Pasayten Peak + Buckskin Ridge in Pasayten via Slate Pass / 帕塞頓峯

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Pasayten Peak of Gold Ridge and Buckskin Ridge divides the Pasayten River into middle and west forks. Together, they harbor many alpine lakes right off the beaten path. Moreover, Silver Pass connects the two ridgelines above its namesake creek high up the valleys.

Seeing Pasayten Peak
Seeing Pasayten Peak

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Pasayten Peak at a Glance

Access: Slate Pass
Round Trip: 18 miles
Elevation Range: 5800′-7850′
Gear: helmet
Route Info: Craig Weiland (mountainflamingo.com)
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Seventh Time Through Slate Pass

We came back to Slate Pass weeks after our previous trip. It was also our seventh time starting from the pass. Though, I continue to dread going back up the hill at the end of a long outing.

The nice thing about this trip was that we didn’t need to drop clear to the bottom. So from the Buckskin Trail junction to Silver Lake, the altitude ranged within 400′. It was our most relaxing outing so far this season.

Entering Pasayten Wilderness
Entering Pasayten Wilderness

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Buckskin Trail

Smoke had permeated the area from the recent Cub Creek 2 Fire and Cedar Creek Fire. So we started in the valley under a hazy sky. Soon, we reached the trail fork in under a mile and continued straight.

The limited visibility didn’t give us much scenery to enjoy. So we didn’t stop much for photos either. Later we met a hiker on his way out after a multi-day trip. We chatted a bit and then continued.

A hazy road to Pasayten Peak
A hazy road to Pasayten Peak

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Camping at Silver Lake

At 4.5 miles in, the trail took a turn uphill and climbed 200′. Then we went back into the trees and down to the fork to Silver Lake. We walked a short way over to the north shore to see the serene water.

The man we met earlier had said that the lake tends to get busy. Then he suggested that we stay at the secluded Lake 6945. After tossing the idea back and forth, I decided that the logistics wouldn’t have worked out for us.

Silver Lake southern panoramic view
Silver Lake southern panoramic view

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Onward to Pasayten Peak

So instead of continuing to Silver Pass, we set up camp at the southwest end of the lake. I noticed some decent campsites by the outlet earlier. But it’s not where we needed to be to avoid other campers.

After a power nap, we walked west into the forest and up the slope. Then just beyond the trees was a meadow that looked like a decent place to camp also. Later we made our way up the talus to Point 7588’s west saddle.

Leaving lake basin
Leaving lake basin

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Pasayten Peak Climb

From the pass, I saw Pasayten Peak for the first time. Then we went north at the same altitude through the talus basin. From Point 7588’s north saddle, the smoke across the valley looked to have increased.

Later big rocks replaced the talus. Then we weaved our way up the south ridge using grass ramps. Although it’s more efficient for me to boulder hop, I didn’t want the pups to do that the entire time.

The final stretch on Pasayten Peak
The final stretch on Pasayten Peak

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Pasayten Peak Summit Views

Boulders coated the entire peak, with one diagonal one marking the high point. The massive rocks here reminded me of Hoodoo Peak. The first thing that caught my eye was Silver Lake, which I didn’t think we would see from here.

Views were subpar because of the smoke. But I still saw the familiar peaks the yellow pup has gone up with me. They included Mount Rolo, Osceola Peak, and the distant Ptarmigan Peak.

Next stop, Buckskin Ridge
Next stop, Buckskin Ridge

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Leaving Pasayten Peak for Lake 6945

Later we went down the northwest ridge with tall, rocky steps. Then at 7300′, we dropped onto a receding snowfield on the north side. The dogs were ecstatic since there hadn’t been any water past Silver Lake.

We beelined north through more talus. Then we reached Lake 6945 with Silver Creek flowing out of it in the larch meadow. Too bad it would’ve added more distance by us staying here. Alas, some other time!

Pasayten Peak northwest ridge
Pasayten Peak northwest ridge

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Buckskin Ridge Climb

We walked along the creek through the larch meadow. Soon, we came upon a faint path that, at times, disappeared into the grass. In under a mile, we reached the woodsy Silver Pass and crossed Buckskin Ridge Trail.

We went up the open forest over Peak 7632’s southwest ridge. Then at 7200′, we veered north toward Buckskin Ridge’s south saddle. From there, it was a 400′ walk-up through grass and rocks to the top.

Coming right up
Coming right up

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Buckskin Ridge Summit Views

The smoke wouldn’t budge, of course. But I got a better look into Eureka Creek Basin. Robinson Mountain and Wildcat Mountain looked more prominent from this angle as well. But the other high points were just blobs.

The sheer side of Pasayten Peak also looked more impressive from here. But it was too hazy to take a decent photo of the peak. The rest of the high points along Gold Ridge we’re all visible.

Southern panoramic view over Peak 7632
Southern panoramic view over Peak 7632

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Back to Silver Lake

Later we retraced our steps back to Silver Pass. From there, we walked down on Buckskin Ridge Trail through the forest. Then we crossed Silver Creek in a little over a mile at 5800′. It’s also the lowest point of the trip.

From the creek, we went uphill for another mile and rose 450′ during which. A big tent had since shown up by the outlet after we left around noon. Before dark, two people and their pup made their way around the lake up to the meadow.

A little playtime before bed
A little playtime before bed

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Outro

Glad that we climbed both peaks on day one and stayed the night. We covered a lot more ground in the area four weeks earlier, and I felt terrible for the dogs. So this time, I promised to make it an enjoyable outing for all of us.

The night temperatures dropped to the 40s. In the morning, we waited until the sun beamed into the basin so we could warm up a bit. Then we quietly left the lake and leisurely hiked five miles back up to Slate Pass.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

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