We waited a while to see if anything else was going to happen, and then moved fast across the danger area back to the Col. Even on the most beautiful of days there is always the possibility of objective hazards.

We descended the scree on the East Side of the Col, then bushwhacked west to wind up at the campsites. This was no better than our ascent route. At the campsites we met a party of 4 who were hoping to ascend the Burgundy Spire, one of the most difficult in the Cascades. Its first ascent was by a party led by Beckey on August 17, 1953.

We were back at the road at 8 pm for a hard eleven-hour day.  


You can order Washington and Cascades books and other hiking guides from:
In Association with Amazon.com
This website is a photographic and descriptive resource of routes and climbs, not a hiking guide. By using this site the viewer releases the creator from any and all liability. Hiking/climbing is a potentially dangerous activity and requires proper equipment, skill, experience, preparedness and awareness at all times.

All contents of all pages   copywrite 1997 - 2002  by Mike Mahanay, All Rights Reserved

Do you have any off trail stories or descriptions you would like to add?

Do you have any questions, comments, or corrections? If so, drop me a  email at mike@grandcanyontreks.org