Since my first visit to Ranger Lake, I’ve had an inkling to climb the trail-less Mt. Silliman. It sits at 11,188 feet — just a little below Alta. On this last 3 day trip in the backcounty, I took a day to attempt it. From my camp at Ranger Lake, there’s a trail that took me about 2 miles and 1,000 feet to the top of Silliman Pass. From there, I cut south to go cross-country 2 miles and 1,000 feet to the summit.
About half the trek is a scramble up and down granite boulders. I had a couple questionable moments, where I wasn’t sure if I could get back, or even forward, and had to elect for a risky slide on my backside. The other half opens up into wider, flatter stretches of sand. There I saw Mountain Lion tracks and, for the first time, the tracks of the ever-elusive Bighorn Sheep.
After about 1.5 miles cross-country, I decided to turn around, having made it almost to the base of the summit. I hadn’t started till late in the day so I was losing the sun, and the terrain ahead looked like it was to get a bit technical for my non-existent rock climbing skills. (My hands were already scraped up and blistered from the scrambling and the previous day’s adventures.)
The views from the crest rivaled that of Alta; I was able to hang my feet over the jagged, immense cliff on the eastern side while stopping for a snack. The attempt was not wasted. Some day I’ll make my way back.