Silver Tip Peak by Cadet Peak via Barlow Pass + Monte Cristo / 銀頂峯

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Silver Tip Peaks stands between Cadet Peak and Gothic Peak above Silver Lake. The old mining town of Monte Cristo rests at the peak’s east foothills. Meanwhile, the South Fork Sauk River through Barlow Pass provides the quickest way to the area.

Silver Tip Peak from Silver Lake's outlet
Silver Tip Peak from Silver Lake’s outlet

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Silver Tip Peak at a Glance

Access: Monte Cristo Trailhead
Round Trip: 16.2 miles
Elevation Range: 2361′-6140′
Essential Gear: helmet, rock & rope
Route Info: Abrahm Rollins
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

Monte Cristo Trail via Barlow Pass

Cody, the yellow lab, and I went to Sheep Mountain when we last set foot (and paw) on this trail. I came alone this time, not wanting Connor to chase me on a bike. So far, he’s the only one of my labs that hasn’t been to this area; soon, though. The peak also involved a technical move below the top, unsuitable for any dog.

The 4.5-mile ride to the ghost town went fast as I greeted a handful of hikers by the bike rack. Soon, I walked to Poodle Dog Pass on a decent trail and arrived at Silver Lake in over two miles. I briefly paused to photograph the sheer peak before crossing the outlet on rocks. Then, I aimed for the ridge south of the lake when I lost the lower trail.

Today's goal from Monte Cristo Trail near Barlow Pass
Today’s goal from Monte Cristo Trail near Barlow Pass

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Silver Tip Peak East-to-South Route via Silver Lake

The large lake and the eastern peaks comprised most views below the east ridge. Then, the terrain opened up with more scenery to the south, where I first saw Hubbart Peak. The icing on the cake was having a climber’s path take me straight to the south ridge. Even from the south end of the ridge, views were already incredible.

Soon, I bypassed the jagged ridgeline from the east while going north. The faint path I followed hugged the cliffs before rising toward the crest past the headwall. After going through dipping slabs and slanted boulders came the class 4 crux. So I kept steady and propped myself over the platform as scree moved around me.

Looking south to Silver Creek Valley
Looking south to Silver Creek Valley

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Silver Tip Peak Viewing Henry M. Jackson Wilderness

If the weather is decent without fire smoke, one can expect constant views past Silver Lake. Due to Columbia Peak’s enormity, I had difficulty naming places around it. But the best angle to see Del Campo Peak and Gothic Peak is, hands down, Morning Star Peak. I also enjoyed the sheer side of Sheep Gap Mountain.

Since I was back in the national forest past the lake, I took great footage with the drone. I also brought a rope to rappel off the crux, overlooking the sheer west face. It was surprising not to see people here on a holiday, a gorgeous day at that. The only minus was my bike chain slipping off the gears right before Barlow Pass. But whew!

West-to-north panorama from Silver Tip Peak
West-to-north panorama from Silver Tip Peak

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Moral of the Story? Don’t Be a F**ker.

Back at the pass, a shirtless young man approached me on foot, saying someone had stolen his car. But he wasn’t sure whether it was the friend he had hiked with who took it. He wanted to stick around in case the friend was still back at Goat Lake. So, I offered to call his mom to pick him up once I got cell service at Granite Falls.

As it turned out, his friend from out of town decided to drive off with his car. And that was even after the friend ditched him en route to the lake because the guy was slow. Despite needing to spend the night alone in the wilderness, it was a warm weekend, and he made it out alive. But don’t ever leave your friends behind, folks!

East-to-south panorama with Columbia Peak
East-to-south panorama with Columbia Peak

See more trip photos here.

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