Silver Peak


Summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 9.6 miles round trip
Starting
Elevation
6000 feet
Cumulative
Elevation
Change
+2350, -2350 round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Full day
Season Late December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Tahoe City
Start Highway 89 at the intersection with the Pole Creek road, 6.2 miles south of Interstate 80, 7.5 miles north of Tahoe City, and immediately south of Pole Creek.

Description

From the small summit of Silver Peak, the views are magnificent in all directions. Squaw Valley Ski Resort to the south is only 1.6 miles away but more than 2000 feet below. There are also excellent views of Lake Tahoe from both the ascent route and the summit.

The tour to the summit is for strong skiers who seek either the summit of a windswept peak or excellent telemark terrain. If telemarking is your goal, pick a time when the snow is fresh or spring conditions exist. Due to the elevation and orientation of the final ascent route, the snow near the summit tends to stay good for a considerable time after a new snowfall. However, much of this tour is through avalanche terrain and you must exercise appropriate care.

The tour to Silver Peak follows the Saddle Trail Loop tour for the first 3.6 miles. An interesting variation of a trip to Silver Peak is to return via that loop.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 1.9
Elevation change: +650 feet

From the trailhead (1) ascend generally east on the convoluted snow-covered road for 1.9 miles until you reach a road junction (2). The north (right) fork leads to Pole Creek and Bradley Hut. This tour follows the west (let) fork toward Silver Creek.

Miles: 1.9 - 2.0
Elevation change: +50 feet

Follow the west (left) fork and climb gradually for 0.1 mile until you reach a road junction (3). You may miss this junction if it is not already tracked, but at the end of this tour you will return on the road from the west (right).

Miles: 2.0 - 3.0
Elevation change: +300

Continue on the south (straight) fork, climbing gradually for 0.7 mile and then climbing at a steeper angle for 0.3 mile until you reach an obvious overlook point (4). The excellent views from the overlook include Silver Peak to the west.

Miles: 3.0 - 3.6
Elevation change: +250 feet

Continue on the road to the northwest for 0.6 mile until you reach an obscure fork in the road (5). The obvious road that continues northwest (straight) is part of the Saddle Trail Loop tour. The Silver Peak tour continues on the obscure road to the south (left).

Miles: 3.6 - 4.1
Elevation change: +100 feet

Continue on the road to the south (left) for 0.5 mile until you reach the entrance to a bowl (6) that has a rock outcrop high above it on the ridge.

Miles: 4.1 - 4.8
Elevation change: +1000 feet

Leave the road and ski northwest up a broad ridge; when the broad ridge disappears, continue to climb to the northwest and to the summit of Silver Peak (7). For safety, stay in the sparse trees where possible though this is not a guarantee for safety. If the snow near the top is wind-packed, leave your skis near the last trees and hike the final 150 feet of elevation gain to the summit. In any case, as you approach the summit, head for a rock outcrop just to the south of the peak from where you can see the summit. To the south of the actual summit is a wooden cross and the remains of a crashed airplane.

Miles: 4.8 - 9.6
Elevation change: -2350 feet

Retrace the route for 4.8 miles back to the trailhead (1). You can shorten the return and enjoy a steeper descent by skiing directly from the summit to mileage point 5. Stay on either flank of the bowl if you are not completely sure that the bowl is avalanche safe.

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour